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“I've had two coaching sessions with Lucy so far, and am blown away by the impact it's had on my progress. We've worked on a longer term career plan, which has really improved my focus and motivation. Can't wait to keep going!” 

Emma Johnson, Saxophonist, Composer and Bandleader


"Lucy is one of the most genuine individuals in the business. I've asked for her guidance on all things from funding applications to album sign offs and little musical ideas to festival commissions and she's always given a considered and helpful response that has led to my success - I genuinely wouldn't be where I am without Lucy's input in my career. There's not many you can trust like Lucy!"

Sam Healey, Saxophonist, Bandleader Skeltr


Written submissions for coaching accreditation Summer 2020 

Lucy Woolley

RD1st Coaching Discourse 2020 

I’ve worked for the last 8 years on artist development programmes with musicians in a variety of genres of music, helping them to develop their careers, their creative process and build their confidence in performance. I came to coaching to find a way to work more closely with them on defining and achieving their own goals rather than them looking to me purely to give advice. I feel strongly it would serve them better to empower them to find their own path than signpost them on the one most obvious to me, or the organisation I am working for. 


In the role of artist development, there is a fine boundary in the relationship between the artist and practitioner. Often times this is blurred by artists’ individual personalities and changing needs - professional, emotional, social. The role of an artist development manager might include on any given day counselling, coaching, mediating, being a lawyer, a friend and a critical ear. A coaching approach would allow for the more defined relationship, and allow me to establish stronger boundaries around my working relationships. It will also give me the confidence to work with any artist no matter their circumstances or challenges, as I will be able to adapt the principles and practice of coaching to them. 


Having given some consideration over the last few years to the role of artist development in musicians careers, and noticed the growth in artist development programmes, I feel strongly that artists should be treated more as individuals rather than groups of musicians. I feel that coaching would offer a unique opportunity within the sector for a more bespoke and strategic interaction with artists. I’m excited by this idea of strategic and individual support for artists, being able to support them with no judgement or pre-determined route or goal they should achieve. This is where I hope to focus my time following the course. I will use my coaching skills on a one to one basis, allowing artists to be supported directly for their needs and not in an over-arching programme designed for them by other parts of the sector.  


Already after implementing small elements of my learning so far into my work I can already see the impact with the artists I engage with, and the groups I lead. Their existing knowledge and instinct are well informed, more often than not they know what is best for them and why, so it has led to some fruitful conversations around goals, achievements and ambition. I can notice the change in energy and enthusiasm from having the confidence and plan to approach this themselves. 


I came to coaching as a way to equip myself to better serve those I work with, but I feel maybe the result will be I can equip others better to identify and reach their own often unspoken goals. It offers me an exciting new strand to my work at a time of great upheaval and uncertainty in the industry, which I think has endless opportnities for artists in their careers moving forward, and I am excited to explore where these possibilities might lead. 

Lucy Woolley 

RD1st Case Study 2020 


This case study will focus on a single 60 minute session, held with a musician, with no previous experience of coaching. 


In my career, my experience to date has primarily been working with artists on their individual development. I expect that a large amount of the work that I will use my coaching in will be working with musicians, artists or those working in the wider creative industries. The philosophy of reflection and holding the space resonates strongly with my ambitions for coaching, specifically in wanting to support a safe space for artists and encourage individual ownership of future ambitions. 


The coachee in this session, chose to focus her goal on building a future career that allowed her to focus on creative projects she enjoyed and that supported her financially, over having to accept less fulfilling projects to bring in income.


The session

Focusing on the GROW model for the session, my first instinct was to explore a bit further the goal, I asked the coachee ‘how she would love it to be’, this enabled her to consider in more depth what the goal was, how that might be defined and therefore what changes she would need to make to her current situation to achieve the future goal. Although the goal initially seemed quite broad, she had clearly spent some time considering it in advance of our session and was able to be quite specific about what areas she wanted to develop.


We then explored the reality of the current situation, I asked her what her week would look like if she achieved the goal, and then I asked her how this compared to her current week, and the impact of her current situation. This elicited quite a long and descriptive explanation of the current challenges and how she wanted to develop the areas that brought her pleasure and satisfaction. Within this section I was able to reflect back at numerous times, and this led to further comments and explanations of the reality of the current situation. 


Reflecting back led the coachee to expand on the current work she does in the areas of her career that she does enjoy. I was hesitant at this stage to move into the ‘options’ section, as I felt there was more discovery around the reality we could do before moving forward, however as part of the reflection and her exploration of the areas of work she would like to develop, she herself began to offer options for work she could do to develop these areas. 


Again at this time I chose to reflect back, which encouraged her to commit to some of the suggestions made. At this stage she commented on the reflections, saying ‘you are just like a reflective mirror, showing me what I already know’. 


The coachee’s choice to go into the options section voluntarily, and this acknowledgement that she already had some ideas of how to move forward, felt like a lightbulb moment within the session. I could see the change of energy as she looked to the future and the changes that she could make to work towards that.


I gave her the space to talk through the options she had identified, encouraging her to consider ‘What else?’. As we came towards the end of the session, I chose to recap some of the options she had identified, and moved into the ‘will’ section of GROW, asking ‘What’s the first step in making this happen?’. The coachee then took the choice to again recap the things she wanted to do, and summarised that firstly she needed to evaluate her financial situation to understand where she had room to make time for these more fulfilling creative projects, and this was the first step in setting a plan for the future. 


As I closed the session, I asked her what she was taking away from the session, and in her comments is where I found my successes as a coach. Her comments included - 


‘I uncovered some new paths that I probably knew were good but I hadn’t had to confront before’


‘It was helpful to map out my mind and the time period that I wanted to achieve it in. It’s motivating to get it started’. 


I felt this reflected my ambitions as a coach, especially in regards to working with artists and encouraging them to find their individual path and that she felt she had explored the map and time frame to reaching her goal. I felt pleased that I had achieved the session and managed to work naturally through the GROW model within the time frame and she had been able to take away something productive and actionable by the end. 



I was uncertain about her acknowledging the reflecting back, as I felt that perhaps it hadn’t been natural enough, or would make her conscious of the process, but I felt that with more thought it was a positive acknowledgement and had worked overall in helping her process her thoughts and question her thinking. 


There were two main challenges that I noted during the session. The first was that as a coachee, I felt she was regularly looking to pass the baton back to me as to where the session went next. I was able to acknowledge this to myself as a coach within the session, and chose to reflect back more to try and keep the baton back with her. 


The second challenge was in wanting to offer advice to the coachee in what her options might be.  In my role previously working with musicians I have built up alot of knowledge in the areas that she raised during the session. It is my natural instincts to offer advice to the artists I work with in these areas. I also felt this is another area in which the coachee had an expectation of me, and this is something I need to consider moving forward. 


I think my key area’s for development that I learnt from this session are to work harder to detach myself from the coachee’s background and have a less expectant approach to the outcomes of the session. I need to put my own experiences to one side and approach the session cleanly with each coachee, helping to minimise my desire to give advice or guidance alongside the coaching. I would like to develop a way to enable musicians to have a clean and focused coaching session, but to also make use of the knowledge and experience I have gained about the sector that would combine to offer a more strategic plan for the future.


Further I think I need to work better on setting an expectation for the client around my role within the session, I think this will grow over time as I learn to more confidently own my coaching role, but I can also work on how I explain the role of a coach within the session, and the purpose of what coaching is, to ensure that we both have the same expectation of the session. 


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