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In a nutshell, possibly the best bit of training I have had in the Job. The Trainer was fantastic, with no nonsense or waffle & straight to the point.. 
Chris Allen L&D Manager HMP Brinsford 
Giving you that extra one degree of difference! 
One Degree Difference is a Birmingham based training company offering effective and customisable training courses in Management, coaching, employability, performance improvement, leadership skills, and change management - with everything in between and more. We are based in Birmingham, but we cater to the whole of the UK, offering both private in-house training at your offices, or open courses. 
Give Andy a call today on 07905274196 or email at for training in the west midlands and the UK! 

 LIGHTNING COURSES Quick fire 90 minute / half day training sessions covering... 

CV and Interview Techniques 
Understand how to create winning CV and make an impression at interviews with this engaging half day session  
Looking to change your career? 
Is your CV not getting the attention it deserves? 
Do interviews fill you with fear? 
Do you dread answering questions about your Strengths and Weaknesses? 
If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions, then this practical and engaging UK training course is for you! 
Creative Thinking 
A practical and innovative training session designed to help you learn creative thinking techniques 
Solve problems when you are stuck in your current thinking 
Think outside the box if you have no idea what that means 
Get training to find possibilities you never knew existed 
Take effective action by finding the most appropriate solution 
Implement immediate ideas right away 
Find your WOW resolution 
Welfare to Work and Employability  
Practical support for any organisation involved in helping people back to work  
Training on how to deliver effective job search sessions 
Know how to challenge negative thinking and objections  
Construct effective work focused action plans 
Get training in hundreds of coaching techniques designed to help clients achieve sustainable job outcomes. 
Defeat Procrastination 
Understand the science behind procrastination and effective methods to get in to "Do" & "Win" Mode 
Meet the Self Gratification Monkey who stops you from getting things done 
Understand why the Panic Monster kick-starts action 
Use simple Prioritisation techniques to plan action 
Know how to get in to Do & Win Mode quickly and effectively 
Learn effective training to become more efficient in your work 
Delivering training in Birmingham and UK-wide! 
One Degree Difference is a Birmingham based training provider that can deliver training courses within your own office, wherever you are based. 


"Looking at business in the same aspect as football & really worked for me" 
Andy is fabulous! 
If you are looking to improve the performance of your team then Andy is your man. 
He has an ability to connect and captivate audiences at all levels throughout an organisation enabling them to bring out the best in themselves and each other. 
His highly engaging approach is underpinned by an excellent technical knowledge and a real understanding of how to enable learning and development that delivers lasting results. 
Ben Birchall: Director. Progression Consultancy 


We design and deliver bespoke practical solutions, that you can quickly learn and put into practice the very next day 
We create tailored programmes to meet your requirements, with the ability to deliver training courses in Birmingham or UK wide. 
We work with small to medium employers, training them to make practical improvements that make a real difference to performance 


We don’t take products off the shelf - we create tailored programmes that meet your specific training requirements. 
We don’t deliver qualifications... but we can put you in touch with great organisations that do! 
We don’t pretend to be something we are not - we are proud of who we are and the results we achieve. 

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Keep up to date with the latest trend in Management and Coaching 

Save Us from Another New Year New Me Post… Or how my broken knee changed my life! 

