The late Keri Phillips, a coach, coach supervisor, consultant and author, was a much-loved, kind, thoughtful and thought-provoking man. Below we pay tribute to him


Phillips’ contributions
Phillips’ many publications include the following: Transactional Analysis in Organisations, Intuition in Coaching, Creative Coaching: Doing and Being, Fragmentation at Integration, Coaching and Betrayal and Coaching in Organisations: Between the Lines.

He contributed a chapter on ‘Working with intense emotions’ to The Heart of Coaching Supervision: Working with Reflection and Self-Care, edited by Eve Turner and Stephen Palmer, 2019.

He also co-authored publications including: The Management of Interpersonal Skills Training (Gower, 1982) with Tony Fraser, and Unfinished Business: the Theory and Practice of Personal Process Work (Gower,1984) with Neil Clark and Dave Barker, which reflected time spent at Roffey Park Management College, working with approaches to personal development stemming from T-Groups and the humanistic tradition.

A core theme has been his interest in Transactional Analysis which he believed can provide many invaluable perspectives on individual and organisational life.

On his website, Phillips shared his philosophy as follows:
Be serious, yet playful
Be firm, but vulnerable
Be tenacious, yet willing to let go
Be curious about self, but without
Capture the moment, but for just long enough

I continue to be amazed and delighted how often there are ‘gifts from the universe’ – chance conversations with strangers, a snatch of overheard music, an unexpected invitation – which can open up fresh perspectives; often regarding issues and questions which had seemed intractable.

‘Convictions are more dangerous enemies of truth than lies’
– Friedrich Nietzsche

From Intuition in Coaching (Phillips, 2006)


“Keri was a gentle soul with a sharp and curious mind. He was generous with his time, and thoughtful – for example, when he saw not only one of my books on sale in a trendy bookshop in Manchester, but someone actually buying it, he reached out to me, sending me a photo of the book on the shelves.

These little gestures were typical of Phillips. He was thoughtful in other ways too – big on reflection and generous in sharing his profound reflections. Another of coaching’s elders, whose contributions will be very much missed, as will he.”
Liz Hall, editor, Coaching at Work


“I’ve known Keri for over 30 years.

I first met him when I was attending a workshop on Gestalt in Organisations, which he was co-leading. We worked closely together for years and designed and led strategic change programmes in many organisations. Keri went on to focus on coaching and coaching supervision. My organisation published Coaching in Organisations, his first book on the topic, in the early 2000s.

Keri wrote many small pamphlets and articles on the topic. These were innovative, and tended to provide unusual perspectives on coaching and developed interesting models and concepts. He wrote about trust and paradox, betrayal and intuition and was keen to show coaching in all its messiness and contradiction.
His writing was sometimes triggered by contemplating a piece of art at a gallery, or he’d start by reflecting on his cat. He was at his happiest when immersed in creating and writing, researching and musing and he made a unique contribution to this field.

Keri remained a good friend as well as a colleague. I spent a lot of time in Harrogate, where my mother lived, and he would catch the train from Manchester and we’d drink coffee and eat lunch and talk about things personal and professional. He had a big heart as well as a creative mind.
I’m grateful to have known you, Keri and to have worked with and counted you as a dear friend. We shared a birthday and I’ll be drinking a toast to you in years to come on that day.”
Jean Boulton, Visiting Fellow with Cranfield and Bath universities and director of Claremont Management Consultants


“I first met Keri at an Association for Coaching event in 2020, just before Covid struck. I was sharing Neil’s Wheel (a systemic model created by Scotton) for the first time, in pre-launch form. Keri kindly signed up to be a beta-tester, along with about 20 others.

Embarrassingly I don’t remember Keri from that event. That says two important things about Keri – he never made a fuss about himself, and he was unquestioning in his generosity.

As the beta-testing got underway, and we gathered on Zoom calls, Keri became unavoidable. Quiet, calm, steady. Never pushing. Always giving space for others. But when he spoke time stopped and everyone listened. His was a voice of experience. Of wisdom. Of care. Of deep humanity. And of the highest standards of professionalism.

During the following months I often called Keri. He was a fabulous sounding board. And often had unique, inspiring way of seeing things and a delicate, powerful way of sharing thoughts. He was compassionate and fearless.

When the time came for me to work with a new coach, Keri kindly said yes.

News of his illness came as a shock. As did its speed. It was good to share with him the love for him that came from the community that has grown around the Wheel. And to share again now with his family. He will be sadly missed and lovingly remembered.”
Neil Scotton