Performance Coach Sara Milne Rowe on Harnessing Wellbeing for Success

Sara Milne Rowe is one of the UK’s leading Performance Coaches, working with CEOs, senior leaders and teams, often in high challenge situations so they can stay strong, keep learning and deliver their best. Sara founded her award-winning company, Coaching Impact, in 2008 and works with a variety of organizations Including Creative & Media, Financial, Pharmaceutical, Legal and Education.

In today’s episode Sara shares her insights on leadership and how using the ‘SHED Method’ (Sleep, Hydration, Exercise, Diet) as a foundation can influence one’s impact as a leader.

Links mentioned:

Coaching Impact

Coaching Impact LinkedIn

Better Under Pressure Podcast

Transcript

Colin Hunter 0:08

Hi, folks, and welcome to another episode of the leadership tales Podcast. Delighted today to be joined by Sara Milne Rowe, who, well, I probably go back longer with her business partner than I do with her. But it was a delight to meet somebody who could actually work with Simon Scott. So firstly and secondly, fascinated by her work. And in the book, I quoted her shed method in our book in there. And when we met, it was that meeting of minds in terms of looking at performance, high performance, but the individual.

Colin Hunter 0:46

So, Sara, I'm delighted that you've agreed to join and talk today. Thank you for coming.

Sara Milne Rowe 0:50

Thank you for inviting me, Colin, it's a pleasure.

Colin Hunter 0:52

Good. So just talking about you, maybe give a bit of background to you. We'll go from there. How the hell did you get here? And how did how the hell did you work with Simon Scott? Yeah,

Sara Milne Rowe 1:03

My career path began as a teacher really, actually, if I go back before that, Colin, really, I mean, I think as a child, and this is important, in a way for me, because as a child, I loved anything to do with drama, music, dance, but particularly dance, and music actually, well, performance generally. And I got very good at dance and very good at the violin at a quite young age. And that was because I had some fantastic teachers, I think, who allowed me to feel like I could sort of be better than I thought I could be. So, during that sort of experience, I thought, I'd love to be a teacher; I really would love to be a teacher sounds like a great job and helping people feel better than they think they are. So, I decided I would be a teacher. So, when I came out of university, I did a PGCE, and I went to London. And I decided that I wanted to work in quite challenging in a city comprehensive, with the age group of 11, to 18. And I've realized that I think that for about the first 21 years of my career, I've always thought it was about 12 years or 13 years, but actually, it was quite a significant amount of time, on and off. I mean, I was full-time, probably for about 13,14 years. And then I did different things in education. But in that time, I became really, really intrigued as to what classroom leaders were doing, myself included, to get the best out of a true comprehensive environment. So, you know, we're talking about schools where there were in the last school that I taught, there were about 140, or different languages spoken, it was the time when a lot of refugee status, children were being sorted of shipped in overnight, and they would land at our door. Because we were in West London, and it was the only school that hadn't didn't have a religious bias. And it was a really, really exciting time. And I learned so much in that time. And we can talk more about that, potentially. But it was during that time that I thought actually, the stuff that I was learning, particularly from the young people about what made them want to learn, became too compelling to just remain in education. In fact, I was more interested in being a form tutor than I was in a subject-specific teacher. To be honest, I became really, really excited and intrigued and bonded with the idea of a form that enabled a group of people to be a good tutor group, where they could go off and have lessons together. And as they got older, they'd have lessons separately, obviously. But in this school, they started in year seven, which was when they were 11. Together, they went all the way through with me as a tutor or with a tutor, right, the way through the time that they were 16,17. That was really interesting to me because you watch their growth; the thing that propelled me to go outside of education was being a tutor and having to look at report cards at the end of the day. So, you know, they'd be about four or five.

