Chris Paterson

Welcome to Smile Be Curious.

My name is Chris Paterson and my purpose in life is to grow resilient leaders.

I believe that in this ever changing and increasingly high pressure world, there is value in pausing and slowing down to get clear on what we really want.

I work with individuals and teams to promote growth through personal learning. My work is not just thought-provoking, it’s action-provoking as a means to deliver lasting sustainable change and improved business performance.

Welcome to Smile Be Curious.

My name is Chris Paterson and my purpose in life is to grow resilient leaders.

I believe that in this ever changing and increasingly high pressure world, there is value in pausing and slowing down to get clear on what we really want.

I work with individuals and teams to promote growth through personal learning. My work is not just thought-provoking, it’s action-provoking as a means to deliver lasting sustainable change and improved business performance.

About Me?

My purpose in life is to grow resilient leaders.

I am a senior leader with experience of developing and leading high performing teams in different countries and across different functions to deliver business results.

I have always been passionate about learning, spotting potential in others and supporting them in their growth and career development.

I guess I have always been a coach - I only started to fully appreciate it once I had some formal coach training. By going on my journey of self-discovery, what I’ve come to realise is that learning, development and growth are some of my most fundamental and core values.

Smile Be Curious represents how I want to show up as a coach and facilitator. The feedback I receive is that I have a calm presence and am approachable and this allows me to challenge my clients to be the best version of themselves.

I believe that purpose comes when we contribute to something larger than ourselves. I am the founder of a charity, GivingTime, which supports young people make the transition from education into the workplace, by delivering a professional coaching and volunteering programmes.

Recent Smile Be Curious clients include:

Coaching sessions with Chris were easily the most productive 90 minutes of the week. He supported me in identifying what kind of leader I wanted to be, and how I wanted to be perceived by others – and at the same time he challenged me to deliver on that aspiration. Never have I figured out so many answers, to questions big and small, in such a compact space of time. Armed with those solutions, I walked out of each coaching session about a foot taller and ready to take on the world.

Head of Finance, BBC

Coaching

I coach leaders to become more resilient and access their authentic leadership. By supporting them to reach their goals and bring about sustainable change, business performance is improved. In particular I coach:

  • Finance professionals
  • Leaders who want to develop their leadership skills
  • Senior leaders who are transitioning to new roles
  • Individuals returning to work after sickness absence
  • Individuals who want to get clarity about their careers

Here are some examples of coaching assignments:

  • Helping a Head of Finance at the BBC to discover his authentic leadership style as he took on an expanded team leadership role
  • Worked with Humanitarian Director of Save the Children to strengthen his leadership and ability to bring out the best in others
  • Supporting a senior Finance Director at GSK to transition to a new working culture, build strong working relationships and develop his leadership
  • Helping a manager at GSK return to work after extended absence and improve her resilience and confidence
  • Supporting a senior Finance Director at a global pharmaceutical company to transition to a new working culture, build strong working relationships and develop his leadership
  • Supporting a Finance Business Partner to develop her team leadership, build her confidence with stakeholders and improve her work life balance/resilience
  • Worked with a Director in R&D at GSK to develop her leadership and make important career decisions

Resilience

The world is becoming more complex and faster paced resulting in more pressure. Pressure itself is an enabler of high performance so how do we adapt to be able to thrive in challenging situations.

Resilience is the ability to bring out the best in ourselves when most need it. It is the ability to bounce back from set backs and emerge stronger, fitter and wiser having learnt from the experience.

Resilience is ordinary magic, is something that we all have and is a trainable quality. I work with individuals and teams to support them to connect with what resilience means for them, when they have been most resilient and how to increase their resilience even further.

I am an RQi practitioner and am able to provide clients with a validated tool to measure their resilience. People with higher RQi scores report higher subjective wellbeing, lower stress, high work performance and fewer sick days. The report comes with a coaching session where we explore the adoption of new habits and long-term behavioural change to increase resilience.

