Skip to content

Archive for

What drives you…is it from within or without…?

April 15th, 2012

Heather Johnston


Great article about intrinsic and  extrinsic goals and their link to a person’s overall happiness. We all need money but it is not that that fundamentally makes us happy- check out the article to find out more about what is driving you and whether that is good for you! money and happiness

Are you an Angel or a Judge? Your ethicability MoralDNA

April 13th, 2012

Heather Johnston

Roger Steare and Pavlos Stamboulides have been researching for a number of years our ethicability-particularly pertinent in these current times: ‘ how we decide what is right and finding the courage to do it’ .

So what are our moral values? How do they influence the decisions you make day to day both within and outside of work and how do they particularly influence you in Transitions in your life…? Are you acting with Integrity, being Authentic? Understanding more about your moral values and what drives you can help you to understand more about the tough dilemmas (and why you are finding them tough) you are facing in both your personal and work life. Once understood it can then give you a springboard for thinking about how best you deal with these conflicts of interest you face on a daily basis.

If you want to find out more, they have just launched a free revised version of their ethicability moral DNA profile. MoralDNA™ is a personality test which reveals our moral values and the way we prefer to make decisions about what’s right. Check it out at:

When you complete your profile, you will receive a PDF report that describes your character type. This could be Philosopher, Judge, Angel, Teacher, Enforcer or Guardian. You will see how you score against the average for human beings on three scales that measure how we prefer to do the right thing, both at work, and in our personal lives. You will also see how you compare with others on 10 moral values including Love, Fairness and Wisdom.

Introversion and Leadership

April 13th, 2012

Heather Johnston

This is a topic close to my heart and also that of Susan Cain who has just been in the UK doing a book tour of her new book: Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. As a coach, I coach a large number of clients who are Introverts in the increasingly more Extroverted world of work. The book talks about what Introverts can bring to the party, how introverts can help themselves and how they and Extroverts can capitalise on their strengths.

To find out more about what she has to say have a look at the following TED talk:

or have a listen to an audience interactive talk a few weeks ago at the RSA Susan Cain at the RSA

or have a look at the book which just launched in the UK.

Mindfulness and Heartfulness


Mindfulness is a way of being in the present moment so that we become more aware and fully present, noticing what is unfolding moment by moment with a sense of spaciousness, curiosity, acceptance and love. Mindfulness is a practice to nourish our minds rather like what we do for our bodies. By spending time training our minds, we can notice where our attention is and with kindness bring our focus back to where we would like it to be. Mindfulness is in effect a workout for our minds.

 What I offer

I run mindfulness for health and wellbeing (based on the pioneering MBSR/MBCT) 4 and 8 session workshops, Finding peace in a frantic world workshops and mindfulness in schools project .dotb-Foundations and pawsb (7-11 years old) courses. Tailored taster sessions available for Schools and businesses.

81% people who took my mindfulness courses to date felt less stressed, 83% feel less anxious, 95% are more aware and 82% feel better about themselves

The Benefits

There are many scientific research studies into the benefits of mindfulness, with more and more research conducted each year. Scientifically validated studies into mindfulness meditation, specifically MBSR and MBCT have found:

  • Increases in positive emotions and contentment and decrease in anxiety and stress
  • Decrease in pain and inflammation
  • Increased mental stamina and resilience
  • Increased focus, attention and memory improvement
  • Increased creativity, empathy and compassion

Interested to read more or watch some short videos – take a look here

My training

Heather has undertaken two MBSR/MBCT teacher training retreats (TTR 1&2) with the Centre for mindfulness and research practice at the University of Bangor, one of the leaders in the field for mindfulness in the UK, along with advanced mindfulness training course in mindfulness based compassionate living and further training in deep listening. Some of the people that have trained Heather include: Michael Chaskalson, Trish Bartley, Jody Mardula, Sarah Silverton, Erik van den Brink, Ros Oliver, Rasmus Hougaard and Jacqueline Carter. She has also attended masterclasses with: Profs Paul Gilbert, Tania Singer and Associate Professor Kristin Neff. See my bio here.
Who should attend mindfulness courses?

Mindfulness is generally available to most people, however for some it may be best to be trained by someone with a specific clinical qualification (such as those with an acute mental health condition).

For some people challenges can arise while meditating for a number of different reasons. While each of us is different, If you are going through a major life event (such as having been recently bereaved or divorced) or suffering from mental ill health (eg acute depression) have a learning disability or have just been diagnosed with an upsetting physical illness (eg cancer) it is best to wait and leave attending a course until life is a little more settled for you or find a course that is more specialised to your particular needs. Why? Mindfulness is about bringing awareness to all that life throws at us. As we tune in to this it is helpful to do so when we are relatively stable so we don’t get overwhelmed. As time passes our practice can then bolster us when we hit the rapids! As Jon Kabat Zinn has said- don’t start weaving the parachute when you are about to jump!

My courses are psycho- educational and suitable for delivery in the workplace. They are not designed to discuss any current or past personal problems not related to the practises and if necessary, these should be pursued through individual work with a counsellor or other appropriate support.