Colin Hunter 4:09

Well, if you didn't see my

Sara Milne Rowe 4:11

well, you know, there'd be about four or five children who were often on the regular report, and they would come at the end of the day, and they'd have to share their report to the tutor. And you had to sort of track their day. And what was so interesting about that is that in the space of sort of five hours, a child could be, have a report that said totally brilliant, totally committed, did great work. And then the very next hour, total nightmare need to send them out letter gone home. So, I just became very intrigued as to what that classroom leader was doing that brought the best out of that child and then the next classroom leader, bringing the very worst out of that child. And so instead of doing detention, well, I did do detention, but I just had lots of conversations for about a year. I decided I was going to make an inquiry with these young people to understand what made them hungry to learn. And that was where I got some incredibly interesting data, really. And the three pieces of top data that then launched me out of education and to set up coaching impact was the fact that they told me that they loved learning with teachers who were passionate about their subjects. And they described that passion in very different ways. It wasn't necessarily all singing, all dancing, but it was certainly contagious and really motivating for them. They could; they wanted to get into the world of the teacher and that interest, that genuine interest that they had in their subject. So that was point number one. The second point was they really wanted and loved going to work in lessons where they didn't know what the teacher was going to do with the content. So, there was an air of anticipation around how they had crafted the content in a way that would be not just worksheets or not just books, but how was that teacher crafting the content that sort of caught their interest? So, there was an air of expectation I wanted to go to that teacher's lesson for they might do something interesting with the content.

Colin Hunter 6:08

Was that different? Was it the difference that they created for each lesson? Or was it linked to passion? I'm just interested in the two because they...?

Sara Milne Rowe 6:16

Well, I think the two are connected? Actually, I think great. Classroom leaders are constantly asking themselves, how do I make this content relevant? There was something incredibly important about the word relevance. Because given that, you know, these, these classrooms were full of a real mixed race, mixed ability, mix language, I mean, everything. And that's why I think, you know, for me, it was an MBA in leadership, it really was for me, I mean, I do call it my MBA, it helped me understand how to lead myself, it helped me understand what really captivated people to want to push themselves beyond what they thought they were capable of doing. And it was a fascinating time. And I do think great teachers are totally brilliant and undervalued,

Colin Hunter 7:00

I'd love to pick up on a couple of points, but I just want to because I remember the one teacher who took geography for me, and he had a passion for the Metro journal. And he'd written books on it, but he just got me the geography. So, I was pretty rubbish at everything because I just didn't get engaged. But there's one teacher; I would have walked through walls for him. Just it's so I'm with you. And I was, I had a privileged background, but I've fought against everything to do with school apart from this one lesson.

Sara Milne Rowe 7:29

I think it's incredibly important to have teachers that connect, and really, you know, we've all got them haven't we have, you just give one example of, you know, speak to any adults, and they've got somebody to be at someone at school, or someone at university or someone at college or someone in their life that has captivated them and made them want to do what they wanted to do. So you know, for me, it was basically teachers that taught me how to play the violin and dance well, and that's what made me go into the profession. But just the final point, I'm calling as I realized I said three points. But the final third point, which they told me, which I think is potentially the most profound for me, is that in that Malay of 30 different individuals in that classroom, they said that the teachers that they wanted to learn for the ones where they felt seen.

Colin Hunter:

Love that.

Sara Milne Rowe:

and heard and accepted, and not necessarily accepted without being stretched, but seen fully seen and understood in some way. And I and a reliable because a lot of these young people don't have reliable backgrounds.

Colin Hunter:

Yeah

Sara Milne Rowe:

So there was something around consistency, showing up being consistent, being reliable, all of that, that felt incredibly powerful for learning. So those three things were just too important to remain just in education, although I do believe education is at the heart of everything that I still believe in. And I think fundamentally; I am a teacher. Even though I now run a coaching business, I think there's a lot connected to that. And that's what made me feel excited about taking it to leaders more broadly out of education.

Colin Hunter 9:05

What I love, though, is that when I sit, and I am listening to you, I hear something, and I see something which now resonates with me is that, you know, people talk about teachers teaching, passing over information. But actually what you've talked about me with a form tutor and for the for people listening who don't understand the form that the year group or the class is the form, but that connection with individuals with people and for them to be seen and heard is that is the big thing about whether it's teaching leadership or anything else that we get into is in, I wanted you to paint a picture though, for the listeners about who may be listening abroad in the US about the comprehensive because we can joke and say I, you know, went to comp. But the comprehensive, particularly in London, had a particular field, so I wondered maybe to evoke a picture or a sense of what you were dealing with, because you've talked in a sort of a way about it, but it, it must have been quite an experience.

