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Annual Review for 2023 – A Year of Experimentation

Updated: Dec 19, 2023

It’s the 14th December as I start to write this. And it certainly won’t be the 14th December when I finish it, because despite my best efforts, I’ve got an hour to go before I need to do the school, then nursery pick up. 

 

This is my first annual review, because this is my first full year in business as a leadership coach. 

 

Making time for review and reflection is such an important part of growth, but one that often sinks to the bottom of the pile under the weight of all the other more pressing things there are to get done. But I believe that looking back in a structured way is essential for moving forwards in an effective way. 

 

So here goes.


Word of the Year

 

My word of the year for 2023 was EXPERIMENTATION. 

 

I like working with words, because for me, words create worlds.

 

And the world that this created for me was one where:

·      I could invent & be creative

·      I gave myself permission to fail

·      I put learning ahead of achievement

 

So how did I do?

 

Well, I did experiment.

 

·      I created, sold and delivered a group leadership programme

·      I ran workshops, including an AQR training workshop

·      I had 2 articles published and wrote a conference submission





And I did have some failures.

 

·      The first idea for my group programme didn’t succeed. It was too generic, I didn’t have much belief in it and I couldn’t sell it. 

·      The Masterclass programme I pitched to the AQR didn’t go ahead.

·      My MRS conference submission was not accepted. 

 

But all of that’s ok, because it got me to where I am now.

 

·      Running with a far superior group programme.

·      Being part of an AQR course that has broadened my offer and introduced me to some great new colleagues – Darren and Zeynep.

·      I’m on the MRS books as a speaker for other events. 

 




And I’ve learnt so much.

 

·      That the more focused I am with my message, the stronger it is. This year I’ve shifted from “I coach leaders in the creative industries” to “I work with research agencies to help their talented researchers become strong leaders.” 

 

·      That when you bring people together, over a period of time, in a group programme, the impact is exponential. 

 

·      That despite the modern world and all the ways there are to connect, I really needed to be with people IRL. The connection and trust you build when you're physically together is powerful. The Watch Me Think event about the quest for Truth & Trust was a particular highlight, but I had a great day at the MRS Conference and enjoyed the WIRE event. 

 


I wouldn’t be here without some amazing conversations with fellow consultants – Kirsty Fuller, James Pickles, Paul Griffiths, Sally Henderson, Naomi Regan, Emily Sheen, Sinead Jefferies, Phil Burgess & Felix Koch, and without the wonderful support of coaches, the amazing Jo Lott, my accountability buddy Lucy Chaplin, and my long-term coaching support partner Bonnie Harvey. 

 

And thank you so much to my clients and others I have worked with in 2023 – Nick Baker, Sesh Vedachalam, Alita Benson, Neil Cooper, James Endersby, Kate Whiffen, Marni Hirschorn, Katie Brown, and Chloe Fowler.  

 

Despite this review largely being about my work, my main job is raising our two incredible daughters, Georgina, 5 and Sadie, 3. My business is a 2-day a week term-time venture at the moment, and I spend ¾ of my time with the girls. And the thing I am most proud of this year is them. They blow me away every day with their inquisitive minds, their creativity and sense of humour.  



 

Outside of work, it’s been a huge year of celebration. I turned 40 and so did my husband. It was also our 10 year wedding anniversary. We’ve had lots of parties, including an epic child-free week in Ibiza.

 

I’ve kept up my daily yoga habit, doing my 10 minutes minimum a day. Despite this I have had a string of bugs since August… so next year I need to focus on staying healthy. I have invested in some First Defence and a 30-day Gut Health Package, so we’ll see how that goes! 

 

I love culture and am lucky enough to have seen many fantastic plays this year.

 

Streetcar Named Desire

One Woman Show

Lemons Lemons Lemons

Hamilton

Orlando

We Drive Our Plough Over the Bones of the Dead

Oklahoma

The Effect

Confessions

Dr Semmelweis

The Witches

Guys & Dolls

 

I’ve hardly read any books – eek! – but the last one I read I absolutely loved – Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin. It’s about how we go into other worlds to cope with this world and it’s beautiful.




 So what’s next?

 

My word of the year for 2024 is IMPACT.

 

To me, impact is about making a tangible difference. I know the coaching makes a huge difference, to how people see themselves, feel, and handle the complex situations they face as new leaders, but as of yet I don’t have consistent systems to benchmark, track and measure any of this. This is a goal for 2024.

 

It’s not just people I want to have impact with, it’s the research agencies those people work for. Growth does not happen in a vacuum and its impact is not limited to the individual. When people grow as leaders, their teams and accounts grow with them, and this in itself creates more opportunity for professional growth. 2024 will be about strengthening the connection leaders have to themselves, their colleagues and the research agencies they work for. 

 

And I want to reach more people. This year my work has reached 44 people, so I am going for over 100 people in 2024. 

 

As I wrap up my review, I am left feeling immensely proud of what I have learnt in 2023. Setting up my own business has been a lot harder than I thought, but it’s also been a lot more rewarding. 

 

I am not selling coaching sessions. 

 

I am building a business that supports new leaders across the research industry, at that pivotal time when they really need it. A lot of coaching is reserved for exec level only, but I honestly think becoming a leader or manager for the first time is the hardest transition people make in their research career. I love being part of making that transition more seamless, more powerful and more fun.


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