Tag Archives: Dorothy Dalton

How to create a powerful LinkedIn profile

Confused about LinkedIn? No idea where to start?

This online group coaching session is for you!

When:  Thursday June 19th 2014

Time:   2000 CEST /1900 BST (UK) / 1400 (EDT) 1200 (PDT)

LinkedIn is one of the major tools for establishing a solid professional presence which is critical to creating and consolidating what is known as a Personal Brand. In a  reputation economy have a strong and positive online presence is absolutely vital for any professional.   It is also one of the main tools and platforms used by hiring managers, search consultants  to identify and research candidates for their open assignments.

Many don’t understand the significance of an online presence or even how to go about setting one up.

 Join this  live online group coaching session to learn about the benefits of a complete and impactful professional profile from the comfort of your own home of office.

    • Learn how to optimise the main searchable fields and leverage the services provided by LinkedIn to best advantage.
    • Understand the importance of powerful language choice
    • Understand the value of key words relevant
    • Get an overview of the main functions to extend your network reach
    • learn how to raise your visibility

You will receive an invitation to login to the session on registration. Pre-session assignment –  register a LinkedIn profile.


How to deal with the label Whistleblower

noun: whistleblower :
a person who informs on a person or organization regarded as engaging in an unlawful or immoral activity.
Many people assume that “whistle blowing” is associated with high level governmental and corporate corruption. Images appear in our Hollywood fuelled imaginations of dubious, clandestine meetings held in underground car parks in the dead of night, with individuals wearing Dick Tracy style trench coats and fedoras.
Although most of us have seen movies and read about these situations, the average employee possibly doesn’t encounter breaches of integrity in exactly this way. Most are far more prosaic and pedestrian. But the issues still prey on our consciences.
How does someone cope when the organisation they work for and its leadership seems to have lost its moral compass?  Many struggle when they have a livelihood to protect not knowing how far to pursue the situation within the hierarchy of their own company, when to leave and when to report these incidents to the authorities. How then do they deal with the questioning in interviews and the labels of “troublemaker” or “crusader?”
When less is more
Questioning on reasons for leaving a previous job is normal. Wanting to work in an organisation which is aligned with our core values is also normal and a perfectly acceptable response to any questioning. It is at the core of any personal branding work. To respond in exactly this way, pre-supposes that any previous company was not meeting those values well, or even at all. There is no need to be overtly negative. This another case when less is probably more.
 Need help dealing with tricky interview questions? Check out the individual coaching programmes.

3 case studies

Simon was a hi-po marketing and innovation specialist working in the petro-chemical industry. He reported his company to the authorities when he came across evidence of bribery and corruption. He was “counselled out” and fears he has been blacklisted within the sector, as 8 months later he is still on the job market. 

Martina, a junior tax accountant with a law background, highlighted some accounting discrepancies to her senior management and found herself suddenly moved to another division and location, with access to the files withdrawn. Unsure what she had uncovered, and having seen what she perceived to be “other grey areas” she decided to leave. She feels she is quizzed in detail in interviews about her reasons for leaving and wonders if she is being judged as a “trouble-maker.”

 Joel left his company after acting as a witness for an ex-colleague in an internal bullying and harassment enquiry. The case against his boss was eventually dropped and he was re-instated. He is also questioned about his actions.

Cultural fit 
If any organisation perceives a person with a high level of integrity to be a potential “troublemaker” then the cultural match is not right. Walk away and continue the job search. There is value to being a whistleblower and that is being seen as a person of integrity. 
If there is a pattern of similar issues then there is a likelihood of being labelled as a “crusader”, which is quite different. But even that would also suggest that the cultural fit is not right. If you have a mission for exposing corporate wrong doing then there should be other more appropriate avenues to explore and its important to carry out the basic reflection about core values. A pacifist may struggle to work for a company supplying the military for example. A non drinker may not want to work for a company producing alcohol.
Job search research should be thorough and it would be wise to be more focused when targeting organisations. Vigilance is also needed about selecting the right boss. The interview process is a two-way street which many forget. Some would even say the right boss is more important than the company.
Making sure that a company or boss has values that are aligned with your own is important in any interview process and difficult to establish. From that point onwards compromise maybe necessary and only the individual can know what their own limits are.
What would you do if your values were tested?
bored businesman

Over communication: 7 reasons to learn “Mench”

One of the key messages across the board at the JUMP forum in Paris was gender communication differences and the impact this has on workplace mis-communication. Not one, but multiple speakers raised this issue, with a particular emphasis on over communication. 

