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Over the past few years, we have set up a charity community that now is home to 80+ volunteers. It has given over £2.5M of produce to people in need and continues to grow exponentially.

Clearly something is working. One should recognise good fortune has a lot to do with the project’s success, however we have also been able to draw upon 32 years of community charity experience, a post graduate diploma in co-active coaching and undergraduate training in creative group processes. Although the success of we have experienced is in the charitable sector, there are many transferable elements that could equally apply in many other areas.

Daily we find ourselves applying lessons from Kayla’s Process Model, Charles Handy’s Gods of Management and Meridith Belben’s Team-types. We use co-active coaching skills and a myriad of communication techniques drawn from theatre training.

This is all done under a philosophy of community executive leadership based on being a gardener. Some executives emulate military generals; however, people get killed in wars. Some emulate captains of football teams; however, sports involve winners and losers, both of which are not helpful ways of approaching community leadership. As a gardener, we plant, water, train, prune, re-plant and harvest a garden of well-tended plants, working with the environment and nature for an overall success. That is the philosophy that we apply.