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WHO

Who should read this?

This website is mostly for prospective clients, talent managers of large and medium-sized enterprises, often in technology, science, or engineering, directors implementing sweeping changes but who want to keep the morale of their teams, and know that optimum results come from people that value what they are doing and who feel valued. It is for people dealing with tough teams, tough colleagues, tough bosses, and people that have heard about me, worked with me, or met me and want to check out what I do. This page also talks about the kinds of clients I've worked with, the kinds of challenges they have faced, my profile, my credentials, my experience, my values...

 

This website is for anybody that made it this far. Welcome!

People that benefit
  • I work with a lot of people at around the midpoint in their careers. They have reached the top of the management structure as experts in their fields and are faced with what might be termed as a glass ceiling, that is, they frequently are looking for how they can grow further in an organization and keep their integrity or the operational contact they have with their teams. 

  • I've worked with a few leaders of great integrity who want to implement radical transformations, looking to overcome the apparent contradiction between the brute force and cool emotions needed for disruptive change and the care and connection that is necessary to bring people along.

  • I work with several directors and senior managers looking to challenge themselves and the received ideas that have served them well in their careers so far but now feel out of date. 

  • It is common that I work with people facing sustained conflict or ill feelings, often rising from internal politics, resentment from teams or colleagues following a promotion or new appointment. Finding how to create healthy work environments where people can express discontent and unseen stakes and how to give them opportunities to shine and be recognized has been crucial to helping directors build high-performing departments/divisions/countries.

Clients

UNICEF - Individual coaching with UNICEF leaders organised through ICF Foundation

IMT Nord Europe Individual coaching for the Board of Directors for a French engineering school plus writing and leading interactive soft skills seminars for the directors.

Eurogroup Consulting - I'm an external partner: consultant, assessor, and coach for an international business consultancy.

  • Orange - Talent and Leadership program carrying out development assessments

  • AXA Group - Director-level recruitment and development assessments

  • AXA Partners - Director-level recruitment and development assessments

  • COVEA - Director-level recruitment and development assessments

  • SAFRAN - Director-level recruitment and development assessments

  • ONTEX - debriefing with clients of 360° feedback reports

Lactalis - Writing and leading training seminars and group coaching for new managers and new directors, creating and carrying out Development Assessments for new managers.

Viapost - Training Management Basics plus Emotions for Efficacity, plus individual coaching for directors.

Allianz Partners - Individual coaching for directors and managers

Novartis - Individual coaching for directors

Examples
  • Working with the Board of Directors of an organization that is the product of a recent merger between two significant organizations. The directors all recognize the need to transform into a 21st-century organization but feel they lack resources. Due to the fact that there are multiple sites, they rarely see each other and tend to connect only with the people geographically close to them. They often feel isolated and the other directors don't understand their stakes. They often don't know how to transmit the sense of changes they are not fully in agreement with. We have created a program of individual coaching for Directors that want it and a series of seminars on whatever (soft skills) subject the directors feel would be useful. We have so far created programs about advanced listening skills, the added value of emotions for engineers, and conflict resolution.  There was doubt about whether the directors would accept a coaching and training program, so building a place of trust, fun and scientifically credible solutions has been key to getting positive investment from all the directors and the beginnings of a new understanding and collaboration between departments that really need each other to function. 

  • Working with the Talent and Leadership program for an international engineering company. Carrying out and debriefing development assessments for individuals and groups. The participants are people moving into the second half of their careers and into leadership.  The assessment process is strict and formatted as is the reporting. The real added value of this program is the debriefing with each participant. In a situation where they are to all intents and purposes being judged, creating a safe space and inviting each participant to open up as much as possible to get the best value out of the process has brought extraordinarily positive results. It is carried out within the values of coaching but also calls on the most audacious feedback skills. The participants have all reached a high standard in their professional lives and usually rely heavily on the strategies that have worked to take them to manage senior teams, counties, regions, and whole business units. They are often unaware of blind spots and presenting these as opportunities to improve, coaching their own understanding, and the meaning behind reaching further has been key to making this a very rewarding assignment. 

  • Creating and delivering people management skills programs: I have worked closely with organizations to develop tailor-made training programs or events. I've created programs on how to apply basic management theories; development assessments to help managers identify how they wish to grow and the skills they wish to learn; the added value of culturally diverse teams;  harnessing the added value of emotions in the workplace. 

Useful ways of thinking

There are a few key ideas of "how to think" that can in themselves have massive impact on coaching outcomes. Clients that are willing to try out these ways of thinking tend to get more positive and more rapid outcomes from their coaching processes. 