Sara Milne Rowe:

Yeah, I mean, the comprehensive education system was a state school. So that meant that you didn't pay for the school; it served the area where the children were living. Now, what's interesting about this particular school, is it was in quite a rich area of London, but it was serving a very broad sort of feeder, or what we would call a feeder environment. And so, the children would arrive. And this was a 10 form entry school. So, it's a very large school. So, you had ten forms per year group. So, it was a very vibrant, large, buzzing school. And I can; when I first met my husband, and he came to meet me in the school, he just found the whole foyer area terrifying because of its like, noise and its mix. And you know, it was, but I found it very exciting. In that particular school, it was very much supported mixed abilities. So, it meant that you didn't really have classes that were set by ability; it's changed now. But in those days, it was very mixed. So that was really a compelling inquiry into how young people learn, you know, do you work and learn better? Because you have got people that are more able than you? And also, do you learn other things from people who are less able than you? And how does that vary from class to class? So, it was a really interesting exploration of how do we set up an environment that allows people to learn, which I think is really what leaders do now?

Colin Hunter:

Yeah. And it takes us onto that next phase. Because, you know, nowadays, I look at, you know, we're exploring with immersive playgrounds, as we call them, but I look at some of the educational pieces you get, and for example, you know, sex education on Netflix, you know, how to educate your daughter, your son, around life, just getting to watch that. So, I'm working in another place with social theatre where, how does somebody understand the criminal justice system while you get a play, and you get this actor down the front, and they're able to interact? Now, that's the sort of thing where a teacher in the classroom is, you know, is starting to create those environments that people can be in, show inquiry, they can listen, they can probe, but they can get their points to view and amplify their voice. And early age is so important, isn't it?

Sara Milne Rowe:

Yeah. I mean, I also think theatre has got so much to teach leaders. And you know, my background in theatre and performance. But when you're what you're just saying, there are surround the different ways that you can play to understand more. And you know, what you're talking about there reminds me of Forum theatre, when you know, you create a play, and the audience will be sitting around, and they could shout, stop at any point, and they could come into the play, they could come into the scene, and they could adapt it and move it and pivot it into another area. And you know, this, that's, you know, part of ideation. That's part of, you know, all sorts of innovation that's going on now, in organizations, if we can keep playing and being creative, around getting different ideas into the mix. This has got a great deal to offer, I think,

Colin Hunter:

Yeah. So, you're left with three things. Yeah. You took them. And then what did you do? Where did you go after that?

Sara Milne Rowe:

Well, two things happened. That happened. But also, I became pregnant. And I think the wonderful thing about pregnancy is it forces you to stop, and it forces you to take a break. So, in that time, when you step away from something, I think this is an important point genuinely, actually, about how I keep remembering that point about stopping and breaking in order to reassess. But that was a really fundamental moment for me to step away and then immerse myself in motherhood. For a year, I took a year out, and that allowed me to assess. Okay, what else could I do? And I was married to a guy who came from a freelance way of working. I come from a family of teachers and people in the medical profession. So, you know, we're very much sort of have a way of vocation you train for it, you do it. I have no examples in my family of entrepreneurship or foundership or anything like that. But I decided that I wanted to start coaching impact. Actually, I didn't actually call it coaching impact at that time. I thought I'd just become freelance and do it in the time, but I thought I'd go back to school part-time for a year just to sort of get one foot in one camp or one foot in the other to test it and hated going part-time I'm an all in, or I'm an all-out person column that was my lesson.

Colin Hunter:

I am with you.

Sara Milne Rowe:

hated it. Absolutely hated; I hate to hate sharing things with form tutor. Everything that I had really enjoyed before was compromised. For me anyway. So that was the launch. I needed really to say right, step away.

Colin Hunter:

Yeah.

