From A Mountain To A Manageable Hill

how to improve listening skills Karen Willams – Book Mentor and Coach Self Discovery Coaching.

I worked with Karen for just one session when she was writing her first book and this is how she summed up her session.

“For me the mountain always feels like the metaphor that I come back to time after time.

In the early days of running my business, I saw it like climbing a mountain. Every time I reached what I thought was the summit, another peak presented itself ahead of me. So it always felt like I was continually hauling myself upwards, and although I was moving forward in my business, it was frustrating not to reach the pinnacle. Continue reading From A Mountain To A Manageable Hill

8th September 2015 Case Study
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David Spencer – Case Study – A Gob Smack Moment

how to make good decisions David Spencer – Business Development Manager

DR Communications

What was happening before Step by Step Listening?

Having heard about Step by step listening and getting to know Sheryl I was intrigued to learn more. I was never really sceptical about the process, because I love learning and I love to understand how people learn and do things, but I was very, very surprised at how engaged I have become with the process, and how more intrigued I’ve become with it, because of the way you delivered it.

What was happening for me personally before working with you?

  • I was not feeling great at this point and identified I need some support in finding a clear direction moving forward
  • I was in a job that I was passionate about succeeding in but was feeling worn down by the ways of working and the environment I was working in. The daily commute took me away from my family and was impacting my health.
  • I was looking to find a solution which would work moving forward and I was considering:
    • Having to change jobs
    • Find a better way of working with my current employer which worked for all whilst exploring other opportunities to give me a future exit strategy, which was just not feasible with the current working conditions.
    • Or going out and doing something for myself by setting up my own business

What I was really looking for was clarity because my procrastination over the decision making process was affecting my home life and personally I just wasn’t feeling myself and I was tired.

I knew I needed to change, but I didn’t know how to get to that change, so I was really looking for some support to get to that point.

What kind of sessions did you attend?

I initially did the 30 day Clarity Confidence and Change programme which involved:

  • Pre session clarity workbook
  • 2 hours one to one session at Sheryl’s home office
  • Weekly accountability for 4 weeks
  • 30 minute laser phone call

And I have now signed up for regular clarity sessions over the next 9-12 months.

What happened?

The programme for me was fantastic.  The initial two hour clarity session was a real eye opener.

I remember going into the initial clarity session not wanting to change the way I was or come out a different person. I just wanted to:

  • Understand a little bit more about how I needed to be to come to the right conclusion and take myself in the right direction
  • Work out how I plan and deliver that best

What became very clear, very quickly was that in order to get to that place, I needed to spend some time working out:

What makes me, me?

What is the right direction for me?

What happened as a result of being in that session was a bit of a gob-smack moment when I came away thinking it wasn’t as simple as it looks, which made me realise it was not just a case of make a decision and go for it.

It was well worth reflecting and understanding how I learn things and how this influences my decisions before making the right decision and moving forward. The strength and solution questions do really make me think and I certainly was able to take my thinking to another level.

The weekly accountability was also very unique. You were flexible and challenged me to communicate in a way that worked for me, safe in the knowledge you would say if it was not working for you.

It was great to be able to send my response via audio sound bite which saved me so much time and angst as I would have written and re written the response over and over again.

That said I have also learned the value of seeing my goals/words written down and having them to refer to.

Now I know the value of both audio and written I can decide in the moment which is more important

And it was great to use the 30 minute laser session to mentally set myself up for the meeting I consequently had with my boss about my contract.

What happened?

The whole process encouraged me to understand how to best:

  • Set expectations
  • Be accountable to myself
  • To explain to people how I learn and what I need to work at my best with them

This has already in just 30 days started to really make a massive difference.

  • I am now working in a different environment e.g. mainly from home
  • I have negotiated the kind of work I do and the projects I will get involved with going forward
  • I am working on an exit strategy with my employee to allow me to support their growth and set my own business up

This programme has given me the confidence and respect to do that and now I am able to spend more time with my daughter Hollie and wife and have time for the gym so I feel  better and healthier. This in turn empowers me and makes me more confident about doing more things.

Wow if that is the pre journey set up then I guess I am at the start of a very exciting journey and I look forward to you helping me to keep it going forward.