Hmmm.. I thought I need to listen this. Although for a woman I am reasonably direct and brief, I still have the capacity to deliver a monologue on something I feel passionate about.  Some reseach shows that some women can twice as many words as men. We tend to speak in paragraphs, not sentences.

Many of us like to tell the whole story, every last word, down to the finest detail.

But is over communication strictly a gender issue? I don’t think so. I know any number of men who could talk for their countries.  Women often make comments about the monosyllabic “report” style communication patterns of the men in their lives, thinking that the rapport we create via our own delivery is much better. But Lynette Allen, Co-Founder Her Invitation suggests that over sharing (over communication) can indeed be a female characteristic which we use to our detriment seeing it as an  “unconsciously displayed behaviour which actively holds women back. They have to learn to be more succinct in the workplace and not tell the whole story and even more.”  A recent article in the Harvard Business Review  suggested what happened to a senior woman in a meeting ” was like a snowball going down a hill and picking up stuff in its path”  and was a real barrier to being taken seriously.

This message made such an impact on me that recently in recounting a tale I asked in two separate instances if the listeners wanted the “mini- series” version or the “book cover blurb.” One was in a social context with old friends, who clearly wanted the total scoop. The other, was a more professional situation where an overview was requested. I’m going to make asking my new habit.

So why does over communication cause mis-communication, isn’t it important that everyone has all the details?

  1. Your thinking appears cloudy and muddled if you are unable to be succinct and your message becomes blurred in verbiage. If you forget the point of why you’re telling something, you have gone seriously adrift. People stop listening and you fail to get your message across.  You have become a snowball and snowballs melt. Ding!
  2. It seems that you don’t respect other people’s time if you over communicate in any situation, you run the risk of your listener shutting down and retreating, either physically or psychologically. At the far end of the spectrum they will avoid you totally. In all cases your message is not going through. Ding!
  3. It seems that you don’t respect your own time if every time a simple social question of “How are you?” produces a twenty-minute discourse on your health or what is going on for you,  you give the impression of being a poor time manager.  Ding!
  4. It suggests that you are not in touch with your audience as you don’t recognise social cues.  So just as if you were going to France you would try to speak a bit of French, If you are delivering to a male audience then try to speak in a language they will understand. Mench? Ding
  5. It indicates a lack of empathy especially when you fail to pick up disconnected body language signs (loss of eye contact, fidgeting) If you are talking, you are not listening. Ding! Ding!
  6.  If you need to talk to wear someone down with your voice, then they are agreeing under duress. That was not successful communication. It could even be considered a form of passive aggression if you don’t allow your listener the opportunity  to participate. Ding!
  7. It suggests that you think what you have to say is more important than what others have to say and conveys arrogance Ding! Ding!
  8. It confirms that you like the sound of your own voice, email etc. See point 7. Ditto Ding!

Lynette felt that while organisational culture is male dominated this is a necessary work- around to get our voices heard. Isn’t this another one of those fix women things? No apparently not, it can be completely gender neutral. Factor in a general reduction in people’s attention span, then anything prolonged is going to be ineffective for both men and women alike. We have already seen the one minute elevator pitch cut back into the 30 second commercial.

So perhaps the converse  can also apply  Maybe we should start saying  “OK that was the book cover blurb  – now give me the mini-series”

What do you think?

networking etiquette

Political Skills and Networking Workshop

Networking has been identified as a key political skill for career success. Yet it is one that many women struggle with despite being great relationship builders.

I will be running an interactive workshop as part of  the JUMP Forum Paris. Check the JUMP web site for registration details.

Who should attend · If you are a reluctant networker and struggle to raise your visibility within and outside your own organisation

· If you are you confused about online networking and how it can support actual networking

· If you avoid networking events completely

· If you want practical networking tips to implement immediately (where to network, ice breakers, moving on, mingling, establishing contact)

Learn how to take the “work” out of “networking” to create a BASIC networking strategy that suits your personality and meets your goals in a fun and interactive environment.

corridors of power

First Job Dictionary

During my many years experience as well as time spent as an MBA coach,  I have encountered multiple cases of post- graduation disillusionment, with ex-students going through what I call F.J.S. or First Job Syndrome. Indeed I had it myself back in the day. Emerging from the intellectual hot houses of university or business school with so many like-minded people,  as the promise of corporate excellence recedes, our first flush of euphoria is replaced by a nasty dose of career realism.