Sara Milne Rowe:

And then I spent a couple of years just throwing myself at learning myself. So I was given a gift by a friend who was had some clients advertising clients in London who she was running presentation skills training, and because of my background and performing arts, I stepped in and helped her with quite a few clients and learned a lot around going into organizations and The benefit of teaching and performance to an aid people with impact. And that's where I began. And then, during that time realized that certain individuals had specific things they wanted to work on. And I became really interested in the nuance of individual blocks and opportunities. And then I decided, okay, I just, I need to do some work, and I need to go and learn. So, I did an NLP master; I did an NLP coach training, I did a later, then I tried with that, I played with that. And then I did another coach training that was different with a different lens and just sort of armed myself with lots of tools. I was a freelance coach for a few years with the US group.

Colin Hunter:

Yup

Sara Milne Rowe:

Which is, you know, you're familiar with that. That's, in fact, where I met Simon.

Colin Hunter:

Yeah

Sara Milne Rowe:

So, you know, it's all these sorts of meetings that you start to join the dots, and something else happens, right? So I'd like to say I had a definite plan, and I was going to do this and this and this, but I didn't. I just worked with people I met, and I trust; sometimes, you just trust that when you meet people, something will happen.

Colin Hunter:

There was a red thread going all the way through that no; there was a there's a people as the connections, there are the nuances of the individual, the blocks, the individual work, that was, there's something flowing all the way through to where you are now, though. And so, if I go back to it's to get people to be seen and heard and work with you, but you've got a particular passion around women in supporting women and their which as a father of daughters, yeah. Big fan of so how does that come about? And what are you doing in that space? Now?

Sara Milne Rowe:

Again, I mean, it just understands where you think you're adding value. And I know that when I left education and set up my own company, I had some unhelpful limiting beliefs around that, about my ability to do that, my right to do that. I can remember filling in a massive form for a large pharmaceutical company in order to be a coach for them. And one of the questions was, what's your business background? And I remember having a complete and utter moment of, I haven't got a business background. And then I started to craft my connection with what I thought education taught me around the business that the business of education I and I entitled it anyway, I didn't get chosen.

Colin Hunter:

Yup.

Sara Milne Rowe:

And I didn't get chosen because of my lack of business background, and that made me feel very inadequate for quite an unnecessary, I now know, in hindsight for an unnecessarily long amount of time. And I watch quite a lot of mid-career women who are ambitious and want to become more influential leaders. And I watched the same thing sometimes getting in the way. And I do see that more in women than I do in men. I do work with a lot of men, and I love working with men. And it's not that I don't work with men; it's just that I can relate. And I also think, and I've been told, that it's a helpful role model. There are so many women who say how did you have the guts to do that? With the family?

Colin Hunter:

What I'm always amazed by, and it's in the same whether you're a woman or man, there are little bits that you think are things that you just did and got over yeah that other people see as gold dust. So as to remember another Sara Garden, who I work with, and she talks about her career, but it's the bits that when she's talking about it, she thinks are just normal, other women? And are there people who are sitting there going? No, no, I want to know more about that. How did you leave an organization and come back? And how did you cope with that? How did you do all of that in your personal life and then still, so I'm a big fan that it's sometimes you can't tickle yourself, and you can't look back in your own life and understand the impact you can have on others until somebody picks it out. Even goes, I'd really like to understand that because that can help me a lot of it.

Sara Milne Rowe:

Yeah. And also, we need to be further up organizations. It's a fact.

Colin Hunter:

And you know, I say we because, you know, I've got two sisters, two daughters. But I also work in a world where you know that I see it nearly every day. I see the attitude to and particularly not just the UK, but you start to go abroad, you start to see the cultural dimensions, and you start to have that impact. But I want to take it back into a couple of things because of the shared method for me. I mean, we had this conversation; I was wearing a whoop, you were wearing your ring and which have actually just purchased so.

Sara Milne Rowe:

I am happy.

Colin Hunter:

I was going along that route. But I wanted to get down to this high-performance piece because that's where you're working, and that's where Mr. Scott is, you know, he's always been there, and he's always focused on that. And I love his work ethic, but I love his experimentation. So, what are you experimenting with within that space? And I'd love just to get the listeners to hear a bit about that.