In addition to that I would just like to add that processes like Clean Language can be a bit strange, and leave you a little bit confused at times, but actually that’s the point, because you need to give a genuine answer and sometimes that does require digging a little deeper into your memory banks.

I really enjoyed this way of learning about myself and your approachability makes the whole process very easy to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.


Lesley Holyoake – Equine Assisted Facilitation – Feb 2011 – Present

How to have more fun in businessWhat was happening before working with step by step listening?

At home I was juggling many aspects of my life,  in fact it felt like I was juggling them all in order to make them work better for me. My husband had decided the marriage was over and I was not finding it easy to accept his decision. At work I had very little income and a lot of anxiety over bringing in income through my business. I lacked confidence with networking and marketing to make it happen and personally, I was constantly fighting in my own head with the decision to stay self employed or go back to being employed.

Which sessions did you attend?

I started with several taster type sessions and had a couple of coffee and chats with Sheryl when I was very kindly invited to join Sheryl’s  Excel group for one year coaching and mentoring. At first I had absolutely no idea whether I really wanted to commit myself for a year. Sheryl reassured me that this was a journey we would start together and at any point I didn’t think it was working I could opt out. This left me feeling like I had control over what I was committing to.

Once I was in it, I realised that you always asked what I would like to have happen so as the client I was designing the programme with you and therefore I always got what I wanted. You collaborated with me to make it happen and created the space but ultimately I learned to be sure I was asking for what I wanted. From day one it was a partnership in the true sense of the word. And I feel very fortunate to be able to continue to share space with you and co- facilitate when the opportunity arises.

The Excel programme meant that I had one to one sessions which were amazing, fabulous and significant in terms of providing me with resources, insights and understanding on a personal level. These sessions underpinned all the other work.

Power groups were fun, creative and key to my business growth as they allowed me to listen to myself as well as to how others solved similar challenges.

Do, Delegate or Ditch provided me with clarity and understanding of why I had not been able to plan like others and gave me more confidence to find my own unique way of working. But the real light bulb moment came when I attended the Motivate, Manage or mentor session where I recognised my blocks around feedback and how that was preventing me from being myself in groups and my personal relationships. This was pivotal in every aspect of my life and developing the resources to know how to feel safe to speak up in my relationships is still proving to be life changing.

What has happened? What were the results?

At work I feel more confident that I am creating a business and life that is true to what I want.  I am able to work in an environment where I have built relationships with great people I value and when ‘stuff’ comes along, I know that even if I feel a bit wobbly, I have many more ways of getting back on track quicker and more effectively.  I feel like I am creating some really solid foundations for the future. I can network confidently now and engage in conversations. I have also been able to take a temporary employed role to provide financial stability during this period with confidence that I was not letting go of my dream.

At home, I realised how poor my verbal conversational skills were… however the good news is that I am beginning to understand where my language patterns were unhelpful, what I can do to change it and how I would like it to be. This was painful and uncomfortable learning but so valuable and as a result my connection with my family just goes from strength to strength

Personally I have more confidence in myself, my ability and able to be more relaxed around other people balancing their needs and wants with my own.

This is partly because I am more resourced than before so no matter what happens I always feel okay.  I am also now able to listen more accurately and appropriately. I am more aware of the dynamics of two- way verbal conversation so can notice when it is changing and what I can do differently to keep it as enjoyable as possible!

Who would you recommend Step by Step Listening too?

Everyone is the short answer!! People who want to learn to listen better and improve their conversational ability so they can develop or improve the quality of their lives, their relationships and or their businesses.

Ros Bristow – The Harmonie Tree – May 2010 – Present

how to have more fun in businessWhat was happening before you worked with Step by Step Listening?

I approached Sheryl in May 2010 because I wanted to know how to grow a business that helped families communicate more effectively. A few years earlier my family and I were in crisis and I was desperate for help with my own daughters and could not find the help I needed in the UK.

I had recently qualified as a coach and wanted to learn how Sheryl had set up her business.

Which sessions did you attend?  

