Meet the Coach
Hi, I'm Alistair
I'm looking forward to connecting with you
As a highly sensitive male introvert, living in what feels like an extrovert dominated world, I believe I have a good understanding of the issues introverts face. So, as a mental health facilitator, I am on a mission to help introverts navigate the world… along with helping get the message out there about how introverts have different needs and preferences to extroverts and to get these acknowledged.
I am a highly sensitive introvert, living in Falmouth in Cornwall, UK. I am a qualified primary school teacher, having studied the PGCE course at the University of East London. I am also a qualified Life Coach with Newcastle College and last year I qualified as an iheart Mental Health Facilitator. In 2019 I moved down on my own from London to Cornwall and started a new life. But I certainly haven’t always had that level of self-confidence to make such a bold life choice.
I grew up in Crystal Palace, South London, during the 80’s. I was routinely described as shy and quiet. It not only had an effect on me socially; it also had an effect on me at school, as I used to spend my day trying to hide and avoid being in the spotlight. There was little sympathy for my quietness and that only made my desire to hide even stronger. I dreaded being noticed. I felt that if I was ‘seen’, then I was worried I would be judged harshly. This could be open disdain. Or pity. But rarely respect. The effect of all of this was to cause me to judge myself harshly and not accept my quiet highly sensitive introverted personality. I lacked self-respect because I didn’t like myself.
My issues from school carried on into the workplace. I struggled to fit in, with my quietness routinely considered to be an issue. It was only when I was 40 that I realised that not only was I shy, but I was an introvert. Discovering the physical implications of being an introvert was life changing for me. It helped me feel that I was not alone and that there wasn’t anything fundamentally wrong with me. I had genuine reasons for some of my choices and behaviours. Joining an Introvert Meet Up group, which I went on to host, helped me meet other introverts who also felt the same way.
I began to stretch my comfort zone and faced up to my fear of public speaking by joining Toastmasters. Previously, the idea of doing a 1-minute presentation at my breakfast networking group terrified me. But going to Toastmasters, whilst not completely taking away the fear of public speaking, helped to make it manageable. It transformed the way I looked at shyness and myself.
Another major comfort stretch was to appear live on BBC Radio 5 and BBC London to discuss introversion. For the chronically shy teenager at school, this was a major achievement. And again chipped away at my belief that I 'would never achieve anything as I was too quiet and too shy'.
Conquering my chronic fear of speaking in front of people also helped me make the transition into becoming a primary school teacher. It was during my time as a class teacher that I saw the issues that many children have with mental health; which have been exacerbated by covid and lockdowns. I know how difficult it can be for children growing up these days and how strong mental health is a cornerstone of their development. So that is why I trained as an iheart (Innate Health And Resilience Training) mental health facilitator to help tackle this, through teaching children how the mind works and how knowing this helps them navigate through life wisely. They learn that their well-being and resilience are innate.
I love working with children who don’t accept their introversion and feel that their quietness is a weakness, and seeing them grow to embrace their introversion and to be quietly confident. With my personal history I have a lot of empathy for the issues that shy and quiet people face.
I love living down in Cornwall and want to explore all that it has to offer. I’m now hosting groups and attending social events. Again, a far cry from the shy child who spent his days constantly wanting to hide away. But we’re all capable of change.
- iheart Mental Health Facilitator
- Qualified Primary School Teacher (PGCE) – University of East London
- Certificate and Diploma in Life Coaching - Newcastle College
- Interviewed on BBC Radio 5 Live Breakfast Show and BBC London to discuss introversion in the workplace
- Code of Practice: