Hello there! I’m Jeremy, newly part of the KYM team as the lead in Coach Community Operations. What you have here is a little bit about my background, something about how I connected with KYM, and something about the present and future direction of Coach Community Operations. I’ll push open my Johari window by telling you a little about myself and look forward to finding out more about you too, and learning more about myself from you!
A whistle stop tour of my 36 year career to date. I eschewed (great word) University at the first time of asking and went straight into work for Beecham Pharmaceuticals. I was a research chemist, working in anti-bacterials. I claimed to want to cure the world of all ills yet I think what I really wanted was a chemical reaction or principle named after me. You know, like the fantastic Heisenberg Uncertainty principle. How cool must Heisenberg have felt at the time and then to be name checked throughout Breaking Bad too!. I sure he must be celebrating someplace. Certain, in fact! I did not manage that type of ‘fame’ but did end up with patents and publications, a fascination with chemistry, and the sure knowledge that it was not a lifetime vocation for me.
During my time as a chemist I did a lot of work with schools and universities to promote science to the next generation. This took me into the orbit of the Department of Chemistry at the University of Southampton (UoS) and to cut a long story short they invited me to join them to buck up their teaching programme. So I ended up at University after all. In fact, I added to the first degree that I did part time by completing a PhD. I did this part time too, so was one moment colleague and next moment student. I had multiple responsibilities all related to education and the management of the processes and people around it. During 17 years I built programmes, doubled the student numbers and led the Department the highest student ratings as well as building an international partnership base of over 90 organisation for our industrial placement programme. More relevant to the present day I taught, managed, and led through a coaching approach although I did not call it that at the time. I spent several years as Deputy Head of Chemistry. While this title was not as satisfying as having a reaction named after me yet pleasing nonetheless as I was elected to the position by my peers.
One day I woke up and thought it was time for a change and went and lead a huge team of staff in managing the Halls of Residences at UoS. I am fairly confident that I am the only person in the UK to make such a transition! It was a fantastic job, totally exhausting being in charge of 24/7 care and support of over 6500 students from all over the world. As a learning experience of how to cope with diversity, in all its dimensions, it was second to none.
During this time I made the decision that 5 years into the future I would be running my own coaching business and so started accumulating credentials and qualifications from the ICF and ILM for example. I joined a number of ICF and Association of Coaching Networks and became a co-convener of a local change management Community of Practice. I also moved to work for the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) on a huge change management project where I found myself with lots of influence but no power to deliver. It was a fascinating time and, for the first time in my working life, one with a defined endpoint given it was a fixed term contract.
During this time I was an internal coach at the UoS and had a range of private clients too as my company Alpamayo Coaching Ltd came into being in readiness for the end of my contract in early 2018. I was already part of KYM during this time as I joined in the first cohort of coaches. It was great to be part of an organisation whose values I shared. There was also some comfort in knowing that we had parallel challenges of achieving the balance between doing good in the world and making sure that you have the business savvy to sustain and develop your ability to do that good.
Now I have a much clearer sense of my own professional identity. I have a portfolio of work with Alpamayo Coaching ranging across coaching, facilitation, training and consultancy. A unifying phrase I use to capture all of these is that they help in ‘thinking about your thinking (#TAYT)’ with a key point of distinction being the level of ‘directive-ness’ with each approach. My heart is with the non-directive while being at ease in any of the roles.
A quote I really like is ‘if I am the most knowledgeable person in the room then I am in the wrong room’. This fits perfectly with coaching. I will never be in a position to know more about a coachee than they know about themselves, even if they are not choosing to make use of their knowledge. That same quote is also stands up in relation to my new role in the KYM Coaching Community. I am looking forward to working together with the community to support something that will be seen as greater than the sum of its parts by our prospective clients. In the first instance the Coach Community Operations role will be about ensuring continued good communication between the KYM team and the coaching community. It will develop in the direction of learning and CPD support to the coach community in their KYM and private practice, where possible building relationships with the professional bodies so that our work together can be recognised.
What about me? The values that feel strongest for me right now are curiosity, contribution, learning, honesty and courage. I am something of a chameleon in that I adapt to the needs of my environment without losing a sense of my own purpose and direction. I can be very analytical and evidence based in one context and very happy to ‘take a punt’ in another. Humour is important to me and I quite like being out there in front of people provided that I make time to retreat to a reflective sanctuary when I need to recharge. I love learning new things yet am comfortable myself trusting to my intuition in deciding the right course of action. When not working you will find me at live music, as likely at the Proms as pogo-ing around at a gig of ageing or contemporary rockers or punks (I have to be honest and note that I rarely get fully airborne pogo-ing these days!).
I love our garden in Wiltshire and spend as much time as I can in it with my wife and best friend, Derryn. My favourite bit of kit is my Kindle – a bookcase I your pocket – how cool is that …. AND I can’t see the ones I have not read yet mocking me! Top purchase this year – a Fiskars X25 splitting axe. Logs tremble in its presence. Something that I have been thinking about in June 2019. How can I repay those heroic D Day veterans and their fallen friends for what they did 75 years ago? The best I can offer is to be the best that I can be, to welcome the opportunities life offers me, and to do something worthwhile wherever I can. That’s something about me, your turn now!