Saturday, July 7, 2012


I have discovered that this is what I am good at - rumination - going over the same old same old and not really moving forward.

This week I have been on a bit of retail frenzy - felt I needed to lift my spirits with decent underwear and brighter colours in my everyday clothes. Also I bought a book called The Creativity Cure by Barron and Barron. I can't quite remember how I came across it but that is one of the things I am going to do is track my interests - where my surfing takes me and the questions I am asking as I go along. I think I visited the website of The Institute of Therapeutic Writing ( and it was a book on their reading list but I am not sure – other books bought this week are about my quest for making sense of what I want to do. What I really ought to do is get on with what I want to do.

It makes a lot of sense and is hoping me articulate a bit more what I want to achieve as a coach. I am not sure I am that interested in helping people at the top of the tree perform better at their job. Chief Executives and senior managers have a responsibility to themselves, the people the work with and their organisation to seek out help and support themselves; I don’t need to go round identifying where they might need some direction. I am quite sure that coaching has a lot to offer the grafters, clinical staff and artists. Helping people focus on the present and propose action for the future. Of course coaches do offer support to senior folk and can charge over £100 per hour but I am not sure that sits comfortably with my work ethic. I would love to provide coaching to people with diabetes, people with COPD, staff nurses, PhD students – those folk on their way somewhere rather than those who might have arrived at their destination. I am interested in transitions and boundaries. My PhD research focussed on the worlds between ordinary life living with diabetes and going to the clinic. That space needs managing, not taken for granted; people need help with that distance between themselves and their health care professionals. I also really believe that the conversations conducted in clinics need to change focus – away from what people are not doing, their disease and lots of advice giving to a focussed and purposeful conversation about how their condition impacts on their life and ways of helping them make sense and cope with the requirements of the condition. We spend too much time in health care wagging fingers at people when they don’t make the changes to their lifestyle (diet or exercise) that it is patently obvious they should do –we call them non-compliant and accuse them of a lack of adherence but often there are huge assumptions made about how people view the advice they are given.

When I was doing my PhD research I wanted to do participatory action research, find out what was going on from the perspective of people with diabetes and then work with health care professionals to address the issues. I met resistance and hostility in my quest to establish a more person-centred care approach to diabetes. I believe that all that work stills need to be done. Since 1996 a lot more has been learnt about people’s experiences of living with diabetes and their health care providers – all it does is confirm my findings BUT nothing seems to be done to change the way we deliver diabetes care.

When I am walking the dog this all starts to make sense to me and my mission in life to get the message out there provides me with purpose and direction. The next challenge is to get it down in writing and I know that writing is a method of inquiry. I am never really sure where it might go to but I do that often I discover new connections and relationships simply by exploring the words.

By writing this I have seen a way of ceasing some of my ruminating on not getting my PhD. A way of salvaging knowledge from a journey cruelly stopped by ambitious and politically motivated individuals. I need to stop over thinking the motivations, rehashing the hurt and ceaselessly trying to get to the bottom of my failure – never going to get an answer to that….

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