New Years resolutions don’t work – that’s what the evidence suggests. It’s certainly true if the gym I use is anything to go by; so full of new people in January who have signed up to expensive yearlong memberships that it’s difficult to get on the carpark let alone the machines. Some of them will stick it out but most will have lost the will to carry on come February. 
This isn’t a post about why people sign up to gyms in January, though it does focus on committing to a fitness regime. It’s really about having a reason to change, about having something to work towards and about resilience and sticking at “it” when things get tough. 
I’m sat writing this post with heavy weights hanging from my knee, which looks as strange as it sounds. Almost 12 months ago to the day I fractured my tibia and ruptured almost every muscle and ligament surrounding my left knee playing “Old-man Football”. It was horrible and very painful. I walked with a pronounced limp for a couple of months. Luckily, I avoided having to go into plaster, the thought terrified me especially as I work for myself, it would have meant in all probability losing my business. But not going into plaster was the only bit of luck. My knee was shot to bits, it was swollen to twice its normal size, my leg couldn’t straighten and it caused havoc with my back. 
It was during a coaching session with a manager who needed help deciding whether to stay or leave her job when it struck me that I needed to follow my own advice. We were talking about Goal Setting and Coaching models, in particular ILED: Ideal – Locate – Explore – Do. The manager asked how I use ILED and I started talking about how I’d use it as a method to get over my injury. It had been just over a month since the injury and although I was still limping I decided to go back to the gym. My Ideal goal was to be strong enough to play 60 minutes of football before my birthday on the 10th September, a little over 6 months away. I needed to find out exactly how bad the injury was (Locate), an MRI revealed a displaced stress fracture and the resulting damage to the surrounding muscles. This information allowed me to Explore exactly whet I needed to do to achieve my goal. All that was left was the Do part. 
It hasn’t been easy – there’s been lots of tough times when I thought I’d never walk without limping, let alone run after a ball for an hour. I was lucky enough to find a Personal Trainer at the Gym who specialised in sports injuries, every couple of days we go through a set of stretches and strengthening training exercises that wouldn’t look out of place in a book of Medieval tortures. I also spend hours doing low impact CV workouts (something my old friend Jo would no doubt tease me about). 
I achieved my goal, I played my first game in late August and each week I get fitter and stronger though my leg still won’t straighten completely hence why I’m sat with weights hanging from my knee (recommended by a proper physiotherapist). 
If you are looking to set a goal or if you need to get your New Years resolution back on track, then I recommend ILED. I’ve used it with University Graduates anxious about exams and with people looking to lose weight or find a new job. Managers love ILED’s simplicity especially when it comes to Appraisals or challenging conversations about performance. But, like any model it only works if you commit and stick to the DO part. Of course, to commit to action and to make a lasting change your reason has to be strong enough in order to ensure you’ll stick at it! 
If you’d like to find out more about ILED or how I can help you achieve your goals, then get in touch. 

Listen Like Casanova 

Listening is an underrated yet critical skill. Sadly, I haven’t seen “Listening” covered in too many Management programmes and I’m not sure it gets the attention it requires on Coaching courses either. 
You may argue that Mindfulness and The Fish Philosophy have “being in the moment” covered and that concept goes far beyond merely listening anyway but I’d suggest that not everyone is a natural listener so it’s a skill that needs to be taught and practiced continually. 
Rarely will listening feature as a key skill when I ask aspiring managers to list the attributes of a great manager, yet the best managers always take the time to really listen to their staff and customers. How can you obtain leadership without listening? Conversely when I ask what makes for a bad manager or leadership figure, the attitudes and behaviours associated with not listening (or being present) always come high up the list. 
So, if this is true for most people, then why aren’t we spending more time learning how to really listen? 
I was fascinated by the historical Casanova who, although famous as the foremost seduction expert of his time, was also involved in setting up the first state lottery, wrote extensively about the places he visited and the food he ate. He squandered several fortunes but in the process always managed to turn the situation to his advantage, he eventually ended up as a Librarian in Bohemian castle where he wrote his life story. We only know so much about 18th century Europe because of Casanova’s life story. But what really interested me was Casanova's ability to listen, really listen to people and the opportunities they presented. 
Russell T. Davies wrote this about Casanova… "When I sat down to read Casanova's autobiography, I discovered that our modern-day impression of a lascivious, misogynist man is hopelessly wrong. He's been filtered down through the centuries as a monster. I wanted to rescue him, to show what he was really like. This man genuinely loved women, and respected them with an astonishingly modern mentality. And never mind the serial philanderer - I also discovered that, outside his love life, Casanova was a wonderful, barmy, inventive man. And what a fraud! Like an 18th century Jeffrey Archer, but funny. He wasn't born an aristocrat, he lied his way into jobs and positions of power with charm and cheek and made himself a success each time. He's just irresistible." I concentrated on 3 key scenes from the miniseries the first 2 focus on Casanova’s ability to respond to the needs of the moment and his dedication to the pursuit of happiness and success. The last scene though explains how a young Casanova learned to listen. After an unsuccessful attempt to woo the youngest daughter of a notable Count, he ends up spending the time with her twin sisters instead. She explains that listening is the real route to understanding people, that listening is a seductive superpower. The older Casanova then goes on to prove the point by telling a young maid her life story even though she had no idea she’d given so much of it away. Back in training I’d demonstrate the same skills by telling each delegate all manner of things they’d revealed about themselves and then challenge them to prove that they too could be great listeners by remembering all manner of seemingly trivial yet important parts about the course. When I next met them outside of the training room I’d get them to tell me about 3 occasions where their new-found ability to really listen had been useful; the results were astounding, they’d been able to challenge with conviction and authority, they’d been able to show compassion when it was most required, they’d delivered outcomes that otherwise would have remained hidden, they’d been able to connect with customers by really understanding their requirements. 
If you would like to learn about the seductive power of listening then why not book a training course with One Degree Difference: click here to contact us 

Management Lessons from A Christmas Carol 

Charles Dickens was a very clever fellow, on December 19th 1843, A Christmas Carol was published 
just a little more than 2 months after he started work on his tale of redemption and good will to all 
mankind. It resonates as much now as it did then and is a message that it’s never too late to change our ways. 
Making choices has been a recurring theme of every blog or article I’ve written this year, I’ve looked 
at choosing to be present in the moment, choosing to act rather than procrastinate and also about 
making a conscious choice about the type of manager we want to be and this little piece is no 
I’m going to focus on 2 key passages from A Christmas Carol which I feel are relevant to 
“You were always a good man of business” Scrooge tells Marley’s Ghost. “Business, mankind was my 
business; charity, mercy and benevolence were all my business!” is the spectre’s reply. 
There’s the obvious straightforward message about social & corporate responsibility but I think there’s a 
secondary theme about how organisations treat their people. 
I’m working with several businesses that have all undergone massive changes over the last few years 
and their stories are very similar, they employed consultants and project management specialists to 
drive the change forward; plans were drawn up, Gannt Charts produced and every detail covered, 
except how the change affected the people who worked in the organisations. The changes were 
made to streamline, increase efficiency and to increase profits. Sometimes the changes worked, 
sometimes they didn’t but in all the examples the result was an unhappier and more suspicious 
workforce. It’s a shame an extra line on the Gannt Chart excel spreadsheet couldn’t be found titled 
people or culture, they’d have saved themselves a lot of unrest and the need to employ me (every 
cloud though...) 
The Ghost of Christmas Past introduces us to Mr Fezziwig; Scrooge remembers that his old boss had the power to render his workforce happy or unhappy; to make service light or burdensome; a pleasure or a toil.  
I often use Fezziwig as an example when talking about leadership skills to new managers or in coaching sessions. He also provides a template for creating a high performing and loyal team, balancing hard work with kindness and reward. 
It’s easy to forget just what an emotional wake managers leave with how they choose to treat their 
staff. It must be exhausting to choose anything other than trust and benevolence in a leadership position, I’d much rather believe that people want to do great things at work rather than take 
advantage, and I think managers with the right leadership skills always do. 
Once the spirits have done their work and Scrooge has resolved to change his ways. it is said some people 
laughed to see the alteration in him... but he is wise enough to let them. He chooses to keep Christmas 
well and become as good a man and as good a master as the good old city knew. I think this is a 
perfect illustration that how we behave is a conscious choice, that it’s never too late to change our 
behaviour for the better, hopefully we won't need the help of Marley and his 3 Ghosts to help us make that decision. 
A Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all. 
A Christmas Carol will also be on the TV all over Christmas and the e-book is free to download from Amazon  