Where are those corridors of power?

Junior account executives are not closing those high-profile, six or seven-figure deals, but up updating the prospect data base via hour after hour of grinding internet research or cold calling. Trainee lawyers are not wheeling and dealing in the corridors of power, but pulling all nighters proofing deadly boring legal documents and checking precedents. My H.R. career started somewhat ingloriously with many hours spent in the photo copy room.

Why is there such a wide disconnect between the realities of working life and the expectations of the newly graduated?

The reality is that in many cases there are sure “tells” in the adverts for the position which we have all failed to see.

What we need is a First Job Dictionary to guide us through the pitfalls of our first months in our new jobs to avoid the debilitating and demoralising condition of F.J.S.

Here are 10  translations that I have identified over the years:

  1. Hands on mind-set:  you will have to do absolutely everything your self which will almost certainly involve hands, most probably yours. Anyone else’s is a bonus. (Get their number)
  2. Flexible hours: you have complete freedom to arrive as early and stay as late as you want.
  3. Challenging environment:  our profit margins are down, our cash flow is non-existent and the boss is a sandwich short of a picnic. What can we say?
  4. Attractive salary package and vibrant team spirit:  we pay up to 20% less than the market rate but we do go to the pub at Christmas.
  5. Regional training schemes: you are likely to be sent (on a train) to a remote outpost where its redeeming feature is that it is no longer a war zone.
  6. Your strong interpersonal and communication skills will be an asset: many of the team are highly dysfunctional and some can’t spell. Be happy if no one talks to you and be worried if they do.
  7. Strategic risk analysis: we have an office Dream Football team so with the World Cup coming up we badly need someone who knows things about soccer strategy and gaming. Strategic risk analysis is part of the Health and Safety function, clearly because it’s so dangerous and risky.
  8. Exciting plans in the pipeline: we have absolutely no clue what will happen next week let alone next year (see points 1, 2, 3  6 and 9) which is why it’s so fun.  
  9. Multi- faceted experience:  you will fill our four open vacancies. Don’t worry if you don’t have an Engineering degree. English and History work fine  – what we really need  is someone who can figure out how old everything is.  So you do need to be able to read. Ideal really.
  10.  Open plan office:  We are a 20 minute walk from the nearest train station. Plan a long walk in the open air.

So what other translations would you add to the First Job Dictionary for the Class of 2015?

Do you have a device addiction?

I have both a lap top and an iPad and I notice that with each acquisition the device gets smaller,  lighter and more portable. I then find myself checking my email and social media platforms more frequently than I did before. Do I have a device addiction? I’m not sure, but perhaps like any other addiction, if I am even pondering the question, then I definitely think I’m in the “at risk” category.

Checking in

One of the signs apparently that we are addicted to social media is if we check in the morning before doing anything else first.  I confess  – not quite first …but close!  I charge my iPad in my kitchen and while I’m waiting for my coffee – I have quick check. I also confess to getting twitchy if I can’t access wifi. When booking hotels it’s one of my primary requirements, coming a close second only to a bed.

I have just bought a new phone.  I am embarrassed to say that my old model cost £5 many years ago. To put this in context, in the mobile phone hierarchy it would have the same ranking as a social outcast.  If it was a geological period it would probably get a Paleocene dating. I would never show it in public and certainly never put it on a table in a meeting. Many find this astounding for someone like me, but if I am not available by email or landline, then generally it’s because I am not available at all. In fact somewhat surprisingly I hardly use my mobile. I opened a text message wishing me a Happy New Year in March. Despite warnings about toxic signals next to my head, I use a mobile phone mainly for the alarm, plus the occasional emergency.  I rarely know where it is and am regularly phoning myself to track it down.

So my new purchase needed to be upgraded, de rigueur, functionally effective and to meet my needs. When I canvassed my tech savvy friends and family about possible replacement choices I confounded them all by saying that I did not want to access my email on my phone.

Why? In case it sets me on the slippery device addiction slope.

