Assertiveness from the Inside Out

This course is not running at the moment.  Email me if you’d like to hear about the next one or ask about working together one to one.

  • Think fair
  • Reduce your fears & build your confidence
  • Step up your assertiveness, boundary setting and negotiation skills

Inside Out Assertiveness – What’s Different?

Most assertiveness courses are “outside in.” They tell you some things to say or do and leave you to get on with it. The result? Very little lasting crossover into your actual life because it doesn’t feel right.

Knowing more doesn’t help you change. Real change starts from the inside by removing the barriers that have kept you stuck so negotiating starts to feel natural and right.

For most people I’ve helped, the barriers come down to

Beliefs around

  • Yourself – your value as a person
  • What’s “good”, putting others first, “turning the other cheek”, sacrifice and so on
  • Conflict and assertiveness
  • Progress, learning and the most useful ways to grow

Fears and discomfort around

  • Conflict
  • Anger – other people’s and your own
  • Rejection

Skills around

  • Standing up for yourself
  • Saying “No”
  • Negotiating
  • Getting taken seriously
  • Being supportive of yourself (yes that’s a skill you can learn!)

If you don’t untangle some of your beliefs and feelings around standing up for yourself and assertiveness, you’ll never do it.

If you have been avoiding dealing with conflicts for much of your life, you haven’t had a lot of chance to practice your skills so of course you feel uneasy. There’s nothing wrong with you. You need to practice.

So that’s what this course is for. We will work through some assertiveness communication skills, but just as importantly, we will also

  • Untangle the thinking that keeps you stuck
  • Help you feel more confident dealing with difficult situation
  • Give you a chance to practice with personal feedback and coaching if you want it

Who’s It For?

  • People say “you’re too nice for your own good”
  • You know should stand up for yourself more and not always jump in to rescue everyone else
  • You want to get better at speaking up, saying no, asking for what you want and not just reacting to everyone else’s agenda all the time
  • You’re open to questioning assumptions, trying on new approaches and practising new skills

What You’ll Get

  • Untangle ‘nice’ thinking so you can get out of your own way
  • Clarify a fair, respectful rights-based approach to assertiveness
  • Identify and start loosening fears around speaking up for yourself
  • Practice centering, embodiment and visualisation skills to feel more confident and get taken more seriously
  • Begin making the changes you want as part of a supportive group with opportunities for feedback, practice and coaching if you want it

Why Me?

Three weeks isn’t long so I’m not promising the earth. But I’m committed to helping you make some real changes in how you think, feel and act.

Here are a few reasons why we could be a good fit:

  • I’ve had to learn it myself.  At school I had two French teachers – one French and one English. The English one was better at teaching French because it hadn’t come to him from birth. He had had to learn it.

The same goes for me. Assertiveness didn’t come naturally to me. I had to learn it. That meant untangling unhelpful thinking, learning to feel calmer, and practising assertiveness skills until they began to feel natural.

I know the path because I’ve walked it myself.

  • I’m good at helping pennies drop – Instead of just learning about something, you can experience some real change.
  • Science based changeKnowing how the brain-body system works means I can help you pull the right levers to make the changes you want.
  • Clients list my top strengths as: Encouraging & supportive, innovative, clear thinking, honest & genuine.

Format – How does it happen?

  • Three live interactive webinars 7pm UK time on Mondays evenings – 10th, 17th, 24th July. Webinars will be between 60 and 90 minutes depending on questions and interaction. Links to recordings delivered within 24 hours after if you can’t make the live sessions. You don’t need any special technology – a laptop, tablet or desktop computer is fine
  • Mini assignments for you to take on between webinars to embed your practice. Nothing too scary and won’t take much time but you’ll get the most by learning to do rather than learning about
  • Ongoing private Facebook group for support, discussion and questions

If you have any questions, just email me at and I’ll get straight back to you.

Content – Deeper Change

Here’s some more detail on what we’ll be doing.

