Getting Coached Around Retirement

My intention towards the end of September is to facilitate a series of group workshops around retirement. It doesn’t seem to be a hot topic unless it’s about financial advice and yet it is a vital part of living one’s life to the fullest.

Growing up as a child the questions are around what you will be. During a career the questions are around what have you become, what do you do, with possible sub-questions around what that involves, and with status around complexity, challenges, status and rewards. That whole structure disappears with retirement, so who then are you?

The questions we ask can be all important. The opportunity to use creative explorations can bring new insights. What will you become?

I have brought together a range of creative tools and techniques to allow discoveries to be made and reflectively marinated to allow new positive approaches life.

As your coach on this journey I look forward to working with you.

The first series of six workshops will be offered for £120.

If you would like to be on the first voyage, or have questions please let me know.

Towards Retirement And Beyond

The big transition!

After various conversations over time I began to focus on the experience of moving towards, through and into retirement, and what I might offer in support. I guess at first I thought I had it sussed, having previously worked on Released Not retired Or Redundant. But it became clear that whilst some practical and creative assumptions about age and redundacy are true for retirement, a deeper process takes place as the body ages and society begins to put you into a category you maybe don’t really recognise or even want.

It’s a phase of huge repurposing. Once you were a child of maybe 14 years old, and life however daunting lay before you, but along the way life as it does, reshapes what you once hoped for or expected. For forty years plus you were pursuing dreams, perhaps just surviving, and maybe pretending that at some point you as you were heading towards 70 your feet would stop scrabbling in the grit, allowing you to grab a space to work out what the hell was going on. Too often the ‘getting on with it’ means no time to reflect on who, and maybe what you are now. No thoughts around increasing your relationship with yourself and others. No getting your head around what comes next. Maybe it an old habit of pretending if you are busy nothing bad can touch you?

Age is linear and has a fixed outcome but that path does not have to be diminishing or boring, it be rich, funny and full of discovery.

As I work towards a supportive workshop/course that builds perspective, reslience allowing and encouraging reflective expression through the arts I would welcome any thoughts you may feel able to with me.

May 2021 smile on you.


Some areas of exploration

Developing a time line – a new approach Imagery in everyday life lateral thinking the power of simplicity in art appreciative inquiry tools for resilience relationships emotions

Finding Your Skills

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Finding The Light

When we think about our strengths we may recognise some, but others recognise in us but we don’t. Some strengths we think we have but others are not so sure, and so it is with skills.

Here I am providing a list of skills for you to contemplate, again other may recognise more skills than we recognise in ourselves. When you feel you have scored yourself and others have scored you and given you feedback you can set the two lists (Strengths and Skills) alongside each other and be informed without any sense of self-criticism. Straighten your back, relax and allow your breathing to deepen slightly, with each intake of breath bringing those skills and strengths into your body and really becoming a part of you. These are well you build from. These are your solid base. We move towards what we need to draw upon as imagineers, remembering it’s easier to build from strengths than to start on perceived weaknesses.

The 4 D’s in Appreciative Inquiry look at Discovery (what is), Dream (about what might be), Design (what could be) Destiny (the completion of what has to be). When you have adsorbed your stengths and skills you can allow the questions around what the 4 Ds might mean for you. Allow plenty of time and space for this exercise because the conscious mind will try and limit your thinking, instead let it drop into your subconscious because even when the conscious mind thinks nothing is happening the subconscious never stops working, as Einstein knew so well.


  • Task organiser
  • People organiser
  • Social
  • People
  • Scientific
  • Technical
  • Mathematical
  • Writing
  • Painting/drawing/3 dimensional
  • Music
  • Imagination
  • Financial
  • Decision making
  • Cooking
  • Photography/video
  • Dance
  • Hobby specific
  • Job specific
  • Practical
  • Negotiating
  • Problem Solving
  • Listening
  • Assertiveness
  • and any more that you can think of

Once again, get feedback from others and ask for actual examples from people so that you know that thier feedback is real.

Reflect on what you are beginning to discover about yourself.

Think about yourself around the age of 14, what was it that fired that younger you?

What still feels repressed?

What are the things about you that have been shut in a dark room for years and now need to blossom.

Beating Your Inner Critic – 1

I want to provide you with four resources to draw upon and help your creativity move forward. This is the first resource, you may simply use it for reflection but much better if you use it to get feedback and then use it for your meditations or support from a coach etc.

One of the biggest issues in our lives is that of crticism. We fear the critcism of others because it feeds our own inner critic. Our own inner critic has a visceral response is triggered by that nano second responder, the amygdela. This primal responder is buried deep in our minds and forms part of our primitive brain, it has no language and is designed to work in an instant, flooding the rest of our brains and our bodies with all the chemicals needed to deal with perceived danger, inducing freeze, flight or fight. To investigate this response and its impact on the vegas nerves I’d refer you to Stephen Porges.

More and more research points towards the extraordinary slowness of our ‘thinking’ brain we think that processes and reflects the signals it receives and can give voice to that information instantly but it really is not the case. That primitive part of our brain has already begun to respond up to 20 seconds before the thinking brain is conscious enough to start checking out, why they feel their body responding in a certain , perhaps familiar way. Or why they just blurted out something they now regret. A good source would be to look at Simon Sinek’s, why, how, what model of the brain.