Sara Milne Rowe:

I mean, we experiment all the time, Simon and I, and when we first met, we thought, you know, what's the connection between an ex-Royal Marine and a violin and a Ballet dancer and teach, you know, and actually we both, we had this fun exercise just said write down a poem and post it. And we both wrote performances. So, I mean, I was so lucky to meet Simon because we've had this over the 15-year experiment, learning together. And I think it's so valuable to find someone that you can learn with and experiment with and have each other's backs in that. So, we've had this evolution, and you know, ship method is a container basically, for everything that he and I have been experimenting with, on ourselves, what we've learned from high performing teams that both he's worked with, and I've worked with, he doesn't often work with elite sport, and this is constantly learning and feeding back stuff back into our team. That is invaluable. And also, we're constantly working and learning with and from our clients. And it's that relationship that allows us to keep experimenting and testing and verifying and testing and verifying. So, we always start with ourselves, what we can do to be better, and how has performance in our life allowed us to build rituals and practices that have enabled us to remain strong and keep evolving. And we believe that's what leaders are constantly asking, and never more so than now. It's hugely uncertain and volatile, and all of the stuff that goes on in this current environment, and there's a hell of a lot of pressure in the system for people. So, you know, Simon and I are constantly understanding working out what's, you know, what's the new pressure? And how can we support our clients in that? And I think you know, his work in elite sport is interesting because there are so many similarities between how they have to be more deliberate around practice. And that's really helpful to feedback on how do we help leaders be more deliberate about what they need to practice? And how can we enable them? I suppose, you know, to your question, I think the main aim at the moment is to help them identify where the main effort is

Colin Hunter:

Yeah

Sara Milne Rowe:

And protect their energy for the things that actually they can control and not feel distracted by the things that are not in their control or the noise of others. And how do you lead others through the same uncertainty? So that's our main aim right now.

Colin Hunter:

Talk to people who might not know the shared method; if they haven't, they haven't read the book. So, I'm not going to be talking to them. But you know, if they have read the book, great, but if they haven't, and they don't know what the shed method is, because it's a very simple but very powerful framing of what?

Sara Milne Rowe:

Yeah, so it's interesting because when I wrote it, we were all thinking about what it is that we all do in a coaching impact; it's about helping people to make better choices. But actually, in all of my conversations that I'm having with leaders, they want to be better at something. So I wrote it with the sort of title of better me because that is the ambition that we're working with, the publisher, Penguin belt, like as they read it, that shed, which stands for sleep, hydration, exercise diet, which is the foundation of performance, if we don't own that have rituals have ways of knowing what our conditions for success are in our basic shed sleep, hydration, exercise, diet, etc. Habits, if we haven't got that in play, it's very unlikely that we can bring the best of ourselves to the achievement that we're going for. So, their advice, the editor's advice was, let's call it advance because it sits at heart full performance. So that's why it's called the shed method. But the shed method is a book is offering readers a practical way of thinking about the choices they're making and applying the lessons in that to make the choices that they want. And it dances around the system of our three brains, which I know there's an awful lot of research and opinions say it's not just three brains. Well, it isn't. But with the busy people that we're working with, the three-brain analogy is helpful.

Colin Hunter:

Yeah.

Sara Milne Rowe:

Which is sort of the thing behind me. And then how do we enable people to be really conscious of the choices they're making about five energies that impact the alignment of those three brains so that we can be our best? And so, the book looks at five energies, including body energy, which is the shed. How do we feed our bodies so that we are in great shape to perform at our best? How do we then choose the most appropriate mood, mood energy? How are we applying our mood energy? Simon and I talked a lot about mood set and mindset as well as just mindset. There's a mood set; how do we help people choose their mood right now? Which impacts our ability to focus our mind energy on what matters most? So, our mind energy depends on our mood. And it depends on how much fuel we've got in our tank. And that chain is an incredibly important substance underneath our mind's energy choices. And then the other two, sort of ACE cards in the pack, that can really make a difference the choices we make our people energy, who we surround ourselves with, who's the boosting quality in our lives, to keep helping us have ambition in the direction that we want? And the final one is purpose energy. How are we finding the energy of meaning? Where do we find our meaning energy from, and it's this sort of dance between those five energies, but also offering fun stories of clients that we've worked with and what they choose to do to enable them to be better.

