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Professional Organisational Consultants

We are a partnership specialising in integrating Action Learning principles into all aspects of organisational change including projects, academic research, and personal and professional development.

Action Learning tackles real problems. It is 'learning by doing'.

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About John Heywood

John Heywood (M.Sc. Marine Environment Development and Protection, FRSA) brings a unique blend of knowledge and expertise to his practice. He is an AC Accredited Professional Executive Coach and former Chair and current Executive Board Member of The International Foundation for Action Learning (IFAL). He has been working internationally for over a decade as a senior facilitator and executive coach, in English and French. He works face-to-face and virtually with a wide range of organisations and with groups and individuals from more than 30 different countries. 

John works across sectors, including education (National Union of Students, Bloomsbury Group Doctoral Training Centre); public service broadcasting (BBC); commercial sectors (Ernst & Young, Heineken); charity sectors (Cancer Research UK, Citizens’ Advice, British Red Cross, Ataxia UK); local government (London Boroughs of Islington and Bromley); central government (Foreign & Commonwealth Office, DEFRA, Emirates Identity Authority (UAE)); energy (Wood Group, Kuwait NPC, Ørsted Energy (Denmark)); health (NHS); emergency services (Lancashire Fire & Rescue); and social enterprise (Clore Leadership Programme). 

John is committed to enabling positive organisational and personal change through leadership development, Action Learning, coaching and facilitation. He is experienced in working with technically gifted individuals who want to add leadership and management skills to their repertoire.

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About Trevor Marchand

Trevor H.J. Marchand (B. Architecture, PhD Anthropology, C&G Fine Woodworking) is Emeritus Professor of Social Anthropology at SOAS, University of London. As an anthropologist, architect and ILM Endorsed Action Learning Facilitator, he specialises in the anthropology of work and skill-based learning and in the delivery of Research Focussed Action Learning (ReFAL).

Trevor has more than 30 years of project management, administrative, assessment and mediation experience. He convened the doctoral training programme, mentored visiting scholars and supervised numerous PhD and MA students to successful completion. With the support of large research grants, Trevor has carried out in-depth anthropological fieldwork with work teams, master masons and craftspeople in Northern Nigeria, Yemen, Mali and London. He is an award-winning author, public speaker (in English and French), documentary filmmaker and photographer, and he has curated exhibitions for world-class museums. In 2014, he was recipient of the Royal Anthropological Institute’s Rivers Memorial Medal and was the College of Fellows Lecturer for the Association of Preservation Technology International (APTi).

Trevor is currently a Lecturer for the Archaeological Institute of America, Trustee of POVAL (Oxford Brookes), Honorary Member of the European Federation for Architectural Heritage Skills, member of the Advisory Panel of the British Museum's Endangered Material Knowledge Programme, and consultant for ICOMOS on the recovery and reconstruction of World Heritage.

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Action . Teamwork . Ingenuity
Respect . Adaptability . Learning

We work collaboratively with our clients face-to-face and virtually to provide exceptional services tailored specifically to their needs and aspirations. We work with private and public sector organisations, research institutions and individuals.

We specialise in Professional Executive Coaching, Pure Action Learning, Research Focussed Action Learning and The Anthropology of Work. To learn about these, scroll down.

For more details of the services we offer - or if you would like to join an Action Learning set (group) - please contact us for an open and confidential chat.

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Professional Executive Coaching

Take time to reflect

Each Executive Coaching relationship is co-created, confidential and unique. We work with people who want to (re)discover the purpose, pleasure and pride in their work and life, and who aspire to drive positive change for themselves, their teams, their organisations and the world.


Pure Action Learning

The Path to Success

Action Learning tackles real problems. It is 'learning by doing'. The structured process of Action Learning empowers small groups of peers to cultivate and apply the skills of active listening and open questioning to the complex challenges they face. These skills are transferable to all areas of work and life. They have a major influence on both project and learning outcomes for individuals, teams, groups and entire organisations.


Research Focussed

Action Learning

Cultivating teamwork in project and research communities

Research Focussed Action Learning (ReFAL) integrates the proven techniques and principles of Action Learning into team projects and research. ReFAL underpins improved collegiality, raises morale, and links the development of individuals to what works best for them, their projects, their (academic) institutions, and the beneficiaries of their research. It strengthens networks, shares learning across boundaries (disciplinary, regional, national) and encourages appreciation of other people’s work, talents and intelligences.

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The Anthropology of Work

Understanding workplace cultures

Anthropology takes a people-centred approach to the workplace. We work with organisations who want to challenge their operational assumptions and better understand themselves in order to improve collaboration, communication, creativity and efficiency. We carry out ‘fieldwork’ and use proven qualitative research methods to deliver penetrating insights into the culture and working relations of any organisation. 

Reflections from the People
we work with

Working with John was my first experience of executive coaching and I found it a productive and stimulating process. John quickly established targets and frameworks for discussion, and his skill in establishing a relationship quickly, combined with excellent attention to detail, gave me the confidence to talk ideas through effectively and openly. His knowledge of process and models helped me take my learning back into my own organisation and use it with my own team. Lastly his immediate understanding of my work/personality type, and the strengths and weaknesses in my approach have made me more aware as a leader. I would recommend John’s work in this area without hesitation, and have already done so to other colleagues.