Latest News & Offers 

We're in May already, the month of 2 Bank Holidays - hoorah! 
It's been a fantastic start to the year for One Degree Difference, I've never been busier so I'm looking forward to taking just a few days off and mowing the lawn - sunshine permitting! 
I'm delighted to announce that I'll be working closely with Capita Entrust on their Level 3 & 5 Leadership and Management Apprenticeship programme. I think Entrusts' offer is unlike anything else on the market, my old friend Ciaran Brennan has some wonderful and innovative ideas about how to deliver Apprenticeships and has started to put a brilliant and inventive team together. I'll be working closely with Leadership skills and Management expert Stacey Lane, imagine that... a Management qualification delivered by brilliant trainers who have been managers themselves, now that is a rarity! 
I've just finished delivering 5 Improving Employability and CV Skills training workshops in Birmingham, commissioned by Birmingham City Council for Intervention Workers on the Youth Promise Plus (YPP) Programme - the YPP project is designed to help NEET's across Birmingham access jobs and further training. It's been great fun delivering the training and meeting up with old friends from my PPDG days, so a big thanks to Aesha Ali and Julie-Anne Wright from the council for all their hard work getting these sessions authorised and organised. 
It was fantastic to catch up with my friend Karen Evans from People Plus who invited me to deliver an Employability Masterclass for her YPP Intervention Workers and a Football with Goals programme for the participants. I was so impressed with how Karen's team committed to action - I can't wait to attend one of their Job Fairs over the next few weeks! 
Sam Saunders from Propects has booked me and Brad Russell to deliver a number of Youth Promise Plus "You're Time is Now!" workshops - focusing on setting goals and being the best version of yourself. It's always great working with Prospects and luckily Sam is very forgiving as I managed to turn up to our meeting a whole day early. 
I also enjoyed working with Gareth Ward and the team at Trident Reach during April. Trident are a wonderful company with many years experience in supporting people with housing issues across the city, YPP is their first employability contract and they've made a great start - I'm really confident that the actions they've put in place will see them smash their job outcome targets before the end of July. 
A big thanks to Matt Jackson-Cook who has been helping me promote and market One Degree Difference's training programmes to the UK audience. He has helped me market our, management, coaching, and leadership skills training courses in Birmingham and the UK. 
Matt is a student at Keele University and joined me as an intern funded through Santander's University programme. Matt has helped increase traffic to both this website and my LinkedIn profile, he has even wrote a really interesting piece on the future of Management Consultancy, you can read it here 
Thanks to my old friend Ravi Kumar from Aivi Rose Recruitment for putting me in touch with Keele, to Steve Hargreaves for making the process so easy and to Rob at Santander for funding the position. 
Brad Russell and I delivered a very special 3 day Football with Goals programme for YPP participants from Birmingham Institute for the Deaf (BID). 
We've delivered Football with Goals as a Corporate Team Building event and most recently with prisoners in HMP Featherstone and Oakwood so this is a big jump for us and we can't wait to get started - we'll be focusing on effective communication, team work and employability skills. 
Thanks to Mark, Jo, Adam and all at BID for being such great customers and helping me improve my signing skills.  
We think Football with Goals is an amazing programme - Get in touch to find out more! 
Lastly a big thank you to Simon Woods from Prospects; Simon was our contact and supported every Football with Goals programme in custody last year. The Innovation Fund which enabled us to deliver FwG has come to an end and Simon has moved to another position within Prospects. Simon said some lovely things about ODD at the recent Prospects In Custody Conference which was a great surprise. Hopefully we'll get to work together again soon. I delivered a couple of Get Out of Stuck workshops at the conference, I only had 30 minutes which was a real test for me... I have icebreakers that last for 3 hours so I had to be on my best behaviour, which I managed - just!  
A quick shout out for my old boss Ben Birchall who has recently opened a second Little Green Frog Play Cafe, this time called Little Green Bookworm, in Sutton Coldfield library. I delivered a quick induction / team building session for the new team, who were lovely at the end of March ready for an Easter launch. If you are looking to take the kids somewhere, check them out 
Just a quick thanks to everyone else who has supported me, liked or shared a story or post on Facebook and LinkedIn or has recommended me in some way, It means a lot. 
Lastly a big thanks to Steve at Alexander Stadium who continues to help fix my fractured knee- the man is a hero! 
Breaking News: Congratulations to my great friend James Walsh and all at Steps to Work for being nominated for the Express & Star Business Awards 2018 in the Community Champion award category!  
I'm running a quick offer till the end of May on any course from management, coaching, leadership skills, and everything in between: 25% off the cost of any training session for new customers. Just quote ODD25 when you contact me.  
If you're looking for employee or leadership training courses from a great, birmingham based training provider (that can deliver anywhere in the UK!) Andy is your man. We provide training sessions on a number of subjects to provide effective office training in Birmingham and the UK, to help your team become more effective. Andy provides new management, performance improvement, and leadership skills training courses for your team, along with sessions for individual needs such as sessions for aspiring managers and training in coaching. Contact Andy today for a quote on 07905274196 or at