Dr Gary Wood - Solution Focused Life Coaching with a Chartered Psychologist

Dr Gary Wood -  Solution Focused Life Coaching with a Chartered Psychologist

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97 Wood Lane
West Midlands
B17 9AY

South Side Centre
86 Causewayside
Mid Lothian

07729 121221

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97 Wood Lane
West Midlands
B17 9AY

South Side Centre
86 Causewayside
Mid Lothian

07729 121221

About me

Coaching is about goals - goals for a better life. If you've arrived here, you are looking for solutions. Dr Gary Wood offers a free consultation by telephone or Skype to explain how solution focused brief coaching will work for you.

Based in Birmingham and Edinburgh UK,Dr Gary Wood is a Chartered Psychologist championing an evidence-based, solution focused approach to coaching. It is a practical, action-led approach that can be applied to all areas of professional and personal development. These include:

  • Confidence
  • Motivation
  • Career
  • Business
  • Work-life balance
  • Health and lifestyle
  • Dating and rekationships
  • Family and relationships, and so on.

There's no such thing as a typical coaching client. Gary works with students, managers, company directors, entrepreneurs, artists, writers, and musicians. The only thing his clients have in common is that they want to make positive changes in their lives. Whatever your goals, the process is the same. It's about taking stock of your skills, strengths and past successes, and learning a new ways of asking questions of yourself to create compelling action plans. Each session generates the next step forward.

Getting more information
This profile answers many of the frequently asked questions. Alternatively just email or call. The coaching process always begins with a free consultation. It usually last 20 minutes and you get to ask more specific questions in order to find out how Gary's solution focused life coaching approach will work for you.

There are so many coaches to choose from and a lot of things to consider in weighing up what's best for you. The cost of fees is just one. When you engage a coach, of course, you are paying for the coach's expertise, qualifications and the coach's time (both in the sessions and the preparation). Most importantly you are investing in the results. It's therefore important to get that match right by talking to the coach and asking the right questions.

So ask yourself:

  • 'How will this solution focused approach get the results I want?'
  • 'How will he get me the results more quickly than I would on my own?'
  • What information do I need in order to answer those questions?

Hello. I'm Gary Wood. Thanks for choosing to visit my profile.
I've been coaching formally (with private clients) since 2003. Before that I was offering pastoral care (a form of coaching) to university students (from 1994). I became the 'go to' person in the department. It was here that I learned that just by listening and asking some well placed questions I could really make a big difference to students' experiences. Over the years I've refined my skills and approach. I have coached a wide range of people and put my skills and experience into running personal development courses (since 2005) These in turn formed the basis of two personal development books: Don't Wait For Your Ship to Come In. . . Swim Out to Meet It (2008) and Unlock Your Confidence (2013). Although based in Birmingham and Edinburgh, I coach people across the world over the telephone and through the internet (Skype). I'd like the opportunity of explaining in person what I do and how I can help you. If I don't think coaching is right for you or don't think I can help with your particular needs, I'll tell you. I'll also try to point you in the right direction as to what you should try next. I work with other professionals so should be able to suggest someone to meet your particular needs.

Here are some frequently asked questions:

'In a nutshell', what will coaching give me?
Coaching is a collaborative professional working relationship in which I help you to make the desired changes to any aspect of your life. It's about creating an action plan as well as keeping you accountable to your goals and motivated. When you engage me as your coach you get the services of dedicated learning and personal development professional to work with you to create a complete, tailor-made personal and professional development programme. Working together, I will help you to get where you want to be more quickly than if you had worked alone. Coaching offers a fast-track to your goals.

Of the main principles of the solution-focused approach is brevity. It's brief. This means that you would usually require fewer sessions than with some of the so-called 'inspirational' models of coaching. The solution-focused approach has been rigorously tested and is backed by evidence. Another main theme in my coaching approach is that it has meaningful to you at all times. It's about building your skills and strengths and reaching your goals through practical action. It focuses on the 'how' rather than 'the why'. A course of coaching also helps to make the new changes stick!