I attended one to one sessions to start with then in 2011 Sheryl invited me to join her Excel Group. This gave me access to Do, Delegate or Ditch, Motivate, Manage or Mentor and exclusive VIP days where we access to what was happening in her head. We would model out how she was thinking and what she was doing to resource herself to work, learn and live at her best.

Today I am privileged to call myself Sheryl’s friend and I work in collaboration with her on many of her projects and I value being around her energy, enthusiasm and honesty.

The Excel group is a unique space to share with Sheryl and if you are wanting to stretch yourself then I would highly recommend this space to you.

No matter what year you join her she will be growing and learning. She is open and honest and willing and has a unique ability to create a space where you feel your contribution is of value and that you are great just as you are. If you want to be better she will support and encourage you every step of the way and she will see every weaknesses as a potential for growth and will feedback examples of when that same weaknesses is your greatest strength.

What happened? What were the results?  

I was always very clear I wanted an international business that prevents families reaching the crisis point I did and I wanted to be resourced myself to be able to hold that space for the parents and teens.

What I discovered is that I felt a fraud marketing to families whilst my own family was still having ‘the odd mini crisis’ and I was aware if I was going to manage teens in crisis I had to develop greater inner strength myself. I had to know what was right for me and not worry about what others thought.

Over the 3 years I worked intensely with Sheryl I learned how to:

  • Set better boundaries at home & speak up for what I wanted.
  • Recognise my music teaching style as a gift instead of thinking I wasn’t doing it properly
  • Develop “The Music Café” and found my own unique way to coach groups using music as a resource
  • Be more confident when networking with a clearer message and this gave me confidence to joined BNI which then provided me with additional peer support and evidence based feedback
  • To tell my story openly and honestly at 4N and many other groups which inspired me to develop my speaking skills and I joined toastmasters for a period of time
  • To make tough decisions because I knew what I needed to work, learn and live at my best with others
  • Be resourced to do tough interviews such at the one with the USA embassy which was necessary to apply for my USA visa which in turn has allowed my dream of an international business to have potential to evolve.
  • Create the right peer support around me to manage any change in my life.

What difference does all this make? If any?

I am now resourced to handle any change in my life and I can bring about the change I need to work, learn and live at my very best and I won’t except anything less than the best.

I have been give the skills to resource myself and my family. I have made brave and courageous decisions such as:

  • Ending my 30 year marriage
  • Applying for divorce
  • Leaving my marital home
  • Fund myself financially
  • Resourcing myself effectively after the death of my best friend Bettina in April 2014
  • Developed my relationship with two of my 3 daughters and one is still a work in progress
  • Run an international business strengthening families from the inside out- I have now travelled to the USA 3 times in the past 3 years.
  • Use music and nutritional supplements to bring health and vitality to families
  • Develop a lunch time session for corporate companies in collaboration with Sheryl called “The Music Cafe”
  • Formed new loving relationships with depth and honesty because I know how to truly be myself and I have to and want to be able to express my love for the other person and life.

I would like to add that Sheryl is amazing at recognising the star inside you and she will do anything and everything in her power to resource you to make it sparkle and shine. I will always be grateful to her for travelling with me to Colorado in April 2012. That trip was a big deal for me and knowing that I had Sheryl there with me not just mentally but also physically made all the difference. That trip gave me the connections I needed to create the international business I dreamed of and I can’t thank her enough.

I Was In A Personal Relationship That Was Eating Away At My Soul

How to make good decisions? Belinda Butler

Beauty and Fitness Consultant – Pazzazz Me

Client from July 2011 – Present

What was happening before working with Step by Step Listening?

I was running 3 businesses, a single mum of two and in a personal relationship that was eating away at my soul. I knew it wasn’t right and found myself persisting wanting to make it work.

What kind of sessions have you attended?

I started with one to one sessions, I then changed to a monthly power group and more recently I have attended both Do, Delegate & Ditch and Motivate, Manage or Mentor retreats. I still attend about 6 half day power groups per year to maintain clarity and focus.

What was the result?

The very first session I remember being asked, where would I like to be?

I found myself on the carpeted floor with colouring pens and crying because all I wanted was to be able to sit on the carpet with my children and have some fun.

As a single mum the pressure was on me to provide financially for my family and emotionally I didn’t feel supported. I remember talking about my ideal Christmas and my first few sessions were focused on how would my personal life, business life and family need to be to make it possible.