Colin Hunter:

I love the mood set, but I hadn't heard that before. But it is so true. What I also love is the language because you're talking about dancing with systems, and we talk a lot about systems. But like your work, everybody starts at the what we call drive, which is you know, have I got enough personal energy to almost managing my energy in the right place at the right time, then you can go off and deal with people, then you can go off and do with fresh ideas, or you can do your learning. But if we go back to unless you've got that energy for yourself, it's probably selfish, as Simon gave me as the expression, then.

Sara Milne Rowe:

Absolutely, yeah, probably selfish. We know you need to be

Colin Hunter:

Yeah

Sara Milne Rowe:

Probably selfish, but you need to know what you're being properly selfish for? And how. And I also think, you know, you asked us about what we're focusing on now, we're, we're really trying to help people build habits around their leadership practices. And, you know, there's so much pressure internally for people; they haven't got the bandwidth to do much. But, you know, what they choose to do needs to be very deliberate, and experimentation of testing the impact, you know, what is their system for understanding the impact that they're having? Do they know how they stopped to review it? You know, and how do we help them build these habits? So, we're going very much into digital animations that are quick, sharp refreshes for people to go; okay, what was it? Okay, let me just, I've got two minutes, I'm just going to refresh myself around some of the principles of these practices so that I can apply them in this next meeting, or I can apply them in his next big critical impact opportunity. And then how do we, you know, one of our clients at the moment has asked us to really think about how do we have that on our phone? How do we make that? How do we build this sort of connection around main effort, through what we call critical impact opportunities, you know how to be really clear about where we're applying our energy, we have to stretch, you know, what this pandemic has helped us do is to think, right, okay, how do we make this work without us?

Colin Hunter:

Because I think and it's interesting, because some people and immediately when you hear well, it's an app, okay, so I'm going back on my phone again, but there's a piece for me about the person who's doing it needs to work out how they're going to measure it. And so, I've got the whoop, you've got the ring, which you're measuring sleep, breath, is another thing. So, if I want to write things manually, the old school, which I'm starting to do with a journal and a habit tracker, that's great. But for some people, their phone is the source of everything. So actually, if they're coming on, and they're picking up that, oh, I've got two minutes, I could do this, and I could connect it in, and that's where I do my headspace, and I do my PQ workers Positive Intelligence work. So, I'm with you.

Sara Milne Rowe:

You want to try and build it inhabit so that when you're in a real high-pressure moment, it kicks in automatically. This is where my background in performance and what my violin teacher drilled me on breathing, because actually if you haven't got your body calm in an exam, you know, the bow goes everywhere. I mean, it's hard for your body reflects through the instrument if you are carrying nerves, which of course, you are going to have nerves, but you've got to manage them. And what was amazing for me, and I do write about this in the book actually Colin, but when I had an incredibly difficult year nine-lesson, where, frankly, you know, two of them just one guy who's featured in the book all the way through, called Wayne, he in no uncertain terms said very, and I won't swear on this podcast, but he basically swore at me to say just how boring my lesson was in front of everybody, which I was 26 I mean, I was a new teacher, I was absolute, like horrified by that. But I also knew at that moment that I had to make a choice that I could control because my whole body went imploding. And what automatically kicked in without my conscious awareness was the breathing habits that my violin teacher had systematically made me drill. And I found myself just focusing on my breath, to give me that moment of choice to be able to say back to Wayne, okay, you know, in a way that I held some credibility in front of the other 29 people in the class. And that made me think, God, that's why it has to be a drill. These things have to be practiced outside of pressure so that when you're under pressure, they kick in. And that's what Simon and I, I mean, Simon has got so many stories, you know, about his experience as a Royal Marine, where you know, your life is under threat. So, you've got to have these habits to be able to support yourself, but also to be able to support others in high-risk situations.

