Sit and Talk
What is your favourite line from a film?
Let me tell you something, Balto; a dog cannot make this journey alone; but maybe a wolf can.
Boris the snow goose, from Balto (Amblin Entertainment, 1995)
Who regularly makes you laugh and why?
My brother, because he is quick with a witticism; and he lightens the mood of playing games around the table.
If you could choose 3 people you’d have dinner with (dead or alive), who would you invite?
A pity it has to be only people, but I’d probably go for the two most talented translators connecting English to the ancient languages around Jerusalem in 0BC. I’d also go for the most knowledgeable inhabitant of that area, at that time, so that we can finally get some proper, reliable information about the Abrahamic religions.
What’s on your desk right now?
Energy drink, a can of tuna, a coffee mug with stationery in it, sellotape, breath mints, a perforator, staples, a rubber, a voice over internet protocol phone, a staple remover, a USB cap, a printed E-mail and a bunch of other paperwork, a minute book, a day book, a widescreen ProLite B2409HDS monitor, a keyboard and mouse, my elbows.
What’s your proudest moment?
Completion of the Horizon Foresight project data gathering on global food production, which is a small but significant part of establishing food security for 2050.
What’s your most challenging moment?
Delivering the groom’s speech on my wedding day.
What helps you through the difficult bits?
Intellect. Having as much information (factual, preferably) about the difficult bit; and about the bits surrounding the difficult bit. Using this information allows me to make the best decision. It’s important to have the whole picture.
If your coaching experience was a journey, how would you describe it?
As a metaphor: it was a pleasant stroll through rolling hills. Casually moving along, cresting lazy ridges, being treated to unanticipated but fulfilling views as the terrain is gradually revealed. It was philosophical; and presented a variety of perspectives.
What do you see as being your milestones (major insights or breakthroughs) on that journey?
Understanding the method of active listening. Learning the framework so you can plan your discussion, in order to share the information you have properly with the person to whom you’re talking. Letting them express their opinions in a safe environment without the fear of judgement. Being able to communicate earnestly and wholly is crucial to obtaining the full picture.
Did anything happen, that surprised you; and what was it?
We often discussed diverse topics as and when they occurred; this was a nice way to conject and explore ideas. I was able to provide a useful quote or anecdote of my own now and then to contribute.
What part did Andrea play?
The competent (and patient) guide. Andrea had full knowledge of how to effectively communicate and she shared that knowledge with me. I was able to pick up some fundamentals which I continue to use when the situation calls for it. She was a teacher and confidant.
What do you do differently?
Generally, I try harder to understand others’ perspectives before jumping to my own conclusions. There are reasons people have their opinions and it’s important to understand how they came to be formed. I now endeavour to be more patient and understanding, encouraging them to share their points of view with me.
If you could gift package one thing you’ve learnt, and give that to a close friend, what would it be?
The method of active listening. It is such a courteous and benevolent tool. You will be able to make the person you’re talking to feel supported just by hearing what they have to say; you will be on their side even if you have different conclusions than they do; and they will understand that too.
Are you continuing to be coached by Andrea? Why?
Unfortunately not, the coaching course offered by my employer lasted for only six hour-long sessions.
If you could choose one image, symbol or quotation that symbolises where are you now, what would it be? Can you share it with us and tell us why you chose it?
Literal answer – it’s the credo of the University of East Anglia, because it is where I am currently composing this answer.
Metaphysical answer – where I am in my life. The crux of the Wiccan belief system. I chose this because I believe you should be allowed to do what you like if it isn’t hurting anybody; and I generally do.
And harm ye none, do as ye will