He wanted to be John Travolta when he grew up – with the quiff and everything. Nowadays he helps personal development coaches build their business and think big. We present Elliot Kay of Strategic Brilliance Services, aka The Coach With The Hat.

#1. So, what’s your favourite word?

What is my favourite word? Pungent. Use it people!

#2. What gets you up in the morning?

Without sounding clichéd, it’s got to be my passion for what I do. The passion for building a business and the passion to serve my clients, that’s what gets me up in the morning.

#3. What do you truly, honestly think of social media?

Hmm. Social media is an amazing, necessary evil. We can’t live without it anymore. Gee. What did we do in those days we didn’t have social media, how did we communicate? But now it’s a must. If you want to come off it, you can’t! It’s become so much of our lives; we just can’t get away from it. Yesterday I attended a social media conference and I am completely amazed by not only how much is out there but also how important it is going to be in the years to come.

#4. Kindles or books?

Books, any day. I like to hold things, and I write books! I do listen to audio books but I’m still not into Kindle, all this clicking of things! It’s got to be tangible.

#5. What do you think is the biggest challenge to your industry right now?

Here’s the thing. I do strategy for coaches. There are a lot of great new coaches coming through. There are also a lot of sharks out there, they eat up the space and eat up the un-sharky, genuine coaches. Beware of the sharks. Good guys don’t always get to be seen which gives the industry a bad reputation. I think that also not enough coaches think strategically and unfortunately, they don’t last very long.

#6. What did you want to be when you were growing up?

Can I let you in on a little secret?


I really wanted to be like John Travolta. With a comb in the back pocket, a leather jacket and a quiff! As I grew up, I also wanted to be a wrestler and at one point I also wanted to be a semi-trailer truck driver. How things have changed!

#7. What led you to your current career?

The universe! I had a dance career and then I got injured. I ended up in a call centre, then moved into training, and then I wanted to be a better trainer so I studied coaching. I realised “Wow, I can have an impact on someone’s life.” From that I launched a coaching career, later a business. From the business I asked myself what I was passionate about and it’s really about helping coaches build their business.

#8. Can you use your favourite word in a sentence?

That was rather pungent do you think? But it’s not really a word I use very often!

#9. Now can you make it rhyme?


#10. OK then. We’ll move on. What advice would you give to your younger self?

The advice I would give to my younger self would be: don’t be limited by your perceived limitations.

#11. What’s the best thing anyone’s ever done for you? 

Wow. A lot of people have done some great things. I think the greatest thing that anyone’s ever done for me, which was the beginning of me seeing the kindness in human beings, is when I was offered a scholarship for my dancing. When I had no money, was working all hours, they told me that I was being considered for a scholarship and it really changed everything for me. Once awarded, I felt that it was one of the kindest things that this whole group of people had somehow heard about me, supported and believed in me. It gave me the impetus to get to where I am now.

#12. Tell us, what’s been your ‘career-defining moment’?

Well, getting injured, because it changed the course of everything. That’s a key moment. I went into a dark space. I attempted to come back, and then got injured again. I knew then that my dancing career was over. I know it’s not a happy one, but it was when everything changed.

#13. If you won a big award of some kind, whom would you thank?

It’s so clichéd, but I’d definitely thank my mum. 100%. I would also thank my wife, Emily.

#14. Can you give us a timesaver of the day?

This is so old school; it’s grabbing my mobile and doing lists! I go through the list and I get it done. It keeps me focused.

#15. Where do you see your industry in 24 months?

I see it starting to really having an impact; I can see lots of coaches starting to move towards being strategic, the business will have made a greater impact through giving strategic stability.

#16. Where were you 24 months ago?

In April 2014 I would have been getting ready for Power to Succeed, which is my old (paused) seminar. I would have been getting ready to deliver my advanced training, to about 100-150 people. I wasn’t married. I think I was happily almost-engaged, if I wasn’t engaged already! *checks memory bank quickly*

#17. What’s an interesting fact about your company?

I run it. I don’t have a quirk now, I used to have a quirk which was ‘The coach with the hat’. I have a special pair of socks called the strategy socks though. They come in all sizes, and can be used for multiple things!

#18. If you could have a 24-minute Skype chat with anyone, living or dead, who would it be?

There are so many people I’d love to talk to. I’m going to go back to my original hero, I’d really love to talk to Rudolf Nureyev. He inspired me to become a dancer.

#19. What’s one word you’d want people to describe you with?

Pungent! No, I’m only joking. Focused.

#20. Would you mind taking a selfie for us?

Of course not.

#21. What’s your favourite Twitter handle or social media campaign?

Can I be honest? I’m on Twitter, and I do stuff, but I’m not that engaged. I can share one that someone speaks highly of though – @tesco.com.

#22. What’s one quote that defines your work ethic?

Authentic. What you see is what you get, it’s authentic, it’s real. My persona off-stage is the same as onstage.

#23. What’s been the best part of your day?

Having an interview with you, of course! I had a brilliant Skype call this morning, but I’m loving this!

#24. Too kind Elliot, too kind. Finally, anything to plug?

Our taster sessions. What I would suggest is to look out for our free taster, they’re three hour workshops around strategy. Come get to know me, and it’s no commitment on your behalf and if you like us, then we’ll talk about how we can work together. And of course, I’d like to plug 24 fingers!