About Me

Hello. My name is Catriona – welcome to Te Ara Coaching. I am an Executive Coach and founder of Te Ara Coaching.

I started Te Ara Coaching in 2014 as part of my exit strategy from the corporate world, as I knew that I wanted to work with people in a way that I couldn’t as a manager or leader. Working as an Executive Coach allows me to be true to my three guiding beliefs: that everyone has the amazing ability to achieve more than they do today, that a healthy, holistic approach to work and life is critical to success … and that no one should face the challenge of personal change on their own.

At my core, I am and always will be a doctor. I no longer practice clinical medicine; instead I direct my passion and skills into helping others help themselves as they work towards their professional and personal goals… and improve their physical and mental health as they do so.

I bring a powerful mix of life experience, professional skills and human qualities to my coaching practice, as well as credibility that comes from being a healthcare professional and mature business woman. I mostly work one-on-one, though I also work as a Team Coach and Team Facilitator and run Workshops.

My Professional Background

I trained as a doctor and worked in the NHS for 10 years, before retiring after major surgery. This is when I started my second career, retraining as a Pharmaceutical Physician in a UK FTSE 100 Pharmaceutical company. It was during my time in this amazing organisation (16 years in total) that I developed as a technical specialist, a manager and a team leader. I spent the final 7 years of my corporate career as a national affiliate Board Member in two major markets (Canada initially, and then UK). And now, I am happily evolving into my third career – and perhaps my last?

I have led teams, large and small, in the UK and in Canada. Being a physician and scientist myself, and of course female, I understand the challenge of being a technical expert transitioning into a leadership role, a woman advancing her career in a male dominated profession, managing the changing dynamics of a complex work:life balance and well… just being a leader in today’s complex and competitive world.

I remain passionate about the NHS and am a non-Executive Director for a major Acute Foundation Trust. It won’t come as a surprise that I have a particular passion for working with healthcare professionals.

My Career Transitions

I have been through two major career transitions. They were painful, exciting, and eye-opening; they taught me about the reality of not belonging anymore, about the challenge of moving into change and about the angst and joy of discovering me again.

In my story, both my transitions were initiated by health-related crises; physical health the first time, mental health the second. The first time, the decision was not mine and I found myself needing to think again. The second time, I was fit to return to the work I loved; but as I settled back into my job, I realised my sense of self and purpose had fundamentally changed – a change that was not compatible with what my organisation needed from me. This time, the decision was mine.

I believe that my own life and career transitions have placed me in a unique position to work with people who are facing change or feel that they need to change. My transitions were informed by, and resulted in, changes to my life, my health and my career; consequently, I take a holistic approach when working with clients.

My Coaching Qualifications

I realise that qualifications are just as important as experience. And anyway, I love to study.

I have gathered a number of medical qualifications over the years, but more recently I have focused on my own development as a coach.  I am a member of the European Mentoring and Coaching Council (EMCC) and an accredited Executive Coach (Ashridge Business School – EMCC Senior Practitioner equivalent). I hold the Ashridge Masters (MSc) in Executive Coaching and I’m a dual certified Executive and Organisational Coach (Institute of Learning and Management and Ashridge Business School). I am also a certified NLP Master Practitioner and Coach and a certified Time to Think Coach and Facilitator.

My Ideal Client

My ideal client realises it’s time to explore and move forward. They have the insight to know that it won’t be easy and to know that they will need grit and determination to make it happen; they are willing to dedicate the time and resources to do this.

They have identified that they want the special assistance that comes from working with a professional partner who is dedicated to their journey. If you identify with these statements, we will enjoy working together.

As an executive coach, many of my clients are organisational – i.e. their employers are sponsoring their coaching programme as part of their professional development.

However, there are many more people who want to grow and develop who are not in this fortunate position – self-employed, employed but not targeted for coaching, post-redundancy, returning to work, or perhaps they do not want their employers as an active part of their journey. If this describes you, we will enjoy working together.

Or perhaps you have been ill, are in the process of returning to work and realise that ‘things have changed’. Perhaps you have changed, or you see your organisation/role very differently from how you remember. You realise that re-integration will not be easy. If this is the case, I’d love to work with you as you find your new path.

My Coaching Approach

I am a Relational Coach. I believe that we experience our world through the relationships we develop with people and situations. Therefore, the most important tool and intervention that I offer my clients is our relationship together, as we form what I call ‘the space between’ – i.e. the safe space in which you can explore, experiment, give and receive feedback as I use my experience of how we are together to hold a mirror to how you may be with others.

As my background is rich in life, corporate and leadership experience, I decided that my formal coaching train should be psychology-based, which means that I can offer a good balance of theory, experience and technique to my clients.

Using the approaches and techniques that best match how you want to work, I will help you explore your life/work narrative as you express it today and the ways in which it is influenced by (often unconscious) fixed beliefs and patterns. With this awareness, we start to explore what your future path(s) could be. I will work with you as you identify the aspects of yourself and your environment that enhance and/or interfere with your performance, and will support you as you shape strategies to help you as you identify and make the changes that lie ahead of you.

But sometimes what you really need is to be listened too rather than assisted. You already know what you need to know, but you haven’t had the time or the confidence to visualise your path, to speak it out loud and really touch into it.

Or perhaps your voice has been quashed by others’ expectations, impacting your power to speak your own thoughts.

Or perhaps you are ‘lonely at the top’ – your employees look to you for answers and are not in a position to offer you the sense of connection that fires your creativity. For you, I offer a different form of coaching – Thinking Partnerships for individuals. See the Individual Coaching page for more details.

Code Of Conduct And Insurance

As an Ashridge accredited coach, I adhere to the Ashridge Code of Conduct for Coaches.  I also hold indemnity insurance, covering my coaching and consultancy practices and have a Privacy Policy that covers how I manage your personal information.  Finally, you can find my full T&Cs below.