For teams, I develop customised resilience workshops where we explore what individual, team and organisational resilience mean for them and develop tangible actions to increase resilience.

Six elements of residence - RQi
The Resilience Quotient Inventory™ (RQi™) - The Six Elements of Resilience. Credit: This is Thrive

Testimonials

  • Senior Leadership Transition

    Chris provided invaluable coaching support to me through a particularly challenging work period, when I was settling into a new senior management role in the humanitarian and development sector, in a developing country.  I can honestly say we achieved a phenomenal amount through the six focused and regularly scheduled coaching sessions.

    Humanitarian Director, Global NGO
    Read all Senior Leadership Transition testimonials

    Chris is patient and perceptive, however surprising challenging coach. Being able to modulate his approach throughout our sessions enable me to rethink my traditional approach to situations, as well as let go of key mental blocks.

    Research Manager, onboarding coaching

    Chris set me at ease from the beginning, explained clearly how the coaching process would work and helped me fulfil my goal of deciding which direction I wanted to take for the next chapter in my life.

    Executive Director, International Charity

    After 20 years working in the same multinational Financial Services company, Chris supported my transition to a new role. He achieved this through using a broad range of tools, techniques, and processes to get me to really understand what motivated me, gave me energy, and brought a smile to my face. This approach made me rethink my job search and opened some new opportunities while identifying types of roles which I might not be well suited to. This deeper understanding of me was invaluable in my search. I fully recommend Chris.

    Senior Change Manager, Financial Services
  • Leadership Coaching

    I am a better leader as a result of the coaching and this has been reinforced by feedback. At all times I felt supported, but challenged by Chris. His approach was perfect for me and as a consequence I made more progress than anticipated. I highly recommend him.

    Director, GSK
    Read all Leadership Coaching testimonials

    I found the experience of being coached by Chris incredibly beneficial and the changes I made were noticed by my line manager and peers around me. I felt listened to but most importantly he gave me the strength to really believe in myself and re-develop my confidence. By the end of my coaching period with Chris, I was given effective and simple tools for my development which I continue to use today.

    Expert Marketing, GSK

    Chris demonstrated a high level of respect, patience, with a never-ending call to action, to moving to the next level – some of the coaching sessions I had with Chris remain amongst the most challenging conversations I had to date, but these were exactly what I needed. Chris did a great job of leveraging all of his experience: He was able to draw on multiple coaching tools and frameworks, plus augment these with his work and personal experiences. I found this combination extremely powerful, as Chris could do more than just “coach”, he could mentor and guide as and when he thought it appropriate and would expedite progress.

    Manager, GSK

    Chris has helped me to navigate some complex leadership and management challenges, whist also helping me to adopt fresh attitudes that are now helping me to deal with highly stressful work situations in more healthy and realistic ways. The coaching sessions have also provided deep insights that are enabling me to engage in a more positive and productive way with people both inside and outside of work. I will be forever grateful.

    Humanitarian Director, Global NGO
  • Career Coaching

    Coaching allowed me to articulate better what I wanted from my next role and how to approach looking for it. I am now far more succinct with my strengths, capabilities and what I want to develop. It in turn helped me evaluate potential roles and ultimately choose the best one for my development.

    Global Category Manager, GSK
    Read all Career Coaching testimonials

    I was at a point in my career where I needed help in clarity and purpose of my future development, Chris has got excellent skills in shining a reflective light to help me find the answers from within myself. He has a great personality and I found our sessions to be very effective and setting out a road map for my goals and focusing on what matters to me. He is a very good listener and is not afraid to ask the difficult questions when required.

    Supply Chain Manager, GSK

    I started having career coaching sessions with Chris after I had become stressed and anxious about my career at work. Chris helped me to feel more confident and gave me clear ideas of why I was not taking proactive steps towards my ambition. Chris made me see other angle of this problem and allowed me to find the strength in myself to make the necessary adjustments to seize the opportunities to become more agile and positive.