I simply have no idea how I would be if I had a device that I could hold in one hand. I have become aware of seeing people checking their phones in all manner of situations which wouldn’t have existed years ago, Last night alone at the gym a woman was desperately trying to text or mail while doing a reasonably serious jog on a treadmill. The treadmill won.  A couple in a restaurant instead of chatting, responded to alerts from their Smart phones more attentively than each other.  The famous graffiti artist Banksys in his latest offering “Mobile Lovers”  confirms this compulsive trend. How many of us have been forced to listen to banal intrusive conversations on trains, restaurants and supermarkets? Or watched people seemingly muttering to themselves in the streets with what appear to be surgically embedded implants attached to their heads.

Slide to open

This next comment has no basis in fact at all, but I think someone should do research on touch screens.  I definitely think they contribute to the compulsiveness of checking messages.  They are the equivalent of a threshold drug, stealthily drawing you in to a pattern of behaviour. There is certainly something in “slide to open” which is more inviting, tactile and almost sensual than pushing down on a hard  plastic button. Research from Deloitte tells us that people check their mobile devices 150 times a day. Based on each “check” taking 30 seconds,  I calculated that  this simple compulsive action takes 75 minutes out of our days. Calculating what that amounts to on an annual basis is a horrifying 19 days. I use this number when people whinge about not having time to network or not having time for anything at all.


As an international debate gathers momentum about technology and mental health and whether excessive after hours contact by organisations should be limited by law,  we also need to take stock of our own compulsions. Further research shows that employees in Canada and the U.S. cost companies $1.1 billion a week in time “spent browsing the Web, corresponding on social networks and personal email and keeping up with sports form a big part of that lost effort” according to BOLT.

So taking into account my declining control over my devices as they become smaller and more portable, I finally compromised on a model. It looks cool enough to take out of my bag without blushing and I can access email features in the case of an emergency. It has both a key board and a touch screen.  You can already guess which I am gravitating towards. Whether this will be sufficient to curtail my “check ins” only time will tell.

Next step device anonymous?

How many times a day do you “slide to open?”

leg waxing

10 things networking and leg waxing have in common

You might be surprised,  but the reaction that many people have to networking can be likened to the way they feel about having their legs waxed. The processes are identical in many ways that you probably haven’t even thought of:

  • The thought of it makes you cringe: both networking and leg waxing produce that response. Not many people feel totally comfortable doing either. The person for whom the phrase “walking dinner” is music to their ears is a rare body.  
  • You procrastinate: well who wouldn’t?  Choosing the right moment when you have such a busy calendar is always difficult when there are so many other demands made of your time. It’s not easy to prioritise.
  • You need a drink: well who doesn’t? It helps the pain.
  • It really does hurt:  indeed both can be painful and nerve-racking.  
  • You have to feel the fear and do it anyway:  You really do. Why? The worst is over quickly. The pain only lasts a few seconds.
  • But the results are great and worth it: after both exercises and following through is certainly better than the alternative. You might be satisfied with a smooth satin finished leg or coming home with a number of helpful contacts or any other useful information. Or possibly you have been able to help someone you met at an event or function. Many people neglect their networks until they have a problem when it is too late and they pursue emergency  solutions.
  • You wonder why you make such a fuss: in fact you feel pretty foolish at the barriers you put up. It wasn’t that bad at all.
  • You know you have to build it in to your grooming regime: you know deep down you have to make a strategic commitment to doing this regularly and incorporating the process into your beauty routine.  It makes sense.  The same with networking.
  • You have to do it again in six weeks:  of course you do, because the lack of regular maintenance produces undesired visible effects and you run the risk of people not wanting to be around you, preferring the company of someone who is more attentive.  
  • You make an extra effort for summer, vacations, anniversaries, special occasions: clearly there are special circumstances which require a special effort  where you might be more exposed and therefore vulnerable.

What else can you add?

Does excessive after hours contact need legislation?

In a new study published by Deloitte, they identify 12 challenges facing today’s organisations and H.R. leaders. One of the greatest has been newly termed “the overwhelmed employee.” This is a direct response to employees being  forced to deal with the constant flow of messages and to cope with semi-permanent availability demanded by modern business life and after hours contact.