Creativity is dangerous, it must by definition be about something new, and newness challenges existing patterns of what is acceptable. Things that were not acceptable to early humans could put you outside of the group, being outside of the group is dangerous because early humans were threatened by all manner of predators. There is a lot of evidence in the form of human skulls that have teeth marks from such loveable creatures as sabre toothed tigers to underline that one human on their own was pretty vulnerable.

There is a long history of the threat perceived by groups to people not responding to following the rules, spoken or otherwise. just following the wrong religion could mean a quick or indeed tortuous death, and still societies lock people up who pose no material threat but who dare to be at a tangent. My contention is that there is a deeply conditioned set of responses that can make creativity feel threatening. Which creative person hasn’t prevaricated rather rather than starting work? So, how do we change some patterns of behaviour within us?

Take a small plant in a pot and put it on a window ledge, as the plant grows does it grows it begins to lean towards the window and the available daylight. What I am providing below is about finding what to shine the light upon and to build upon.

Appreciative Inquiry holds that it’s better to work from what works rather than to try working with what doesn’t. Shine the light on what works, strengthen that and then what doesn’t work becomes easier to fix. Problem; if I don’t know what works I can’t overcome what doesn’t!

For most of us we don’t realise what a treasure house of potential we hold and what others would gladly have. To create and become an imagineer requires us to know what we can use to battle against the crisis of confidence, blocks and barriers that come our way.

For many years I have used 4 quadrants to help my coaching clients to start build a new future using the resources available to them. Starting with one of the quadrants we can can eventually bring all four together and build a holistic picture. The four quadrants will show you where you can safely build and by default those areas that may be unsafe foundations from which to try and build.

This is the first top left quadrant, MY STRENGTHS. You may chose to score them yourself, perhaps out of 10. Then without disclosing your marks, ask others to score you (you may want to do this as an exercise with at least two quadrants together when you ask others). I always urge the person being coached to ask an honest partner to feedback to them what they experience of the person being coached, and to score the list. Even better is when the person giving feedback can give examples. Try not to self-justify. Subsequent questions arise as to why all too often the feedback is surprisingly positive in so may areas. We begin to become aware of how others see us, what we can build upon and what can more easily be strengthened.


  • Sense of values
  • Creativity
  • Curiosity
  • Open-mindedness
  • Love of learning
  • Perspective (wisdom)
  • Bravery
  • Persistence
  • Integrity
  • Vitality
  • Love
  • Kindness
  • Social Intelligence
  • Responsibility
  • Fairness
  • Leadership
  • Forgiveness and mercy
  • Humility/Modesty
  • Prudence
  • Self-regulation/control
  • Appreciation of beauty and excellence
  • Gratitude
  • Hope
  • Patience
  • Transpersonal

Transpersonal by the way is about the spiritual, the soul, the soulful; this may be religious, but equally it can be experiencing the transformative effect of a beautiful view, a piece of music, a work of art etc.etc.

Over the next three posts I will give you the other quadrants so you can gather together Strengths, Skills, Resources and inspirations and grow towards the light.

After Coronavirus

As I write on April 22nd 2020, I am wondering what will unfold next. There are some signs of positive progress but nothing is immediately clear. Governments of various hues have had to borrow extraordinary amounts of money to support and whilst interest rates are very low, there will be a need to repay, and to make the repayments governments will need to see organisations functioning and paying tax and their employees paying tax, so there is an imperitive to get economies moving as quickly as possible which will not be as easy as it sounds.

The key questions that shape our future must be around what has worked well in this crisis? Of course there have been mistakes, but then anybody who has managed anything knows that imperfect people make imperfect decisions, and governments are no different. In democracies politicians are steered by voters each one of us can influence the future. Here are some more questions to prompt thinking. By all means try answering them straight away but the deeper answers will come as you allow them to bounce around in your subconscious. I’d love to hear your thoughts and maybe other questions that have come to mind.

  1. What has been your story in this pandemic?
  2. What are the good things that you have discovered about yourself?
  3. What things around you have brought you joy?
  4. What part has humour played?
  5. People have shown great courage and compassion in this crisis, how can this influence the future?
  6. Suppose you were given a magic wand by Harry Potter, and this wand required no spells just your words of direction and it would do your bidding. How would you instantly change things for the better?

Appreciative Inquiry Questions

  1. You have been through challenging times before, tell your story about one where you came through it triumphantly. What helped you do so? What skills and strengths and inner resources did you draw on?

b.What did other people do that helped?

      2. Close your eyes and imagine for a few moments that you can see the world in two years’ time and we have come through the crisis well, how did that happen?

a. What did you do to help it happen?

b. How do you feel knowing you made a difference?

c. What did other people do to help?

d. How has the world/your community/your happiness changed for the better as a result?

      3. Reflect for a moment on your your answers so far. How are you feeling?

a. How will you keep supprting yourself?

b. What is one small thing you will do now to help other people come through the crisis well?

c. What makes you hopeful for the future?

My thanks to Dr. Nick Heap for his help in framing these questions