You wouldn’t expect to learn to swim from a book. But most assertiveness courses just tell you what to say and leave you to it.

This is different because we will also deal with some of the inner changes that will allow you to putting ideas into practice. And because we’ll spread the course over three weeks, you’ll have time to practice and build your confidence.

We will cover:

The Inner Game of Assertiveness

  • Untangle ‘must keep things nice’ thinking around assertiveness. Learn the difference between hurting and harming.
  • See how to get out of your own way and your personal ‘levers for change’
  • Embracing your power and freedom – why assertiveness goes deeper than just saying words

Communication Skills

  • How to be clear without getting stuck in blame and judgement
  • How to ask for what you want
  • Criticism, compliments & feedback – giving and receiving positive and negative messages clearly, usefully and without getting defensive

Confidence and Practice

  • Learn and practice centering, embodiment and visualisation skills so you feel calmer and people take you more seriously
  • Feel more comfortable with anger – other people’s and your own
  • Reduce fear of rejection and criticism so you’re more able to speak up
  • Start building a supportive, solution focused attitude to yourself and conflicts

Feedback From a Variety of Clients

“Andrew is a very positive individual and an extremely talented lecturer and speaker. Andrew motivated me to undertake further training and is inspiring I would highly recommend Andrew to anyone thinking of doing some further training.”

Nadim Majid, Director of Lifestyle Dental


“Andrew’s coaching/supervision is excellent. I sought input with a range of complex management and presentational issues. His approach was person-centred, intellectually rigorous and thought-provoking. I was struck by the range of approaches he used and his broad knowledge and I really appreciated his friendly, helpful and focussed work.”

Jim Simpson, Business Development Consultant, Evaluator, Writer


“I would fully endorse and recommend Andy to anyone looking to understand themselves or their business better; he will help make those meaningful changes that can make such a difference to your business and your life.”

Debbie Janson, Director of Operations, Junior Premier League


“Thanks very much, Andrew, I would never have thought a committed smoker like me could give up just like that.”

Norman Cook / Fatboy Slim


“Andy is a smart and very insightful coach. He is caring when he needs to be and tough when he needs to be. In the sessions we have had together, he has helped me to see not only practical solutions to issues of staffing, responsibility and information flow in my business, but also their relationship to my own psychology and emotional responses. Working with him has made the Nursery and me more effective and resilient.”

Jules Munns, Artistic Director of The Nursery


“Working with Andrew allowed me to see where I was getting in my own way and unravelled some of the thought patterns that were leading to certain results.  He set challenges that were pitched at the right level to put me out of my comfort zone without being overwhelming. My career has shifted gear since we worked together and I’m now doing things that I wanted to do before, but felt I couldn’t. Andrew’s coaching has really helped me and I would definitely recommend him to others.”



This course is not running at the moment, if you’d like to hear about the next one or ask about working together one to one, email me at and I’ll get straight back to you.


Refunds & Cancellations – 100% refund if you cancel before 17th July, one week after the course starts.  That way you have chance to see how it’s going for you and you can try it with no risk. If for any reason I need to cancel the course, I will refund your money, obviously.

How many people will be on the course?  This isn’t a standard “information dump” kind of course.  I want to be able to respond to everyone personally during the course.  So I’ve set a maximum number of 15 people so there will certainly be fewer than that.

Do I need to appear on video for webinars?  No you don’t.  I know some people feel uncomfortable about being on screen.  I did!  There might be opportunities to video talk on screen so I can help you with how you say things and so on.  But it’s always optional.  So entirely up to you.

Do I need to join the Facebook group?  You don’t.  Everything is optional (see above).  But we learn best in groups and over time.  The big benefit of working online is that we can have a conversation over time rather it just a one-off classroom style course.  The Facebook group is a good way to do that.  It also means you can chat with the other people doing the course.

Do I need to attend the webinars live?  It’s up to you.  You’re the customer.  But we learn best in conversation not lectures.  Being there live will make it easier to ask questions, get feedback and so on so come if you can.  I will be there early to help make sure you’re OK with the technology (not hard).

Escape the ‘Rescuing’ Drama Triangle

Have you ever been the nicest, most helpful person THEN felt resentful for not being appreciated THEN wanted to give up? If so, you’ve gone round a well known pattern. Some people go round and round it their whole lives.

It’s called the “drama triangle”.  This video will help you

  • Recognise it when it happens (you’ll start to see it everywhere!)
  • See when help can be counterproductive and keep everyone stuck
  • Identify the opposite empowering roles to get from
    • rescuing to coaching
    • persecuting to challenging and
    • feeling like a victim to creating what you want

If you’d like more on this, have a look at my Assertiveness from the Inside Out programme starting on Monday to improve your thinking, courage and assertiveness skills, particularly if they don’t come naturally to you.

Embrace Your Power

Are you thoughtful and kind? Then I’d like you to become rich and powerful.

For some people, power is almost a dirty word. The same goes for money, a form of power. As if being poor and powerless is morally superior to being rich and powerful.  “Blessed are the meek” etc.

This resistance power leads many good, kind people to disown it. It leaves them helpless and the world stripped of their gifts.
Saffiyah Khan faces down far right “English Defence League” protester in Birmingham, UK

“Your playing small does not serve the world.”

Marianne Williamson

Imagine there’s an advancing army about to attack your country and the national guard is readying a defence. Would you prefer the defence to be weak or strong?

Guess what? There is an advancing army. There are plenty of greedy, selfish, unkind, wasteful people destroying things you hold dear: Your happiness, the environment, other people’s wellbeing.

And there is a national guard that could stop them. You’re in it. Giving away your power by resigning yourself to defeat is not enough.

Bill Gates has used his vast wealth to more than halve deaths from malaria, saving millions of lives. Would it have been better if he had been poor?

If you are a good, kind, thoughtful person, have something beneficial to bring to the world. The world needs it. And the more power you have, the more you can bring.

To do that, you need to clear your baggage around it.

Power to Make Things Happen

People often reject their power because they confuse power over others and power to make things happen.

Power is neither good nor bad. It’s an amplifier of whoever wields it. Some people wield power to subjugate others – the power of coercion, violence, aggression, selfishness and greed. But if you’re a good, kind person, you becoming more powerful brings more of that goodness into the world. Expanding your power is a good thing both for you personally and for the world.

Power isn’t coercion. Coercion is just one, often unhealthy, expression of power.

Power is the ability to get things done. Power in a car pushes it forwards. Power in a light bulb makes it glow. Power in your life means you can make things happen. Power is the freedom to create more of what you want.

Your power is like a powerful gushing hose. Most commonly people fall into one of four categories

  • Leaking: You fear power and don’t want to handle it so you start to switching it off or cutting holes in the hose so your power leaks out.

  • Suppressed: You’ve been told power or money is “bad” so you step on the hose to block the flow until your power is reduced to a dribble.

  • Tantrum Child: You abdicate responsibility, let go of the hose and allow your power to spray randomly like a deranged writhing snake. Lots of power but no direction.

  • Martial Artist: You hold the hose and learn to direct its power where it will be most useful. As you become more skilled, you’re able to handle increasingly powerful flows.

Power isn’t bad. You just need to direct it.

Decide to Drive

If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.

Lao Tzu

Imagine you an evil mastermind has locked you alone in a runaway car with the accelerator stuck down like in the movie Speed.

You didn’t create the situation, but it is now your responsibility to control the careering car.

Trying to duck responsibility by refusing to grab the steering wheel doesn’t fix it. The car is still hurtling ahead out of control. Now you’re responsible for choosing not to control it. The car is going to go somewhere. If you don’t steer, it’s unlikely to be somewhere good.

The car is your life and the stuck accelerator is time passing.

If you continue as you are now, where do you think you will end up? Is that what you want? If you don’t, you have to steer.

