Helping readers find their inner superhero at the same time as supporting a Teesside-based domestic violence charity is the latest mission of executive coach and wonder woman Claire Walton.
Claire, a former executive director who has been coaching leaders for 10 years, wrote her book Super Neuro You to allow more people to experience the benefits of the coaching she offers.
The book cleverly combines a page-turning and fast-paced work of fiction, which can be enjoyed on its own, with an option for readers to carry out the same exercises in self-exploration and personal change that are given to the lead character Laura Masters.
In the refreshing story, the reader becomes a fly-on-the-wall, as Laura learns how to harness superpowers Claire believes we all possess, through the latest techniques in neuroscience and coaching.
When it launches on April 22, the book, published by Authors & Co, will be on Amazon Kindle for just 99p and Claire, of Ingleby Barwick, is donating profits from the first-day Amazon Kindle sales to Middlesbrough-based My Sisters Place, winners of the Charity/Voluntary category at the Tees Businesswomen Awards.
This launch day offer is an incentive for Claire to help as many people as possible. Kindle will normally retail at £6.99. Paperback and hardback copies will also be available.
Describing how part of the book is devoted to exploring angry, impatient and critical parts of us and how they take over, leaving us unrecognisable to ourselves, let alone anyone else, Claire said: “I came up with this idea that I wanted to write a book to help people learn some of the lessons that come up in coaching with my clients – some of the things I have learned over the last 10 years since I left my role as a busy executive director.
“I wanted to be able to pass on some of those lessons but in a more accessible way to more people.
“Not everyone gets chance to have one to one coaching from a cost perspective.”
With a passion to inspire, Claire founded Leaders are MAD (Making a Difference) to coach leaders to make a difference to themselves, the people they work with, their organisation and the communities they serve.
Her coaching comes from the things she has learned from “some amazing and some awful” leaders over a 25-year corporate career and her desire to share what she has learned to create a world where leaders make a positive difference.
Her book, which she hopes will help her share her vision with a wider audience, is inspired by the hundreds of leaders Claire has coached.
It can be purchased along with a branded journal entitled Super Neuro Me, inspired by Claire’s love of the “art of reflection” that is journaling.
Readers can use the journal to write their own notes, as they go through some of the exercises the central character experiences in her coaching session.
“The book follows a character composed of lots of my clients – and there’s a bit of me in there as well,” Claire explains.
“You experience Laura’s transformation over a period of just under a year and you get to see the sorts of exercises that I do with Laura in the coaching sessions and are given to her as homework.
“As you read along, you get the opportunity to dig into exercises for yourself, in the book and on the resources section on my website.”
The idea is that while you are reading about Laura’s journey to find her highest potential self, you can also be on your own journey, experiencing what she experiences by looking in on her.
“You can go along the journey with her in effect,” said Claire.
“As you get to the end of the book, you see Laura three years on and she’s now leading the ideal life that she described in one of her early coaching sessions.
“Laura also wants to pay it forward. There is a message at the end that if you make a difference for yourself, you can also make a difference for other people that you influence too.”
Claire, who is a mentor for young girls as part of The Girls’ Network, believes the book has wide-ranging appeal to “so many people in so many ways”.
She says: “You could just read along and get an insight into the sorts of things that I do in coaching or you can go on your own coaching journey.”
The title and cover are inspired by Claire’s love of superheroes and also tie in with her branding for Leaders are MAD.
Claire explains: “The word power can be used very negatively and because of this I don’t like it, but I do like the word superpower because of the positive association with superheroes.
“In the book, we go through my nine superpowers, calm, curiosity, compassion, creativity, courage, clarity, connectedness, confidence and choice and how Laura learns to access them.
“We also look at a range of things she can do to boost her superpowers and a range of things that might zap her superpowers and what she can do about that.”
For example, the book explores how ruminating on the past is a superpower zapper for Laura and she learns how people don’t move forward if they are ruminating on a past mistake or where people have wronged them.
Laura also has a “know-it-all” part of her, which protects her from the discomfort of having to go through a learning process.
Through coaching, Laura is encouraged to learn where those negative parts of herself come from, so she can use them to her advantage, rather than letting them hinder her.
The book also explores the idea of finding your tribe – more people with similar values to you.
Claire explains: “In our relationships, when we have people with common values supporting us we find the internal courage to be more ourselves, which makes life less stressful and more successful.
Explaining how she has found her own courage to be herself through coaching, Claire says: “I used to be quite frustrated in the corporate world.
“I didn’t feel as though enough leaders were focused enough on making a difference – I felt like the culture often encouraged people to focus on looking out for themselves and I didn’t want to be part of that game anymore.
“I’m all about making a difference, so if the book doesn’t sell, I’m not making a difference. I want the book to sell for that reason.”
Michelle O’Rourke, CEO of My Sisters Place, said: “We would like to congratulate Claire on her first book and say a huge thank you for the ongoing support and time she commits to My Sisters Place.
“Claire has been a supporter of My Sisters Place for almost two years and is an ambassador for the charity in supporting our efforts to end violence against women and girls.
“Claire has supported the charity through a series of ‘Because you’re worth it’ workshops for our supporters, coaching for our staff team and fundraising to support our core work.”