Ben Okri, A Way of Being Free, 1997
It was really helpful to have somebody with Penny’s wisdom and depth of experience working with me, helping me to identify and deal with the various dilemmas short and long term that have arisen. Penny very skilfully asked me questions that caused me to reflect upon the story / explanation I’d told myself about difficult situations. Her thoughtful probing helped me to re-approach those situations from a higher level, by which I mean stepping up from my frustration to see that I have more agency than I could see, but also to think about what the other parties might need from me. I feel much more confident in my capabilities and can see where I want to get to in the next few months and years. Joe Ludlow, Impact Investment Director, Ufi, 2019
At first I wasn’t sure about the benefits of coaching but I had 6 coaching sessions with Penny and they have really been useful. After our coaching sessions I reflect. I’m a pretty confident person but coaching gave me added confidence to do some different things which have increased my visibility. e.g. presenting at a scrutiny meeting. Another useful thing was Penny suggesting some Ted Talks and reading , which contained nuggets to expand my leadership and management style. Fabio Negro, Chief Technology Officer, Camden Council, 2019
Coaching gave me space to think and reflect, Penny was challenging in a really positive way and made me think about things in a different way. She helped me through some tricky relationship developments and has been great at reinforcing self worth. I have found my time with Penny really beneficial. Jaine Cresser, Assistant Director, Stevenage Borough Council, 2019
I was in one of those in-between situations, needing to re-focus, be challenged and put order around what I was looking to do next.
Penny supported and challenged me to identify my strengths, hone my skill-set and challenge the space I was currently in regarding my career. Over the four sessions I had with Penny, I looked at opportunities in a different light, was able to more effectively align my strengths to the direction I was wanting to move in. This led to a role with GSK as Apprenticeship Vendor Manager.
My final session occurred three months into my new role and was a great opportunity for me to work with Penny to check and challenge my thoughts about the role, useful after the honeymoon period. It was this check and challenge role that I found particularly useful in our sessions. Without the intervention from Penny, I suspect I would still not have the focus or order I needed at the point I contacted her.
I would certainly use Penny in the future and recommend her services to a wider audience. Tim Buchanan Apprenticeship Vendor Manager GSK, December 2017
Penny has worked with The Art of Work as an Associate since 2013. She is highly valued as a member of our lead facilitation and coaching team. She is both highly qualified and experienced in her field. She is an executive coach and facilitator and one of our core team used for complex and sensitive assignments which require someone who can see beyond the presenting issue and calmly get to the root of problems and concerns. Penny is regularly commissioned by The Art of Work to undertake complex one to one coaching programmes for senior leaders and for managers across a range of sectors including Education, Motor, Travel and Local Authority. I would recommend her without reservation. Sandra Evans, Managing Director, The Art of Work Ltd. December 2016
As an external facilitator who specialises in strategy, I invited Penny to facilitate our first Board Away Day. Penny was very thoughtful in her approach and her intervention was vital for three reasons:
Penny is outstanding, creative, hard-working, an excellent facilitator and fantastic at building relationships. She brings a depth of knowledge and experience from the charity sector and the huge respect and admiration of everybody with whom she works. I would wholeheartedly recommend Penny. Sandeep Mahal, Director, Nottingham UNESCO City of Literature, December 2016
I came to Penny on the recommendation of a friend who had had a very positive experience. I was at a careers crosswords and knew that changes were needed but was almost paralysed by the fear of making a mistake and also not sure enough of the right direction to take. I found Penny calm, quiet, thoughtful, measured and most of all a great listener and observer of body language. As our sessions progressed Penny correctly identified what made me ‘tick’ in ways I had not always noticed in myself; one particular discussion exposed some very old issues that were still festering and having a negative impact on my future plans Penny dealt with these with both empathy and total professionalism. I would recommend Penny without hesitation; the coaching has helped to positively move me forward. Helen Armour, Principal Lecturer, University of Westminster, Summer 2016
My confidence has grown so much over the past 12 months working with Penny. I have developed range in my management style to be more empowering for my staff. I listen more to them and I welcome their feedback. These days I even accept compliments! This has resulted in slower turnover of managers, who are staying in their posts longer. I found the coaching focused, motivating and enabling. The time for reflection in coaching sessions is so important, not only for developing one’s own resilience in a very demanding job – but also to keep on learning from experience – even as a very experienced leader and manager. Cecilia Ileyemi, Safeguarding Children’s Service Manager, Hertfordshire County Council, 2015
I started working with Penny just as I had moved into a new, more challenging role after several years in an area where I was experienced and established. Needless to say, I was keen to gain credibility in my new role quickly – but I was also a little lacking in confidence as I was way out of my comfort zone. Penny supported me not just in gaining the confidence I needed in the short term – but also in realising my potential for the longer term. Penny’s style is to listen and empathise whilst at the same time challenging almost without you even noticing. Her skill in reflecting back to me my own thoughts and observations with a positive and motivational spin was, I think, what really helped me to move up into the higher gear that I needed to be successful in my new role. Davina West, Fleet Business Development Manager, ŠKODA UK, November 2014
I rate my experience of coaching with Penny 10 out of 10. We had weekly sessions for 4 weeks and worked on being able to forge a safe way though some difficult decisions. Thank you, Penny, for being a listening ear at a difficult time. In particular, thanks for helping me to focus forward. CEO, third sector organisation, November 2020