With a well identified connection between multi-tasking, inefficiency and stress it should be in any organisations best interests to protect the psychological well-being of their workforces.  But can organisations be relied upon to establish voluntary codes for their managers to not excessively contact their reports or colleagues outside the employee’s business hours? Do we need to see legislation protecting employee mental health with after hours contact having clearly defined maximum legal limits or even being made illegal?

Research shows that we check our mobile phones on average 150 times a day and our concentration has been reduced to seven minutes.  With Gallup research telling us that only 13% of employees are engaged, in the executive search sector we know that over two-thirds of workers are “actively passive” candidates, open to approach from people like me. Employee engagement is now a major challenge for most organisations with many, both men and women, willing to leave corporate life to “have a life”.  Those with highly marketable skill sets and top performers will move around until they find the companies which offer the best overall conditions. The negative impact on organisational effectiveness will be high.  A strong employer brand will become of increasing importance based on employment conditions and culture.

Saul is a Director in an international consulting company and already identified as being on track to become Partner. His business development commitments and targets have ratched up as a result of this. He told me that not one single meal out of a possible 15 were with his girlfriend, not even dinner. He was also leaving on Sunday to take a flight to the U.S. Not unsurprisingly he is contemplating other career options.  During our session he told me that his boss had sent him  yet another task for his already overfilled, potentially 15 hour Monday. His smart response was to ask him to prioritise.  “If I complete this new task I will need to drop one of the others. We can’t all keep going on like this. Some of my senior managers almost brag about how little time they spend with their families and then they are surprised when their kids start getting into trouble at school.


In Germany it is now illegal for public service managers to contact employees after hours by phone or email, a measure introduced by Ursula von der Leyen, the Labour Minister to protect workers mental health and to avoid burnout. The new guidelines stipulate that ministry staff should not be penalised for switching off their mobiles or failing to pick up messages out of hours. They should not be contacted at all for any task that could be effectively carried out the following  day.

The U.K. Institute of Management calls for companies to work “smarter not harder.”  In a leaflet to its 89000 members they say “that calls made to an employee at home could be construed as an invasion of privacy.”

Do you think organisations will be able to impose voluntary codes of conduct on their managers, or do you think we have reached the point where legislation is required?

Complete the poll!


stolen handbag

Personal security and work

As someone who is an active networker both on and off-line, I am frequently asked about personal security. I have to say that although it doesn’t overly pre-occupy,  I am always judicious.

Online networking

There is a certain irony that men and women will go on dating sites without hesitation, connecting with each other romantically and eventually meeting, with really only minimal precautions.The same basic security measures also apply to professional networking.

There are clearly potentially psychopaths on all social networks and online networking which can lead to some inappropriate or extreme situations but there are many safety nets in place to protect us. We can block and report. Many people will only connect with people they know personally, although I’m not in that camp.  On LinkedIn I always check credentials and ensure that profiles are reasonably complete, with a picture.   I am more relaxed on Twitter, but consider it generally wise to avoid naked people. My content is always completely professional.

I have a vast online network and have had very few poor experiences. Sometimes these have been rooted in cultural or language issues, when a short note indicating that I use the network for professional purposes does the trick.   I was once asked for my private telephone number, but as the gentleman was the same age as my son, a kindly recommendation to consult an optician seemed the appropriate course of action.

Actual networking

If you go on to meet an online connection (and I have) then apply the same personal security measures as if going on a date.  Always arrange to meet in public places, well-known reputable venues, let someone know where you are going and keep your mobile switched on.  If the contact wants to meet in a dubious watering hole, in an isolated location,  late at night   – don’t go.   It’s really not hard.

Every day professional situations

The anomaly is that although there are many cautionary safety tales published about the  vulnerability of our personal security when networking, in some ways  we can be more exposed in other seeming routine areas of our daily professional lives. This is not just women, Increasingly men are also tell me that they are also becoming more cautious.