There was quite a lot to what seemed quite simple.

What happened is that I:

  • Ditched my boyfriend
  • I gained clarity of what I wanted in my business and my home
  • Moved house and bought my own property meaning that my ex partner no longer had any influence/control on what I did to the property and I was more motivated to invest in and make it a home because it was for me
  • Managed my diary and my clients differently
  • Faced the numbers in my business and introduced a monthly premier club which gave me financial stability even when the classes were quiet
  • Developed a name and strap line for all my 3 businesses that encapsulated what I stand for. The name Pazzazz me was developed and the strap line “Look good feel great”.
  • The new brand meant my sales process was more effective as I only had one message and I could sell all my services to all of my databases. There were a number of things that needed to happen for that to happen and step by step I have been able to line everything up to create the home life that I wanted.
  • I stopped letting my network marketing companies control me and trusted my own unique way of working within their framework
  • Gave up my company car to eradicate the fear of failure and emotional pressure that created and allowed me to focus on what I wanted.
  • Met the man of my dreams and for the first time ever we feel like a ‘proper’ family
  • Learned that my personal training is different to others and how to value and sell that, which saw the launch of PEP workshops Posture – Elegance – Poise.

What difference has this made? If any?

When I first became self employed 17 years ago I worked every hour I could, took every single opportunity and forced myself to do more, even when my body was telling me to rest! I put myself and my needs at the bottom of the pile. The result of this was that I would become ill, I would feel exhausted, the only time I rested was when I was asleep, and even then I’m not sure I was resting. I became resentful of my life and it’s lack of balance.

I looked for companionship in partners but felt frustrated and disappointed that they weren’t treating me well.

Then came my clarity sessions with you!

You gave me the tools to teach me to listen to myself, to include ME in my busy world.

To STOP and take a look at what I really wanted?

Who I wanted to spend my time with and how?

I can now confidently say NO if I don’t want to do something or something doesn’t feel right without guilt.

My motor inside me now purrs instead of the washing machine on full spin! I recognise sooner if I’m losing balance and can take myself to lie down and rest on my bed. I now have a better sense of calm and I have the tools to use to get me purring again!

I can honestly say that my power groups are my lifeline and the clarity I gain every month is an essential part of me just like eating, drinking and exercise.

We run monthly power group sessions and you are welcome to come and try one before committing to our one year programme. Please do book a complimentary clarity and confidence call with me now and discover if power groups can put you back in control of your life and your business.

I highly recommend the PEP workshop it really made a difference to how I hold myself and present myself physically and I am looking forward to working in collaboration with Belinda to take this into businesses as a Listen, Lunch and Learn session.

About the Author – Sheryl Andrews – The Strength and Solution Detective

how to improve listening skills

Sheryl Andrews, Founder of Step by Step Listening, is well known for her fast speaking and her passion to make things happen. But what many of you may not know is that in private behind closed doors she was also no stranger to challenging conversations, lapses in self belief and an overwhelming sense of not being good enough. Sheryl use to find it difficult to speak up and have her needs met despite the fact she could and would encourage everyone else to do exactly that. A series of 3 events in her personal life forced her to stop and learn how to take her own advice.

Today, Sheryl loves resourcing you to you to do more of what you love, delegate what you don’t and ditch the critic that says you can’t.

Sheryl openly shares an easy to adopt communication tool kit that will transform the way you think and train others to listen. Sheryl will be your strength and solution detective until you have fully trained your inner critic and those around you, to listen in a way that motivates and inspires you to be the best you can be.

Fancy a virtual coffee and chat, then please feel free to book a complimentary clarity and confidence session or check out the “How to do, delegate and ditch with confidence” free webinar.

Don’t know how call her now….+44(0)1329 286648

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Case Study – Erica Dent (August 2010 – Dec 2012)

Communication Training For Trainers

EricaDentAbout Erica – Enjoy Discovering Wine 

Erica Dent’s is an award winning wine trainer who found her passion for wine in 1995 when she moved to New Zealand, which led to her completing a one-year, full-time Polytechnic course in viticulture and vilification. The college has its own vineyards and winery, so the course followed a complete annual cycle of the vine, starting with pruning through to bottling and labelling the wine a year later. She also gained work experience at other vineyards and wineries in New Zealand.

