Another Testimonial – something a little different for me. Primarily I help with Sales communication, pricing, confidence etc.

Around 7 months ago, however, one of my network – Kate Gray – approached me to help coach her through her probationary period in a new, permanent Project Management role.


Kate’s Testimonial, Aug 2020

“Having accepted my first permanent job in a decade, and with the words ‘you have a problem personality’ ringing in my ears, I decided it was probably time to find myself a coach. I didn’t look for someone that specialised in my career area (project management), nor did I look for someone who specialised in ‘problem personalities’. I honestly can’t remember how or when I became connected to Joe on LinkedIn, but he seemed to be someone I could get along with – so I picked up the phone and spoke to him. And hired him within minutes of speaking to him.

Other coaches I’d investigated seemed too wishy-washy for me. Joe quickly proved that, although he can do the ‘pink and fluffy’ stuff, he can easily work with those of us with ‘problem personalities’, or Autistic Spectrum Disorder, as its officially called. 

The Lumina [Spark] portrait was absolutely worth the additional expenditure. To begin with, I couldn’t see how it could be correct as ‘high empathy’ just didn’t blend with ‘problem personality’, but as the weeks passed and Joe and I worked together more and more I learned to love hearing him say ‘and you think you’re not empathetic? Really?’.

Working with Joe absolutely reframed how I see my place in the business world and showed me how my unique approaches are of significant value to my current & potential future employers. I unreservedly recommend Joe as a coach.”



Kate’s primary concern was that the industry she works in (as with many sectors) there is a “circuit” of sorts. Reputations tend to proceed everyone. Kate explained that she had been told by a small number of people on the circuit that she had a “problem personality”* (read: strong, bold, assertive) – this, she felt, would hinder both her ability to manage projects from a supplier’s perspective (rather than the client-side she was experienced in), to get along with the team well enough and also to pass her probation.

*A topic in its own right – other people’s perceptions making them say unhelpful words to those they don’t like (fear?) without thinking how that is going to affect other outcomes in the future.

For me, the majority of Sales concerns the ability to build rapport & relationships. To do that requires good communication, understanding of others’ perspectives, good questioning and conversational skills. Naturally, strategies, systems and processes help but without communication skills, the best systems in the world won’t convert interest into paid sales.

Although Kate’s request was on the face of it different to my “usual” client, I figured it would be an interesting challenge for me, yet one still aligned with my core services. Naturally, I discussed this with Kate first to ensure she understood it would be a slightly alternative provision for me.


“Non-neurotypical” worlds

Another interesting and different aspect to this for me was that Kate explained she has Asperger ‘Syndrome’ (I hate that term personally). For those who don’t understand, this is one end of the Autism scale, where the world is seen and understood in a different way to those without Asperger’s.

Words heard and situations experienced tend to be taken much more literally than those by ‘non-neurotypical’ people. The nuances of conversation, tonality, eye contact and body language may be misunderstood or missed entirely depending on the person.

Those with Asperger’s are fully able to function in all roles entirely successfully and unless the ‘signs’ are known, the Asperger’s won’t be seen at all. They may come across as unusually blunt, direct, pedantic and practical. Unfortunately, these traits often make it hard to ‘fit in’ successfully with the impatient people out there.

“Non-neurotypical” is a term I learned from Kate which I understand to be a term in frequent use by those with Asperger’s to help apply a more balanced label to themselves – one that strips any stereotypes from the “syndrome” label, I think.

Coincidentally, my own sister was “diagnosed” (also hate that term!) with Asperger’s a good decade before she died (unrelated! Cancer…). Obviously, learning how my own sister understood her world helped me to understand how Kate and probably other “non-neurotypicals” understand theirs

An analytical brain helps here, trust me. Yet, naturally, coaching needs the empathetic understanding as well.


Lumina Spark?

The Lumina Spark personality portrait Kate mentioned is a psychometric system I provide to clients which helps both themselves and me to gain a ‘baseline’ insight into their communication and behaviour preferences on which we can build the subsequent coaching program.

The unique aspects that Lumina provides are:

  • it measures ALL personality traits individually. Others tend to measure one end of a scale, say extroversion and infer that introversion is the remainder of the scale. For example, say you are measured at 55% extroverted. Other personality tools will assume you are therefore 45% introverted. Lumina measures both separately so you can be 55% extroverted at times and 60% introverted at other times
  • it specifically doesn’t stereotype or apply arcane labels
  • it measures 3 different levels of ‘stress’ states and measures how your communication preferences change throughout those levels, which provides interesting results – for example, this allowed Kate and I to understand why it turns out she’s got great leadership abilities she hadn’t fully realised at the start of this journey

Lumina portraits have been used by a range of corporate organisations as well as individuals – names like Adidas and Tesco have taken this on board to name but two of a vast range of clients.

An example of the 24 personality qualities it measures in the portrait is shown below – here is where the trained eye (mine) can pull out combinations of qualities that you may use in a given situation which may explain current results, and we can work on how to alter that, how to pull on other traits in different stress levels to change future performance

All this works with teams as well – team sessions to help each other understand each other, plus a create a team personality map to see if there is an over-concentration of one type of personality within the team. Sales teams tend to have a lot of “red” people, where some “green” or “blue” will help balance out the competitiveness 😉


Do you know anyone who would be interested in benefiting from any of my services? If so, please contact me to have a more in-depth chat. | 0793 222 5548 (WhatsApp, phone, etc) 

Lumina Spark 24 Qualities example

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