  • Being curious - presuming not to know answers and therefore looking for the things that you don't know or haven't thought of is key to generating changes of outcomes.

  • Remembering that every other person on the planet has stakes that we cannot see or know about and their actions are their best attempts to manage these stakes. 

  • Learning to avoid using absolute, binary, or imperative language. The language we use influences how we see the world, so saying things are good or bad, or saying that we have no choice can be simplifications and cut us off from finding new solutions.

  • Looking for multiple answers and solutions. The first working solution may well not be the best or even good enough. Continuing to look, and combining good ideas is often key to lasting and workable solutions.

  • Get things wrong. Accepting that being wrong brings good results means we become more courageous as we try things out. Letting go of perfection in order to be able to experiment is our most natural learning tool. Experimentation, testing, and learning require getting things wrong.

  • Being positive and tenacious. Being positive is often confused with ignoring the negative, however positive people tend to be more willing to try out looking for solutions and more likely to try again if things go wrong. So statistically positive thinkers try more times and for longer and therefore generate more positive outcomes.

Wher I'm less useful

I have many colleagues whom I hold in high esteem that work connecting their clients to the higher spiritual meaning of their lives and work. This is not something that I wish to do. 

I have greatly enjoyed working with people who identify as spiritual and working in connection to their diverse religious and spiritual beliefs (Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism...). And while I invite my clients to check that their solutions are aligned with their values and belief systems, I encourage people to be active in looking for solutions and actions that are within their own power to influence the outcomes they are aiming for. Trusting in or inviting a benevolent Universe, God, gods, or spirits to resolve challenges is not within my realm of competence or the values of my work.

Who is Benjamin Constable

When entering into a coaching relationship you are entering into what might be called a “thinking partnership”. This means finding ways of thinking and communicating that function well for you, bring you added value, and are compatible with your needs and values, and in a language that makes sense to you. The quality of this partnership is key to making transformative progress. So, who you coach with is really important.

Benjamin Constable - Quick Facts

  • Coach and trainer

  • Member of the International Coach Federation

  • Born in Bristol, UK, 1968

  • Studied Creative Writing

  • Lives between Normandy and Paris

  • If he was an animal he'd be a: Monkey!

General overview

I am a British-born business coach and trainer and I have lived in France since 2005. I work in both French and English. As well as coaching and training in companies. I like how coaches and clients create creative spaces, and the great feeling of generating strong positive change. I love how people manage to reframe even the most heavily anchored ideas to find ways around obstacles that seemed previously insurmountable, or even how to make added value from those obstacles.  I love making things. I guess I'm a bit sensitive to people and events, and I'm unusually patient and determined. I get a lot of things wrong but I have learned to get up and try again (and again).

Specific qualities
  • I work closely with my clients to create programs that often combine individual coaching, group coaching, and training that match their specific needs so all training is made to measure for the individuals involved and the organizations who sponsor the training (ICF coaching is by definition always made to measure and happens in response to what the client brings to the session). 

  • I attribute a large part of the positive outcomes from my coaching to the fact that I am dyslexic. For years I saw this as a disadvantage, however, I now see it allows me to assure communication is clear (particularly visually), this combined with creative skills and experience in communication help make coaching high-impact and frequently, the first signs of change come rapidly.

  • Dyslexia also carries with it some unusual qualities that I have found to be enormously useful in my work: notably the tendency towards broader views of problems and information allowing me to gather functional ideas from multiple sources and reframe subjects from multiple points of view. It is in effect automatic thinking outside the box. I am looking to connect the action plans of individuals with the stakes of the multiple systems in which they interact. I have also trained myself to think inside the box as well, but this combination has often been a key resource for the people I work with.

  • Empathy and listening skills are a must for any coach but combined with my experience in communication and conflict resolution work alongside my desire for the process to be fun, exciting even means that coaching sessions are often the source of inspiration and change that clients are ready to get behind and work for. I like humour and once the client and I are comfortable laughter is usually not far behind. I consider that knowing how to give tough or even audacious feedback in a way that builds up and encourages development is key to building strong trusting and transformative coaching relationships.  

  • My coaching philosophy is firmly rooted in the scientific approach: best practices and rigorous research and study. I combine logical thinking with evidence-based strategies to provide tangible results. 

  • For coaching to work the more people bring their authentic selves the stronger the impact. Bringing my own authentic self as an equal, in the interest of the other, is key to helping others bring their authentic selves. I share experiences and model my own fragility to build exceptional trust and rapport as well as credibility. Living the process that coaches hope to bring from others is among the most powerful coaching tools I have found. 

