Influences on my approach to life and work

I feel very fortunate to have learnt from many people and approaches over my life and career.  Below are some of the significant influences that have shaped my approach to life and my work.  I hope you enjoy the exploration of these approaches as well!


Alalansieleran Sieler has made an incredible commitment to teach, write, coach and promote “ontology of the human observer” which has come from a variety of original sources.  I have found these ontological distinctions profoundly useful in my own life, a work in progress, and in my work as a c
oach and with organisations and leaders.  For an in depth look at these concepts see Alan’s books Coaching to the Human Soul Vols 1, 2 & 3 – and the Newfield Institute website.


parkerpalmerParker Palmer is an extraordinary educator, author and speaker about the intersection of our inner lives with our capacity to show up in the world as wholehearted, compassionate beings. To get more of a sense of this work, Parker J. Palmer outlines the principles and processes of his retreat style in his book ‘A Hidden Wholeness – The Journey Toward An Undivided Life’. His other books include “Let Your Life Speak”, “Healing the Heart of Democracy”, “Paradox”, “Courage to Teach” among others.  Also see the Courage and Renewal website for which he is an inspiration of their work:


harrisonowenHarrison Owen: The founder of “Open Space Technology” principles and practice, explores how to work with organisations as living and self-organising systems; harnessing the natural chaos of life and organisations for innovative, positive and peaceful results. This philosophy and practice has been so transforming of my desire to control in life!  He has authored a number of books including: The Practice of Peace; Open Space Technology; The Power of Spirit; The Spirit of Leadership; Wave Rider.


margaretwheatleyMargaret Wheatley is a management consultant and author, exploring how organisations are living rather than mechanistic systems and extols the virtue of a more human approach to leadership and organisational development. She is the author of “A Simpler Way and Finding Our Way: Leadership For an Uncertain Time.



 richardrohrFr Richard Rohr:  An early inspiration of mine, distilling the fundamentals from Christianity in ways that are relevant to life.  His books and audio tapes:  Everything Belongs and A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life (with Paula D’Arcy) are particular favourites of mine.  I find him much better to listen to than to read.  Paula D’Arcy is an inspiring woman, therapist and author who writes much on healing and spirituality following her own tragedy of losing her husband and daughter in a car accident involving a drunk driver. (Richard Rohr), (Paula D’Arcy)


Sjoanchittesterr Joan Chittester is a Benedictine Sister who has written and lectured on women in the church and society, human rights, peace and justice in the areas of war and poverty and religious life and spirituality. She is co-chair of the Global Peace Initiative of Women, a UN-sponsored organisation creating a worldwide network of women peacemakers. She is the founder of “Benetvision”.  Her book Scarred by Struggle, Transformed by Hope was introduced to me by a friend with a terminal illness who found this book hopeful amidst his own journey of loss. I too found it very powerful in dealing with life’s challenges.


Marshall Rosenberg’s
book Non Violent Communication provides both the theory and practical frameworks for engaging in non-violent communication in a range of settings.  What I enjoy about this book is how he actually demonstrates how conversations can happen in ways that respect each party.  Very practical.




mindfulnesspracticalguideMark Williams and Danny PenmanMindfulness: a Practical Guide to Finding Peace in a Frantic World.  This is a new area I am exploring, especially the intersection between becoming a more powerful observer of self and the link with living mindfully.



jameshollisJames Hollis: Why Good People Do Bad Things:   Understanding our Darker Selves – a thorough exploration of the shadow sides of ourselves and how to integrate an awareness of this part of ourselves into our whole self.



coachingforperformanceJohn Whitmore is often considered as the father of the coaching approach.  In his book, Coaching for Performance, he outlines the fundamental approach to coaching, the coaches role to seek out the wisdom from people themselves rather than imposing our own views and values on others. The GROW model is outlined in this book which gives a useful framework for the coaching approach.



cherylrichardsonCheryl Richardson is a coach, author, speaker who first introduced me to what it is like to be a client of a coach through reading her books:  Take Time for Your Life, Life Makeovers and The Unmistakable Touch of Grace.  Her books are very readable and often accompanied by practical activities.



Reintroduce yourself to poetry:


  • John O’Donahue
  • David Whyte
  • Mary Oliver