To be honest, I didn’t think I needed coaching, mostly because I guess I didn’t know what it was or how it could help me. But as a newly promoted manager I had lots of questions and doubts. But in my very first session with Merle I realised just how much I needed coaching!

To my mind, the important thing with a coach, as it is with a psychologist, is that they don’t just know what they’re doing, but that there’s chemistry between them and the person they’re coaching. Merle and I definitely clicked. She’s so warm and friendly, but at the same time she’s constructive and takes a very systematic approach. I always came away from sessions feeling energised, because almost without me knowing it she helped me find potential solutions to problems. And that was the best thing: there was always more than one solution.

Although Merle’s never been my line manager, I’d previously had some experience of her management style, albeit at a remove. I was won over and really quite amazed that a manager could be so warm and so personable while retaining their authority without seemingly doing anything to achieve that, and also that if you needed to you could make firm decisions that were painful and unpopular among the people they impacted without that affecting the warmth of your relationships with them.