What's Your Background?
I'm an expert on transformational leadership, both personal and professional, and I inspire leaders to look beyond themselves when they make life and business decisions. I work with organisations and individuals who are driven to make an impact with what they do.
I'm a former international economist and policy adviser. For over twenty years I’ve been an adviser to governments and international organisations around the world. I've lived and worked in Africa, where I've designed and led global anti-poverty initiatives. I set up a micro-lending fund for women, worked for a policy think tank, consulted for the World Bank, the European Union and other governments and international organisations along the way.
I’ve had senior positions in the public sector, working alongside heads of government, politics, I've negotiated EU regulations, and headed up the strategic development of multi-billion-euro economic development funds. I'm also a best-selling author, mentor and highly-regarded trainer with over 24,000 students in my online training courses. I've been a tutor for the Guardian Masterclasses series, and I love to share my message with groups through talks and seminars.
I moved away from the world of politics in 2009 to become a strategist and leadership coach. I've trained as an executive coach and, more recently, as a Transformative and Advanced Transformative Coach. I'm on a life-long journey to deepen my understanding of human performance so that I can support individuals, influencers, policy-makers, politicians and heads of organisations at the highest level as they work to find solutions to the world’s economic and equality issues.
Today I mostly work one to one with those leaders and future leaders. I also write regularly, I speak to small groups and run seminars for organisations and companies. Rather than be the person who has all the answers, I now see my role as facilitating transformation in others—perhaps someone just like you.
My vision (although that sounds very grand!) is to share a new way of looking at the world, to be kinder, more understanding of what it means to be human, and to fully experience the feeling of being alive in our life and work. We take ourselves too seriously sometimes (me too!), and I think that throws a shadow over the spark and the enjoyment and the full engagement with life that’s possible for all of us.
What Do You Do Now?
Right now, it's my greatest joy to coach others, especially one to one but also in teams or in groups.
I believe that everyone has access to an unlimited capacity to be brilliant. That doesn’t always look like Einstein, or Mandela; it can be gentle, loving change at any level. Small is no less good because all change, ultimately, happens one person at a time.
Many of us sense we have a potential, but don’t know how to access it, or we feel like we’ve lost it along the way somewhere. Or we find ways of blocking it, of slowing ourselves down or shrinking our vision to something that feels 'acceptable'.
I want to help people understand they are bigger than their thoughts, that they have more potential than they realise, and that they can make a bigger difference than they can imagine. That they have a potential for genius that is, more than likely, untapped, or under-utilised. Humans have done amazing things and the people who do that are no different than you and I.
All it takes to unlock that potential in someone is for them to see what's possible and to expand their understanding of how the mind works and how human experience is created. We can bring more ‘realness’ into our relationships and, from that foundation, support the people around us to do the things that, when said out loud, might scare us, or, more likely, cause someone else to look in awe.
And when the talking is done, I know that change will follow.
We can create a better world.
Beyond the Coaching
I co-chair the +Acumen London Impact Circle, which is a gathering of impact investors passionate about tackling global poverty. I'm most inspired when I work with people and organisations who are driven by making an impact. I’m also co-lead of the RSA coaching network, leading events and supporting others who are passionate about positive change gather and discuss ideas and creating a better world.
I've worked for many years at a senior level in government public policy, and I understand that world intimately. But I don't work exclusively in that world. Anyone can create change, anyone has the capacity to do great things, to reach beyond the 'self' and to step into a bigger vision. Those are my people.
Connect With Cathy
I know it’s easy to read a website and think that another person is distant, or assume that they are made of pixels and words on a page, but we’re all human and I am as real as the next person!
If you’re considering coaching, then the first step is always to get to know each other. Any work we do together has to be a fit for both of us and some clients reach out after months of reading my articles; others are ready right away. There is no fixed timescale.
I work with clients who are committed to transformation; who know that there is an easier way to achieve what they want, with less ‘efforting’ and less stress; who know that it’s possible to be bold and to take action even when it feels difficult or uncomfortable; who are committed to leaving a positive impact on those around them.
Having said that, I believe that, fundamentally, life is for living, and there is nothing more perfect than the sense of being fully engaged and fully present to whatever we are doing right now. There is nowhere to ‘get to’.
If you’re curious about what coaching could look like for you then drop me a note through the contact page and let's start a conversation.
What Goes on in Your Life?
People always love the personal; we’re naturally curious about other people, so I get it. but I’m completely normal, no different to you or anyone else. I love my family, I love the outdoors, I have the same ups and downs as you do. We are none of us special—in a good way or a bad way! I’ve lived in some countries, I’ve had a lot of ‘experience’ but that’s my life, not yours.
I learned to surf a couple of years ago, which is a great metaphor for life—crazy moments and definitely embarrassing for my teenagers. I spent a lot of time in the water, some of it unpleasant—just like life! But the waves keep on coming whether we ride them or not—just like life. And surfing comes with moments of the utmost joy, the kind of joy where there is a peace, a sense of being at one with everything in the world, a spiritual connection. I think it’s the feeling most of us seek whether we know it or not, and all of us have experienced at some point, whether in nature or being in love or doing work that fulfils us.
I think we can all have this. We can all see ourselves differently so that we see the world differently, and achieve something that, at first, seems impossible but suddenly feels 'natural'. It’s amazing.