Why did you start working with Step by Step Listening?

I met Sheryl at a Solent Women in Business networking meeting in November 2009 and in March 2010 I attended a taster session.  This is when I realised that I quite liked the business of ‘listening to myself’ instead of asking everyone else for the answers.  I knew straight away I needed to get going and booked a one-to-one with Sheryl.

During this first session I discovered that I had a [metaphorical] brick wall which I kept coming up against and, therefore, couldn’t get past it to move my business on. It was as simple as having the realisation that I had this brick wall, which represented my fears in business, and that I needed to work on getting past it.

I was new to the area and struggling to gain clientele.  I noticed that whenever I even just ‘thought’ about selling, it created a knot in my stomach, this was a feeling of great discomfort one that I am now familiar with when I am mentally not comfortable with an aspect of my business.

This was my first of many very productive sessions with Step by Step Listening , in fact, in that first one-to-one session, the wall completely disappeared!

What happened? 

Erica worked with Step by Step Listening for 2 ½ years taking her from sole trader to small business owner. We still keep in touch today and have become really good friends. Nowadays her team and husband are able to ask her the questions and she doesn’t ‘need’ our space because she has created her own. Over the two years Erica attended power group sessions for planning and decision making, one to one sessions for really drilling down and group learning sessions to practice and improve your listening and questioning technique plus a team day to help the team create a team vision for the company.

What difference has working with Step by Step Listening made?

In business

  • I am less tired and I am managing my time more effectively
  • I have more fun as I am not so stressed
  • I get more reward from my hard work, which makes it even more worthwhile
  • I often hear myself using the questions in my head which helps me to get the answers more quickly
  • I have recognise sooner what is working, so I waste less time on what is not working
  • Financially it is working well, meaning less unwanted pressure
  • My client base has considerably increased
  • I have employed two staff and find using the questions really helps me manage them better
  • As a team we are all working to our strengths, seeing results, and more importantly having fun!

As a result of the sessions I was pro-active to recruit someone to do the sales.  I now have someone who finds sales easy and loves it; for me working at my best is teaching and building the business, not selling. I have since found that I enjoy having coffee and talking to people about Enjoy Discovering Wine’s offerings and building relationships, but I am not comfortable at the initial making contact.

You can really have fun in business when you know how you work at your best. When you know what you are great at, then you can employ the right people around you to compliment and do the stuff you are not so good at.

At home

Despite initial doubts about the questions, Andy, my husband, now uses his own version of them which still works for us. We ask the questions to  resolve differences and make decisions, such as which car to buy, whose turn it is to cook dinner etc., in much less time than before.



Why do you keep coming to your monthly session even though business is so great?

Erica said, “It is a space to clarify my thinking, so if something has cropped up in business, it gives me space to think about what ‘I’ would like to have happen, and even when everything seems all okay I always, always have a da dahhh! moment, you know those moments of revelation when you go, oh yeah that’s it.”

I am now a team of three and we have trebled the business. I can now separate work and life a little more, although that probably will never really happen, I love working. I am less tired, work is more rewarding and it is so much more fun.

Who would you recommend to work with Step by Step Listening?

Erica said, “I would recommend anybody and everybody to just give it a try and give it a good try, experience the different ways of listening, and learn a little bit about the questions that make the difference. If you want to run your business on your terms, in your own unique way, and with confidence then, this process is for you.”

“If you want overnight answers by being told by others what to do, then this is probably not the right way for you. The sessions are all about you understanding ‘your’ thinking and having the confidence in your own decisions. The one-to-one sessions are more intense and you get more extreme focus on you and your business only; whereas the Power Groups allow you to gain some insight into how others are having similar challenges and achievements, while you work on your own stuff at the same time. It is a very supportive and encouraging environment to be able to work in, being with other business owners, but still having intense focus on your own business.”

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Case Study – Shirin ( July 2013 – Present)

Communication Training For Touring Artists


Shirin is a talented and determined Singer Songwriter and Co-Founder of Dogtooth Records has worked hard to make it big and tour the world with her music.

