Don Palmer

This section is about who I am, my passions, mentors and coaching style

Find out how I can tell people: "I teach people to drive sideways for a living."

More often these days I simply say: "I'm a coach".

My Passion

I have a passion for helping people to do stuff they find difficult or impossible to do. It's all about improving the structure of their thinking.

Master Coach

My Post-graduate Diploma in Coaching Mastery is the qualification of which I’m most proud. I've worked hard developing my coaching skills for over twenty years.

In the past I was a Chartered Mechanical Engineer having a Master's Degree in Automotive Engineering. My Passion for driving is well known and I hold an Approved Driving Instructor's certificate (I never teach learners).

I recently totted up my one-to-one in-car coaching in limit handling to over 15,000 hours.

Clients come from all over the world, one recently said that in one day I had done more for his understanding of driving on the limit than thirty years behind the wheel and ten years of racing.

My Mentors

I have had the honour of working and coaching with Sir John Whitmore and with Sir Jackie Stewart. My coaching mentors also include Ian McDermott, Tim Hallbom and Paul Di Carlo.

Sir Jackie Stewart and Sir John Whitmore

Sir John Whitmore is an important mentor and long time friend. He's the author of the definitive coaching book "Coaching for Performance" and a leading business and sports coach. John received the "President's Award" from the International Coaching Federation for his outstanding contribution to coaching; he's probably done more than anyone else to develop coaching far beyond instruction.

See John's website for more about the man himself:

Sir Jackie Stewart is well known to anyone in motor-sport and well beyond; he's the man who did most for driver safety in Formula 1. I looked up to Jackie for years before having the opportunity to work with him at Ford. His smooth and precise driving style was one that I'd coveted before I ever got in a car with him. It's fair to say that working for Jackie changed my life. I spent two consecutive summers in Michigan developing my knowledge, coaching chassis engineers to understand how they too could extract the best from a car.

Find out more about Sir Jackie Stewart on Wikipedia:

Coaching Style

"Don has a remarkable ability to use natural conversation to camouflage his mastery of the techniques he uses to develop change."

How is it done?

Paying exquisite attention to, and being thoroughly interested in, the people who are my clients; their goals, needs, challenges and desires. I learned to drive a long time ago now but never learned anything properly until I started coaching.

Mostly people drive quite well (they got here didn’t they?) They generally have habits that serve them well and sometimes they have habits that don’t. Developing habits that work better and understanding why they work is a cornerstone of my work. Success depends upon you discovering for yourself, what works and why.

The secret of how we do that is a secret...

Who are your typical clients?

There is no such thing as a typical client. A passion for driving seems to be something that spans all ages, background and walks of life. The only other common denominators are a desire to improve skills behind the wheel and the will to invest a little time in doing so.

There are affinity groups who come together to enjoy similar cars and enhance their social enjoyment alongside like-minded people.

Why do they come to you?

People come to improve and learn and to have fun in the process. Mostly clients are referred by their friends and acquaintances. The internet is generally very kind, and provides valuable contact across swathes of boundaries, real and imagined.