How will coaching help me make tough or stressful life decisions?
Stress creates blinkers that hinder our ability to make complex decisions. Stress puts us into survival mode. Having someone on your side to share the burden immediately helps to put you back into a more productive frame of mind. It works on the age-old principle that two heads are better than one. My role of taking care of the process helps to reduce the cognitive burden and so frees you to up to get a clearer picture of your situation, your resources and your options. Instead of the ideas going around and around, solutions ad ways forward emerge.

What's different about this approach to coaching?
My coaching training and experience have been built on a solid foundation in psychology and teaching. That was six years of training before I began my formal coaching training. My degree (Bsc[Hons]) in human psychology had a strong emphasis on applying psychology in the real world. Added to this I have two teaching qualifications (PgC and City and Guilds) so it's fair to say that I know what makes people tick and I know how people learn most effectively. My PhD was in social psychology (particularly attitudes, stereotypes and how we make sense of the world). This has been significant in shaping my unique approach to coaching. I maintain that coaching is about changing the negative attitudes you have towards yourself. It's then a matter of working together to create empowering attitudes.My books on confidence and goal setting also provide the perfect complement to working with me as your coach. However you don't necessarily need to buy the books, although that's always welcome. Just check out the blog posts on my website. I'm also pretty active on social media (mainly Facebook and Twitter). Having me popping up in your news feed serves as a reminder to stay on track with your goals.

How long does coaching take?
Research indicates that the optimal number of sessions is between four and ten sessions. So that's the principle I work with. In my practice, the most popular duration is six to eight. These sessions are either 50 minutes or 75 minutes and each one usually generates an insight that can be translated into an action. The overarching aim of coaching should be to empower you (rather than create dependency) which is why I favour the briefer and intensive approach. However, as everyone is different, we can discuss you needs during the telephone chat to find out what is right for you.

What happens in a coaching session?
It's often said that 'if there ain't goals then it ain't coaching'. Each coaching session is a focused conversation. The subject is your goals. In every session we focus on what you consider most important to take you forward. You provide the agenda and I, as the coach, handle the process. Coaching aims to keep you focused, on track and motivated. The questions I ask and the techniques I use are transparent. Part of the process is that you also get into the habit of asking the same questions of yourself. This is something that you take away once the course of coaching has ended.

Is coaching or counselling right for me?
Coaching is different from counselling. If the issues that bring you to coaching have a strong emotional component or are causing you distress then it may be better to explore these through counselling first. This is something we can discuss in the initial telephone call. If I think counselling may be the better route (at this time) I will say so. I work in conjunction with a number of counsellors and therapists so I could refer you to them. You may then wish to consider coaching at a later date or in some cases it may be possible to work in tandem with counsellor to meet your needs.

What other questions should I ask before working with a life coach?
The foundations of the coaching relationship are crucial. It begins by asking the right questions both of yourself and of the coach (that includes me, although I have attempted to answer these questions in this profile):

  • What qualifications does the coach have?
  • Where did they study?
  • How long have they studied?
  • What did they do before coaching?
  • What is their coaching philosophy and is it grounded in evidence?
  • What do they do to maintain their own professional development?
  • Can I see myself working with this coach?

Where will the coaching take place?
Coaching can be over the telephone/Skype, face-to-face or a combination. For face-to-face sessions, I can visit your work place but do not do home visits. I use rooms in a number of locations:

  • Bearwood (Thimblemill Library)
  • Birmingham City Centre (Birmingham LGBT Centre)
  • Harborne, Birmingham (see above address)
  • Newington, Edinburgh (South Side Centre - see above address)
  • At a location that has meaning for you (art galleries, museums etc)
  • At a cafe (many clients have asked for this informal option)
  • Your work place (if in Birmingham or Edinburgh city centre - other cities by arrangement)

My counselling colleagues are based at the Harborne (Birmingham) practice and at the South Side Centre (Edinburgh).

Next step: that free, no-obligation telephone chat
It's important for you to get an idea if my approach and style would match your needs. Ideally email first to arrange a time for an initial consultation chat. It usually takes about twenty minutes. I look forward to hearing from you. If you decide to go ahead, we arrange the first session. If after consideration you decide it's not for you, all I ask is that you let me know. You don't have to give a reason. It's just so I know not to remind you.