Shouting at the evil mastermind won’t stop the car either. And the more time and energy you’re putting into cursing the circumstances that got you to this point, the less attention you have left to grab the wheel.

That’s not always easy to do. If you’d like some strategies to get better at beating the blame reflex, try my short Break the Blame Trap e-book (get a Kindle version on Amazon).

See Your Power

Electricity Power Station Control Desk

Many people are blind to power they already have because they’re only thinking in terms of forcing people to do things, the power of coercion.

Instead, come back to power as “the ability to make things happen” and include all its various forms and so you can begin recognise the power you already have. For example:

  • Your social power: Connections, networks and relationships to spread messages, find information and opportunities

  • Your financial power: Money or other assets you can swap to buy things or get other people to do things for you

  • Your physical power: Health, strength, sleeping well

  • Your power within yourself: Self discipline, concentration, patience, the ability to choose useful attitudes to your life situations

  • Your skills you can use to make things happen: Influence, communication skills, technical skills, practical skills.

What sources of power do you have in these areas?

What other sources of power do you have?

How can you use them?

Use Your Power

You have more power than you allow yourself to use. We jail ourselves in imaginary prisons of our beliefs.

It’s called “learned helplessness.” Researchers have seen it in rats, dogs, humans and other animals. You give subjects a non-functioning tool such as a lever or button that fails to stop an uncomfortable electric shock or loud noise. Most subjects try pressing the button and find it doesn’t work. Later, you put them in different experiment with a button that works. But they don’t press it. Based on their past experience, they assume they have no choice and just tolerate the noise, even though this time the button would work if only they pressed it.

  • When have you felt powerless in the past?

  • What are you able to do now that you weren’t able to do then?

  • What power are you currently disowning based on your past experience?

  • How could you start to use it?

Exercise Your Power

I like that to ‘exercise power’ has two meanings:

  • To put your power into practice

  • And to build your ‘power muscle’

If you’ve been ill or haven’t done any training for a while, you get weaker. It’s normal. If you’ve lost some fitness, you’re not going to suddenly run a marathon or lift huge weights. But as you start to do more, your muscles get stronger.

It’s the same with your power. You can build your power by

a) exercising the power you have and

b) developing more of it.

Looking at your previous power list, what sources of power do you have that you haven’t been using? How could you use that power today?

And what source of power could you develop more of? For example, to increase your social power, you could make sure to catch up with some acquaintances or colleagues you haven’t seen in a while. To increase your financial power, you could contact a client to see if you can help them, find a cheaper energy supplier or start making coffee in a flask rather than buying it every day.

Grow Your Power

As a tree grows, it becomes more powerful in the amount of carbon dioxide it can photosynthesise into oxygen. The bigger it becomes, the more it can photosynthesise and the more oxygen there is for us all to breathe.

If you have something to offer the world, it needs you to become more powerful. The more powerful you are, the better for everyone.

If you’d like more on this, have a look at my Assertiveness from the Inside Out programme starting on Monday to improve your thinking, courage and assertiveness skills, particularly if they don’t come naturally to you.

Micro interventions that make a big difference

“While you’re here, I just want to talk about your weight.”

Even very simply and directly bringing up overweight patients’ weight for 30 seconds helped them reduce it 12 months later.

Intervention Outcomes
(Average weight loss 12 months later)
30 second intervention 1kg
30 second intervention + referral to a weight management group like Slimming World 2.4kg

Unfortunately the report doesn’t contrast with any normal weight loss (or gain) without any intervention.  In general, however, the norm is keeping weight or increasing it rather than losing it.

As we discuss in training sessions, notice the importance of HOW.  Referring a patient to a weight management group – providing them with a behaviour – led to over double the weight loss.

Also noticeable is that on average patients reacted positively to their doctor bringing it up.  Less than 1% found it inappropriate and unhelpful.  81% found it appropriate and helpful.  You want all your patients to have a positive experience visiting you.  But don’t let fear of disapproval from a small group lead you into doing a disservice to the much larger group who are ready to listen.