with Mark McGuinness

Welcome

Do you want to:

  • Create work that bears comparison with the very best in your creative field?
  • Reach the top of your creative profession?
  • Grow a thriving and fulfilling creative business?
  • Carve out a unique creative career?
  • Earn the true value of your work (not just the ‘going rate’)?
  • Create a fulfilling and abundant life for yourself (and your family)?
  • Make your mark on the world?
  • Stay true to your artistic vision – even under pressure, or surrounded by the temptations of success?
  • Suffer less, create more and enjoy life more?

Then you’ve come to the right place.

I help talented, inspiring and ambitious creative professionals to fulfil their potential – creatively, personally, professionally and financially.

Some of them have grown tired of playing small, and are ready to reach for the stars, to create the work/career/business they have always (secretly) dreamed of.

Others have achieved a certain level of success in the world’s eyes – but deep down they aren’t satisfied with money or fame (nice as those are). They want to reclaim their artistic soul by returning to their true sources of inspiration.

As a poet, author, creative entrepreneur, husband and father myself, I know how hard it can be to strike the right balance between creativity and money, passion and responsibilities.

All my life, I’ve been learning, creating and facing up to the challenges that every creative person is confronted with. Since 1996, I’ve been coaching creative professionals like you to create more, suffer less, and turn their dreams into reality.

Now, all I have learned is at your disposal – to help you create the work, career or business that has your unique signature.

Here you can learn about how I help my clients. If you want to explore working together, you can apply for a coaching place and we’ll take it from there.

Mark

Next

Reach for the stars

Reach for the stars

So you have a crazy dream.

You want to reach the very top of your creative field.

You want to measure yourself against the best in your line of work – past and present.

If you’re an artist of any kind, you want to capture your vision and amaze the world.

If you’re a creative, you want to work with the very best clients, and be recognised as the ‘go to’ person for your specialist expertise.

If you’re a creative entrepreneur, you want to build a thriving business by creating products that people LOVE.

You know you have talent and plenty of desire, and you want to find out how far you go.

What you don’t know is how you’re going to do it. Or whether you have ‘what it takes’ to succeed (whatever that is). So you feel stuck, and you’re experiencing one or more of the following:

Procrastination

It could be a matter of wasted minutes before you settle down to work each day. Or you could lose hours or even days every week, doing anything but the thing you tell yourself is your dream.

Or maybe you’ve been sitting on this dream for years, pretending it isn’t there, and trying to get on with a ‘normal’ life, like everyone around you. But the dream won’t go away.

Self-criticism

You have an Inner Critic on steroids, who berates you for both (a) pursuing such a ridiculous dream and (b) not pursuing your ridiculous dream.

“Who do you think you are?”

“Why aren’t you doing it?”

“How do you think you’ll ever measure up?”

“What makes you so special?”

And so on, ad nauseam. It’s time to change the record.

Frustration

Because you’re not pursuing your dream, you’re frustrated on a daily basis.

Maybe you’re working in a soul-sapping job, with barely any time for creativity.

Or maybe you’re doing something nominally ‘creative’, but you’re not stretching yourself. You’re doing good-but-not great work for people who don’t know the difference – and who are paying you appropriately.

You’re capable of so much more than this, and it’s frustrating the hell out of you.

Fear

This one is the root of all the others:

You’re afraid because your dream is so big.

You’re afraid you won’t measure up.

You’re afraid you’ll look ridiculous.

You’re afraid you’ll look arrogant.

You’re afraid you’ll fail.

You’re afraid you’ll succeed – and fail to handle success.

But fear is actually a positive sign. As I’ve been telling my clients for years, ‘The bigger the dream, the bigger the fear.’ Fear is telling you you’re about to step outside your comfort zone – so it’s time to wake up and play big.

In other words, fear is the herald of opportunity – but you need to heed the messenger, not run away.

The most exciting (and scary) thought in the world

Whatever your particular situation, you’re reading this page because you know you’re capable of more than you have achieved up till now. And that’s scary too.

Deep down, you know that ‘knowing how to do it’ is not the real problem. You’ve probably read endless ‘how to’ books, articles, blog posts full of advice. If it were as straightforward as following instructions, you would have done it long ago.

You’ve had enough flashes of brilliance, and words of praise from people you respect, to know that you have the potential to do this.

You know that YOU are the only one who can make this happen for real. And YOU are the biggest obstacle standing in your way.

You know that if you stop hiding and start showing up as your most creative and courageous self, you will very likely find a way to achieve your goals.

And that’s probably the scariest thing of all.

Who can help you with this?

They say it’s lonely at the top. It’s even lonelier on the way up.

Having a dream this big can feel like an embarrassing secret. It sounds ridiculous to say it out loud, and you’re afraid of the consequences.

