I’m David Roche.
Welcome to Grey Area Coaching.

Between coaching and mentoring is the ‘grey area’ where I relish being with my clients. I have 25 years of board level experience and have learned that emotional intelligence and empathy are as important as intellect and application. I help people who invest in and try to understand more about themselves to attain the success that they are looking for.

Grey Area Coaching can jump-start you to advance your career, whether you have been promoted to a new job and require independent support, are in a rut and need re-motivating, or are at a crossroads in your profession and need to consider the options ahead of you.

I get a thrill from unlocking the potential of others and seeing them succeed at the highest level, often beyond where they had initially believed possible. I welcome the opportunity to work with you.

David’s coaching sessions have had a profound impact on my life

Salma Ibrahim, Literary Natives, May 2020

Why Grey Area Coaching?

Work takes up around a third of our lives and requires a level of enjoyment. Work is not just about having success and progressing, though that does make life easier, but learning to cope with our everyday routines. If you are in a rut, how do you motivate yourself to keep moving forward? If Sunday nights are your dread evenings then something is seriously wrong. Yet we have probably all been there and soldiered on regardless. Why? Because we don’t often take ownership of what happens to us and our career. We allow it to happen, instead of taking control.

How do you find the right support for you?

Not everyone fits the theoretical pigeonholes for coaching or mentoring precisely. Coaching is excellent for constructing innovative plans to achieve specific goals and exploring the reasons that may be holding you back. For other issues that require resolution, or relationships that need to be developed, mentoring can provide powerful support. Grey Area Coaching offers the most effective combination of both coaching and mentoring.

Through my experience gained over 25 years at senior board level, and my focus on developing people to become leaders themselves,  I can see potential pitfalls and provide possible or alternative answers. I work with all my clients to define what it is they want and how they can achieve it, by challenging pre-conceived attitudes and limiting beliefs, and exploring their motivation. Grey Area Coaching provides the skilled use of powerful questioning that is essential to fully examine the issues at hand and enable you to own the plan that you are going to put into action.


…and why all the diving photos?

I have been lucky enough to have scuba-dived at many beautiful locations around the world, and three years ago I enrolled in a freediving course to learn how to dive without an air tank. This was inspirational and worked as a result of a perfect blend of both coaching and mentoring. I definitely needed to be told what to do, but I also needed to have my limiting beliefs removed in order to imagine – and truly believe – that I actually could do it. Within three hours I was holding my breath underwater for three and a half minutes, and a day later I was freediving down to 22 metres. This result was, to me, staggering – even if it was, as I was told, fairly typical for people who go through the same course.

Grey Area Coaching offers this powerful blend of coaching and mentoring, and I can deliver staggering results too.


You not only have to want to change, you have to do something about it 

David is a natural leader, listener and connector who genuinely wants people to perform to the best of their ability and he has the necessary expertise, experience, insight and networks to help them do so… an exceptional coach and mentor

Charlie Redmayne, HarperCollins Publishing

Grey Area Coaching services

David combines his accredited professional coaching and mentoring skills with both his degree in Psychology and the invaluable experience gained throughout a highly successful career in commercial, publishing and not-for-profit board roles. David continues his roles as Chair of three publishing related companies and has an extensive and well-connected network that he can call on. 


This is a collaborative growth process: I listen without preconceptions – you grow and grow


A real source of inspiration and a fountain of advice and knowledge – in a month I’ve made more progress than I’ve made in a year

Julia Leckey, The Honest Brand

About me

I have been lucky enough to have enjoyed my career, and never more so than now.

I studied Psychology at Durham University and then worked for 20 years in retail, as Product Director at HMV and Waterstones, then as CEO at Borders and Books etc. I then joined HarperCollins Publishing as Group Sales and Marketing Director, and along the way also held the trade association office of President of The Booksellers Association of UK and Ireland. I was a Trustee of the largest book charity, BookTrust, for 7 years.

I now run Grey Area Coaching and David Roche Enterprises Ltd, through which I hold several non-exec directorships. I am Chair of The London Book Fair, Chair of writing agency New Writing North, and Chair of the publishing industry digital news service BookBrunch. I lecture and mentor students at the National Film and Television School and give occasional masterclasses to Masters students in publishing or creative writing courses at various UK universities. 

I have been operating on senior boards for 25 years and coaching and mentoring for most of that time. I became an accredited coach with The Coaching Academy in July 2020.


There is no substitute for experience

Tough, bright, no-nonsense, and immensely likeable

Christine Martin, GES 

Recent updates

The Immediacy and the Power of Now

The Immediacy and the Power of Now

David Mansfield is a highly experienced and successful executive and investor who consults and writes about business. In this article he writes on the importance of overcoming procrastination and the power of 'what is wrong with now?!' See the full article here.

read more

It is easy to see what other people should do, it is extremely difficult to apply this to our own situations

David’s knowledge and insights are vast, as are his network and connections 

Linda Muir, LMA International

Contact Grey Area Coaching

Whatever your needs are, whether it be help in achieving your goals, talking through your options, or gaining advice on where you go next, I would love to hear from you. Contact me for a FREE consultation to understand what your needs are and how I may best help you.

I am based in Kingston upon Thames and am happy to have consultations in person, online, or over the phone.

You can also find me on social media:

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Is this you?

I still benefit enormously from being coached and learn something about myself every session – often things I knew, but wouldn’t admit to