Ask-me-anything

Well, OK ... not anything. If you want relationship advice, I'm not your man.

As you can see from my unconventional career, however, I've worked in lots of different roles in my two decades as an informal educator - both within organisations as well as training and advising them from the outside. For example, I've served as one of the EPSRC's public engagement mentors advising many large-scale PE projects which engaged people in STEM across the UK.

So, whether you have detailed questions about how to work with a shy volunteer onstage or you want to discuss more widely how to run an educational business which meets both its mission and profit goals, I will do my best to help you in these virtual, 1-on-1 sessions. It's your call to lead. 

To make this support more concrete, here are some other scenarios where coaching might be helpful. However, these are suggested only for illustration, not to constrain you.

Professional educators in visitor attractions and outreach organisations -for example, advising:

  • a museum on how to devise an engaging presentation training programme for their education staff;
  • a new science centre on how to set-up and develop their school and public education departments;
  • an outreach organisation on how to improve their marketing to primary schools;
  • a children's magician on how to write an educational show for schools on a particular topic;
  • a historical attraction on the logistics and processes behind starting an outreach programme from scratch;
  • a theatre-in-education group on how to introduce more interactivity in their performances for secondary schools.

Professionals in universities, businesses or charities who engage the public as part of their job -for instance, advising:

  • anyone preparing to give a high-profile public presentation about a complex subject e.g. a TEDx talk; a pitch to potential investors; a communication competition for researchers;
  • researchers who want advice on submitting a proposal for a public engagement grant;
  • businesses on how to create engagement training programmes for their employees who want to do outreach;
  • academics who are brainstorming the best medium or technique to explain a technical concept to a public audience;
  • charity workers on how best to market their free awareness-raising talks to teachers;
  • business leaders who want to inspire the next generation by delivering interactive talks in schools.

If you want to enquire about a session please first take a moment to read through any relevant FAQs below.

Paul has been an amazing source of inspiration and expertise to us here at science made simple. We have worked with him on fine-tuning some aspects of our new shows and in the continuing professional development of our presenters. 


His feedback is always positive and constructive and comes form a position of many years experience learning his craft in the field and through his academic study of the subject area. He is a pleasure to work with and truly passionate about what he does.

Wendy Sadler

Director, Science Made Simple

FAQs

How do I know that you will be able to help with my questions? They are very niche.

As a coach, I will only take you on if I feel that I can add significant value to your current practice or your plans.

I will try to guide you as best I can given my experiences in informal education. But it's important to appreciate that a large part of the coaching process is having an external observer posing precisely the right questions to help you develop your own thinking or mindset. It's rarely about offering simple, generic solutions.

Is the call confidential?

The coaching calls are not recorded and their content is always strictly confidential - it's the only way that coaching could possibly be effective.

If the project or issue is particularly sensitive, I will sign any reasonable non-disclosure agreement. In this case I'll also destroy the notes I make during the call, possibly by eating them.

Do you get busy?

Without wanting to sound like an smarmy salesperson engineering false scarcity, I genuinely only have limited availability for these calls. Even though I find it rewarding to help individuals directly and useful in highlighting problematic topics, my current focus is on creating resources which can reach as many educators as possible.

Please don't be offended if I am not able to offer a session when you enquire.

How much does a session cost?

In many education sectors there is barely enough money to fund group training, let alone pay for individual coaching. As you can see from the example topics listed above, this personalised support is more likely to be viable when the outcome of the coaching can be directly linked to a funded project or to some monetary gain.

As a guide, the cost of a 30-minute coaching call is £60 (+VAT) and a 60-minute session costs £100 (+VAT).

How will the session be arranged?

  • You submit an enquiry form outlining the main issues you want to discuss in the call.
  • If I have availability and I think I can provide sufficient added value in terms of these issues, I'll email a simple contract for you to sign electronically. I will also send a link to an online calendar where you can select a mutually convenient date and time for the session.
  • For the call we will use a video conferencing platform that you can access online through a link. I may be using the video screencasting facility during the call, but your device will only need to have access to a microphone, not a camera.

How do I pay you?

After the call I will email you an invoice which can be paid by card online or by bank transfer.

If your organisation requires a purchase order to be drawn up first, I can send you a quotation to facilitate this.

What if I'm not happy with the call?

The relationship between coach and coachee (yep, apparently it's a word) is a powerful, yet fragile, thing. It depends on many subtle factors such as mutual trust, shared expectations and our unique personalities. Sometimes the chemistry just isn't there after only one call.

So, if you are unsatisfied with the session for any reason, I will listen to your concerns and try to learn from them. You won't be invoiced for the call - it's not in my long-term interest to have a disgruntled client.

Can I book more than one session?

Steady on, you might hate me. It's usually safer to start with one call.

If you're interested and I have availability, a future package of ongoing coaching can be booked at a discounted rate.

Paul worked with us on all stages of our project, from the initial design and fund-raising activities through to training and delivery.


At all stages his contribution was invaluable, and he was always readily available to consult and freely offered us his wealth of experience. He was full of good ideas but he also knew when to step back and let us run with our own ideas.

Prof Fred Currell

Formerly Queen's University of Belfast

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