Some people will scoff, and want to take you down a peg or two. They settled for mediocrity, so why shouldn’t you do the same?

Others may be sympathetic, but bewildered. They don’t know what to suggest. They are concerned about you ‘getting your expectations up’.

Others may be eager to tell you what you ‘should’ do, based on their experience. Sometimes their advice rings true, other times it feels like they’re talking over your shoulder, to someone else.

This is where I help my clients.

Since 1996 I’ve been coaching creative professionals like you. Helping
them find the creativity, motivation, resilience and resourcefulness to succeed.

As a poet myself, I ‘get’ why you are pursuing an unconventional creative path. You don’t need to explain that to me.

So can I help you reach the stars?

I don’t know – yet.

I’ve helped plenty of others in your situation. But I’ve never met you, and I don’t yet know the details of your unique situation.

To help us both find out for real, answer the questions on the coaching application page.

If I think we may be a good fit for working together, the first step will be an introductory session, at no charge, and with no obligation on either side.

Coaching is such a personal process that this is the only way we can both know for sure whether we can work together effectively. So you won’t need to make a decision until you know whether I am the right person to help you.

And like any coaching conversation, I will treat everything you tell me as strictly confidential.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Mark

Previous | Next

Reclaim your soul

Reclaim your soul

So you’ve ‘made it’, or you’re well on the way – at least in the world’s eyes.

You’ve achieved success and recognition in your creative field. People want to know you and work with you. They look up to you, praise you, pay you high fees.

From the outside, it looks great. But behind the scenes, it’s not so simple.

You’ve discovered that success is more complicated, and more challenging than you’d anticipated.

Sure, it brings opportunities and certain kinds of freedom. But it also brings pressures:

The weight of expectation

People look to you to surprise and astound them. Consistently.

The critics say they want you to break new ground. Yet whatever you do, they compare it to your past work.

From people closer to home, you’re feeling the pressure to play it safe, and keep the money rolling in.

Money

Of course money is welcome. But it can also be a big distraction, clouding your concentration and making it hard to relax and play, allowing your creativity free-rein in the way you used to.

You won’t be surprised to learn that there are well-established psychological reasons why money is a creativity killer. That’s not to say it’s incompatible with creativity, but it needs to be handled carefully.

You feel like you’re on a conveyor belt

The constant pressure to keep doing the same old thing feels anything but creative.

But it’s hard to resist the momentum of your own success, or to get off the conveyor belt and to explore new directions. It feels like you’ll lose everything you worked so hard for.

People act weird around you

Too many of the people you meet seem to have an agenda.

It feels like they no longer see you as a human being. Instead, they are talking to your brand, an image of you that doesn’t fit the person inside.

Your personal life is suffering

You’ve spent so long building up your professional self, that you’re losing touch with the real you.

Maybe it’s hard to find – or maintain – an authentic relationship with someone who loves you just for yourself.

If you have a family, it’s hard to find time with them, or to enjoy the precious time you do have.

As for your friends from outside work… maybe it’s hard to remember the last time you saw them.

Not to mention some of the things you used to love doing for fun, that there never seems to be time for these days…

In short, it feels like you’re in danger of losing your creative soul.

Your true inspiration – the biggest reason you chose a creative path in the first place – is the thing that’s threatened by your success.

All the money, fame and reputation in the world is no compensation for losing the carefree artistic spirit who used to enjoy creating, for its own sake.

And paradoxically, this carefree spirit was the person who created all the success in the first place.

Bottom line: you’ve lost your spark and you want to get it back.

Who can help you with this?

When you reach this point, it can be hard to know who to turn to. You may have some wonderful people in your team, but they don’t have the skills to help you with this.

And so many others in your professional life have some kind of agenda – they want or need you to do certain things because their job depends on it.

Your friends and family may be sympathetic, but sympathy is not a solution.

You don’t see yourself going to therapy – it’s not as though you have a mental health issue. It’s more about dealing with the pressures of your situation, and rediscovering your creative mojo.

This is where I can help.

I’ve spent 18 years as a specialist coach for creative professionals like you. Helping them deal with the pressures of success, and stay true to their artistic calling.

As a poet and writer myself, I ‘get’ how important your creativity is to you. You don’t need to explain that to me.

And unlike most people in your professional life, I don’t have an agenda – apart from helping you with your agenda.

I’m close enough to care, but professional enough to maintain distance. And I don’t offer sympathy – I help you find solutions.

So can I help you reclaim your artistic soul?

Right now, I’m going to say ‘probably’.

I’ve helped plenty of others in your situation. But I’ve never met you, and I don’t yet know the details of your unique situation.

To help us both find out for real, answer the questions on the coaching application page.

If I think we may be a good fit for working together, the first step will be an introductory session, at no charge, and with no obligation on either side.

Coaching is such a personal process that this is the only way we can both know for sure whether we can work together effectively. So you won’t need to make a decision until you know whether I am the right person to help you.

And like any coaching conversation, I will treat everything you tell me as strictly confidential.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Mark

Previous | Next

How?

How I help my clients

When you start working with me, you begin a journey of transformation that will affect all areas of your life – creative, personal and professional.

Here are the seven main areas where I help clients transform:

  1. You
  2. Vision
  3. Creativity
  4. Communication and Performance
  5. Action
  6. Resilience
  7. Poetry

1. You

You are the biggest asset to your creative career – and the biggest potential liability. Which means our work begins and ends with self-knowledge. All your creativity, results and rewards flow from this.

Coaching is a mirror that shows you yourself as you really are – your strengths and weaknesses, hopes and fears, blind spots and hidden talents. Once you know these, you will be more creative and effective in every area of your life.

In 18 years of working as a coach and psychotherapist, I have never come across a more powerful and practical tool for self-knowledge than the Enneagram. I will work with you to identify your Enneagram Personality Type, and show you how to use it to switch on your superpowers, avoid your Achilles heel, and transform your life.

Some clients tell me that the insights and changes that emerge from the Enneagram work alone are worth the investment in coaching.

2. Vision

We will clarify your vision of your desired future, and I’ll challenge you to dream bigger than you’ve ever done before. Because your vision needs to be totally compelling, and life-changing, if you are to do the hard work of transformation.

And we don’t just confine the vision to your creative work – to achieve genuinely fulfilling success, you need to take a holistic look at your life, in important areas such as:

  • Creativity
  • Personal development
  • Professional/business development
  • Money
  • Impact and legacy

We’ll tease out any potentially competing commitments, to avoid a sense of trade-off and ensure that the different areas of your life support and enhance each other.

3. Creativity

I can help you with all aspects of your creative work – from establishing effective working habits, fending off the demands and distractions of 21st century life, to connecting with your deepest sources of inspiration, and dealing with stubborn creative blocks.

I can also help you turn your Inner Critic from your worst enemy to a valuable ally – because a finely-honed critical faculty is essential to producing world-class work.

If you’re a writer, I can give you detailed feedback on your work-in-progress, and help you develop and polish your writing. Writing a book can be a long and lonely process, and my author clients tell me it makes a world of difference having me along as a co-pilot.

(Having studied English at Oxford, and coached hundreds of professional writers, I’m used to analysing and editing texts of all kinds. And having written poetry, hundreds of popular blog articles, scores of sales pages, and an Amazon best-selling book, my writing advice is grounded in personal experience.)

Whatever your creative discipline, I will encourage you to apply your creativity to every aspect of your life and work. You can achieve extraordinary things when you start treating your life, career and/or business as canvases for your creativity.

4. Communication and Performance

There’s no point being brilliant unless the world knows it. So you need to communicate persuasively, for people to hire you, buy from you, or put your ideas into practice.

Depending on your goals, you will need to do this in person, on the phone, online, one-to-one, in meetings, and to audiences large and small.

Even if you’re not a writer, you are a writer.

We live in a world where we all have to write, and your choice of words – in an email, a proposal, an article, a TV treatment, a blog post, even a text or a Tweet – can open (or close) the door to opportunity.

Like it or not, you will be judged on your writing – on your style, structure, argument, storytelling, grammar, punctuation and spelling.

And if you’re a performer, such as an actor, musician or singer, then there’s no separation between you, your work and your audience – you need to be totally ‘in the zone’ to create an unforgettable impression.

I will help you prepare, rehearse, revise and refine all your important professional communications:

Spoken communication and live performance

  • Preparing for important meetings
  • Psyching yourself up for electrifying creative performances
  • Designing and delivering powerful presentations
  • Networking without looking pushy or desperate
  • Approaching difficult conversations with confidence and creativity

Written communication

  • Writing that book you’ve always said you have in you
  • Wording emails that communicate clearly – and get a response
  • Crafting a proposal that inspires, instils confidence, and prompts action
  • Writing articles that position you as an expert and open the door to opportunities

Building your brand online

If building an online presence to create career opportunities or new business is important to you, I can help, based on 8 years’ experience of doing this for my own and my clients’ businesses:

  • Choosing the medium (text, audio, video or images) that will work best for you
  • Deciding where to focus your efforts (blogging? podcasting? Twitter? Facebook? etc.)
  • Devising a media strategy to ensure you create content that delivers results
  • Using copywriting principles to attract people’s attention online, and inspire them to take action
  • Finding the time to create, publish and network online while getting your other work done

As well as communication skills, we will also deal with the root cause of most muddled and ineffective communication: fear.

