About

The Importance of Becoming Our Full Selves

I provide person-centred coaching to improve clarity and support you through the challenges of thriving and having an impact. This may equip you to create a better future for generations to come.

My approach activates your voice to lead authentically with head, heart, and guts.

It can take confidence and courage to express your unique contribution, especially when there is something important to take a stand for.

I have had 30 years working in or with complex, large organisations spanning investment banking, the health sector, FMGC and many, many other work environments.

I know the volatile, complex nature of work extremely well.  I have thousands of flying hours coaching and consulting with leaders in organisations of all shapes and sizes, who experience the full range of highs and lows, fears and hopes. The more suited and booted me is a self-confessed Leadership Development geek; my reference points are broad and deep.  Extensive studies in Leadership Psychology, Organisational Dynamics, and Personal Effectiveness have provided robust foundations for practical insight to help clients. I am also informed by Neuroscience, Body-Mind Inquiry and Buddhism which can all have value in the context of complex organisations. I have found that over 15 years as a Buddhist meditator and practitioner can provide a beneficial perspective.

I have a partnership style, listening carefully for how to support and ignite your learning edge to reach your goals. Clients can expect empathic pacing to move them forward, blended with frank observations on congruence between intentions, habits, and enablers; we pay attention to how you work at your best and the best way to activate and support your personal growth. We work through issues in a way that provides psychological safety and prepares the leader to be poised and confident for working at the edge of your comfort zone.

We prioritise what is needed at this stage in your life, but also keep an eye on your long-term future. When the essentials are in place, there are various ways to identify what your North Star is telling you (if you don’t know already). We might draw on a selection of creative tools to clarify insights into your intuition and self-knowledge. I encourage you to pay attention to what the billions of synapses that make you up are working together and trying to tell you through your thoughts, emotions, and actions. 

I know, personally, and have seen many times, that when we connect the deeper and often neglected facets of ourselves, fresh vitality and energy can surface. Are you wanting a full and rewarding life and, like every workaholic, have a tendency to think “After this crazy project, I’ll take a rest”….only to find you have no energy for living.  Or has that been just my story?!

I get that you have had to be phenomenal to get to where you are now.  If you are driving hard, it could be that you are at serious risk of burnout /ill health. It may be time for you to evolve and make space for your own wisdom on what needs to work for you better; have you considered being smarter with your boundaries and wiring for high achievement?

My life experience is based on being a tad Neurodiverse, and disabled (due to multiple sclerosis I can’t walk without sticks, and I have genetically inherited sight impairment) plus I identify as a bisexual woman, seeing the beauty in both men and women. 

However, I am far more than an unconventional way of thinking a couple of medical diagnoses and relatively unconventional sexuality.  Like 85% of people with disability, the disability label became a most unwelcome part of my identity in adult life. I was 26 when my neurologist bluntly told me I had MS and should get some counselling.  Fortunately, the fears I had then have in no way been substantiated.  It is still possible to have an interesting and active life, engaging in what it takes to be a happy person.

MS triggered the initial soul-searching that needed to happen for me to become the secure person I am now.  I see life as a gift and adventure into the unknown, knowing that I am so much more than a limiting view others may ignorantly have.  However, for the next fifteen years, I felt compelled to prove the liming views of MS wrong (when I could have admitted a shred of vulnerability and asked for a little more support).   Being weak hasn’t been my way.

Eventually, I took the first step to being myself at work and became a Disability Advocate blending Leadership Development and Coaching to engage the Merrill Lynch C suite in the idea of Disability Inclusion.  It was very unfamiliar territory for us all. I was an enthusiastic co-chair for the Disability Advocacy Group and appreciated the value there is in having well-appointed sponsors for getting the momentum going.  It felt exciting and pioneering despite the awkwardness of having uncomfortable conversations.

Reflections on ADHD

Ferrari Brains with Bicycle Brakes?

An even more quirky Jigsaw- puzzle piece landed when I was diagnosed with ADHD in 2022, like so many during lockdown. More and more of us have noticed the ‘cognitive load’ as we deal with the COVID side-effect of a ramped-up digital life. Although increased screen time has been found to exacerbate ADHD, there is not yet any evidence to confirm that excessive screen time can cause ADHD.

In my case, the awareness only came to me as I took on more clients who had been recently diagnosed. Their stories became very spookily familiar! Whilst I had managed to pragmatically have my own coping mechanisms in place, my cognitive load tipped me over the edge to getting a clear diagnosis. In my case, the awareness only came to me as I took on more clients who had been recently diagnosed. Their stories became very spookily familiar! Whilst I had managed to pragmatically have my own coping mechanisms in place, my cognitive load tipped me over the edge to getting a clear diagnosis.