Please Note: I am not able to offer work experience placements

Training, qualifications & experience


Memberships and Accreditations
Chartered Psychologist, Chartered Member of the British Psychological Society's Special Group in Coaching Psychology, a Chartered Scientist (Science Council), and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Building on my academic qualifications in psychology my training in coaching includes:

  • Certificate in Coaching (Cognitive-Behavioural: Centre for Coaching London);
  • Qualification in Solution Focused Brief Therapy (University of Birmingham);
  • Certificate in Life Coaching (Newcastle College)
  • Diploma in Life Coaching (Newcastle College)
  • Diploma in Performance Coaching (Newcastle College),
  • Certificate in Counselling (Sandwell College)
  • Certificate in Human Relations (Sandwell College)

Additional studies as background research/experience for books:
Graduate of The Silva Method (Dynamic Meditation), Art of Living Course (Pranayama Yoga - breathing), creative writing, theatre improvisation, drama.

How I began my career in coaching
I began teaching psychology in 1994 and gained two teaching qualifications. My formal coaching training began in 2003. It was in response to teaching part-time mature psychology students. They were all motivated and I recognised the courage it had taken for them to step back into a classroom. It was just that they lacked confidence and self-belief. I figured if I was to best help them I would need a few extra skills and so I went completed my first certificate in coaching at The Centre for Coaching In London. When I returned I wrote a series of personal development courses which I ran for the students at weekends. The response was fantastic and it wasn't long before I felt the psychology syllabus was getting in the way of the real work. To scratch this itch I turned the personal development courses into a book on coaching and goal-setting with the rather showy title 'Don't Wait For Your Ship To Come In. . . Swim Out To Meet It!'. It has since been translated into French, Arabic and Czech. I was pleased to note that my jokes had survived the French translation. I've continued to run personal development courses and he added confidence and esteem building workshops. These have also been turned into a book entitled Unlock Your Confidence.

Member organisations


Other areas of coaching I deal with

  • Academic coaching (including learning and study skills, examination preparation, presentation skills)
  • LGBT friendly life coaching
  • Coaching to support the books 'Unlock Your Confidence' and 'Don't Wait For Your Ship to Come In. . . Swim Out to Meet It!'
  • Training in attitude change and prejudice reduction
  • Coaching and training for presentation skills
  • Coaching for preparation for MBA applications
  • Coaching for research design and data analysis - or I can be contracted to do it for you.

Please Note: Whereas I would love to hear from you about coaching, I am not able to offer work experience placements

Photos & videos

  • Solution Focused Life Coaching


  • Discounted fees for block bookings so please email to discuss your needs. Please begin email as you would with a letter (i.e. Dear Gary), to help distinguish your genuine email from spam.
  • Say where you are based and the issues you want to address.
  • Whether you are interested in phone/skype or face to face coaching. It is possible to mix and match between face to face and telephone/Skype coaching.
  • Face to face takes place mainly in Birmingham, UK. Appointments are available at Edinburgh once a month. These are longer, intensive (75 minute sessions).
  • Telephone coaching is available across the UK and Skype coaching worldwide.
  • Coaching fees and payable in advance (BACS or PayPal).

Further information

  • Solution Focused Life Coaching in Edinburgh - intensive sessions available monthly
  • Dr Gary Wood adheres to the ethical guidelines of The British Psychological Society (BPS)
  • Look for Dr Gary Wood's Page on Facebook (/drgarywoodpage)
  • Follow on Twitter @drgarywood
  • Find self-help videos on YouTube (drgarywood)

PLEASE NOTE: Whereas I would love to hear from you about coaching, I am not able to offer work experience placements

confidence, self-belief, career, work-life balance, health and lifestyle, relationships, stress, relaxation, energy, staff, business, soul and spirituality, qualifications, success, motivation, goals, self-esteem, exams, academic, study skills, excellence

Birmingham, B17 9AY
Edinburgh, EH9 1PY

Type of session

Online life coaching: Yes
Telephone life coaching: Yes
Face to face life coaching: Yes

Practical details

Sign language: No
Other languages: None


F2F: Harborne: Monday: 8am to 5pm F2F: Birmingham City Centre: 10:00 to 15:00: Mon to Wed, Fri F2F: Edinburgh: Monthly, please ask. Skype: Mon to Fri: 8am to 8pm, Sat: 9.00am to 12:00pm

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