Colin Hunter:

And it's a purposeful practice of that. Our mutual friend or not my friend, but you made to be a more pirate author. It was fascinating.

Sara Milne Rowe:

Yes, Sam. Yes

Colin Hunter:

He was posting yes nights with a tape across his mouth for mouth breathers for sleep. And it's funny, the more you get into breath, and the more you get into the moment, and you talking about snipers, you're talking about all that work and breath and the book breath, then you realize how important it is. But actually, most of us forget about it. And until we don't have it,

Sara Milne Rowe:

Yeah. And It's a free resource that costs us absolutely nothing; why don't we focus on it and use it to our best, you know, a lot of people, a lot of clients, and you probably get this as well doing it in yoga, or they're doing in Pilates, or they're doing it, you know, if they play a musical instrument, but they are not connecting the dots to say how it could be really useful under pressure at work, or in family situations, or challenging conversations, etc. All of its there for us if we do but apply attention to

Colin Hunter:

it. And I think this goes into the minutiae because I wanted to just ask you a couple of things on this, but I wanted to make this point, I've been geeking out on the High-Performance podcast, I don't know if you've listened to any of the episodes, but they're fascinating. But what I get from that is that there is so much, but there are the basics. And I think we need to redefine education for everything for my daughter. What is it? What are the basics, and breath is one of those basics breath about how to breathe, how to deal with those difficult situations? And we're launching this project that 500 This year, and it's all about looking at helping undiscovered leaders, probably some of the people that you would have dealt with in the comprehensive who just the system didn't give them the opportunity. But it's not the master's science. It's the building blocks of how to build a relationship, the breath, how to deal with themselves, all of that is so important as to get them to the first level in many ways. I just wanted to ask you a couple of questions. And I'm going to try these out with you for the first time on this podcast. But this was something I was working with about five years ago, and I've forgotten. So, if you had to summarise in two questions, the first question is, what gets you bouncing out of bed in the morning? What's the thing that gets you bouncing out of bed in the morning,

Sara Milne Rowe:

a good night's sleep. For a start. I want to support people in being better. It's as simple as that. And what gets me out in a bit of bed in the morning is an opportunity to do that in some shape or another. And I find it incredibly enlivening.

Colin Hunter:

So, it goes back to your teaching days; you're happiest in the form with the people and working. Yeah.

Sara Milne Rowe:

I'm happiest at work as well. Not thinking about the work. Or, you know, that's what I found the most challenging thing about writing a book is it's such a lonely individual process. I mean, Simon was right by me. And so, like Chris, my husband, but it's still fundamentally, as you know, a pretty lonely thing. And, you know, I would put I started by putting book Days in my diary, and that they would just freak me out. Because I get too booked and think my God is a book day, I've got to start writing, you know, and I realized when I took the pressure off myself, is actually these ideas come when you're traveling, or when you're running or when you're cooking, or when you're in the shower, and they come in little bite-sized pieces, and take the pressure off the fact that you've got a book day ahead of you, it doesn't work like that, Sarah. So, I love connection. And I love working at the moment with clients on the real stuff. And I love the fact that real stuff is constantly changing at the moment,

Colin Hunter:

I'm with you. And that because some of my team are trying to get me to step back from the work and the client work, you should be doing less delivery, you know, and I'm like, Mom, I don't, firstly, I don't want to. And secondly, if I'm doing less delivery, I'm not talking to the people I need to talk to and testing out and experimenting with new ideas. So

Sara Milne Rowe:

I think that's such an important point you're talking about there. I want to listen to somebody talking about selling a business. And she said the most important thing if you're going to sell a business is not to care about it. Like I mean, she didn't mean she meant that quite cynically, but she meant like, you're not in it, and people don't know you're necessarily part of it. And one of the moments for her was when she was taking clients out or where their business was taking clients out. And somebody came up to us that and who were you, and they didn't know who they, who she was, and I think that's a really interesting dynamic about what gives you energy and honoring that. It makes me also think, Go ahead, a teacher I was coaching once and her chair said to her, why do you do the school play in the summer? You should be doing the books and setting up the business; you know that sense for next year. And she said, that's my one opportunity to be with the children for a week on something I started as a teacher; I mean, teaching is a classic example of starting with a passion, and then you end up the more senior you get getting further and further away from the client base that you wanted to teach for. And it's tough is that.

