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Posts from the ‘People & Organisational Development’ Category

12 Days of Creativity Hacks


Here are some of my thoughts and reflections of the link between creativity and wellbeing and the essential elements that boost my creativity. These were the early days of me recording videos and i wouldn’t do it the same way again..but you get the idea 🙂 They came about through observing what the steps are in my art practice and how this could be related more generally to kick starting creativity…I talk about researchers that have inspired me, the link between creativity and wellbeing and the importance of mindfulness, self compassion and play. Each video is between 4 and 7 minutes…and they were unscripted apart from the the overall topic!


Click on the top right of the box to navigate through the videos in this series!

Growing happiness at Perrywood Garden Centre

happiness and wellbeing red dot

Hear from Hannah, the Director of HR, about what we have been up to, to grow happiness and wellbeing amongst the staff at Perrywood, an award winning garden centre based in Essex and Suffolk.  Always great to hear from a happy client!

If you would be interested to find out more about how I can help you with workplace happiness at your business (Perrwood is an SME with 200 staff) then drop me a line

What’s your upskilling strategy?

orange single dot

If you look back over your career what have you noticed about the technological impact on how you do your job? What we have experienced over the last few decades is predicted to ramp exponentially and the new norm will be just in time learning, upskilling, flexibility and adaptability. For some of us this will hit our sweet spot for others it will create much anxiety and fear. This article is a deep dive into how organisations may go about upskilling their workforce to remain viable, productive and desirable to their staff and customers.

While focused on digital upskilling, wider thought needs to be given to how to parallel this with people’s comfort and abilities in the areas of dealing with change, resilience, creativity, and empathy/compassion. 

And finally, from a wellbeing, healthy organisation and society perspective much research has been done by Professor Richard Layard and colleagues on the huge personal costs to individuals of being made unemployed. 

Access the article here

Interested in a an experienced peer support network?

July 15th, 2019

Heather Johnston

Are you an organisational development specialist or an experienced coach or supervisor with a passion for focusing on building positive and healthy workplaces and personally nourishing careers? I’m looking to co-create a peer support network with people that would value an action learning set/virtual mentoring/ peer group supervision. Sound interesting? Read more

OD Testimonials


Please note that these testimonials relate to the time when I worked with the organisation and some organisations and people have now embarked on new ventures! Click also coaching and mindfulness testimonials

On behalf of everyone who took part, thanks again for all the hard work, insight and energy you put into today. Everyone joined in and there was a real buzz throughout the day aided by your skilled facilitation.

Chief Executive The Pensions Management Institute


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

Chief Executive London TravelWatch


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


Very creative and added lots of energy to my team, embedding change into our everyday

Vice President, Investment Banking

I’ve worked with Heather on numerous occasions and always been struck by her creativity and her ability to help me see things differently.

Head of Recruitment and Development, EMEA JP Morgan


She is an absolute professional. She has enormous integrity, is honest and practices what she preaches ie she is self aware, motivated and is easily able to put theory into practice.

Head of Learning and Talent development, Marsh

Thanks very much for the session.  I thought it hit the right buttons -good, impartial overview of the area – good framework to help people think about what coaches could offer, and what kinds of coaches there are out

Head of Development, Nomura

Working with me


Whether I work with you individually, or you are interested in organising coaching for a an employee or a client, I follow the same process.

First, I like to have a chat with the person I am coaching to find out more about their needs and to tell them a bit more about me and how I work. I call this a ‘chemistry’ session. It is complimentary and the purpose of this session is for you to find out the answers to your questions and for me to find out a little bit more about you. At the end of this session we will decide whether we would like to move on to the next step.

The next step is to start to agree a coaching programme for you. If this is private coaching we will set up our first session and start to agree our ‘coaching contract’ or in other words what you would like to be different as a result of undertaking the coaching. These will form our coaching goals and will provide a framework or signpost for what we will be working on and towards. If I am working for an organisation I would also at this point talk to your manager or HR to find out what they think your goals should be. We would then all get together to agree your coaching contract. I will discuss this with you at our complimentary chat.

We will then work together for a number of coaching sessions. Before a session, I like to give some pre-work to get you thinking ahead of the session, this could be reading, personal inventories/psychometrics or getting you to have a think about some questions related to your goals. This is an important part of the coaching along with any goals and homework you set yourself after each session. However this can be tailored to what is best for you!

At the start of each follow on session we will discuss how you are getting on with your actions and at the end of each session I will ask for feedback about how the session was for you. At the end of our coaching programme, I will ask you for some further feedback about how the coaching has helped you achieve or start to move you towards your goals. We will also end the sessions with you having a plan as to how to keep on keeping on!

Art and Creativity


As well as a Coach and a Facilitator, I am also an Artist. You can see more of my work at

I am particularly interested in the link between the arts and creativity and their link in developing meaningfulness within people’s lives, innovation,  helping people’s wellbeing and dealing with stress. The arts are a useful way of helping people process emotions and work with complex issues in a non verbal way. They can be playful and fun! (and hard work…)

In this way they can be used both by individual’s in their daily lives to give pleasure and joy and can also be used within teams and in organisations to build connections, develop creativity and innovation and determine future goals and direction. As they say a picture paints a 1000 words….

