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a blog by Chris Barrow

Day 5 in the house

On Friday morning I drive over to The Riverside a little earlier to enjoy breakfast with the housemates. Linda has made a special effort to find and cook haggis – just for me – so that famous Scottish dish, with the addition of a fried egg and some mushrooms makes for even more gastronomic delight. At 9.00am we all convene in the lounge for a final feedback session. The first feedback is mine – observations of each housemate’s strengths and how best they could be channeled for their own future development. The second feedback is theirs’ – explaining their “highs and lows” of the retreat and the overall effect the last few days has had on them. There are some tears shed, both male and female, as honest truths are told about how useful this environment has been. That, of course, is not very “British” from a cultural perspective and so I appreciate just how much it has taken out of some of the housemates. By 10.00am we are ready to close the formal proceedings and there is much hugging and kissing as journeys commence. I am asked to hold a inpromptu training session on how to introduce oneself at a networking meeting. One of my clients, Dr Marcus Spry, is an experienced member of Business Network International and so the two of us explain the theory behind and the application of “the elevator speech” – and have some fun designing such introductions for random professions suggested by the audience. My favourite is Marcus’s response to being asked to introduce himself as a purveyor of eggs! After a short 1:1 session with a housemate who is leaving corporate UK to start a brand new coaching practice, I am done – and we are ready to roll. I’ve agreed to drive a housemate to Newquay Airport for a flight “up North”. I call in at Bonnie’s home and we hold a brief management meeting to clear the decks before the holiday weekend. The airport is fog-bound and, eventually, the flight is cancelled and he is offered the option of an 8-hour bus ride at 5.00pm on a Friday holiday weekend. No chance. A few phone calls and a short drive later he is deposited in a nice room at The Royal Hotel in Truro and advised to just chill out this evening and catch the first-class Virgin train at 8.30am tomorrow morning. We no longer tolerate cancelled flights. I’m back home by 7.30pm and, as you can imagine, trashed. After a few slices of pizza and a glass of red wine I quickly fall soundly asleep on the sofa – and drag myself up to bed a little later. Before our housemates left I asked them all to pen a testimonial. Reading them this afternoon was a wonderful experience.

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