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“Thought provoking and fun to use" Positive experience. Helped me consider my current issues in a different light – new perspectives and a calming experience”

Shirley Simpson, B.Sc. (Psychology), CIPD, CMI Coaching.

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The Swiss Army Knife for coaches

Mervin Straughan, of gave the following critique in describing "A SenseAble Friend"

Swiss Army knife approach cuts to the chase

The life coach has several tools and techniques at their disposal to help clients identify and deal with core issues but I've just discovered the Swiss Army penknife equivalent that is generating high praise from some key thinkers within the profession.

SenseAble Friend, devised by management consultant Pete Middleton, is what you might describe as a thinking multi-tool and intrigues the user from the outset.

For a start, it's a boxed set of triangular cards that wouldn't look out of place once the Christmas dinner is over and the family board games are on the table. However, this box of tricks now graces the desks of many senior decision makers as well as a growing (Swiss) army of coaches, facilitators, trainers, change consultants and anyone interested in personal development.

They've been designed to provide a framework for personal and business analysis and decision making. My own tried-and-tested tools, many of which have come part and parcel from studying my coaching certificates, are effective but, always open to new ideas, I have used SenseAble Friend with fascinating results.

So how can 81 cards work as an analytical and decision making tool? Surely it all comes from within? It does but Pete Middleton's set of cards, complete with their prompts, creates a process that lends itself well to coaching, personal development and group facilitating. It's left my clients astonished and amused that, in a matter of minutes, they have discovered a blind spot or moved from a vague awareness of a blockage to a full understanding and evaluation and strategies in place to remove it.

According to Pete, the success of a SenseAble Friend lies in stimulating self-observation in a way that causes the user to focus on the present moment to become aware of what he or she is thinking, sensing and feeling.

Pete himself has applied it to a host of coaching and facilitating situations including setting the agenda of the first board meeting for two newly-merged organisations. He had asked the board for ten minutes prior to the meeting and, by the end of the session, the agenda had been scrapped and replaced with a set of strategic priorities that would propel the business in the right direction. It had also helped each of the two management teams to identify potential stumbling blocks as well as provide an insight into the two cultures and cement new working relationships.

Using the tool is a constant reminder that being open to new ideas pays dividends. I've used it for my own decision making and, like a Time Team archaeological dig, something unexpected has often been unearthed. Pete's put his money where his mouth is and promised a full refund within 60 days if the user is unable to harness the benefits of this multi-functional tool. To date, from what I understand, no one has felt the need to take up the offer.

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