Rory Deighton, North West Regional Head NHS Confed

John is a coach to recommend. Professional and full of experience. At every step of his coaching, there is a value added.

Gilberte Nouwezem MBA, RPR HR Management Professional

I met John when we both joined an Action Learning set for consultants and facilitators over seven years ago. I have subsequently worked with him, he is an insightful, skilled and highly professional facilitator and I hold him in the highest regard. John is also a skilled project manager, presenter and trainer.

Jane Garnham, Consultant, Facilitator, Coach

I have been in an Action Learning Set with John for eight years and seen him present and lead in other contexts as well. He is a highly skilled facilitator and trainer. I particularly value his creativity and ability to inspire the people he works with.

John Bayley, Education Consultant and Group Facilitator

Participating in an Action Learning set is a transformative experience. It has sharpened my listening skills and given me tools to communicate more effectively in a non-judgmental way. It has also taught me to focus on practical ways of addressing a problem.  I have participated in two different AL sets facilitated by Trevor.  Both have provided a warm and friendly environment where I felt listened to without judgment. Sharing my concerns with my set members has allowed me to better identify my problems and to pinpoint the obstacles. I am now taking positive steps to reconcile family life and academic career.

Dr. Jamila Dorner, Anthropologist, London

Taking part in an Action Learning set led by Trevor has been a wonderful vehicle for sharpening my thinking about the intricate relations between my professional activities and my personal journey. The repeated practice of listening carefully to others has expanded my ability to listen to my own impulses and needs. I have really benefited from the opportunity to share the hurdles I face with fellow set members. Their open questions and supportive challenge have helped me to renew the baseline necessary for addressing those crucial questions that shape my daily life."

Dr. Hervé Munz, Lecturer in Anthropology, University of Geneva

John is an excellent Action Learning facilitator. Since working with him on the Executive of the International Foundation for Action Learning (IFAL) UK for 9 years, I have developed a deep respect for his extensive communication and leadership skills. Drawing on his expert listening, insightful questioning and quietly challenging approach, John consistently models the behaviours he espouses, and is highly skilled in working both with groups and individuals in a wide range of organisational and cultural contexts. He is equally creative, professional and knowledgeable, always seeking to develop the best in others, and supportive of, and passionate about new ways of working. A delight to work with!'

Moira McLaughlin, EMCC Accredited Master Coach, Supervisor, Virtual Working Specialist, Facilitator

I've participated in Action Learning with John as Facilitator since 2008 - he has always been extremely clear, knowledgeable, professional, and sensitively articulate in his practice as a Facilitator. He works with genuine integrity and instils trust. Hand on heart - I recommend him.

Sarah Scott, Yoga Teacher, Health and Vitality Coach

I often find the postdoctoral phase to be a restless sea of self-doubt, but our Action Learning set represents a stable beacon of light, warmth and clarity. The comforting, non-judgmental group environment encouraged by Trevor helps me to think through problems that I normally lock away in my daily academic life. The open-question format facilitates a tangible sense of problem solving by interrupting my usual thought patterns. It also brings welcome awareness that I’m not alone in working through difficult circumstances or in questioning my own abilities. Perhaps most satisfying are those important moments of realisation wherein the set succinctly identifies a root cause or positive action that I was unable to recognise by myself. With each set meeting, I am discovering more about how I meet and cope with life; but I also think that together we are learning about the deeper, intangible human condition.

Dr. Robert James Simpkins, Early Career Researcher

John delivered an engaging day of Action Learning training to our team of peer associates. He took the time to understand the aims of our programme and the needs of our target group, tailoring the content and his delivery in a way that was both supportive and challenging. He gave us much-needed guidance and is a skilled action learning set trainer; it was great to see him in action. I hope to work with him again.

Keji Okeowo, Founder and Director, Hudl CIC

Action Learning allows me to step back and examine the stumbling blocks that can get in the way of intellectual work, within a supportive, trusting environment of peers with very similar experiences and concerns; but also, and significantly, AL challenges me to confront the question: so what will you do about it? In the sometimes isolating and competitive environment of academia the warmth, solidarity and frankness of the Action Learning sets I have been part of has been a most encouraging and liberating experience.

Gunvor Jonsson, Anthropologist

I am new to Action Learning and have become a true enthusiast in this method of self-discovery. Trevor facilitates each session with insight and compassion, and often with a light touch of humour too. His questions are thought provoking and get to the nub of each issue and I always leave feeling motivated and able to tackle the obstacle I had discussed amongst the set.

Jody Butterworth, British Library

Action Learning really left a deep imprint on me. Seminars encouraged constructive thinking and non-judgemental discussions in a way which I have, sadly, never experienced again in academia.

Emmanuelle Roth, PhD Candidate, Dept. of Social Anthropology, University of Cambridge

I first met Trevor in a different organisational context and admired his unique way of taking part in meetings and discussions. I became more aware of the strength of his skills once I participated in an AL set led by him. The set had been composed in a subtle and powerful manner. Although most of the participants were new to AL, Trevor’s facilitation allowed us to deal with deep, personal and sometimes difficult issues, and always in confidence and with kindness. My AL experiences with Trevor have been extremely valuable and rewarding. They helped me reconsider various matters with a fresh perspective.

Marie-Laure Lavenir, ICOMOS

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Contact Us

00 44 (0) 7962 664 630

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