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Interview with Deborah Henry-Pollard

Explain who and how you help?
I see myself as a thinking partner, providing a safe, confidential space where clients can reflect, focus, imagine, speak freely and get everything out into the open. By asking lots of questions, I help clients to get clarity – a clear vision of what what they want to achieve; perspective – an outside view to help put things in context; and support – to keep them on track as they take action.

How long have you been coaching?
Officially, 13 years, although I feel I have always worked to encourage people to find their own solutions and develop their potential.

Can you talk a bit about how your background brought you to helping creative people?
As a youngster, I wanted to be an artist and when I was 18, I did a foundation course in Art. On the first day I realised that I wanted to be an artist, but I didn’t need to be an artist – it wasn’t my vocation. However, I always say that most of what I know of life and the world comes from consuming the arts in some way, whether through art, books, films, music, theatre. It is about being shown the world from another viewpoint.

I decided I wanted to find a way to support people on a 1 to 1 basis and it was through my own coaching journey that I discovered my current role as the perfect way to work with people whose creativity contributes so much to us all. 

Your book is titled ‘What’s your excuse for not Succeeding as an Artist’ – What does success for you look like and for the artists you help?
Success for me is that ‘ah-ha’ moment, when I can see that a client has seen a new possibility for themselves.

Clients have achieved fabulous results, such as setting 5 year creative practice goals (and achieving 80% of them within 2 years); having artwork placed into leading collections; accepted into their first exhibitions and art fairs; etc. However, it is the intangible results such as changing mindsets and building confidence which are the biggest successes, as these are long term and allow people to grow and find their own ways forward.

Why is your website called Catching Fireworks?
This came out of a conversation when I was setting up my coaching practice. I said that I help people who have ideas shooting off like fireworks – but instead of them disappearing into the clouds, or landing in a muddy puddle, I help clients catch their fireworks and bring them back to earth, keeping their colour, sparkle, excitement and dazzle.

What is your favourite colour and why?
If I have to pick just one, orange, but any shade between sunflower yellow through gold, to orange – the brighter the better! Colours full of hope, joy, sunshine and optimism. Needless to say, van Gogh’s later colour palette is bliss to me!

What do you like about living in South East London?
I have lived in North, Central and East London which all have their virtues. However, this part of London has all the convenience of being very close to the exciting hustle and bustle of central London, but with its own relaxed vibe and fabulous sense of community. 
Anything else you would like to add?
I have always enjoyed visiting the Dulwich Festival Artists’ Open House in the past and am really looking forward to being part of the Dulwich Festival and meeting some more of the fabulous artists in the area!

Big Vision, Little Steps – Launching Your artistic Next Steps with Deborah Henry-Pollard
Friday 20 May / 7pm–9pm / Station Hall, Railton Road, SE24
Do you know what ‘success’ means to you in your artistic career, or are you working to someone else’s definition? Wherever you are in your creative practice, this workshop will help you find your own clear vision and identify key goals and next actions.
Tickets: £10, concessions £8 (plus Eventbrite booking fee)

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