Coaching, theology, and business development span the almost twenty years of my work history. The uniting factor in these professional spaces is a passion for people and the businesses and organisations they care about. I do not neatly fit in one box. This is a part of who I am that I am learning to celebrate and hone. My personal uniqueness, I have come to recognise, is also my professional strength.
Business and people development
I started my professional life working in London’s marketing sector where my focus became business and people development. During these seven years, I worked for a global marketing communications group where our small team developed business and talent across the group’s European agencies. We supported chief executives and business development directors, down to graduates starting out in their first jobs. We believed that businesses are nothing without the people in them so we deliberately invested in these people. After a while, I was approached to be the marketing manager of an advertising agency known for its maverick and unconventional ethos. Here, I especially enjoyed working with the senior team and learning from them as we worked together to develop the business.
We believed that businesses are nothing without the people in them so we deliberately invested in these people.
I enjoyed these aspects of my work but I also began to realise that this environment was not completely right for me. In pursuit of a space that fitted better, I took the brave (some might say risky!) decision to leave my job with no job to go to. What has happened in the years since has been deeply transformational, involving significant personal and professional growth.
The move into theology was gradual and it was two years before I was ready to accept the idea of retraining. As many will know, returning to education as an adult involves both sacrifice and reward. I relinquished career progression, recognition, and financial security. I gained seven years of uninterrupted thinking time. I uncovered a part of myself that loves to consider where truth comes from, thinks about how we can understand truth—but can too often block it—and ponders over ways truth finds practical expression in our lives.
I relinquished career progression, recognition, and financial security. I gained seven years of uninterrupted thinking time.
My interest in business and people development did not leave me in these years. Committed to the college community, I regularly undertook behind-the-scenes activities alongside my research. I did not seek recognition for the things I did but others recognised that they helped to grow and realign people in the institution and the institution itself.
As I have discovered, when skills are a natural part of who we are, they will keep emerging in the different spaces we occupy throughout our lives.
I firmly believe that we need to keep walking through life in a way that flourishes and fulfils potential. Coaching is a way that I can help others to achieve this. After my doctoral work, I spent considerable time reflecting on what this looks like for me. I had expected to follow another well-trodden path but had overlooked the first part of my career that I enjoyed and was good at. For years I thought I was walking along a straight path when I was, in fact, walking in one big, life-enriching full-circle. Coaching helped me to see this.
For years I thought I was walking along a straight path when I was, in fact, walking in one big, life-enriching full-circle. Coaching helped me to see this.
Now I am a coach. I am also a theologian. I have a business background. Three separate-yet-connecting professional spaces unique and special to me.
Hannah Mather, September 2020
Battersea Bridge, London. I worked in the glass building by the bridge during my London years.