Hi, I'm Derek Hassack. I help men and women in mid-life achieve high levels of fulfilment in work, relationships and creativity.
Why do I specialise in mid-life issues? Well, I’m in it myself and have experienced a good deal of what life can throw at us! Divorce, for example, and alone-ness, redundancy, children up-and-grown, career challenges, fresh starts, caring and bereavement..…as well of course as all the unavoidable challenges we confront through the physical ageing process itself.
I believe I empathise with my clients, and this enables me to select and target effectively the various techniques and strategies that make up my skill-set.
I combine empathy, experience and high-level training.
I've been working in this way for over 20 years, and have enabled numerous clients to overcome many different obstacles in their professional or personal lives.  
I see my role as being your professional ally-in-life.  Your reliable, critical friend who's also a source of ideas, suggestions, tasks, questions, energy and perspectives, as well as being a rock-solid source of support. (Change is always more manageable from a fixed point.)
I work with clients 1-2-1 or in group/workshop scenarios.
My clients achieve two main things:
  1. they overcome immediate difficulties, sometimes major crises
  2. they attain a greater sense of fulfilment and purpose
Sometimes to achieve these things requires making major changes: for example transforming your professional or creative endeavours, or reforming or recovering from a significant relationship, or confronting previously unresolved issues.
Whatever changes are needed, if they're needed, what's always true is that progress is rooted in greater self-understanding. Out of this flow higher levels of energy, self-confidence and social strength.
But a word of warning: I don't offer a 'quick-fix' or panacea
The work you and I do together is not a superficial or temporary remedy; it's real personal development, which means real inner change and sometimes real outer change too.
I believe one of my greatest skills - which itself has developed over time - is the capacity to know what my clients need in the moment, as they encounter and work through fundamental personal or professional issues and start to build something fresh and fulfilling. But this process of self-discovery, and then applying fresh understandings in the real world, usually takes time - which is why I recommend an individually-tailored  Programme rather than just occasional one-off sessions.
I recommend you should only embark on the work if change is what you really want.
As well as being an experienced Co-Active Coach, I've attained many other professional qualifications over the years, including in Education, Leadership, Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP), Hypnosis, Reconnective Healing, and Time-Line Therapy.
All of this learning really only serves one purpose: to strengthen my abilities as an ally for my clients.
Coaching is the work that most fulfils the various interests and qualities that make up my character.
I recall the feeling of elation and 'arrival' when, many years ago, it first became clear that coaching was a possible professional route for me. I retain that feeling still. This work is my way of 'making a difference' using the skills and qualities that are most 'me'. And few things give me as much satisfaction as witnessing a client move on successfully with their lives as a result of the work we did together.

Some other stuff about me....

 As well as personal development work, writing is one of my life-long interests
Writing has become one of the tools-of-my-trade. Sometimes it's only in writing that clients can do justice to their feelings and understandings, and I share this quality with them. I write to say things that can't easily be spoken.
I also write summaries of sessions for my clients, which occasionally can prove almost as productive as the sessions themselves!
Every individual, every situation is totally unique and demands a unique response. 
So what exactly will our sessions be like? Well of course I can't say in detail - every client deserves and gets a unique form of intervention on my part.  However I offer a free initial consultation that allows you to dip your toe in the water to find out. But it's certainly true that most clients seem to find me warm, fun and approachable. They feel safe with me, which is crucial because only in a safe environment are we really free to express ourselves meaningfully. And without freedom to express, none of us can ever be, or learn to be, the best we can be.