When you start speaking and writing from your creativity instead of fear, you will become a much more powerful and persuasive communicator – and more doors will open for you.

5. Action

There’s no point us ever having a coaching conversation unless you are going to go away and take bold action to make your goals happen.

So each time we talk, you will go away with a list of action points. And next time, we’ll begin by reviewing these – to see where you succeeded, where you got stuck, and how you can improve next time.

Remember, the only true ‘failures’ are failing to act, and failing to learn from your mistakes. And once again, fear is at root of all procrastination – if that’s an issue for you, bring it to the table and I can help.

6. Resilience

However talented, confident and brilliant you are, you will inevitably encounter setbacks – rejection, criticism, disappointments, and good old-fashioned failure.

There will be days when you ask yourself “Why am I doing this?” and “Can I really do this?”. I’m here to help you on those days – you will have my email address and cellphone number, so you can call on me to help you recover your mojo and move forward.

7. Poetry

As a poet myself, I know that poetry can take you to unexpected places, both imaginatively and emotionally. Places you wouldn’t normally reach in conversation.

So if you work with me, you will be using poetry to unlock your imagination, connect with your feelings and develop your mastery of language. I will give you classic poems to read, and poetry writing assignments. (I may even write poems myself as part of the process…)

Clients tell me their engagement with poetry gives them an expanded sense of who they are and what they are capable of. It opens their minds to new possibilities in unexpected areas of their lives.

And once you’ve experienced the clarity and intensity of writing poetry, prose will seem much easier, and you’ll have a renewed sense of the power in every word you write or speak.


If this sounds like the kind of help you’re looking for, use the coaching application form to tell me about yourself and your goals.

Previous | Next

Mark

Mark McGuinness

I’m a poet, coach and creative entrepreneur, living in London, UK and coaching creatives worldwide via the magic of the internet.

Why creativity?

I’ve always loved creating. As a child, I was constantly making marks on paper, consuming gallons of paint and forests of pencil, charcoal and paper.

Even at that early age, I was interested in the psychology of creative process. I remember noticing that when a ‘drawing mood’ came over me, I had the seemingly-magical ability paint and draw whatever I wanted. But when I was in everyday state of mind, the picture never came out right, however hard I tried.

These days, I spend my time writing and helping creatives unlock the creativity in their psyche, and apply it to their art, their careers and their businesses. The great thing about working with creative professionals is their sheer enthusiasm for their work – I wake up in the morning and pinch myself that I get to work with such inspiring people.

Poetry

As a teenager I fell under the spell of poetry. Guided by two wonderful English teachers, Sue Dove and Geoff Reilly, I was amazed to discover that I could spend an entire lesson looking at a single poem, and keep finding new things in it the longer I looked. It probably helped that I was growing up in the beautiful landscape of North Devon, described by one of the poets we studied – Ted Hughes.

My love of poetry led me to study English Language and Literature at Oxford, where I read English poetry from Anglo-Saxon and Medieval times up to the present. I still read widely in classic and contemporary poetry, mostly in English, but also (with the aid of parallel texts and translations) French, German, Italian, Japanese, Old Occitan, Persian, Latin and Ancient Greek.

My own poems have been published in leading UK poetry magazines, and in anthologies edited by Ted Hughes and Seamus Heaney.

For eight years I was on the editorial board of the acclaimed magazine Magma Poetry. I edited Issue 34 of the magazine, archived on archived on the UK poetry library here.

I’m currently working on a verse translation of Geoffrey Chaucer’s masterpiece Troilus and Criseyde. The original is over 8,000 lines long, so it will keep me happily occupied for a while.

I share my thoughts on the poetry I’m reading, as well as news of my readings and publications, at: www.markmcguinness.com

Prose

I’m the author of the Amazon Creativity best seller Resilience: Facing Down Rejection and Criticism on the Road to Success, which does what it says on the tin for creative people pursuing their dreams.

And a co-author, alongside Steven Pressfield, Seth Godin, Stefan Sagmeister and others, of the best-selling books for creative professionals Manage Your Day-to-Day and Maximize Your Potential, both published by 99U.com where I’m a columnist.

I’ve been blogging about creativity, productivity, entrepreneurship and poetry since 2006; my three blogs have an average of 40,000 readers each month.

I’ve written a string of popular free ebooks, including Time Management for Creative People which has been downloaded hundreds of thousands of times.

I also wrote The Creative Pathfinder, a free creative careers course that has been taken by over 9,000 enthusiastic students worldwide.

Coaching

After Oxford, when most of my contemporaries embarked on careers as lawyers, doctors, bankers and captains of industry, I took a different path: I followed up my interest in the psychology of creativity by training as a hypnotherapist and psychotherapist.