Behavioural Change & Transitions Management


Are you Implementing digital solutions?Restructuring? Outsourcing? Going through a merger? Reorganising and instigating a redundancy programme? Something else?

Mindtrip has experience of helping both leaders and staff to capitalise, adapt and survive through change and transitions. We will work with you to build and deliver effective behavioural change strategies that complement and enhance your business change. We can also deliver facilitated workshops along with individual and team coaching sessions that enhances understanding and the impact of behavioural change and transitions.

We use evidence based approaches, models and techniques that are embedded in the behavioural sciences including social and cognitive psychology and behavioural sciences as well as latest thinking from neuroscience and psychological coaching.

We help organisations plan for and for people to understand the emotional and social impact of transitions, help them re-assert control and open up 2 way communication and design.

For those leaving an organisation we can offer tailored careers transitions coaching and transitions workshops that focus on helping people ‘get back onto their feet’, process and understand the emotions of the transition that they are going through and support them on finding the best next step for them in their career.

Case Study

ltw-logoWe worked with London TravelWatch at a time of large change helping both the staff and managers process and deal with the impact of a large downsize. We worked with them to deliver two all staff workshops around understanding and dealing with change and ensuring consistency of approach in the new organisation going forward. This latter piece of work focusing on developing the organisations values and understanding how they are lived day to day.

Thanks for delivering such a light touch but powerful workshop yesterday. It did just what I hoped

Chief Executive London TravelWatch

Herbert smithlogoOver a 12-18 month month period I designed and assembled a team of 5 consultants, to deliver a large cross departmental change programme “Good to Excellent’  across support services with the focus on building a sense of community and customer service for internal and external clients. The design had 4 phases including workshops and skills boosters.

To read more about the programme and its design please click :  Herbert Smith Good to excellent Programme This was written by the OD department at Herbert Smith for an award submission.

Coaching (Executive, Management and Careers)


I have been a coach since 2000 and use a tailored mix of cognitive behavioural coaching, positive psychology, mindfulness, heartfulness (kindness and compassion) and creativity based approaches, we will work together to see how you perceive your challenges and how different perspectives can help you to overcome and/or accept them. We will then put this into a change action/intention plan with the ultimate goal of you becoming your own coach.

My approach to coaching and leadership development focuses on building on an individual’s strengths and how a leader can best bring out those strengths in themselves and others to build engagement, motivation and results. We will also think about these strengths in relation to what the organisation needs of them and how this balances with external pressures that are being brought to bear on the individual and the organisation. I like to mix up my approach, and where appropriate in helping leaders deal with change, ambiguity and complexity, we may use  awareness and acceptance approaches such as mindfulness, compassion,  the creative arts and walking and the outdoors. I have a particular interest in working with those that are going through transitions and I also work privately as a careers coach.

Want to know what some of my clients have said about working with me, what to expect? Click helping you decide

I am able to design tailored leadership development programmes that are centred around helping current and emerging leaders understand where they are in their own personal development journey and how that aligns with what the organisation and wider society needs of them. The implementation of the programme will be tailored to the needs of the organisation and can be offered as a blended solution of one to one coaching, workshops and skills boosters combined with ‘bibliotherapy’, mentoring and action learning groups.

Please click the links to find out more about the inspirations and our approach that inform mindtrip’s coaching.

Case studies

twinings I coached a number of people over a 4 year period at Twinings. Covering those in more senior roles and those that were transitioning into manager roles. Each coachee had a tailored programme based on 3 way contracting for objective setting over a number of months with often a follow up/ refresh session after an appropriate length of time. I worked with people in procurement, marketing and finance.

Heather coached me over a 2.5 year period through a career transition into a leadership role and returning to work after having my first child. Her support has been invaluable during this time. Heathers style is relaxed and informal putting you at ease straight away. She is able to navigate any topic required with the greatest of ease moving seamlessly from one learning to another providing tools and resources with the best fit for each individuals learning style.


St albans high school for girls copyI have coached members of the senior team at St Albans High School for girls. Either helping them to transition into new leadership roles and/or to help in their career progression

Thank you for all help with clarifying my priorities and future plans. I found our sessions hugely empowering.

Senior Teacher on Leadership Team

OD- happy, healthy and productive workplaces


Research shows that developing a supportive organisational culture is as important if more than important than just focusing on individual employee interventions e.g. health and wellbeing days and training.

As part of our Organisational Development offering we will work with you to think about the wider culture that your Leadership, Management and people policies and practices create within your organisation. Through a consultancy approach, informed by wellbeing and staff survey metrics, we will look to help inform your wider people, health and wellbeing strategies, considering the lifecycle of where you are as an organisation; the natural lifecycle of employees within the organisation and the different evidence based elements that combine to create flourishing organisations.