  • Travelling – I have probably seen too many movies,  but I find underground car parks particularly challenging,  following a late night incident some years ago. Arriving alone in train stations or airports late at night is especially creepy.   If it’s not possible to be collected or take a cab, some car parks have well-lit women’s parking zones. Make a note of your space number so you can go easily and quickly to your car. Don’t write that on the ticket.  Carry a whistle or alarm. Anecdotal evidence suggests that even some of the burliest guys are investing in key chain alarms. If driving  late at night is part of your professional life, membership to an emergency breakdown service would be wise – just in case.
  • Working late:  many companies will provide taxi services to employees working after a certain hour for security reasons. That is a great bonus – use it or ask for it.  It’s always best to let someone know you are working late and not to work late alone of that can be helped.
  • I.D badges: Many large organisations have increased security against accidental or malicious harm, crime and other threats. Our bags are searched at the entrance or even screened through a security monitor. Sometimes we have to pass through metal detectors and are obliged to wear badges with photo ID, our name and quite often the company logo. I heard two stories where individuals were approached on the metro because of  their ID badge. One was from an old school chum visiting Brussels from the United States and the other was unwelcome. After a drinks party with his ID badge on display all evening, a contact found himself the object of a total stranger’s interest and she pursued him relentlessly until he threatened to file a police report.  Keep your badge in your briefcase when not in the office. Many forget,  especially at lunch time or at after work drinks. In a reputation economy,  a name and company is the only lead a person needs to start tracking someone down.
  • Collection:  I was collected at Manchester airport by a man who after some conversation claimed to be from a taxi service where I had booked a cab . It was only afterward did I realise that I didn’t ask for ID,  and actually hopped into a car with someone who may not have been bona fida. He was,  but I had failed to do due diligence  in the same way as I would have done online. It’s easily done.

What other security situations have you encountered as part of your professional activities?

6 ways to shine in a group interview

6 ways to shine in a group interview

An increasing number of companies are now carrying out group interviews to reduce recruitment costs.  As an added benefit, this process also allows hiring managers to measure the performance of potential candidates simultaneously and to make behavioural and leadership assessments which they can rank.  Although this type of interview practise is carried out more frequently at junior levels,  I am starting to hear that this selection style  is being implemented for more senior roles.

For many this can be a nerve-racking experience.

Some key tips for a group interview:

  1. Non verbal communication – grooming is paramount in a group situation and an authoritative professional image will be significant in making a strong first impression and as a way to stand out from the crowd.  Dress appropriately for the sector you are targeting, always erring on the side of caution and being more conservative.  Unless you are interviewing in the fashion industry avoid making fashion statements. If you know you are presenting anything to camera, avoid bold patterns  Make sure body language, posture and diction are all flawless. Practise all your intros even the shortest USP.
  2. Be punctual – for you this means early. You could be assessed by everyone from the receptionist onwards. These informal situations give you the opportunity to showcase your social skills.
  3. Your 30 second commercial  –  this should be in your DNA with skills and success stories so deeply engrained that you can highlight them fluently, even when under pressure.  Sometimes you maybe asked to do a presentation to camera or even to present a fellow candidate. Listen to them attentively when they recount their own bios. I coached someone recently who learned he had a tendency to use “upspeak and “like”  and “you know” figured at the end of every second phrase. This makes every sentence sound like a question and you appear hesitant which you clearly don’t want. It took two coaching sessions to recalibrate his speech patterns. Practise into your answer machine or record yourself on Skype if you are unsure.
  4. Be both a team player and a leader many believe that they have to stand out from the group and try too hard. This isn’t always necessary. It is important to be mindful of your fellow candidates without being passive, and assertive without being overbearing. Leadership isn’t about the person who talks the most or the loudest. Your individual role in the group will be assessed as well as a number of skills including your ability to handle pressure, plus giving and receiving feedback. For group interviews which span a weekend, and include team exercises, depending on the nature of the open positions,  a general guideline is to come in the top percentile in all activities. This will highlight you as a good all-rounder. If there are specific requirements (technical tests for example ) you will want to excel at those.
  5. Don’t get too relaxed  – very often group interviews span a whole day or days, which might include lunch and coffee breaks.  You are being assessed all the time, so take care not to get too comfortable and over share.  Your social skills are being monitored in detail. Your personal and social life or political and religious views should stay private. If you are offered alcohol don’t drink it and obviously watch your language. You absolutely don’t want to be overly friendly and pally with your interviewers. They are not your friends, even if some are near your own age.  The same applies to the fellow candidates. Remember you are in competition. You can always follow-up after the interview.
  6. Prepare questions – always do your homework. You may also be asked for feedback on the exercises and an analysis of the roles of other candidates,  as well as your own. Answer honestly, constructively and professionally.  Don’t run your fellow candidates down.

Good luck!

Need any  help with your interview performance? Check out the individual coaching programmes