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29th October 2019

Gill Smith

It is with the greatest sadness that I note the passing of someone who was a colossus in the world of coaching. We often use the word inspirational too easily; here it is so well deserved.  Gill was someone who gave everything to what she was passionate about, perhaps to the detriment of her own well-being.  She took up the reins of AC UK  and threw herself into the work, spending many hours in her pursuit of coaching being the best and most professional it could be, such as seen in the excellent conference she helped organise in September 2016.  Gill was honest, witty, had clarity and logic, told things as she saw them and was such fun. 

Gill had three careers after gaining her degree at Oxford University. The first was in advertising during the 80s, then running Visionpoint, a market research and strategy development consultancy with her husband Jonathan Taylor while raising their daughters Katie and Sophie. And then she, as she once wrote, “got sucked into coaching,” which Gill loved and found fulfilling, able to transfer her listening, empathising and analytical skills to this new career.

One of the last times I saw Gill, a couple of months before she died, we had a lovely meal in a posh restaurant near Brighton, and then, on the way back, she really fancied something from McDonalds – and, so we stopped at a drive through!   It felt hugely cruel that Gill was only diagnosed with breast cancer when it was stage 4, and it finally metastasized to her brain.  But Gill did not spend her time bemoaning her fate.  As she wrote in her book “Because You Can,” which is highly recommended, we should each focus on what we can do until we can’t, and not waste time being anxious or miserable.  Typical of Gill rather than have a celebration of her life after she died, she had a wonderful and uplifting celebration of her life in 2018, while she could still enjoy it.  I will always remember Gill and be thankful for her friendship and for her contribution to our profession.

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