“Something’s gotta change, goodbye yesterday, try again today, something’s gotta change”
The Charlatans, Try Again Today

Yesterday I had my first formal coaching session with Carl Haggerty.

I’ve known Carl for 10 years (we first met at a Public Sector Forums event in Sheffield where we were both, somewhat reluctantly, doing the traditional networking thing) and in that decade we’ve been on similar journeys, walking alongside each other at different stages – most recently with our co-founding and involvement in LocalGov Digital.

Carl is someone who’s work has inspired me, who’s passion and vision is aligned with my own and who is also a friend. This puts us in a pretty good place to move years of informal mentoring to a more formal coaching arrangement as trust and honesty is well established between us.

I’m really thankful to Carl for giving his time to support me through coaching and after our first session last night I’m feeling really positive about the benefits it will have for me in my professional life.

Why coaching? Why now?

I hadn’t actually considered being coached until Carl suggested it to me but when he did it made sense in lots of ways.

I’m moving into a team leader / line manager role in my current job as well as co-leading on delivery of parts of a big project. This, alongside LocalGov Digital, has had me thinking about things I need to learn or get better at as well as starting to think of what my future plans might be (I tend to think in months not years at the moment).

Coaching is one of the ways I’m taking some positive, proactive steps to manage the roles I’m undertaking as well as (hopefully) start to deal with a few monkeys on my back. Maybe it will also help me start to understand where my aspirations lie for my professional future too.

What manner of coaching is this?

My first session with Carl was largely exploratory to uncover themes and we started to take a navigational approach to that discovery. There may be specific skills I need to work on as part of the coaching and we’ll use appropriate approaches to guide conversations on those.

Reflections on my first session

I’m not going to publicly share all the details of what I’ve discussed or explored in my sessions. Partly this is because exploration sometimes heads round in circles before leading somewhere, and some times it leads nowhere at all in terms of outcomes but is interesting to me nonetheless. But it’s also partly as some of it is personal, and should remain for private conversations.

What I am going to reflect on is the broad themes that have emerged and how or what I’m doing to progress with them.

There will be another post in the next few days (or at least that’s what I feel is likely at the moment) about how I’m already working through a couple of these things. For now, for my own record more than anything, here’s some themes I felt were emerging for me to think more on:

  • courage and catalysts
  • visibility and resilience
  • self-limiting beliefs and challenge
  • self-awareness and regulation
  • focus.

What next?

Carl and I have agreed to schedule in regular sessions over the next few months where exploration of these themes can continue (and perhaps new ones will emerge). I feel really positive towards Carl as a coach for me – he knows enough about my professional skills, experience and current position to link our exploration to practical outcomes and has a good balance of curiosity, support and insight in leading me through the sessions.

In between the sessions I’ll be reflecting more and setting some outputs to work toward. Overall I’m looking forward to gaining confidence in some professional areas and taking a proactive approach to transitioning well into the next stages of my career.


If you haven’t already Carl’s post on coaching and mentoring as a way of building skills and capacity within the Local Government sector is well worth a read.

You can find me on Twitter, blogging for Nottinghamshire County Council about Digital First, or writing words about music on Louder Than War.