Not only was I doing a lot of online coaching on Zoom and Microsoft Teams, but I was also taking on intense formal studies online. In addition, I delighted in being able to maintain contacts for hundreds of hours on Whatsapp / Facetime‘ co-dwelling’ with estranged family and friends who were now getting tech-savvy. As a person who has been restricted by mobility issues, my reliance on digital living is both empowering and all-consuming if not contained.

However, the family connection was an important tell-tale sign that I may have had a sensitivity to ADHD. It does often run in families. Many of my family typify the cluster of strengths and challenges now more commonly known as ‘neurodiverse’.

We share an observable normal operating system across a range of professions: entrepreneurs, salesmen, creatives, and artists all create a colourful world where it is normal to be original and quirky.

It's not a learning ‘disorder’ if you choose the right subjects at school and university. Many of us have enjoyed school and have been reasonable students.

Our impulsivity allows us to dare to try new things where other more cautious folks are fearful. We are typically risk takers, enthusiastic learners, love to engage in conversation with others and are great at dealing with the unexpected. This is a dynamic way of living.

Being inauthentic

 I am rather sad to realise I have been trying my best to be someone that isn’t me since the age of 5.  I wanted a ‘proper’ job and chose to do an MBA as I was starting out in the world of work to prove something to myself and my family.  In hindsight my authentic self wasn’t given the space to berate and explore my most vibrant and true strengths; instead, I sought easier to come by affirmative noises and ‘respect’ from the outside world.  This is a journey we all must make in our unique way.

Smell the flowers, restrain the coffee!

I wonder if I would have gotten to the point of overwhelming recognition and an ADHD diagnosis if my lockdown experience had been simply to bake bread and tend to my garden!  Note to self: remember to smell the flowers, not just drink more coffee to fuel the work engine!

The ADHD Learning Edge

Some of us have been able to toe the corporate line in roles that allow for ingenuity rather than operating in strictly defined boxes.

My surprising longevity in corporate roles where I was labelled as “different” at best or “weird” by neurotypical purists was down to three saving graces:

A hard-wired survival instinct to find new creative solutions to problems. Optimistic, positive energy can be infectious in engaging others to connect and collaborate when there are challenges.

Drive and strong motivation to improve the QUALITY of the experience of work

My mysterious personal system of Post-It notes, Gantt charts and authentic reminders now have an explanation. To be more effective I was instinctively getting my thoughts out of my head to gain perspective on them.

Knowledge of ADHD can be a trigger to re-focus on a career.

I am delighted to realise I am in the right job at last because:

One-to-one work is at its best when you operate in the mindful present and can simplify the context to get to the essence of a person, situation, or challenge

There are clear boundaries in time, the coach-client relationship where the work breaks down change into manageable chunks

The time spent working with talent across ALL ends of the spectrum since my 20s, 30s and 40s has given me valuable insight for supporting and guiding the collaborative skills organisations and individuals need

I am at ease with the neurotypical and neurodiverse world.

I will be regulating my screen time and be more conscious of IT systems overuse.

Work in Progress to Make More Conscious

To politely say “no” to work that I know is never going to suit me, no matter how much I love a challenge!

REFRAME projects I do take on, now I know what my Ferrari mind has the potential for when I give it a chance

Getting lost in work is not a good strategy to deal with problematic situations and people who were not interested in my superpowers.

Remembering to take time to connect with the outside world for sense checking.

Make self-care strategies (primarily physical exercise and meditation) more non-negotiable.

Remember the crucial importance of my wonderful dream team, who delight in completing tasks I have always struggled with!

Accepting who I am and making life work purposefully has given me a vital life-affirming, and unexpected, a boost of energy.   I’m not going to let this drive go to waste.

Now in my 50s, I’m able to understand how I turn the rocky, resilience-enhancing experiences of life into personal and professional breakthroughs for both myself and many other talented people.  I have always loved being a coach, working with professionals in stretching their capabilities to achieve new levels of success in life and professionally.

I blend a conventional, conscious coaching approach with insight into what could be at play unconsciously in the challenges and dilemmas we experience.

Recurrent problems, barriers and enablers may need to be explored safely.  I know it’s important to allow you to voice your fears and concerns; we establish your motivation for change and work out resourceful ways to solve problems, with small, incremental, secure steps if necessary.

EMCC

My studies and supervised practice continue as I integrate Psychosynthesis into my coaching work, completing the EMCC Practitioner in 2022.  The Holistic Coaching Practioner platform integrates all the facets of who we are and re-invigorates John Whitmore’s reliably insightful GROW model for guiding coaching conversations.  Interestingly Whitmore was himself a strong supporter of Assagioli, the original thought leader on the importance of ‘will’ in personal development.

Global Code of Ethics
Aubyn Howard, is now leading the way in formulating the underpinning of up-to-date applications of Psychosynthesis Leadership Coaching in the UK. This particular way of connecting with clients has roots very squarely in Whitmore’s contribution to coaching, amongst many other thought leaders.
Aubyn Howard

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