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About Me

Hi, I’m Emma

I’m a leadership coach who has worked in tech for the last 20+ years. 

If you’re thinking about working with me, and wondering if I’m the right person for you, this page should give you a bit more of an understanding of me, my background and why I do what I do. 

You’re always welcome to get in touch if you’d like a chat to find out more. 

I love solving problems and seeing the solutions make a difference in the world.

My Journey: Software Engineer to coach

I was a geek at school. I loved maths and often had my head in a book, studying hard. 

My first job was as a software engineer developing image processing algorithms. I loved the feeling of getting absorbed into a problem and finding a way to solve it through code. And I loved it even more when I saw the value of the projects I was involved in and understood how they made a difference. 

However I also loved connecting with people. I loved listening to others and finding out about their journey – how they got to where they were and where they wanted to go. 

This combination of skills meant I quickly found myself in a management role, with line management responsibility for 30 engineers, almost all of whom were older and had more experience than me (and were mostly male). 

I knew I couldn’t manage them by telling them what to do, but I could coach them to find their own solutions. 

I invested in coaching programmes and discovered the amazing feeling that comes from helping someone’s career develop as they recognised strengths inside them that they didn’t know they had. I also found a fantastic buzz in bringing together groups of people and creating the space for them to connect, share ideas and collaborate together.

Over my career I’ve worked with R+D engineers, academics and software developers, those early in their career to senior managers, small business owners and executives in large organisations. I’ve coached one-on-one, run workshops and training and I’ve facilitated innovation sessions attended by hundreds of people.

I currently balance my time between running my business offering coaching services to women in tech, while also staying connected with the quickly developing tech world as a part-time engineering manager. 

 

how would our everyday tech be different had it been created by a predominantly female team?

My Mission: Authentic Leadership for women in tech

Tech is still a man’s world. 

As women working in tech we often find ourselves in the minority, and the ratio of women in the room who have a technical understanding tends to reduce the more senior the role. 

The structure and the boxes women have to tick in order to progress have been defined by a male-dominated system, meaning that in order to be seen and heard we often have to “be more male”.

I experienced this for myself as I stepped into leadership roles. Invited to sit on decision making panels surrounded entirely by men I found it harder voice my opinions and share my ideas, especially when they came from my personal experiences as a female which those in the room found it harder to understand.

I didn’t question this. I didn’t see a reason to challenge the system. I stayed quiet and assumed my ideas weren’t relevant. 

The big insight came as I attended the Women In Games conference in 2018. As I saw and played games developed by majority-female teams, I noticed how different they were. They told different stories, had different game mechanics and opened up new perspectives on the world. 

Women’s brought new innovations to the industry and their companies were reaching new markets. 

This wasn’t just relevant for the games industry, but for tech as a whole. 

Suddenly new questions appeared in my head:  

What innovations are we losing from the tech industries because women feel unable to speak out and share their ideas?

How much of the market are tech companies missing because their solutions only partially work for women?

How would our tech be different had it been created by teams with a female majority?

This insight wasn’t about women though. I saw how enabling more diverse voices to influence the world of tech had the potential to shift the products and services that were being created. 

 

My mission became clear:

To help women in tech speak out and become authentic leaders so that their stories and perspectives influence the design and development of products and services in tech.

I’m always amazed to see the creative solutions that emerge when we get curious about the way we see the world.

My Coaching: no tools or techniques, just Curiosity And adventure

If you’re looking for a coach to push you hard to help achieve your goals, holding you accountable to everything you commit to, that’s not me.

I used to do that stuff, and I had a huge toolbox of techniques and approaches I could take you through, helping you to tap into the willpower and create the right mindset, so you had the motivation to achieve all the things you thought you needed to do.

Then I got fed up of seeing the same tools re-packaged again and again, feeling this dissatisfaction and discouragement because it all felt like a lot of hard work, and the feelings of happiness, acceptance, or whatever feelings those achievements seemed to promise, never really seemed to last.

Then I was introduced to the 3 principles – an understanding that was first shared by a Scottish Welder named Sydney Banks. It is a simple description of how our minds work and how we experience the world from the inside-out. It starts from the premise that there is nothing wrong with us.  

What if, no matter what was going on in the world around us, we were always ok? 

Having focused the first 10 years of my coaching trying to fix myself – working hard to change my unwanted behaviours, get rid of unhealthy beliefs and become a better person, this idea threw me. Could it really be that simple? 

And yet, a deeper level these ideas resonated with me, so I decided to find out more, experiment and test the ideas out for myself.

As let go of the pressure to do better and achieve more and started to trust my own inner wisdom I found myself naturally achieving some things I’d only ever dreamed of:

  • I took the leap into self-employment and set up my coaching business and built the business up through the pandemic.
  • I discovered I could draw and started selling my artwork online.
  • I solo-walked wainwright’s coast-to-coast path (192 miles) across the UK, with a tent on my back, on my own.
  • I did a TEDx talk about AI and empathy

And I didn’t need willpower or accountability or any of the other standard tools to achieve them. I just showed up following the things that inspired me, taking next step that needs to be taken – it’s amazing what unfolds.

This understanding has made such a difference to the enjoyment and fulfilment that I get from life, and so this is the basis of what I share in my coaching. 

As we work together I share these ideas, encouraging you to get curious and notice how they feed into your life. I don’t ask you to accept anything as truth, but instead ask you to go and test things out, applying the ideas to practical day-to-day issues, noticing new insights and absorbing the things that work for you into your life. 

Whether you are looking for a change in career, promotion at work, dealing with challenging stakeholders, or wanting to find more balance in your life – developing an understanding of the 3 principles has helped in all these areas for myself and my clients – and more. 

If this resonates with you and you’d like to explore how we could work together and what that could mean for you, please get in touch.