And when I started practising therapy in 1996, I discovered something unexpected for an introverted bookworm: I liked working with people. I also made another interesting discovery – as well as the people who consulted me for therapy, I noticed another type of client, who would tell me things like this:

“I’m the star of a West End play, but terrified to go on stage every night. Can you help me?”

“I’ve been paid a large advance by my publisher for my next novel. I’ve spent the advance, but haven’t written the novel yet. I’m totally blocked and it’s due in three months’ time. Can you help me?”

“I’m a creative director struggling to keep up with the pressures of my work. I love the job (at least I did in the beginning) but between demanding clients, difficult colleagues and an avalanche of work, I’ve lost my creative mojo. Can you help me?”

As a writer myself, I found I had natural affinity with these clients; not only could I help them, we had a lot of fun together. And they were the clients who went away and recommended me the most.

I realised most of them didn’t have a mental health problem: they were just creative, and creativity involves a lot of what Seth Godin calls ‘emotional labor’. So I set up a specialist coaching service for creative professionals.

Over the years, as well as hundreds of private clients, I’ve coached and/or trained staff at organisations including Al Jazeera, The BBC, The British Film Institute (BFI), Channel 4, Econsultancy, The Institute of Practitioners in Advertising, McCann Erickson, Magnum Photos and The Royal College of Art.

I’ve also delivered presentations and coaching sessions at conferences including 99U in New York City and HOWDesign Live in Boston.

Creative entrepreneurship

I’ve been self-employed for almost all of my adult life. I’ve always liked to take things in hand and do them my way. Originally, I never thought of myself as an entrepreneur, but I gradually came to realise an entrepreneur is simply someone who makes things happen.

My first venture was designing tattoos, which taught me that selling creative work is at least as hard as creating it.

Later, as well as running my own psychotherapy practice, I spent several years as a partner in a coaching consultancy, delivering coaching and training to organisations including BT, Vodafone and Transport for London. The experience eventually confirmed my feeling that I’m not at home in a corporate environment, but it also taught me a lot about running a business and helping clients’ businesses succeed.

I then decided to refocus on creativity and went to the University of Warwick and took the MA in Creative and Media Enterprises. I studied business strategy, marketing, organisational structure alongside theories of creativity, intellectual property law and the creative economy.

One day, in the marketing module, I came across an ebook by Seth Godin that introduced me to the idea of blogging to spread ideas and attract opportunities…

On Valentine’s Day 2006, I published first blog post at www.wishfulthinking.co.uk. Like so many things in my career, it felt exciting and scary – I saw a big opportunity but well-meaning friends and colleagues warned me against “giving away too much of your valuable knowledge for free”. I trusted my gut and went for it.

It took a while for the blog to gain traction, but a few months in, I started attracting new business enquiries from companies that wouldn’t have returned my phone calls before. After that, my online presence developed into my main source of clients, as well as all kinds of business opportunities I never expected when I started out.

In 2008, my blog put me on the radar of Brian Clark and Tony Clark, two creative entrepreneurs on the other side of the world, and we founded LateralAction.com together, later joined by Sonia Simone.

We spent 2 years in partnership, which was a terrific opportunity to learn first-hand from some of the leading authorities on online marketing and entrepreneurship. Together, we created The Creative Entrepreneur Roadmap, an in-depth e-learning course to help creatives develop their talent into unique and thriving businesses.

My blogging also attracted offers of book deals from major publishers on both sides of the Atlantic. In the end, I decided to publish my first book myself, hiring an editor and proofreader to help me polish the text, and engaging the brilliant Irene Hoffman to design the book.

Over 5,000 copies later, the book is still selling every day, and the Russian edition will be published shortly by Moscow publisher Mann, Ivanov & Ferber. I’m in discussion with other overseas publishers about further foreign-language editions. So I’m happy I made the right choice to self-publish.

Now, I’m writing the sequel to Resilience

Over the years, there have been plenty of days when I wondered whether working for myself was worth the stress, but I’ve been constantly stimulated, learned every day, and met lots of wonderful people along the way. And I have the satisfaction of creating something original that has made a difference to thousands of creative people over the years and across the globe.

Family and friends

“Think where man’s glory most begins and ends,
And say my glory was I had such friends.”

W.B. Yeats

I’ll be the first to admit I’m obsessed with my work. I love creating things and helping clients. But Yeats was right: nothing trumps friendship.

I’m fortunate to share my life with my wife Mami McGuinness and our two adorable and mischievous children. And a bunch of friends stretching back to my teens.

And thanks to the wonders of 21st century life, I now have a more recent network of friends all over the world – many of whom started as readers, clients, business partners, or familiar faces from the digital street.

I thank my lucky stars for these people every week, and look forward to getting to know you too.

