My interest in ‘what makes people tick’ started at university, when I studied Psychology, English and Social Anthropology* for my MA degree. (*see below). A very practical training in people skills (and dealing with other peoples’ bodily functions!) followed when I completed my nurse training at St Thomas’ Hospital, London. Dealing with patients and their relatives, who, because they were in hospital meant they were worried and anxious, led to me developing an ability to empathise and understand peoples’ fears, a skill very much required in the coaching situation.
Little did I realise that a few years later, I’d be working directly across the River Thames from St Thomas’ Hospital, in the House of Commons. This was not as a trained nurse, but as PA to the Assistant Serjeant at Arms. Dealing with a wide range of people who were at the very top of their game and fame, right down to ‘ordinary’ members of the public, gave me a hugely interesting opportunity to learn more; about politics, British history and tradition, beautiful architecture and, most importantly, the human ego!
I’ve been employed as a producer and radio presenter for BBC Radio Berkshire, Kick fm (independent commercial radio station), and as a TV presenter for cable station, Thames Valley TV. This experience in the media industry enabled me to understand the power of listening well and asking the pertinent question. Interviewing politicians gave me plenty of practice in guiding a discussion back to the relevant point!
I’ve worked as a trainer, leading ‘Women Returning to the Workplace’ courses; I’ve also worked in secondary schools delivering Effective Communication training courses to teenagers (including excluded teenagers). Both experiences gave me insight into fears that confront people when embarking on life-changing challenges.
Working in a variety of workplaces and industries has given me great insight into how much the mindset of the workforce around you can influence personal well-being and ability to reach individual potential. In addition to the workplaces mentioned above, I’ve worked for insurance brokers Sedgewicks in the City of London, for a London publishing house and in the voluntary sector as Trust Manager for Newbury Cancer Care Trust.