Welcome to Wood Not Trees Coaching.
My name is Chris Wood and I help senior executives to develop an authentic leadership style and communicate effectively. People who work with me become better able to balance professional success and personal wellbeing, and face the world with a more positive energy.
Please take a look around the site and if you’d like to discuss how we can bring positive energy to your leadership and communication styles, I’d love to hear from you.
MY APPROACH & BACKGROUND
Two strongly-held beliefs underpin my work.
I believe that leadership and communication go hand-in-hand. The one depends on the other. Authentic leadership can thrive only when paired with high-end communication, and a prerequisite of effective communication is the bedrock of a coherent approach to leadership
I also believe that we all have an innate desire to grow and move forward, and that executive coaching can help by facilitating learning, development and improved performance. Coaching isn’t about telling, or even suggesting. At its best, executive coaching is a unique and creative collaboration that empowers people to find their own way to move forward.
My practice focuses on leadership and communication and it is very often about so much more than that – helping you to find new ways of facing the challenges that life keeps throwing your way, so that you can move forward as a professional while growing as a person.
Working in partnership
Coaching is very much a partnership, and while I don’t ever pretend to have the answers, by working in partnership there’s every chance we’ll find them.
What I’ll put into the partnership is my professional expertise as an accredited coach (I’m a Senior Practitioner with the European Mentoring and Coaching Council); anything relevant from my corporate experience; anything relevant from my MSc in Positive Psychology and Coaching Psychology; my awareness of energy flows (I’m a Master of reiki); my undivided attention and focus; my honesty, my optimism, my pragmatism and at times, my sense of humour.
Partnerships are a two-way thing, of course, and there are some things that you’ll need to contribute, too. The fundamentals are: items that you want to discuss; a willingness to change; your focus and attention. These might at different times need to be leavened with: your honesty, your perseverance, your reflections, your open-mindedness, your humility, and your pluck.
Each and every coaching partnership is unique but at the heart of them all will be candour, challenge and openness.
Why me? My credentials for leadership and communication coaching
I bring highly relevant experience and qualifications to my leadership and communications coaching practice.
I was a board director, from practice lead to managing director to non-executive chairman, for twenty years. This means that I get the highs and lows, and understand the pressures of neck-on-the-line decision making. Those years were spent in the PR industry, so I’m steeped the technical skills of helping people figure out what they want to say and how best to say it.
I have been coaching full-time since 2013. I have an MSc (Distinction) in Applied Positive Psychology and Coaching Psychology from the University of East London and a Professional Certificate in Coaching from Henley Business School. I’m accredited as Senior Practitioner with the European Mentoring and Coaching Council (EMCC). I’m also a Master of the energy-based Japanese healing art of reiki, which has an indirect influence on my work.
The essence of my evidence-based coaching practice is humanistic and person-centred, which means that my intention is to nurture the growth instinct that we all possess, but which can get buried beneath the daily patterns of career and life. My work is also influenced by Gestalt, Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Transactional Analysis, NLP, Mindfulness and Positive Psychology.
I am in regular supervision, which means that I show up as a clean vessel, ready to focus on your stuff, not mine. I am committed to continuous professional development and hold dear the EMCC’s code of ethics.
I am married and have a daughter. I like to reflect on the world of coaching and mentoring while walking with our dog to my favourite cafe in Epping Forest. On the way back, I let my thoughts wander to the fortunes of Stoke City FC, try to remember the words of the latest song we’re learning at choir and plan my weekend cycling route around the lanes of Essex.
"Coaching isn’t about telling, or even suggesting. Coaching is about empowerment, so that people can find their own way to move forward."
I tend to work with emerging and evolving leaders in the professional services and public sectors. Emerging leaders might be high-achievers who are on the cusp of moving into their first leadership position. An Associate Director about to be promoted to the Board, perhaps. Evolving leaders might be Directors, MDs and CEOs who want to adapt their style to meet changing circumstances at work – and beyond.
Coaching assignments typically last three to six months, based on fortnightly sessions. I work in person, on-line and a mix of the two depending on the nature of the brief and your preferences and availability.
We can work on leadership or communication as discreet briefs, or both together. We’ll assess the best way forward in an initial, free, consultation. Whatever course we chart, our work will inject positive energy into your professional presence.
Working in a creative partnership, I help leaders to develop and apply a deeply authentic approach to leadership by looking at what makes you tick – and whether your motivations and behaviours are helping you get to where you want to go.
We’ll investigate some areas that are proven to bring searching questions and can inspire revelatory answers. Try these for starters:
Values: what’s important to you in life? No, really important. Death-bed important.
Character strengths: what personal qualities do you have at your disposal?
Beliefs: how do you interpret and make sense of the world?
Purpose and meaning: what is it that you want to move forward toward?
Based on the results of our exploration, we’ll identify a clear and authentic leadership template that will be honed and finessed as we proceed through the assignment as your new behaviours are road-tested in the real world. We’ll identify an overall direction of travel and build in boundaries, emotional regulation and resilience for the leadership journey ahead.
The first step in creating effective communication is counter intuitive. We explore how you connect with yourself. From your communication with yourself comes everything else. What are you telling yourself about you, about others, and about the world around you? It might be that we need to move towards a more helpful inner narrative.
We might then cover your approach to some of the key elements of effective communication, like listening, assertiveness, courageous conversations, stakeholder engagement and executive presence and presentation. Here, we’ll boost the effectiveness of your vocal, verbal and visual communication.
We’ll work to enhance the impact and presence of your communication, so that you become better able to shape and convey compelling stories and your influence increases.
My work with teams focuses on establishing authentic connection and communication between team members and greater clarity around the dynamics of the system within which it operates. Thereafter, my role tends to become more about facilitation, as the experience and talents of the team come to the fore to shape the team’s future.
The framework of the team coaching programme will be determined in consultation with you and your team, and tailored to your unique situation. It is very likely that individual coaching about the changing environment of the team will accompany the collective work.
New leaders: growing into the role
Communication & listening skills
Character strengths development
All workshops are developed in response to specific client briefs and I would be happy to have an initial conversation about your particular needs.