Working with Me
“The great danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short, but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.”
Years of working in the making industry have not only taught me the importance of authenticity and good communication, they have revealed the techniques by which to achieve them. It is these techniques that I share through coaching, mentoring, talks, panels and in my roles as judge and curator.
On the deepest level I work on the very identity of a creative person. Enabling a maker, and other creative practitioners, to find out why they do what they do. Observing someone communicating what they discover with authenticity is akin to watching a person and their business transform from sepia to Technicolor.
Another aspect of my practice is giving makers and their businesses a new perspective, a shot of ideas and energy, an appraisal of what is going well and constructive criticism to transform what is good into something great. Work of this kind can be thought of as a vitamin injection for a maker’s business.
Last, but certainly not least, I offer opportunities for makers to show their work.
My approach works symbiotically, it must. In helping makers develop, I too am enriched. Every process on which I embark is a reminder to me to keep working on my own authenticity. My personal experience informs every session I hold, either individually or in groups.
My work never ceases to inspire me.
My approach is that of the explorer
I have always been an explorer. When I go for walks, or bike rides, I like to seek new ways to go. Rooting out new, undiscovered possibilities is exciting. I can’t read maps, my brain isn’t wired that way, I must ultimately find my own route.
My work is an extension of my propensity for exploring. When I engage with a creative business I am always seeking new routes for it to take; scanning the horizon for previously unglimpsed paths, down which new opportunities might be waiting. Corporations call it “blue sky thinking”, or “thinking outside the box”. In employing this approach, I offer makers fresh perspectives.
When working with an individual, it is in exploring the patterns and recurring motifs in what they say and write – the landscape of their thinking – that the heart of why they do what they do is revealed.
“The [person] who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.”
Safety, support and a smattering of tough love
My approach is gentle: a safe and supportive process (and necessarily so). Makers are required to delve deeply into themselves and their businesses, accept constructive criticism, seek answers and push beyond their limits.
I am a guide and a fellow traveller. This is the value of my work. An outside eye has the distance and the freedom to locate areas of weakness, spot areas that can sustain growth and appreciate those areas with existing strength. Similarly, an outside ear can discern the patterns in speech, the unconscious clues, that lead to revelations.
Makers and I journey together to find practical and workable solutions to strengthen their businesses, and themselves, for the long term.
Why should a creative person invest money in a process like this?
In the same way a designer-maker must learn their craft, the skills required for authentic communication must also be learned.
There are two key avenues by which we can acquire the skills to communicate effectively:
Slow and persistent trial and error – the quickest way to waste precious money, and valuable time away from making – taking an unspecified length of time and resulting in inevitable dead-ends. This is the slow and expensive path
Tapping into a source of knowledge that massively speeds up the process, removes the associated worry and stress, saves precious money, gets rapid results
The latter approach is my speciality.
When thinking about whether it is worth getting help, I always suggest this analogy: if your boiler needs servicing, do you inspect the boiler, read all the manuals, order the parts and then fix it yourself or do you call a plumber? A maker must weigh how much time a process can take when trying to do it without help, against getting a job done quickly and easily. It’s not just the time taken on the issue in question that must be factored in, it is how much worry it causes, what the impact is on your business of delaying the work and how many working, and resting, hours are consumed in trying to solve a riddle, alone.
With coaching, a burning issue can sometimes be solved in one coaching session. A personal story with real impact can be written in just three. By the end of next week, you could already have laid issues to rest, have a personal story written and be getting on with what you love.
Unleashing a creative person’s superpower
My own personal experience, and years of working in the designer-making industry, have inculcated in me the vital importance of communication. Authentic communication for creative people is their superpower, and generalised communication their Achilles heel.