Mark

Previous | Next

Clients

Client testimonials

“Coaching with Mark was one of the best investments I gave myself at the early stage of my career as an artist.

“If you want a gentle voice that can give you encouragement when you need hand-holding, as well as practical business advice, Mark is the coach for you. He is a lovely combination of creativity and business strategy.

“He helped me with my productivity when I thought my problem was that I didn’t know what to do. I did know, I was just too overwhelmed to see past my fears. He helped me structure my ideas into an actionable plan while sharing techniques to work with my natural creativity + productivity rhythms.

“Instead of fighting my creative + contradictory personalities, I learnt to work in partnership with the moodiness of my muse that also suited the practical left-brain context my business needed.

“(The investment in a coach also helped my mindset that this being-a-professional-fine-artist-life I wanted IS a business and businesses invest in themselves.)

“If you’re like me, you need a coach to hold your hand through your fears while still helping you with the big picture strategies. I highly recommend a series of sessions so you will get the best of Mark. He seems to genuinely be invested in his clients, always ensuring you have an action plan that suits your goals + abilities while holding you accountable to those actions. Us creatives need both the gentle nudge in confidence + a firm kick into action sometimes!

“Together we put a myriad of plans into a structure that suited my goals & stretched my perspective of what I thought was possible to achieve. I was able to develop a marketing strategy that made sense to me. I wasn’t left hanging with ideas & suggestions from Mark, we always outlined a plan to make them happen. This means I feel confident in what I’m doing, I’m less distracted by shiny new ideas & know which to focus on that suits my goals. Even if something doesn’t quite work out I have techniques and ideas on how to deal with that also.

“The structure of my action plan + confidence I gained from Mark’s coaching gave me the courage to pursue my creative (some may say ‘crazy’) idea to develop my own kickstarter program over winter 2011 (June-August).

“This resulted in raising over $3,000 and I’m having my first solo exhibition next month. I have my first body of work, a group of collectors and the encouragement to keep going in my new career as a fine artist — despite the scary and lack of security.”

Brenda Mangalore, Artist, Sashé Studio

“After nearly 5 years of my site, The Creative Penn, growing organically, things were getting a little out of control. I needed help to streamline my processes and my website in order to make more room for my creative work and also to help more people, more effectively.

“Mark was able to give me specific, targeted advice around how to restructure on a technical level, but he also challenged me on my workflow and assumptions. I definitely needed to invest in coaching help, and Mark’s expertise and gentle, but firm, manner were exactly what I needed.”

Joanna Penn, Author, Speaker, Entrepreneur TheCreativePenn.com

“I decided to work with a coach because I felt I was missing someone to guide me through the next steps of my business. Working for yourself, there are no set ‘rules’ as to what you’re supposed to be doing next and I wanted some added perspective on what I thought I wanted to, and then how to go about doing it.

“In the past, I’ve been disappointed with highly priced coaches who haven’t taken the time to get to know me or my business. (One coach, on both sessions was typing and catching up with their own work during our conversations!) I was really hoping that wouldn’t be the case with Mark, and it wasn’t.

“Mark was very aware of my business, and had researched what I did, what my site looked like, he even noticed things on my website that I had forgotten about. It was very useful getting that fresh perspective from someone who notices the details and understands a creative business.

“I was about to launch my first proper eBook and Mark really helped me through the process, in particular with the anxiety that comes from a launch. Above all else, he made me realise it was okay to pace myself and celebrate each step, rather than pile on the pressure and feel consistently inadequate by comparing my efforts with what I ‘should’ be doing.

“Mark’s coaching style is very calm, methodical and focused which matched what I needed. He’s got a good sense of humour and I felt I could be very honest about my fears and opinions and have him understand where I was coming from without judging me.”

Amy Harrison, Copywriter, HarrisonAmy Copywriting

“Through our coaching sessions Mark taught me a broad range of personalized skills applicable to the day to day business of my art practice and how to build a strong presence online.

“He provided me with tailored solutions for time management, how not to freak out about things, how to routinize my work so that I am creating new artwork consistently while also taking care of the business side. Two sessions were focused on branding and identity helping me to better speak about my art and present it.”

Rachel Marsden, Contemporary Photography, Rachel-Marsden.com

“I was growing as a creative professional. I was taking on more responsibility at work, earning that proverbial seat at the big table and it was happening fast. Although that’s great, I needed to know if I was really spending my energy on tasks that mattered to me. I needed to know if what I was doing was actually helping my career goals or if I had ventured off track. I needed to better understand how to get to my next career level.

“I was in dire need of some good advice and not the kind recruiters, friends, or co-workers can give you. Nobody tells you what your next steps should be in life. I mean, who isn’t slightly confused? Since I found Mark’s Creative Pathfinder course enlightening I decided to reach out to Mark for some personal one-on-one coaching.

