Who we are

Alison Nolan

I’ve worked in the field of people development for nearly 30 years. For the first 25 of those years, I worked inside organisations. My last ‘proper job’ was heading up the people development team at global law firm Hogan Lovells. So I know something about the complexities of working in large organisations. Setting a strategy is easy. Deciding on some performance indicators, also easy. Creating the magic that inspires people to bring all of their intelligence, goodwill and creativity to work, not so easy.

But in certain important ways, simple.

The approach I take cuts through the forest of models and frameworks guiding behaviour – the feedback techniques, team-building frameworks, leadership attributes and psychological models. Some of these are genuinely helpful, and I’m not above using them. But I’ve found that by flipping my approach on its head, I can be much more effective, with the informed agreement of whoever I’m working with. This ‘flipping it on its head’ means that what I provide as a consultant, facilitator, or coach, is to do everything I can to provide you with the conditions to do your best thinking. Not mine, yours.

My favoured approaches include Nancy Kline’s Thinking Environment, Edgar Schein’s Humble Inquiry and Harrison Owen’s Open Space. These approaches have two things in common:

  • They share the belief that the person or group who owns an important problem, which they care deeply about solving, is the best person or group to examine it, think it through, and resolve it.
  • They provide processes based on respect, deep attention, integrity and truthful communication, which are the catalyst for fresh thinking.

Whether working one-to-one, with leadership teams, or with broader organisational change, I will take time getting to really understand who you are, where you’re at, what’s blocking you from where you want to be, and what you need to do to get there.

We’ll then co-create a solution, which may be coaching, facilitation, shadowing, group work or any combination of these. Whatever the solution, it will be grounded in the firm belief in people’s ability to think well for themselves when they’re given the conditions to do so.

I am also passionate about transferring skills and knowledge so that clients become able independently to continue to develop, as individuals, teams and organisations.

I work with a select network of colleagues where either scale demands it, or different specialist skills and knowledge are needed.