Critical Friend

Critical Friend: why?

Everybody needs a critical friend. Successful and contented people know this, and since you have landed on this page you must be feeling curious and have an inkling that this is true. Oh and by the way, we took the -painful yet also very easy- decision to eradicate all the sappier headshots of us looking wise and thoughtful, the panoramic shots of paths and waterfalls and the videos of people in an office environment walking aimlessly in a sunken dream.

Why? because this journey is about lifting the wool from your eyes, you becoming the best you can be. Being your critical friend is not about trying to cut and paste solutions from another world for you.  So, this might not look like a swanky website but that is because weasel-words marketing is something we will have no part of.   We keep it simple and honest. 

Your critical friend will:

  • challenge your current thinking
  • help you to unpick locked threads
  • explore strengths and passions,

and then

  • work with you to create alternative options for your growth and development.

Crucially, your critical friend will ensure you take responsibility to commit to action, the essential component for you to realise your full potential.

Without a genuine critical friend, the conventional wisdom will prevail, you will address new problems with old tools and insights, walk blindfold along the trodden path of past experiences and you will wonder “why do I feel this way? even though I am working harder and harder my problems are getting trickier and trickier”

Critical Friend: a scarce relationship…

A true Critical Friend is becoming hard to find, not only because of the electronic ways we work and communicate but mainly because we simply have no time for genuine inquiry and reflection.

Contemplation in service of exploration has become a luxury. A mind and skillset you have lost in the demands of immediate or group-thinking responses and decision making. Ponder for a moment, do you have the time, permission or inclination to truly reflect, explore and even ask simple questions?  Does the elephant continue to be unacknowledged and the emperor remain boastful about his new clothes? 

Ask yourself this:

Within your social networks, your business environment and with your professional peers do you have – or feel able to give -  the two way permission required for open, honest and respectful conversations which allow frank, critical friendships based upon trust to flourish?

Simply put, we are living in a system where we have more and more to do in less and less time, relentlessly driven by an Alpha-male dominated environment. An environment where you cannot afford to be seen wrong,  unsure, weak or falter in your vision and leadership.

Critical Friend: to solve your tricky problems and be the best you can be…

We are a network of individuals who have a broad range of life and business experiences – from the boiler house to the board room, from lecturing to leading change – in both public and private sectors.   

We have a big box of coaching and mentoring tools and lots and lots of experience. However, the most important thing all our network members have in common – other than the odd grey hair – is we all are passionate about people, and obsessive about people realising their full potential. We will not be happy unless and until we have helped you – and the people around you -  become the best you possibly can be.

If you are curious to find out more about us thenemail us to click start the conversation here:


Critical Friend: how we will work together…

We do this by offering you a series of sessions aimed at Business improvement, performance enhancement, skills development. We do this in an environment of mutual respect and develop a critical friendship where you influence the frequency and nature of the sessions. But, of utmost importance is that this these sessions be carried out with total Trust, Honesty and Respect. These core values are an essential prerequisite for us, and we know this is essential for you to achieve very best results

To reflect these values how much you pay us is based on the value you have received..


In a nutshell …………………

In a nutshell; we help solve your tricky problems and inspire positive change by helping you realise your full potential. We do this by engaging with you in honest, challenging and respectful conversations to build trust. We will work together, thinking critically to innovate and generate wisdom and the actions you can commit to and so realise the change required.

You might recognise this elsewhere in the world as 1:1 coaching and mentoring or team workshop design and facilitation, but here you will also have the powerful critical friend dimension.


 What some of our friends think …………………

"A Critical Friendship – we were pointed in Pete’s direction by a mutual business acquaintance some years ago and the phrase that was used to describe him was; ‘a forward thinker, with a progressive business mind and attitude’ and a recent re-acquaintance has enabled us to forge a new relationship with Pete and he has become our Critical Friend – bringing clarity to our business at a very tumultuous time. Pete’s gentle, informative and insightful conversations have been like a tonic of calming balm, enabling us to look more constructively and clearly at our business future".

"I’m a little tired of ‘consultants and business guru’s’ demanding high fees to impart their knowledge - often knowledge not gained in the real business world. Pete is real, genuine, educated and he has been at the coalface, a tea drinking kind-of-guy - who listens, doesn’t preach but offers grounded solid advice in his lovely gentle Yorkshire accent".

"Pete’s a proper feller, self-made, self-assured and honest. I value him as a real friend".