I’m grateful to you for providing some much-needed moral support, which has helped me through a difficult six months; this environment can be quite isolating and lonely, in the context of which your empathy, compassion, understanding and constructive questions and suggestions have been extremely valuable. I have remained true to myself, which perhaps hints at inflexibility but at least remains authentic. Having said this, my learning, self-reflection and development will stand me in good stead for my next opportunity. Richard May, NHS Trust Secretary and Head of Corporate Affairs, 2019
I have extensively changed my leadership approach following coaching with Penny. I reconnected with what is really important to me. I have found my energy and strengths which I had lost sight of. Where previously I might withdraw if I felt I wasn’t being heard, I now have the confidence and poise to ensure I am listened to and taken seriously. I feel more confident and more productive and ready to climb up the corporate ladder. Nduka Agada, Housing Executive, Camden Council
Penny worked with us in the 2016 Times Graduate Challenge. Her relaxed personal style meant she quickly engaged with the Graduates, which greatly facilitated the learning process. She displayed a sound understanding of the personality traits which impact upon business leadership and was adept at getting her points across in a clear and supportive fashion. Ambur expects to call on her professional services again in 2017. Tony Manos, Founder/Director, Ambur Ltd, operators of The Times Graduate Challenge, January 2017
Penny has been an enormous help to us during a period of rapid growth. Remote management and creating a powerful team ethic across the workforce has been a challenge. Penny’s approach has been extremely effective, including laying the groundwork for developing a coaching culture and supporting newly appointed managers in helping their teams to achieve better results. Her intervention at Arvon has made a massive difference. Ruth Borthwick, CEO and Artistic director, Arvon
I promised you when we finished our coaching that I would give you an update sooner or later. Well, here it is. You might remember we did an exercise where I wrote all the things I wanted in my life on post its and then said how close to achieving all that I was…and I pointed to the wall (i.e. the furthest away point in the room!). Well, since then we have sold our flat, bought a bigger place, reduced our mortgage substantially and I have resigned and am beginning to look for opportunities as a freelancer!! So all change, but all good. Thanks so much for your help in getting me (us!) there. Head of Fundraising and Communications, 2014
It’s a real pleasure having Penny as a coach. She has coached me through times of transition, but also through some subtle and more reflective moments, like when I was ready to make a personal leap forward. She challenged me to develop new ways of managing and leading people. Penny guided me to a point where I was more comfortable and able to think about how to share my thoughts and strategies with my team who were looking for greater support and direction. Penny has truly affected me at important points in my career. Sandy Mahal, Director, The Space, Summer 2014
I connected well with Penny from our first conversation and found her approachable, patient, caring and thoughtful. Her gentle but persistent questioning helped me to see things from a different perspective and to be more forgiving. The sessions with Penny gave me the time and space to think about things that had been worrying me and to see that I had the power to react to those things in a more positive way. I felt supported throughout the process and more confident and empowered in terms of both my professional and personal life by the end of it. Beverley Rowland, Programme Manager, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP, 2014
My objective for coaching was to be clear about what was important in navigating the first 6 months in my new chief executive role. It included: prioritising my substantial workload, reflecting on the strengths I brought to my new work environment and managing work life balance. Penny’s coaching was empowering: it built my confidence. She has a reassuring presence and manner which meant she could challenge me. Geoff Brown, Chief Executive, Hertfordshire Healthwatch, 2013
Having decided to take the significant step of resigning from a job that I was not enjoying, Penny helped me to evaluate options for the critical next step in my career. This included considering the implications – both personal and professional – of either seeking another employed role or setting-up my own business. Penny’s style is supportive and warm, matched to an ability to ask carefully considered and incisive questions. She helped me greatly to better understand what’s important to me, providing a framework against which I have been able to plan my route forward. A hugely valuable process. Tim Pugh, CEO, Automotive Industry, Summer 2014
We have definitely seen a positive change in our behaviours and leadership style and, most importantly, it has strengthened our relationships within the management team and built trust and understanding. SMT, Devon County Council, 2019
I found Penny to be an insightful, positive and experienced coach. She was authentic and prepared to give a little of herself to put me at ease. She asked powerful questions, gave me time and a safe space to reflect, gave useful reflections on what I’d said and made observations, summarised and moved the conversation on sensitively and kept action focused, but in a really lovely and respectful way. As a result of the coaching, I understand myself better and know that working harder and being nicer may not always be the best strategy for me when work gets stressful. I am more accepting of myself and can focus on my strengths and what I bring. Assistant Director, Housing, 2020
I found Penny’s coaching to be inspirational, wise, and deep! She listened and that mattered the most. And she never judged. I am really proud that I began to express myself, appreciate the small things, and be more able to inspire others. I felt that the change within was reflected in my surroundings and I was assigned to lead a departmental team. I surprised myself when I encountered a difficulty similar to ones I have been through and my reaction was more calm and wise. As a result of coaching, I can reflect more on situations and my instant judgment is no longer as strong. I take my time more and express myself after deep thought. Maryam Ali Abdulqader, Senior Engineer, Dubai Electricity and Water Authority, 2019
Penny provided consultative advice for me so I could focus in on what really mattered in the way I conducted myself and interacted with other people in order to achieve my goals and stay true to my principles. The coaching helped me examine big picture personal and organisational strategies as well as a confidential space to explore some of the more difficult smaller issues that affected my day-to-day role Paul Dooley, Assistant Director – Digital Partnerships, 2018
What’s the next step?
Penny runs her private practice in St Albans and London and is also available for telephone and Skype work. Get in touch to arrange a preliminary phone call.