When Shirin talks about performing in a big O2 arena stage it is not all about her being on the stage and wanting to be the centre of attention, it is about sharing her passion for music and the difference it can make to your life. Shirin wants to demonstrate to the youth and the old alike that your dreams matter and you should make them a reality.  Together with her partner Mitch, from Macro Mitch, they are keen to change the reputation of the music world with healthy living tours that focus on eating well, training hard, performing at your best without the need for drugs or alcohol to overcome nerves.

Shirin has worked in the music industry since the age of 13 and when I had the pleasure of meeting her in July 2013 she was just 22 having recently returned from a 9 month contract with Hard Rock Café in Macau, China.

What was happening? 

Shirin having experienced a knock back in her youth she knew all too well that another attempt to make it big was going to require tools and strategies to develop resilience and resolve to not be ‘controlled’ by others and confidence to take ownership of her art and career.

How did Shirin work with Step by Step Listening? 

Shirin started at first by attending one of our taster sessions where we were exploring how to improve listening skills once she recognised how powerful the metaphors were for helping her gain clarity of her thoughts we designed a programme that consisted of face to face sessions and skype one to ones which at first Shirin attended weekly then fortnightly with the purpose of resourcing her for her up and coming Asia tour.

Just before the tour Mitch (her life partner and tour manager) attended the  ‘Do Delegate or Ditch’ retreat 2 day retreat to resource them to:

  • Plan for success – Keeping both their goals in mind
  • Improve decision making skills
  • Enhance time management
  • Raise awareness of what they needed to work and learn at their best

The couple then left for Asia where we had limited contact via the odd email and skype session. During this time I was able to share with Shirin many of the tools from the ‘Motivate, Manage or Mentor’ programme setting her up to manage herself, her band and her personal relationship with Mitch.


I feel so grateful to have shared this journey with Shirin who handles knock backs with such resilience and grace. Shirin has never given up and is determined not to be manipulated or controlled by the bigwigs with limiting contracts. Shirin and Mitch have created their own company; Dogtooth Records. Having now successfully toured 150 venues in the UK, Toured Asia and USA, Shirin is now sharing her knowledge and wisdom with other talented musicians and encouraging them to find their own way to get recognised. I am very excited about their future endeavours with independent artists and you never know I might discover a passion for live gigs that I just never quite grasped as a youth.

This is a few words with Shirin just after she realised that now her and Mitch were skilled enough to coach each other she no longer needed me for clarity sessions but would now just bring me in to give feedback on their external communications.

Shirin has been very open and willing to share her journey and you can watch more of the videos from Mitch and Shirin here.

I am very pleased to now work in partnership with Dogtooth Records as their recommended resource for resilience and strength for their touring artists.

I Am Now More Confident & More Relaxed

How to improve listening skillsWhat was happening when you decided to work with Step by Step listening?

At home – I was juggling many aspects of my life (all of them?!) to make them work better for me.
At work – I had a little income but also a lot of anxiety over bringing in income through my business. I lacked confidence in how to make it happen.
Personally – I was fighting the employed/self employed argument with myself and generally battling with the decisions I had made. Continue reading I Am Now More Confident & More Relaxed

Two Clients Produce 15% of Our Business?

Are you listening to your customers?

How To Improve your Listening skills

Belinda Butler of Pazzazz Me joined Step by Step Listening as a client in July 2011 introduced by Ros.  Belinda and Ros combined have now generated almost 15% of our business.

Belinda was and in fact still is a highly driven and passionate business person and a single mum to two beautiful girls. When I met her she was juggling 3 Continue reading Two Clients Produce 15% of Our Business?

Is Your 8 Year Old A Teen Already?

how to improve listening skills When I launched Step by Step Listening in 2008 my first communication workshops focused on mums and daughters. This is what one of our clients said: “Before attending the Step-by-Step Listening Mothers and Daughters workshop I was worried about the way my relationship with my daughter was going. My beautiful little girl is only 8 years old but our ever-increasing arguments over trivial things made me think she had become a teenager early.  I hated the way I spoke to/shouted at her.

Continue reading Is Your 8 Year Old A Teen Already?