Qualified coach with experience in one to one coaching and mentoring up to board level.
Experienced business leader with a first-class track record in strategy development, people management and a thorough understanding and passion for delivering organisational change.
Background in senior management, with over 20 years’ experience with HSBC. This included key roles such as Head of General Insurance and Protection, Chief Operating Officer for HSBCs UK Retirement business, running multi-million-pound regulatory projects, and working as a trouble shooter assessing different operational problems and re-engineering whole businesses.
Regulatory experience, which includes interpreting and implementing complex regulatory requirements in the Insurance industry as well as direct exposure to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), regulator for financial firms and markets in the UK.
P&L management and the associated challenges of governance and control across businesses in multiple sites.
My career with HSBC was varied and challenging, I had the opportunity to work with some truly talented people, but it was a hard slog at times, involving long hours, lengthy periods away from my family and working under significant pressure to tight timescales.
By 2012, I knew I needed to make a change, I had spent the last 7 years living out of a suitcase working away from home during the week. I missed spending quality time with my family and friends, it was becoming increasingly difficult to switch off from the demands and pressures of work even at the weekend, when I should have been making the most of my time with the family.
However, the challenge of working out the next chapter of my life proved to be a tough thing to do. I knew I needed to make a change in my life, but a key question kept coming up, where on earth do you start? I hadn’t a clue what I wanted to do and even if I did, how would I make it happen without having a detrimental impact on the whole family and our way of life. When faced with these types of life changing decisions, it can become very difficult to think clearly and everything can look so complicated.
My wife and I sat down and talked things through, she had recently started her own career in Teaching after spending 10 years at home with our boys and now needed my help at home more than ever. We explored the options and discussed under what circumstances it would be possible for me to walk away from the Bank and explore alternative career options. Given our financial commitments, the age of our children and the scale of the change we were proposing, we knew this was not something we could do immediately, it needed to be thought through and we needed to be more financially secure. To achieve this, we decided to produce a 3 year plan. This was exactly what I needed, I had the full support of my family and I now had a clear plan and timeline for making the change.
In September 2015, after 21 years in Banking and Insurance, I walked away from my career, the 3-year plan had worked, we had repaid our mortgage and built up our savings. However, I still did not know what I wanted to do and I spent several months exploring the internet hoping to discover my new vocation. I expected it to just pop out in front of me and I would experience that hallelujah moment, but it didn’t. As time ebbed away, confidence was replaced by frustration, doubt started to creep in and the ‘internal saboteur’, the little voice in your head, had started to work against me, eroding confidence and sowing the seeds of doubt. Increasingly I questioned whether I had made the right decision to leave my career in Banking, perhaps the grass was not greener elsewhere!
I look back now, with the benefit of hindsight, and think of course the solution was not just going to land in my lap. It took some time for me to workout that I needed to get some structure to what I was doing, it felt overwhelming trying to think of a whole new career at the age of 45. The scattergun approach was clearly not the solution and I needed a more robust plan to break the process up into smaller, more digestible steps. Following guidance I had picked up online and talking to people who had experienced career change, I started record what makes me tick, my interests, passions, key strengths and skills and explored how best I could leverage these. I produced a Spider Diagram detailing a whole variety of potential career options, some realistic, others not so. This really helped me to focus on what was achievable and where to focus my energy. Interestingly, Teaching and Coaching were both on the list!
After 5 months of thinking long and hard about my next career steps, I knew I wanted to choose something that would enable me to use my experience, passion and energy to inspire others. Teaching seemed to be the logical path to take. I had always been interested in the idea of a career in teaching and thought I could use my experience in business to teach Business Studies. I contacted several local schools to arrange classroom experience and to explore whether teaching was right for me. Whilst I was at one of the schools, I was told they had a vacancy for a Cover Supervisor, a full time role covering lessons, which could give me further classroom experience. I applied for the role and was offered the job at a very good secondary school. Although challenging, this role provided invaluable experience with all year groups and subjects. In particular, I really enjoyed covering Mathematics, I discovered an interest and passion for this subject which I didn’t know existed. I was receiving excellent feedback from the school’s senior leadership team and they offered me the opportunity to work as a Mathematics instructor at the school. To say I loved it is an understatement, the enjoyment and fulfillment I got from working with young people, helping them to develop and grow, was huge and for the first time in several years, I was truly enjoying work again.
By chance in May 2018, I caught up with Lucy Bishop, an HSBC colleague, who shared her ambition and vision to set up a business in coaching and mentoring, where she could use her wealth of experience to support businesses and their employees. We spent several months talking through how we could combine our experience and skills and work together and in January 2019, Direct Pathways was launched, and the rest is history……
Education and Affiliations
- BSc (Hons) Degree Economics, University of Swansea
- Postgraduate Diploma in Computer Science, Bristol University
- Member of the Chartered Management Institute