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05 Jan, 2009

Dee Wilkinson – Success Stories

Posted by: The Coaching Academy In: Success Stories

Dee Wilkinson

I had a very difficult childhood. Both parents married 4 -5 times, step mum committed suicide and step-father tried. Dad was an alcoholic and then diagnosed with a brain tumour. Various assortments of abuse. I left home at 13 to live in a caravan with my brother (who was 14). After experiencing his habits for a year, I decided they left a lot to be desired so forged ahead and got my own caravan on farmland at 14.

I kept up with school and quickly learnt to forge my own notes if sick etc. My biggest worry was someone finding out and me being taken into care.
I passed the exams I liked but didn’t have the opportunity to continue in further education for two reasons. One was I thought I was too thick to be able to, and two I needed money to live. Working weekends and holidays at a local outdoor pursuits centre taking rides out on ponies, covered bare essentials alongside food parcels from my grandparents.

At one point in my life I clearly remember sitting in my caravan by myself at the little cold melamine fold out kitchen table. I had no job, no savings, no transport and the only money I possessed being a £10.00 note laid out in front of me. I smoothed the note out before me and said to myself in a very upbeat way “Ok, how far are we going to get?”

Not knowing my vocation in life drove me mad. I tried everything I could in the hope I would be good at something one day and be able to live life on my terms. I never gave up the thought that I would find it. I had many limiting beliefs of being ‘thick’ and not ‘academic’, ‘ugly’ and ‘stupid’. I always felt slightly inferior to other people.

I joined the NHS when I was 22 and bought my first house. A wreck of a repossession with no bathroom or kitchen and miles away from my beloved Dartmoor and comfort zone. My first mortgage and experience of paying proper bills was stressful.

Slowly I came up the ranks. After 16 years of marriage, 8 of which were domestically violent, losing a baby, getting my son through cancer, building my own home and losing it, along with all I had created. Being dropped into manage a hospital with no real management experience, divorce, and other experiences, I was left feeling pretty low – I then found coaching.

Trumpets played, lights shone, birds sang, I danced, as instantly I knew I had found my role and purpose in life and the thing I was most passionate about. I knew from that moment on that my life would change immeasurably and I finally had the correct tools that I had inadvertently been using to some degree, all my life.

I did two Diplomas and took the Personal Performance Coaching with The Coaching Academy. I was on a run. Having originally trained to get myself out of the NHS I was beginning to realise just how much it needed it, so started the training to become a Corporate & Executive coach which I had to self fund as couldn’t wait.

I wrote a proposal to get Coaching embedded as part of the NHS I worked in. It wasn’t granted.

I didn’t give up and forged ahead and gained permission to coach colleagues and peers alongside my substantive post. I then collected excellent feedback. I resubmitted the proposal and took it to Human Resources. For 18 months I kept trying to get its value recognised whilst we were going through a massive reorganisation and merger.  I stuck my neck on the line and turned down a guaranteed job through the reorganisation because I knew I wasn’t being true to myself (even though I was a single parent with two young boys and had a mortgage 4 times my earnings). I arranged meetings with the Chief Exec and talked of my vision.

At the end of July my dream was realised. My proposal was taken in as part of the Learning and Development Team and worked into Organisational Development strategies. I have secured a role as Corporate Coach Lead for the whole of the organisation and effectively created my own job and written my own job description.

The main part of my job is offering individual coaching support to managers and Team Leaders in the NHS across a whole county.

I take the lead on the continual development of Coaching and make sure it will be incorporated into service delivery and design. I am responsible for building relationships with partner organisations and have written joint protocols to make sure the quality of coaching is maintained and networks can be created aligning a seamless coaching approach throughout.

This is in addition to running Effective Team coaching development days,  and workshops for Managers on Coaching Skills and Performing Under Pressure. I am currently compiling a book of themes and coaching skills to back up the workshops, called ‘How to Survive the NHS’.

Recently I have requested a National Forum for managers in the NHS to share information and coaching advice to support themselves along with hopefully empowering individuals to change the culture towards a coaching environment.

Privately I am being asked to run workshops and coach individually.

I am in heaven!

My future medium term direction is a continual focus on the Leadership elements of Corporate Coaching and establishing this as my area of expertise. My longer term direction is talking to larger and larger audiences, delivering the powerful message behind coaching and being committed to being the catalyst to changing the culture of the NHS nationally. Ultimately creating a better and more valuing environment for the staff and therefore better patient care.

I now live in a beautiful detached house in the middle of Dartmoor.  I have a fantastic relationship with a wonderful man. My children are blossoming and I’m driving around in my dream Porsche 911 4s (paid for – not by the NHS but the law of attraction!!).

Material things aren’t important but clearly when you are living in alignment with who you are and taking action in line with your purpose, the rest just falls into place.

Thank you to The Coaching Academy. I am seriously looking forward to my future x

Dee Wilkinson



13 Responses to "Dee Wilkinson – Success Stories"

1 | peter law

January 6th, 2009 at 3:10 pm


Hi Dee

What an incredibly inspiring story you have to tell of courage, resilience and determination. I’m certain it will help many people facing a challenging New Year. Wishing you continuing joy and success in 2009.


2 | Julie Blunt

January 6th, 2009 at 5:43 pm


Hi Dee,

What an inspiration you are! Through your courage and resilience, you have demonstrated what the rest of us talk about. I’m sure your story will help to put into perspective other people’s troubles at this challenging time. Thanks for sharing so honestly.

Best wishes for a happy and successful 2009.


3 | Frank Roe

January 6th, 2009 at 10:21 pm


Your determination, persistence and attitude are inspirational!
Reading your story has made me more determined to succeed in a similar way in my part of the NHS in the north west of England.
Changing the culture of the NHS nationally?? Seriously? Challenges don’t come bigger than that.
Let’s do it.
All the very best to you.
Frank Roe

4 | Eleanor Beech

January 6th, 2009 at 11:02 pm


Dee, reading this has made that tiny spark of ‘maybe’ buried deep inside of me slightly bigger!
I too experienced a difficult childhood which I believe equipped me with fantastic tools to cope with life’s challenges and after years and years of not really knowing where my passion lay, I have finally enrolled on an introduction/taster course in life coaching, something that just ‘feels’ like me.
Your story has inspired me to at the very least give this a try, a damn good try, and maybe, I could be the inspirational lady you are, writing in the future to others as you have.
I have also just read two books about the blessed ‘Law of Attraction’ and since changing my thoughts, have been accepted on this courseand had an all expenses paid holiday booked and paid for by my aunt (I haven’t had a holiday for 8 years!) Not bad going considering I only learnt of the laws of attraction this Christmas!

Thank you for sharing your story. I wish you well on your future ventures!

5 | Eleanor Beech

January 6th, 2009 at 11:06 pm


Dee, this is exactly what I needed to read as I embark on dipping my toe into the waters of life coaching.
I’ve always found reasons not to do anything about this thing that just feels like ‘me’.

I wish you the very very best with your future ventures. You deserve everything the cosmos brings your way.

Love and respect,


6 | Sharon Wilson

January 7th, 2009 at 6:33 am


Your story is inspirational; your persistence and drive are empowering.

Wishing you many joys and success.

7 | Gill Woon

January 7th, 2009 at 2:25 pm


This is a truly inspiring story. Well done and all the best for the future

8 | Teresa

January 19th, 2009 at 5:19 pm


Dee, I just love stories like yours – truly inspirational!

9 | Velma

February 6th, 2009 at 11:18 pm


Dee, I want to call you Deedee because I used to know someone by that name a long time ago. Yes your story is amazing and truly inspirational. People who play the blame game should read your story and see how their blames stand up.
Go girl. the sky is not even the limit for you. Keep inspiring yourself and all others who will take the time to hear you out. this could make a great book and Movie, I am sure. Hollywood, Pinewood, this is Dee’s story. Ha ha.

10 | Lesley Stopford

March 13th, 2009 at 10:45 pm


Dee, I am full of admiration for what you have done. That you have managed to secure a contract with the NHS is truly amazing. I have a similar professional background with the NHS and desperately needed to escape the nonsense and drudge of it all – not the patients or even my colleagues, but the limits and restraints of the bureaucracy. but just like you, I can see that it SO needs the vision of coaching and having been at the innards of it we are perfectly placed to offer that service. It gives me hope and encouragement that you have had such influence and success. Thanks for sharing your story, it’s a great one.

11 | phebe harris

February 4th, 2010 at 6:53 pm


hi auntie dee dee,
i never new you had such a hard life i love you lots and miss you hope to see you soon give all my love to Darren, Barney and Roo but don’t forget to save some for yourself


12 | Zen Moments

March 3rd, 2010 at 1:26 pm


Hey There Dee

- Your story would make a great post for Zen Moments! Would you give us permission to republish it? We would send you a preview page, so you can see how it would look and make any changes you want, before publishing.

We could publish it around the time of the launch of South West Coaching at the end of March, with a link to your website.

Talk to you soon,

Warm wishes,


Zen Moments is a collection of inspiring stories of the power of awareness.

13 | Sue Chapman

May 22nd, 2011 at 7:27 pm


Hello Dee
You have been an inspirational coach for me and I am just about to recommend you to a friend. You helped me to turn my life around and find my path – I am having a fab time with my PhD studies.
All very best for your continued health, wealth and happiness.

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