  • I work with a supervisor with great experience and a different knowledge set to mine.

Background

Before becoming a coach I was an adult trainer for many years. I started off training French executives in English as a Foreign Language but this slowly evolved into "proto-coaching" on communication in general covering, presentation skills, storytelling, and soft skills.

Before becoming a coach I was coached. I had a tough relationship with a child (who I am still great friends with and who is ok for me to write this) and I needed to learn how to create positive outcomes where I wasn't willing to just abandon the child and walked away. I learned so much from her and through coaching we were able to create a wonderful friendship and the child is now a young adult with whom I get to hang out now and then and of whom I am most proud.

After training I started working as a coach at the end of 2017, qualified in 2018, and in 2019 received my International Coach Federation certification

During my time teaching English, I also worked as a professional writer. For 8 seasons I was the main copywriter for an international fashion label (Marlboro Classics) but also created campaigns for a high-level French wine producer (Domaines des Baron de Rothschilde), and wrote for Vice Magazine creating content for a world-renowned sparkling water brand (Perrier).

But my real love was writing fiction and of the various novels I wrote two were published (Three Lives of Tomomi Ishikawa in 2013 and Love and Invention in 2018), and one of them was translated into multiple languages!

Before writing or even going to university (I went to university as an adult) I worked as a professional music producer and was part of several signed recording projects. Working in music and writing were never particularly kind to me financially so I also worked as a debt collector, a sound technician for large events, as a manager of a large bar, in nightclub promotion, as a tour manager of various street marketing campaigns, and as a truck driver. My first real passion was playing multiple instruments (badly) and my first real job was as an apprentice sound engineer in a French recording studio.

I didn’t make it through basic schooling and left first at fifteen and then after a second try dropped out at 17 not particularly able in basic literacy skills.

 

I was nonetheless convinced that I had a good brain, particularly in creative work. I set my sights on being a rockstar (which I didn’t exactly manage but I did work as a professional music producer for many years). When I was 32 I was diagnosed as being dyslexic and was offered a place in my local university who encouraged people with learning difficulties. I studied creative writing. This led to work teaching English to adults in France, work as a translator, and as a copywriter for various advertising campaigns. I also wrote novels, two of which were published and translated. I came to coaching looking for strategies to overcome what seemed like insurmountable obstacles. The ability to get around these and all subsequent obstacles changed my worldview and my understanding of what is possible.

Training
  • Supervision - Part of my personal commitment to my clients is that I have regular sessions with a supervisor. My supervisor is Silvie De Clerck

  • High-Performance Team Coaching - Erickson Coaching International

  • 6 months in-house training for Assessments - Eurogroup Consulting (Assessing for Orange, the French National Defense Ministry, AXA...)

  • SOSIE 2 : Authorised for SOSIE personality test analysis and debriefs

  • FICS : Authorised for FICS cognitive analysis test and debriefs

  • Intercultural AwarenessHofstede Institute

  • Neuro-Linguistic Programming – IFHE Paris

  • Creative Writing BA (Journalism, narrative structure, storytelling, scripts, and fiction creation)

What get's me out of bed in the morning

Coaching is the best job I've ever had. I get excited before meeting clients, before training, before coaching sessions... and I sometimes get nervous as well, but I consider this healthy: it reminds me of why I'm a coach and key coaching values like allowing people space to create their best solutions and not investing in the outcomes. I have nonetheless had so much positive feedback (thanks) and seen so much change and development - it feels good and is soooo worth getting up for.

I just bought a run-down building in Normandy and renovated it. When I look at the pictures I wonder how I ever managed it. But I now live in that house. It resembles me, it's warm, safe, and immensely comfortable. I think this a good illustration of my determination, willingness to work even under difficult conditions, and perhaps that I can be courageous. I really like achieving challenging goals.

I love reading, novels, news, and love watching films. Talking politics, philosophy and science is incredibly stimulating. Facing up to and thinking through problems to actionable solutions is kind of a hobby as well as my job. 

I love playing music. I will never again do it professionally but I have a grand piano that I play badly but with joy.

I love writing. I write letters, messages, lists, short stories, novels. I am planning a future where I will coach but have time to write fiction as well. The exploration and creation of stories is stimulating and wonderful.

Coaching and making things (novels, food, building a house - as long as I can invent my own instructions) make perfect partners for a rich and fulfilling professional life. One allows me to follow my passions and one allows me to step back and facilitate others' processes as well as all the research and perpetual acquisition of new skills that goes with it.

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