“We connected on Skype over four sessions. During that time Mark honestly listened to my situation and helped me see past the clutter in my head. Together we made a plan to attack and re-focus my energy on steps that could really make a difference in my life. His inspiration has been truly valuable to me and the further I travel down the path we established the more valuable it seems.

“Our sessions have long been over, but I feel like I could always contact Mark at any point. I feel like I got more than just four sessions… I feel like we’re friends.

“Would I do it again? Yes.”

Bradley Derry, Industrial Designer and Creative Team Leader, BradleyDerry.com

“I had been working as an independent consultant for about half a year when I saw the announcement about Mark’s New Year’s Resolutionizer program. I was immediately intrigued by the title, as I had never really been able to keep any New Year’s Resolutions before.

“I knew I needed to do something to fix my working life: No matter what changes I tried to make, I was not getting enough sleep, client projects always seemed to be due at the same time, and I never knew whether I was making the right decision when I spent an hour networking instead of working on a client project. I was always tired and had more mental angst than I wanted.

“Most of my friends and former colleagues, who had ‘normal’ jobs, didn’t really seem to understand my decision to strike out on my own, and the traditional kinds of advice didn’t seem to apply to my situation.

“I had the sneaking suspicion that Mark could help me, yet I couldn’t help thinking that the Resolutionizer cost a bit more than I wanted to pay. I had never tried coaching before – and certainly had never considered working with a coach entirely online – and wondered if I might be spending my money foolishly.

“Somewhere in my head there was a voice that said, “You can save your money and solve your problems yourself if you just make a plan and stick with it for another six months.” However, there was a part of me that was tired of going through all of the trial and error on my own.

“I am so glad to report that I ignored that voice in my head, as the Resolutionizer was worth every penny, and more.

“Mark’s expertise was apparent from the very first call. He very quickly helped me to identify my most productive working patterns and to design not just a working life, but an entire lifestyle, that is based on working independently and works with my natural strengths.

“I have developed a more positive and relaxed outlook on life and am impressed that the program worked so quickly. I clearly got more than I expected: I initially signed up just to get some help with my New Year’s Resolution to get more sleep, but found myself addressing productivity and motivation and client management issues all at the same time!

“As someone who has always strayed a bit off the beaten path, I appreciated Mark’s ability to bring out my best qualities and help me capitalize on what makes me unique instead of suggesting that I try to fit into a box somewhere. Perhaps most importantly, I understood why I was never able to make that 6-month plan in the first place, let alone stick to it!

“The peace of mind I have gained through Mark’s coaching is invaluable. He is insightful, truly committed to providing outstanding service, and excels at making his clients feel comfortable. In fact, my experience was so good that I have signed on for the Money for Creative People program.

“Mark understands creatives and entrepreneurs in a way that most people don’t, and I highly recommend his services for anyone who feels that they don’t fit into the traditional mold. The world would be a better place if everyone had Mark’s gift for relating to people and helping them to create the lives they want to lead.”

E.W., Boston

“I have been a freelance writer and arts project manager for over four years. I decided to work with Mark over six sessions at a point when I was really struggling to balance the different aspects of my professional and creative life.

“I approached Mark because I had been to a seminar he gave on Time Management for Creative People and was impressed by his honesty and passion, and his mix of creativity and, for want of a better word, business.

“I was a little resistant to the very idea of coaching (taking, perhaps, that very English, ‘it’s a bit American/self indulgent/I should just stop whinging and get on with it’ attitude…) but I found working with Mark extraordinarily helpful. Because he took my work and the problems I was facing seriously, so did I.

“Carving time out of my week to really examine what I was doing, and how, and why, helped me to step back and take a more objective view of things, which in turn helped me to think about what I wanted to change.

“I found Mark professional, interested, and prepared to challenge my thinking and my habits.

“I wouldn’t say my life is perfect as a result (!) but I have managed to put strategies in place to defend my own creative time, and have developed more of an ability to take a step back when things are getting hectic, and check I am going in the right direction.”

Sarah Butler, Writer and Creative Project Manager, Urban Words

“I was having trouble deciding what to do for a job. It’s not like I was stuck for options, I actually had too many. I was at a social networking group and was explaining my dilemma to some of my friends who suggested I needed to see Mark.

“I had heard of business (and life) coaches before and had met a few, who in my mind I wouldn’t have consulted over what filling of sandwich I should have, let alone ask them for advice with problems I was having around making decisions about my business or career. Many people who pass themselves off as coaches are quite flaky.

“What Mark had going in his favour was I had great respect for the people who recommended him. He came with an ‘non-flaky’ reputation immediately. For some reason I got the feeling that he had made an effort to put himself out there and become known to people in a real way, rather than set up a website advertising his services.