Lets use the ‘other side’ of our brains!




Mindtrip’s approach is performance and life focused, creative and flexible. Our aim is to help you find your inner navigator and ensure you have the tools to ride the waves of change. This is achieved through a range of people and organisational development interventions- find out more on my what we do page. 

To deliver this we work through a number of perspectives: 

positive neuroplasticity and psychology: There is currently a burgeoning amount of research in positive psychology that is practically helpful for working with individuals, teams and organisations to explore

  • How you can become more fulfilled day to day, to increases happiness and a sense of wellbeing
  • Understanding what your strengths are and how these can be put to best use
  • How managers within organisations can create flourishing environments that facilitate individuals wellbeing while at the same time prospering economically
  • Start to train to your minds to take in the good

developmental psychology: This approach explores the way that individuals make sense of the world and themselves in it. It explores how we make meaning and is particularly useful in helping Leaders look at their development to date in both a horizontal and a vertical change context. To find out more about this perspective and how it relates to leadership development there is an interesting Harvard Business Review article by David Rooke and Bill Torbert who Heather trained with.

Creativity: we are all creative, although many of us will deny this! By finding ways to build a creative outlook in life we can boost our performance and our wellbeing. Ever wondered why we have our best ideas when we are most relaxed?

compassion and self compassion: many of us, particularly those that work within the helping professions don’t spend enough time looking after ourselves. To use the metaphor of the aircraft safety briefing- do you put your own oxygen mask on first before helping others? By spending time exploring the areas of kindness and compassion we can start to build an internal safety jacket to keep ourselves afloat in times of stress and change and nourish ourselves so as to ward off burnout. See more in a blog i wrote about compassion

mindfulness: mindfulness is a way of paying attention, of being deeply attuned to yourself, your environment and those around you.  The key benefits of taking a more mindful approach to work and life are that it enables an individual over time to:

  • become more aware of the present moment and to be more acceptant and resourceful in time of stress
  • to help people to focus and concentrate, giving people greater attention and allowing for greater creativity
  • become more socially and emotionally aware, building more understanding in our relationships with others

mindtrip use’s the principles of these techniques to help us deal with constant change, ambiguity and complexity in the modern life. At an individual level, mindfulness practices can help people develop greater awareness, acceptance and choice within their lives. Interested to find out more about mindfulness? Please take a look at my mindfulness pages. 

cognitive behavioural coaching (CBC) : This is a foundation to my work. Cognitive behavioural coaching (CBC) uses solutions focused and problem solving techniques to help clients to get clearer about their intentions and start to realign their life and work based on these. The CBC philosophy centres on the fact that ‘the way we react to events is largely determined by our view of them, not by the events themselves’. CB coaching does not seek to give people the answers to their problems or difficulties, rather, through a collaborative process called guided discovery, helps people to reach their own conclusions and solutions. (Neenan & Palmer, Stress News, July 2001) CBC is particularly useful in helping clients to overcome blocks, improve performance, reduce stress, build confidence and increase emotional resilience. To find out more about CBC please read the following article by Michael Neenan and Stephen Palmer at the Centre for Coaching where Heather trained.


To find out more about what we can do for you please do drop me a line at



Heather’s inspirations, which are continually evolving, are currently being influenced by the work that is ongoing within behavioural science, creativity, mindfulness and compassion based interventions, Positive Psychology and in particular strengths based development; integrity, ethics and authenticity in Leadership Development and dealing with emotional challenges through Cognitive Behavioural Coaching. She is passionate about helping others to be the best they can be while at the same time not doing damage to others and the wider environment. Heather also has a particular interest in bringing research based psychology tools and creativity techniques to mindtrip’s work. You can find out more about some of the latest thinking that is catching her attention through subscribing to mindtrip’s blog.

Having a first degree in Economics and working within the field of occupational psychology, Heather has a particular interest in the work that spans both disciplines- behavioural sciences- and in particular the work of  Paul Dolan, Richard Layard,  and the team at action for happiness and NEF.

Wellbeing at a personal, organisational and societal level is also key to her work and she has kept up to date with the work of the Government commissioned foresight project around developing mental capital and wellbeing as well as a raft of releases from the BPS and Government and others around wellbeing. 

Heather is particularly interested in working with those that help others to prevent burnout. She is particularly influenced and inspired by the work being undertaken into love, empathy and compassion by Paul Gilbert, Tania Singer, Barbara Fredrickson, Matthieu Ricard, Kristin Neff and Sharon Salzberg. 

Case Studies- Perrywood

Perrywood garden centre

Organisation Development- People, Values and wellbeing

I 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.

As part of this process we also wanted to hear staff’s views on what they thought made Perrywood special. I designed and facilitated a short workshop for all staff working more than a certain number of hours. These values have now been integrated into day to day desision making at Perrywood.


An essential part of any wellbeing strategy for an organisation is the abilities and awareness of its managers. As part of the roll out of the work staff requested more feedback on their performance and so we re-introduced 1:1 chats with a coaching approach and I trained all managers on how to have these conversations. This was rolled out to all staff.

Also designed are a series of workshops that can be delivered digitally or face to face on resilience, mental flourishing, healthy management, employee wellbeing, feedback & difficult conversations and Development & Wellbeing.