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Jenny Sealey and Rachel Bagshaw

A conversation about Sync Coaching between Jenny Sealey, Artistic Director of Graeae and Theatre Director Rachel Bagshaw (pictured here) who used to work with Jenny at Graeae Theatre Company too. (Photograph - Olivia Harris)

JENNY said: So why did I join Sync you ask? In my job I’ve never had someone telling me how I’m doing or time to develop myself and get better at what I do! So Sync came up and I thought the time is now. I have got to do this. So when I got a place it was like, “yes!” And then the coaching started. I was frightened, because it was about me. I am not good at talking about how I work with other people. It was about looking inside myself. My job is to make sure that everyone feels they can do their job well and be there for them too. Coaching helped me to do this better. When Sync ran a second course, Rachel comes over, "Jen, shall I go for this?" “Yes, you have to.” So Rachel, why did you join Sync?

RACHEL said: Because you told me too! {laughter} No it was a great time for me to do it.

an elephant itching its feet

Itchy feet

RACHEL said: I had been working for Graeae for a number of years and I was starting to get itchy feet.

I was trying to work out where I wanted to go and what I needed next. I now work as an Assistant Director at the Young Vic, where I have been since September 2010.

My coaching journey saw me change: from working in a small disability theatre company to working in a large theatre company.

Sync was good because of the coaching and for getting together with other disabled people to talk through things as I was changing my work.

a cartoon showing managing and talking to each other


JENNY said: Did you talk about me?

RACHEL said: So in my coaching sessions, I learnt how to manage you better! {laughter}

JENNY said: You what...?

RACHEL said: How to manage my manager! At one time, we both had Sarah as a coach.

JENNY said: Rachel got more grumpy and clear about what she wanted. The clearer she got, the more scared I got. Not scared of her, but scared that she would be going soon. This hurt. There were tears.

a cartoon showing a disabled person in a bubble

Bursting the bubble

JENNY said: It was a difficult time, but it changed things for us. We talked about what it was like being deaf, being a wheelchair user, pain, being tired and we were able to put all of that into a big melting pot. We saw the things we were doing that were not good for us and people around us. I do live in my little Jenny bubble. It's very nice and very safe there. Sometimes I put my little bubble around me so that I do not have to communicate with anybody. I use my deafness. “Sorry, I didn't hear that, what?” So I can cut myself off. Rachel saw this. Now I sit in the office and find a way to communicate with everybody.

RACHEL said: I used the coaching time with Sarah to really look at how I was managing my working life and to make changes that have helped me be stronger, with more energy in my new role.

a cartoon showing a Cat on Jenny's shoulder

On my shoulder

JENNY said: In my mind, Sarah is still sometimes perched on my shoulder. She sits there very quietly, sometimes like a woodpecker, or sometimes a bit more like a cat with claws! {laughter} I am so thankful to Sync.

RACHEL said: I am too.


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