“I got more clarity about who it is I am, and that who I am is OK. Instead of chastising myself for being ‘all over the place’ I began to realize that actually I was just very talented in lots of areas and sometimes that can be a little overwhelming for me to cope with.

“Instead of thinking I had to do it all, I was able to see what it was I liked doing the most. I realized that if I were to be successful at any one of them I would have to sacrifice some of the others and attached to that loss would be some pain. I got to see more clearly what the choices were.

“I came away more informed as to my processes, what it was I really really liked, as opposed to what I thought I should like. I left feeling like I wasn’t such a bad person after all for not having my whole life planned down the last minute.

“I also think that just having someone listen is powerful. Of course I have friends I can talk to but in those interactions I am mindful of my role in the relationship of having to offer up something to them. When I saw Mark I owed him nothing apart from paying his bill, the dynamics are different if you are being heard by someone who role is it to listen and guide and then charge you for that service. You don’t leave thinking “Was I being a selfish, self-centered person for talking only about me for the last hour?”.

“The fact that Mark was qualified in some psychotherapeutic discipline made me personally feel better. I understand that we are driven by a lot of unconscious material and that if I were to engage with Mark he would reveal those processes to me, and quite frankly I would have resented someone had read a few books on NLP pointing them out to me.

“He observed the usual boundaries – he was on time, he apologized if he got things wrong, he was smartly dressed but not intimidating in his style. My general sense was that he was very kind and that he actually cared. He had a good understanding of how tricky it can be to promote yourself in a world that doesn’t always accommodate or understand people who cover such a broad spectrum, as I do.

“I loved the fact he recommended books and websites for me to look at. I think with most things you face in life, its the feeling of isolation that makes it all the worse. By pointing me in the direction of others who shared the same experience as me and had faced the same ‘problems’ I was facing, not only was the isolation broken but the shame attached to being the ‘only one’ left me too.

“I felt like I had gone to see Mark with a tangled ball of wool (that was my working life and/or attitude towards it), over the sessions we untangled the wool.”

Debbie Davies, Creative Entrepreneur

“In my experience, the great challenge for the wild & creative is to interface with the ordinary & practical. Ideas need to meet action. The spirit needs grounding in the material. Mark McGuiness’s practice offers a seasoned, empathic and clear-headed approach to the marriage of these disparate realms — and it’s an essential service.”

Joshua Wolf Shenk, Writer, Shenk.net

“I was recommended to see Mark in order to open doors regarding social networking and to create a productive website.

“I didnt have any doubts that someone in the know could and would be able to help me but I had a few doubts in terms of what can be done and hadn’t realised how huge social networking had become.

“Mark was a perfect guide through the how’s and the reality is that connecting with Mark has put a completely new and interesting spin on me and my online profile as an artist. It has enabled me to take full control of it, which is fantastic.

“Mark has given me a platform to work from, we achieved everything and more than I thought possible.

“Mark is extremely patient, he is knowledgeable and he understands that most people are not web savvy. I think his coaching style is both friendly and professional.”

Matt Adey, Singer/Songwriter

“A number of years ago, I was frustrated with my job, career and boss. My osteopath recommended that I see Mark who was a coach. A coach at the time was new, at least to me, so I was a little concerned about what I might get out of it. After some contemplation, I thought a visit wouldn’t hurt.

“I can’t tell you how glad I am that I took that initial step. I went in for help with my work but when all was said and done, I got a new direction and insight to my life.

“Looking back, my job was driving everything. Mark quickly got to the root of the troubles and challenges that I faced. Mark was outstanding at guiding me to look at all the facets of the issues. He helped me bring out all the questions and then helped me down the path to discovering the answers.

“Mark has an approach that gives you a comfort zone to work through the process. The bottom line effect was a whole new way of facing difficult situations whether it was with my job or something else.

“It’s been 10 years since I first saw Mark and I have returned for coaching from time to time. Looking back, I would sum up the experience as going from feeling confined in a straitjacket (my old job) to freedom (my new business).

“If you’re looking for assistance, I can’t recommend Mark enough.”

Rosanne Bachman, Managing Director, Pinwheel Consulting

Previous | Next

Apply

Apply for coaching with Mark

I limit my coaching practice to a small number of very carefully selected clients, who receive in-depth coaching to transform their art, career or business.

Because I coach worldwide, most coaching sessions take place via Skype or phone. There are also options for face-to-face sessions.

Before I take on a client, I want us both to be 100% sure we are a good fit for working together.

So for serious applicants, I provide an introductory coaching session where we get straight down to work on your goals. This is the only way we can both know for sure whether I am the right coach for you.

There is no charge for the introductory session – and no guarantee I will offer you a coaching place afterwards.

To apply for coaching, please click here and answer some questions about yourself.

Previous