    Marketing Manager, GSK
  • Senior Finance Professionals

    Coaching sessions with Chris were easily the most productive 90 minutes of the week. He supported me in identifying what kind of leader I wanted to be, and how I wanted to be perceived by others – and at the same time he challenged me to deliver on that aspiration. Never have I figured out so many answers, to questions big and small, in such a compact space of time. Armed with those solutions, I walked out of each coaching session about a foot taller and ready to take on the world.

    Head of Finance, BBC
    Read all Senior Finance Professional testimonials

    Chris was extremely engaging and demonstrated excellent listening skills and a genuine empathy for the range and complexity of the challenges that I face in my working life. Relevant and compelling anecdotes and stories were used to help me to consider strategies to enable me to remain effective in the challenging months ahead. I ultimately gained a better understanding of my strengths, my core values and my organisational cultural preferences. The coaching from Chris has reminded me of the importance of my various support networks and maintaining an appropriate work/life and this will help me to strengthen my personal resilience and enable me to support my organisation to arrive “at a better place”.

    Director of Finance, College of Further Education

    Chris has an incredibly genuine, sincere and non-judgemental approach which is conducive to effective coaching sessions. I felt able to open up and be vulnerable in safe environment whilst tackling difficult subjects I needed to confront. I have since made permanent beneficial changes and continue to work on others which concern adapting habits and patterns of thinking which have become ingrained over a lifetime. Chris has given me tools and techniques to continue to work on these long-term.

    Finance Business Partner, BBC

    The coaching element of the CFO training was the element I was least looking forward to. I didn’t know what to expect, how it would work or what value it would add. I could not have been more wrong. For me, the coaching element was the pinnacle of the whole programme. Whilst I am sure the process in theory could work for all, it was due to Chris himself with his challenging but supportive technique that helped me clearly see where I wanted to get, to how and when. It sounds clichéd but it was a light bulb moment. After my first coaching call, I was so energised and focused. I started to make changes immediately following the coaching and the course and I have now secured the CFO role I was searching for. I cannot speak highly enough of Chris.

    CFO, 6th Form College

    Chris listens well and uses excellent probing questions to get you to think deeply about your responses. I felt that I could trust Chris’s judgement yet he was not judgemental.

    CFO, 6th Form College
  • Returners Coaching

    Being coached by Chris is really a remarkable experience – he is able to support you, open your mind up, makes you question yourself and your views. Helps you break down barriers and obstacles by analysing them with you so they become small achievable milestones. For me the value of coaching has meant that I can achieve anything I set my mind to do by putting things into perspective and believing in myself.

    Returner to work, GSK
    Read all Returners Coaching testimonials

    Chris provided a series of one to one coaching sessions for my return to work following long term absence. He created a calm space of openness where we worked together to explore ideas and practical ways to achieve my goals. His skilled coaching enhanced the steps that I was progressing with between sessions and was an integral component to the successful outcome. His coaching sessions imparted me with a renewed sense of empowerment, confidence and optimism and I would recommend working with Chris if you have the opportunity.

    Returner to work, GSK

    What I found most valuable from coaching with Chris was his ability to temper my self-belief in a subtle consistent way. I worried that this might be patronising or false, but it wasn’t. Working with Chris gave me the impression that he did not doubt I could achieve my goals without ever feeling that I was on my own. Chris’ strength as a coach, in my opinion, comes from the calm, assured way he interacts with you and he made me excited to share progress (and pitfalls) because his confidence did not waver, even when mine did. My experience of coaching with Chris was extremely positive. It helped me to understand my strengths and to identify areas which were important to me so that I could work towards them. Probably the best I can say was that by the end of the training I was able to work as we did but on my own. In that sense it was extremely empowering and I am extremely grateful that I got to work with Chris.

    Data Analyst, GSK