HS2: a focus on positive power and influence

Updated: Aug 29


Back in 2018, Indigo’s Hilary McLellan started working with HS2 (High Speed Two) as an executive coach. A role that evolved into working as a team coach for the senior leadership team in community and stakeholder engagement.

Indigo’s work brought psychological research, facts and personal development opportunities to that team over a period of 18 months. The focus often being around managing emotions when under pressure and finding your best self in the face of powerful emotions of anxiety, fear and anger.


In 2019 Indigo was asked to provide a workshop for the wider community and stakeholder engagement teams (those who reported to the leadership team) to provide training for individuals and teams who were required to perform and be their best self under pressure.


The training revolved around three main areas of focus:

  • Assertive communication and presentation skills

  • Emotional intelligence, what it is, how it works and why it matters

  • Resilience, what it is, how to build and maintain it


Hilary invited Hugo Simpson - a communications coach and owner of communications firm Laughton Scott - to join her in designing a 3.5-hour workshop that they would co-facilitate.

HS2 workshops slide

Pilots were carried out and then a number of workshops were delivered across the space of 18 months. Two workshops a day, a couple of times a month.


Delegates soon represented professions outside of the original scope and more recently some stakeholders and suppliers too.


The evaluation of the workshops has been consistently Very Good and Excellent. Even when Covid restrictions required them to be delivered virtually rather than face to face.

Like many training offerings, when it works well it leaves delegates wanting more and that is exactly what has happened.


The original workshop of Positive Power and Influence is now mandatory but once delegates have attended, Hilary and Hugo now offer additional Deep Dive modules in the core subjects to allow groups of 10 to:

  • acquire additional knowledge and skills

  • bring specific challenges to the group for discussion and solution

  • benefit from having subject matter experts available

  • acquire deeper understanding, tips and techniques around specific Emotional Intelligence competencies eg. empathy, straightforwardness and self-confidence

  • acquire deeper understanding, tips and techniques around assertive communication

  • acquire deeper understanding, tips and techniques around building and maintaining their resilience

Fundamentally Hilary is passionate about how we can all benefit by developing our Calm is Capable Self.

Virtual reality headset

By blending the psychological science with practical tips and techniques the delegates get more than a regular training session of knowing and understanding because they also focus on the importance of feelings and emotions and how they can significantly impact on our performance.


Back in July, Hilary and Hugo commenced the first of their Deep Dive Sessions - enhanced by every delegate obtaining access to www.yvmtrainer.com providing a host of six-minute audios and videos that can be accessed online or using a virtual reality headset, whenever required, to train the mind for that Calm is Capable ability.



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