Focus on: Coaching

Is coaching right for you? What does coaching mean to you? Does it mean anything? Is it relevant to you?

These are the big questions a recent DCD survey asked dancers to consider - and the response was fascinating.

Confidentiality is one of the biggest considerations for dancers when deciding to sign up for coaching – knowing that DCD’s Coaching is independent of dance companies and kept strictly confidential.

Dancers also told us that it is important that they feel very clear about what to expect from coaching and how it can ultimately benefit them.

Some felt it’s just not relevant to them right now.

So here is what you need to know when considering whether coaching is right for you:

Coaching is about change. People come to coaching because they want change.

No matter what point you are in your career or transition, coaching can help you to find the clarity and confidence to move forward in your life. Coaching is about raising awareness of the behaviours and attitudes that may be holding you back from achieving your dreams or just planning your next move in life.

"Coaching is helping me to look towards the many fantastic skills that dancing has given me and the possibilities that could lie ahead.” Iain Mackay,Principal dancer, Birmingham Royal Ballet

Coaching is about exploring ideas and options, and finding ways to put those ideas into action. It is about recognising the reality of the situation for you right now, and finding ways to change that reality if it is no longer desirable or fulfilling. It is not about making judgements or telling people what to do. A good coach offers a healthy balance of challenge and support. It is an invitation to take action and create the life you want.

  • Totally confidential, one to one sessions


  • For all professional dancers


  • A focus on the future, from wherever you are right now


  • Professional, experienced team of DCD coaches


  • 60 minute sessions


  • Three sessions, £30 total dancer contribution (actual cost, subsidised by DCD £300)


  • Skype sessions available if you can’t reach us in person


  • DCD offers face to face coaching sessions in London and across the UK, including in Birmingham, Leeds and Glasgow


DCD's Coaching Programme is kindly supported by the Royal Opera House Benevolent Fund for independent dancers and by DCD's Contributing Companies for dancers currently or formerly of those companies.

Register now by emailing Ellen


Meet the Team!

Photo credit: Matthew Dalby

Isabel Mortimer: Director of Coaching

Isabel Mortimer is a certified Personal and Executive Coach CPCC and a graduate of the prestigious Clore Leadership Programme. A DCD beneficiary, Isabel is the former Resident Director for Matthew Bourne's New Adventures Dance Company and enjoyed an extremely successful 22 year career as a professional dancer and choreographer.

Isabel has coached on DCD's programme since its launch in 2013, and also delivers EVOLVE Workshops.

Jo Wright: Facilitator and Coach

Jo Wright is a passionate Facilitator and Coach who delights in getting the best out of people and step-changing performance. Jo brings 15 years professional experience in business before becoming a coach. She is a Licensed Practitioner of Insights Discovery® and a Master Practitioner of Neuro-Linguistic Programming, tools which, combined with her deep intuitive understanding of people and cultures, give her a unique insight into how to get the best out of people in both their personal and professional lives.

Jo will also run DCD’s EVOLVE workshops.


Coaching 101 by Jo Wright

Photo credit: DCD supported dancer Nicole Guarino

  • Coaching is 100% confidential. It's a safe place to explore


  • LOTS of people have coaching – it’s very common in the business world, for example. A bit like having a personal trainer for the mind to help create some direction and accountability for the coachee


  • Coaching isn't therapy! It's a two way conversation creating space to help you think about options for moving forward


  • Each session is driven by the coachee - who decides the topic and outcome. The coach supports you in getting there


  • You may not realise yet just how powerful a tool it is - book a session and see for yourself!


Coaching Case Study: James Barton

James is currently a Soloist at Birmingham Royal Ballet. Photo credit: DCD Supported Dancer, Tim Cross

"I have to admit the idea of it didn’t appeal to me - why would I want to sit and talk over my career choices with a complete stranger when I was so certain I had a plan? I had put myself in a box. Because of my experiences with coaching, my life has completely changed".

Read James’ story here


If you think that you could benefit from coaching, or just want to find out more, register now by contacting Ellen Chambers, Dancer Support and Services Officer by email or on 020 7831 1449.