Case Studies

Sarah Gilfillan and I have worked together in several blocks of coaching sessions over 7 years, looking at the development of her business, Sartoria Lab, a menswear personal style consultancy. Over our sessions, Sarah's business has grown steadily as she has developed her reputation as an expert in her area. There were three particular areas that she knew she “should” do, but which she was resisting. 

  • Blogs - Sarah rarely blogged because she didn’t like having to write long articles. As she identified what she wanted to blog about, much of it was visual so she could use images and through that, she found her own blogging ‘voice’ building up an online audience.
  • Newsletters - initially regarding these as a chore, Sarah could see the potential value of keeping in touch with clients and contacts. Again, finding her own voice was important and now she has a monthly newsletter which engages and informs, generates business and creates media and partnership opportunities. 
  • Public Speaking - I can still remember the look of horror on Sarah’s face when I mentioned public speaking as a marketing tool (I thought she would be brilliant at it). It was as if I had suggested root canal work without anaesthetic. A couple of years later, Sarah told me she had enrolled on a public speaking course. I went to her graduation talk and she was as marvellous as I had expected. And now, Sarah is President of her branch of Toastmasters!

"Deborah is one of the most inspirational people I know.  I always come away from my sessions with her feeling like I can take on the world, and as if everything’s possible.   She has a fantastic “joie de vivre” and is excellent at understanding creative people and translating the boring business side of things into a language that a creative can understand and feel inspired by. She has many exciting tricks to use to help you achieve your goals! I cannot recommend her highly enough."

Ray Batchelor and I worked together as he wanted to "do something" with all his knowledge and experience of tango.  Since then, Ray has spoken internationally on tango, co-edited The Queer Tango Book - Ideas, Images and Inspiration in the 21st Century, and is currently working on several projects, including The Football Queer Tango Project ,  D/Deaf CAN Dance! and Queer Tango Salon. He was featured on BBC Radio 4 in Future Proofing, a clip of which is here (Ray is at about 52 seconds).  (Read Ray's 'Take Five' guest blog.)

"Deborah Henry-Pollard knows what she is about. I came to her with no more than a box of excitements (to do with tango) which had entered, unbidden, into my life, and about which, I knew I wanted to DO something, but did not know quite what. After a few hours of sane, sensible and - yes, let's say it - inspiring conversation, she helped me put things into order, and work out a practical (and still rather exciting) way forwards. I cannot recommend her skills highly enough.  Her encouragement has been pivotal in developing my Queer Tango work."

Nina Farrell, artist and designer, had an idea for The Wing Assignment after receiving a bird’s wing for a personal artistic project.  The wing generated so many ideas that Nina and her partner, Asa Medhurst, (also an artist and designer), decided to encourage their friends and creative contacts to experiment around a brief to create a piece of work using, or inspired by, a bird’s wing, within a time frame.  The results were to be exhibited on a website.  Conceived initially as a creative exercise amongst friends, over the next few months the project attracted architects, writers, photographers, illustrators, painters and graphic designers, drawn to the assignment through the website and word of mouth, some from as far afield as Singapore and the United States.  In total, 60 creatives took part in The Wing Assignment.

As the momentum was growing, Nina came to me wondering how to do something more with the works, the standard of which was overwhelming.  Over 8 months of coaching as the project developed, I gave Nina the space to explore all the possibilities, build on them and create ways to make them happen.  The results were an exhibition at the Red Bull Gallery on September 2012, followed by a further exhibition at the Asylum Gallery in March 2013, both of which attracted significant sponsorship.  To support the exhibitions, limited edition prints of 12 of the works and a 125 page catalogue were produced through generous sponsorship from printers, Pureprint.  In addition, many of the artists sold their works and gain a new audience.   (Read Nina's 'Take Five' guest blog.)

"Deborah has offered invaluable support and advice as a mentor and coach for The Wing Assignment.  Her commitment and dedication to the project and event management skills were and still are first class and priceless.  I would not hesitate to recommend Deborah to any creative with a head full of ideas that need carefully and calmly extracting!"

Heather Petty and I worked together for several sessions.  You can read Heather's own story here of how she started writing her book as a result.

"I could chat to Deborah for hours, she’s so warm and friendly and insightful – the sessions flew by but I think they were just the right length.  I was impressed by how much support there was, and the personal touches.  I feel like Deborah is a friend now as well as someone I pay for a service.  I started a blog and I’m writing a book.  I’m loving being creative, really getting a lot out of it. I have found a routine and my days have structure.  I’m working more productively than I did in my office job.  I think I’ve been looking for ‘the right thing’ for a long time and now I’ve found it."

Sally and I worked together prior to her retirement from a long and successful career in education.  Sally was not ready to stop working, but was unsure how to move forward.  We identified the wealth of experience and knowledge she had accumulated, as well as the insight she brought to situations.  Through this, Sally has built a portfolio of services to offer as an educational consultant and started her first paid project in the next stage of her career within a month of retirement.  She has not stopped working since!

"What can I say?  If I could bottle Debs I would make a fortune!!  She makes the impossible, possible with a few questions, lots of silence and her ever present smile - then the magic happens.  I began the session believing that my skills were common place and ended believing that I could fly.  I left Debs and ordered my business cards, since then I have had two job offers and several enquiries.  She gave me the confidence to change direction.  Thank you Debs."

I worked with Teresa over the course of a year, initially as she was embarking on a new role within her existing company.  Once she realised that she would be more fulfilled working in a creative environment, we worked together as she reviewed what she really wanted to do. Teresa now has a portfolio career including performing in several major Hollywood films and running her own dance classes.

"Working with Debs doesn't feel like work, she makes it so natural, logical, and at the same time intuitive, that it is like any conversation with an inspired person; easy and  inspirational. When I was confused about my direction, she listened and got to the heart of it. She was always accessible to me when I needed to discuss issues and I am indebted to her for sharing her deep knowledge and understanding, and for her intelligent, sensitive support. I send her my best wishes for her  continued and well deserved success."

Also check out the Case Study on Team Coaching page.

If you are serious about making a change in your creative life, contact me for a conversation.