Rob Wood is an experienced career coach whose entrepreneurial mind-set has supported the growth of over 30 young businesses. He trains students in enterprise and business skills as a Career Practitioner with the University of Southampton’s Careers and Employability Service while also offering tailor-made coaching through his NoClouds Coaching business.
Rob was raised in Northumberland and studied Law at the University of Nottingham before working for seven years as a Barrister’s Clerk in Newcastle upon Tyne. He spent close to two decades with The Navigators charity and moved to its Southampton head office in 1991 to start a 12-year stint as the organisation’s Communications Director. Enhancing the career move with a degree in Corporate Communication from Southampton Solent University, Rob managed a rebrand of the charity and a review of all communications procedures.
“If I gave you an overview of my career journey, I can see that what connects all of the different things is that I’ve done them in an entrepreneurial way,” Rob says. “A lot of the jobs I’ve had have been about developing new business opportunities. I’m always looking to do things in a new way or help people start their own ventures through coaching.”
Rob was a founding partner of 2of3 Ltd at the conclusion of his spell with The Navigators, providing corporate communication, public relations and business development advice to small companies and charities. “One of my bosses once said that I’m only happy if I’m running a three-ring circus and that’s probably true of me,” he says. “I think my heart is with startups and small businesses.”
A move into the University of Southampton and its Careers and Employability Service followed a rewarding six-year stint leading 2of3 Ltd in 2007, with Rob undergoing a career transition by supplementing his experience in coaching and training with a focus on Career Guidance. This involved doing a Masters in Coaching & Mentoring Practice at Oxford Brookes University and a Postgraduate Diploma in Career Coaching at the University of East London. Rob also has an interest in Psychometrics and is qualified in the use of personality and other types of psychometric assessments..
Today, Rob balances his role as a Career Practitioner with a private practice coaching clients in business navigation and career development. “My current role at the University is mostly supporting researchers doing PhDs in all faculties,” he explains. “I provide a suite of half-day training sessions on career-related issues and coach individuals who want to talk through in more detail what their options are. I also help them explore the whole idea of enterprise and what that might mean for them in their career development.”
Students interested in entrepreneurship can also benefit from the University service by tapping into a suite of workshops and talks on the topic. The group’s Business Innovation Programme provides the opportunity to gain experience working as part of a team on real-life business issues put forward by local businesses or not-for-profit organisations. “I think it’s important that students develop an entrepreneurial mind-set,” Rob says. “It can help you progress and be more useful to those you work with in whatever you end up doing in the future.”
Rob can help students develop their business acumen through one-to-one sessions and other diverse activities through the Careers and Employability Service. Entrepreneurs are invited to delve into his personal business experience and connections established across a decade at the University. You can get in touch with Rob using the contact form on this page.
“I love hearing people’s ideas and helping them do something with them,” he adds. “Very often, people’s starting point is that they don’t know what to do. Helping them solve that puzzle, not by telling them what they should do, but by coaching them so that they come up with their own solutions, is very fulfilling.”
In his spare time, Rob enjoys country walks, trips to the cinema and modern art. “I share an interest in modern art with a fellow Career Practitioner and we regularly take trips to look at some art galleries,” he says.