Formal Qualifications
BA (Hons) (First Class) English Literature (University of Sussex)
Post Graduate Certificate in Education (University of Sussex)
Professional Coaching Certificate (CTI)
Master Practitioner of Neuro-linguistic Programming (ABNLP)
Master Practitioner of Time-line Therapy (ABTLT)
Master Practitioner of Hypnosis (ABH)
Advanced Reconnective Healing - Level III
Here are some clients' words on their experience of working with me:
“Derek gave me the courage to do literally all the things my heart wanted to do but which I feared doing. I wouldn’t have done them without him. “ (NM)
“I was in a total mess about the marriage. After that first session I knew I could cope. I’ve come a long way since then. It’s been great!” (MH)
“Being coached by Derek was an amazing experience. I soon started to look forward, not back…… And I did let go, and I did move on!” (JS)
“I was drowning in emotion, didn’t know how to deal with it. I’m much more settled now. I know what I want.” (AI)
“I was made to stop and think about things in a new way….. A sense of relief to finally be seen and heard.” (DA)
“To be honest, coaching wasn’t what I expected, but it worked. The technique of thinking of successes rather than problems really did something for me.” (AI)
“Derek ensures you understand what lies beneath your stock way of thinking. He’s warm, often funny, calming and incredibly strong”. (NM)
“I feel safe with Derek. Kind of held, you know? He keeps me focused. He helps me listen to my best self.” (LO)
I know of no words written by another that more clearly express the intention of the my work than these, by the eminent psychologist Dr Clarissa Pinkola Estes:
"TODAY’S ASSIGNMENT, A Prescription from Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes:
I assign you to be a beautiful, good, kind, awakened, soulful person, a true work of art as we say, ser humano, a true human being.
In a world filled with so much darkness, such a soul shines like gold; can be seen from a far distance; is dramatically different.
Want to help? Show your deepest most divine self to the world. There is nothing more rare, more strange, more needed.
Why would you wait? Not worthy? Oh piffle. Not ready? Okay, so when? Next lifetime? Don't be silly with me about this. Inferiority complex? Okay, let me put it this way to you: you're not good enough to think you're not good enough. And you can quote me to yourself whenever you have need... Dr. E. said so.
Have you forgotten that you made promises to your Beloved before you ever came to earth? The time to fulfil these is truly now. You want to cease feeling helpless, and you want to help the aching world? Serve someone and something. Everyone on earth serves someone and something. This means being your truest self now, fulfilling the promises you made to heaven long ago.
Anything you do from the soulful self will help lighten the burdens of the world. Anything. You have no idea what the smallest word, the tiniest generosity can cause to be set in motion. Be outrageous in forgiving. Be dramatic in reconciling. Mistakes? Back up and make them as right as you can, then move on. Be off the charts in kindness. In whatever you are called to, strive to be devoted to it in all aspects large and small. Fall short? Try again. Mastery is made in increments, not in leaps. Be brave, be fierce, be visionary. Mend the parts of the world that are within your reach. To strive to live this way is the most dramatic gift you can ever give to the world.
Consider yourselves assigned.”
Whatever it takes for us to overcome external limitations and to be as authentic as we can be, nowhere is it written that we have to find the way on our own. The services I offer are designed to enable you to overcome whatever are your particular challenges right now; and by doing so, free you to make progress with Dr Estes' inspirational assignment.
For each of my clients, I am their strongest, most loyal partner on their path to true authenticity.
Although coaching has become my prime vocation, I was initially trained as a Psychiatric nurse (RMN), in the days of large-scale 'mental institutions'. For various reasons I switched to education and became a lecturer in English Literature. For a number of years I then worked in management roles in colleges of Further Education around the country, increasingly finding myself keen to apply coaching methodologies as an aspect of the management work. During this time, as many employees in the public sector will be familiar with, I experienced redundancy (three times!).  Eventually I took a deep breath and made the jump into self-employment as a Co-Active Coach.
I've therefore had first-hand experience of career transformation and of making major professional changes and I can honestly assert that every step - including the redundancies - has proved to be positive and developmental. A varied career does not mean an unhappy or unsuccessful one. Everything really does happen for a reason!
Although a Manxman by birth, I've lived in Hampshire, Kent and Hertfordshire before moving more recently to the Stroud area where I live with my partner Yael Hochenberg, her two fine sons, and Monty the Border Collie dog. My three wonderful, beautiful, properly grown-up daughters from my first marriage continue to fill me with pride and awe. (Reading between the lines here you'll hopefully understand that I've also had experience of the vagaries of love and relationships!)
As mentioned above, writing has, since childhood, been one of my chief creative and therapeutic outlets. I must have written millions of words over the years! I also play the guitar and sing/write songs. My book Prodigal Songs (available from Amazon, Waterstones etc.) includes autobiographical material, alongside poetry and song-lyrics.
I love being in the great outdoors, especially mountain landscapes, the wild sea, and all the beauty and drama of the natural world.
Underpinning all my endeavours has been the persistent voice of self-enquiry,. This has promoted an active spiritual life which has found its greatest satisfaction in the practices and principals of Sufism.