Dylan - Director SME

“I worked with Jill during a complex change programme and she provided me an encouraging and supportive ear allowing me to trial thoughts and ideas in a safe environment.”

Ian -  Group Head of Learning and Teaching

"It was a pleasure to work with Jill on an internal decision making process where viewpoints were diverse. Jill was able to understand the concerns of all those present, and with her honest appraisal of the difficulties involved, was able to quickly build trust so that all parties were prepared to agree and own a shared course of action"

Nick  - Head of Operations (Corporate Education and Training)

"I have worked with Jill on several complex projects and when I heard that she was moving into business and personal coaching I thought how perfect.  Jill is one of the most emotionally aware people I have ever met.   Somehow, she manages to combine this with a good dose of commercial reality and helpful practical solutions.

Jill's life experience, her love and deep knowledge of learning and her drive to help others to thrive and grow, personally and professionally blend well making Jill an exceptionally supportive coach and work colleague.  Her integrity and authenticity mixed with her gentle but firm manner means that she gets messages across in helpful way.  Her desire to truly understand an individual means that her guidance is rooted in practical solutions that help others to manage difficult areas in their business lives.

Carole - HR and Change Director 

"I have a high focus of self-investment of learning in psychology, counselling and coaching.  The ‘critical friend’ has been invaluable to me over the years throughout my own personal development journey but also that in challenging my thinking and organisational biases you tend to often adopt in day to day business.  The role of the ‘critical friend’ has helped shaped strategies and contracts to a level of partnership working which has resulted in new ways of working and has gained success by opening up the thought process of being challenged in professional capacity which in turn has created greater self confidence in leadership and business management.

Donna - Assistant Director for a large organisation in the HE Sector


Curious and want to Click-Start a Critical Friendship

How we get up and running:  


When you work with your Critical Friend we promise to operate in an environment of Trust, Honesty and Respect.

Your Critical Friend Promises to:


Help you frame and work towards genuine lasting and positive change

We will do this together by exploring your:

  • needs, motivations and desire.
  • skills, thought processes and priorities

We will do this by:   

  • listening to you
  • asking searching questions to explore and truly understand your situation

  • determining and applying the most appropriate thinking and profiling tools along with  change techniques

  • identifying solutions and actions that are authentic to you and your situation

  • setting appropriate goals and agreeing methods of assessing progress

  • encouraging and supporting you to commit to action

Throughout this friendship we offer unconditional positive regard for you. Being your critical friend, not judgemental to help you develop personal competencies


We will encourage you to continually improve your competencies and to develop new developmental alliances so that you do not develop unhealthy dependencies on this critical friend coaching or mentoring relationship.

What you promise to do:

  • Operate in an environment of total; Trust, Honesty and Respect

  • To be open in discourse – help us understand your situation and your true aspirations

  • To commit to and make time for the agreed schedule of meetings

  • To deliver any pre-meeting work or thinking that we have agreed in previous sessions

How do we price our work with you:

  • We will tell you what it will cost to run a session or cycle (the low cost), and we shall tell you what we think it is worth (the high cost)

  • You pay the low cost at the beginning of the sessions, and at the end you choose if to pay any extra up towards the high cost.
  • This means that we trust you to make a decision on the value you have received and your ability to pay

It really is as simple as that, your decision. No attempt to negotiate from us whatsoever.

The Products (Relationship Journeys)

  • Business coaching & mentoring

  • Executive coaching & mentoring.

  • Performance coaching and mentoring

  • Skills coaching & mentoring

  • Personal coaching & mentoring

  • Workshops and team events

A suggested first cycle of delivery:

We agree to commit for a 4-week cycle. For Cycle One we suggest 5, one to two hour Skype sessions, where;

  • Skype 0, is the induction session. The outcomes are: agreeing rules of engagement, setting desired outcomes, leading to an acceptance, or decline by either party
  • Skype 1-3 is the coaching and mentoring loop, each session being documented with topics, observations, application of tools and homework for the next session.
  • Skype 4 is the final coaching session which will close the cycle. Here we will reflect and review to agree what are the next steps, where the options include:

Route A. Agree and commit for another (month) cycle or adjust the frequency

Route B. Take a sabbatical and schedule a future contact date

Route C. Stop. At this point we may/may not resurrect the relationship in the future.


In all of these options (a, b and c) we will set new targets, reconfirmation of commitments and agree any special support required. 

Dispute resolution – what happens if we fall out

We shall resolve any disputes or disagreements by communicating openly and commit to working together in a spirit of mutual benefit


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