Consideration will be taken of how ‘joined up’ your approach is, its sustainability, employee happiness, organisational culture, structure, policies and context and the impact of external influences and growth. Through taking a stock check of current practices we can work together to think about how this influences employee engagement within the organisation and work with you to build on best practices to support your organisation’s and individual’s positive future growth and wellbeing. Some of the work that I provide includes

  • Top team strategy workshops and team awaydays/retreats tailored to team needs
  • Review and/or writing people strategy
  • Writing a tailored wellbeing strategy
  • Working closely with your inhouse or other consultants to provide joined up people practices that are aligned to company values and culture and have staff wellbeing at their heart
  • Tailored workshops and facilitated sessions around eliciting company values and business strategy
  • Tailored workshops and online learning focused around healthy management and employee wellbeing
  • Team wellbeing reviews and specialist people reviews to provide objective feedback to inform your action planning and strategies
  • One to one coaching
  • Strengths based learning interventions
  • Mindfulness

Case studies

Perrywood-LogoI have been working for 18 months with Perrywood and award winning family run garden centre based in Essex and Suffolk . They have grown considerably with their success and needed help in crystallising their people strategy, finalising their values and implementing an approach to support staff wellbeing. The work started with running a happiness at work survey to establish key areas of focus and then writing and implementing a people strategy as well as a wellbeing strategy. We have taken an iterative holistic approach that looks at both the structure, policies and processes as well as culture, L&D, staff feedback and involvement as well as establishing partnerships with occupational health and EAP providers.

mind.logo.blueI have worked with two branches of mind on looking at their own staff happiness at work through an all staff  evidence based happiness survey. After completing the survey I then debriefed the results to the top teams and also to staff. Both organisations then used the results of these surveys to inform their people strategy going forward.


pmi-logoI worked with the Pensions Management Institute to design and facilitate a whole organisation business planning and values day ahead of the introduction of auto enrolment. These types of days are a great way of bringing teams together, to gather views of everyone on organisational strategy and values so that people feel included and heard. My approach is to add a bit of creativity in the mix so you won’t see hours of powerpoint slides!

Psychometrics and Measurement Tools


One of the keys to change is developing self awareness. Once you understand more about your motivations, personality, skills and strengths it can help you to move towards your goals but also help in understanding others. From an organisational and team perspective, I have found that raised awareness through the use of such instruments, can bring understanding and greater tolerance and a reduction in conflict.

Personality Inventories and Self awareness tools

I am level B accredited practitioner with the British Psychological Society in a number of well known personality inventories such as the MBTI and FIRO-B and am qualified in two specialised Leadership and strengths based inventories that are detailed below. I also use many other available instruments that are well reviewed and evidence based such as the Big 5 personality instrument and I also use extensively various positive psychology specialised inventories including personal resilience, emotional intelligence, satisfaction with life and self esteem instruments.

Leadership Development

The Leadership Development Framework describes sequential stages of development (Action Logics) through which adults may progress during their lifespan. Crucially, different leadership capabilities are evident at each successive Action Logic – leadership transforms with each step. Extensively researched and validated, it describes what promotes and impedes development to each successive stage.

I am fully qualified practitioner in the Leadership Development Profile. The Leadership Development Profile reveals the action logic of a leader and we can then use it to build a personal developmental agenda.  Knowing your own current ‘action logic’ opens up two possibilities: on the one hand, you may decide that consolidating your behaviours and capabilities at your current stage would be of greatest value to you and your organisation. On the other, you may be interested in creating the potential for transformational change to a new stage.

Your Strengths

I am accredited in this world-leading strengths assessment and development tool which has been taken by 40,000+ people around the world. It assesses 60 strengths according to the three dimensions of energy, performance and use, making it truly unique and distinct from the typical one-dimensional strengths test. These three dimensions are then used to identify where your strengths lie. The report gives you a unique insight into your strengths and weaknesses, helps you distinguish your strengths from your learned behaviours,  provides you with a strengths language that enables you to share your strengths with others and helps you think about how to use your strengths to achieve your goals.

Organisational instruments

I often find taking a benchmark of where we are is a useful segway into Organisational Development work and have used happiness at work surveys as well as my own team based surveys and reviews to create a benchmark. I am also well versed on organisational people surveys and can facilitate sessions that bring these to life to create forward momentum.



Team Coaching & Development


I bring a strategic consultancy approach to team development, designing tailored events for 5-100 people focusing on where you are now, where you want to be and what you need to do to move forward. Focus will be both on the task, process and people aspects of the team’s development be it development within an intact senior leadership team or getting teams to work effectively together across an organisation.

Mindtrip delivers a variety of approaches to team development using coaching and creative techniques, analysis from instruments and surveys as well as the latest academic research and thinking from business schools.

Case Study

Herbert smithlogoPrior to Herbert Smith’s merger, I worked over a period of Ten years with the Information and Systems department. During that time I worked with them to build a sense of team within the Leadership team, each sub team within the department, across the overall department and also inter relationships between the department and other departments they worked closely with. Work included

  • Consulting, designing and facilitating tailored nine yearly top team  leadership offsites and 1:1 coaching
  • Designing and facilitating intra departmental team events
  • Designing and facilitating a series of tailored department wide team leader management development 
  • Designing and facilitating an all department conference

We needed a facilitator to help us in the critical task of coalescing the senior management team. Heather did exactly that and lived up to out high expectations.

Group Chief Information Officer, Herbert Smith LLP (now retired)