Colin Hunter:

always remember Nigel purses in mutual contact us, who was one of the founders of the Oxford group, but I remember him coming in, in the days when we had a video recorder in the room and went to work in the office. Yes. And I was working with a group in the office, and the video recorders were broken; Nigel walked past, he walked in and fixed the video recorder, and he walked back out. And one of the groups in there says, oh, you've got a really nice janitor. I think it was a caretaker working here. But Nigel would not even though worried that he was seen as that because as long as the work that was being done, or he was getting in. So, I think sometimes the bit for me is if I'm not doing the work with the people that we're trying to tap into, then I don't feel alive. Yeah, that's corporate anyway; what keeps you awake at night? So, if you have some thinking about the next two years, what are a couple of things that are keeping you awake at night?

Sara Milne Rowe:

I think for me, it's what business? Am I running? Me? It's a big question. But it's like, I think what keeps me awake at night is really holding my feet to the fire for what we stand for and not getting distracted. Because I can get easily seduced by other things that, oh, we should be doing this, or we should be doing that. Or, you know, somebody else who's in our field is, is looking at that, and doing that Simon is brilliant at saying, what's the point? Why, why? Why are you getting distracted by that? Sometimes I ignore him, and I get distracted anyway. And I find out that actually, it's useful for our business. Yeah. And he will, to his credit, honor that and acknowledge that. But he but he's really good for each other in that way, I think. But that is what keeps me up at night is saying, what if? Because I do like, I like new ideas that excite me. But if I'm not careful, I can get overwhelmed with new ideas and then take my eyes off the actual staples that we do really, really well.

Colin Hunter:

Listen to somebody yesterday on that note which said he was working out how many days they had in their life and how many they had gone already and how many they had left. And it was quite a dark moment. But it was that moment of going. Yeah. Okay, so what do I really, really want to do, and the time I have left on this planet?

Sara Milne Rowe:

And I think it is a balance between how much broader impact can we have? Particularly, I really want to impact education; as you know, keep impacting education. That's always a constant field. And you know, then there's your family. You know, there's how happy are your children? You're only as happy as your least happy child. Yeah. And that could keep me awake at night. Right? Yep.

Colin Hunter:

With you. And that's, and actually, sometimes it's more difficult to do that with your children than it is for the clients.

Sara Milne Rowe:

Absolutely. And what you can offer your clients your children don't want. So, it's fine. That's my biggest learning curve. Well, I've learned so much from my young 20-year-old children about how I can most usefully support them. And it's not in the way that I might support a client. That's a big lesson for me.

Colin Hunter:

My eldest daughter is my biggest teacher, and sometimes not in a nice way.

Sara Milne Rowe:

Oh, definitely not in a nice way, in a very painful way. Often, you know, it's good. If you listen, it's good. I think I've, you know, found it hard, but it's always useful.

Colin Hunter:

You know, I love our conversations. And I'm sure everybody is listening to this. Would love to hear more about it. Suppose they want to find out more about you. Maybe about Simon as well, where would they go to?

Sara Milne Rowe:

We're at coaching impact.co.uk; you can find us there. We're both on LinkedIn. I'm on Instagram; Simon's not on Instagram. I'm on Twitter, but I don't really use it that much. I mean, that's the other thing that keeps me up at night, you know, what is a useful distraction when it comes to social media. But that's a whole other podcast.

Colin Hunter:

About to go on a 30-day LinkedIn sprint, and so I'm going to be trying just for experimentation because everybody's talking about it, but I'm not sure I know what I'm letting myself in for, so yeah. On that note, Sarah, thank you so much for being on today.

Sara Milne Rowe:

You're very welcome, Colin. It's been a delight. Thank you.

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