Leadership Development and Executive Coaching


" If we do not change direction, we are liable to end up where we are headed. "

John Whitmore

Leadership is not just for the elite

Most people, at some points in their lives, are leaders. They assume leadership in family situations (children need leading!), on the sports field, and in many other situations, including work. Leadership is not just about the qualities of an elite few, although the leadership skills of chief executives and their teams are of fundamental importance. In the context of work, what is leadership, how does it differ from management, and are leaders born or can they be developed? We seek to provide some answers to these questions.

UK leaders lag

Leadership is important and the UK seems to be lagging. A survey carried out in 2005 for the CIPD compared UK leaders with those elsewhere in the world. It suggested that:

  • Leaders in the UK often lack dedicated attention from their superiors to help them develop in a planned fashion through continuous learning, both from job experiences and more formal training activities. Hence:
  1. They tend to arrive in leadership positions less well prepared than their counterparts elsewhere.
  2. They inspire less confidence in their ability to execute strategies successfully.
  3. Fewer places in the UK are filled by internal candidates, also suggesting a problem in leadership development.
  4. HR professionals elsewhere in the world are quicker to express confidence in their leaders at all levels, and particularly first-line managers, than are those in the UK.

What is leadership?

Leadership is currently much discussed; academic studies have multiplied like amoeba since the 1970s. Entering ‘leadership’ into Google provided around 503,000,000 entries worldwide, and around 16,500,000 for the UK alone. A similar search on Amazon UK gave 18,741 books on the topic.

To attempt a partial definition, leadership is very much about the ability to influence people by personal attributes and behaviours.

Before people can become successful leaders, they do need certain attributes:

  • General intelligence, although not necessarily being very much brighter than the people they are leading.
  • Technical or professional knowledge and competence in their particular fields – how otherwise would leaders be respected?
  • Personality: leaders should be energetic and committed, maintain contact with their people, and understand their strengths and weaknesses.
  • The ability to inspire, although this quality may be rarer than some of the others and is perhaps the most difficult to develop.
  • Listening, sharing and delegating skills (and not interfering unnecessarily), because in groups of more than around five people it becomes impossible to know all the necessary detail.

Coaching in the corporate setting uses the synergy of the organisation and its employees to enable them to enhance their capacity for learning. It is about peak performance in the workplace. 

Coaching enables a business to motivate its employees to focus on increasing sales, improving performance, enhance motivation levels and generally provide greater satisfaction and confidence at work.

Self-knowledge, to understand their own strengths and weaknesses, which in turn will enable them to turn to others in their group to compensate for their own biases or deficiencies.

All these attributes will help to develop trust, without which leaders will not command loyalty. The last four, ‘softer’, non-technical attributes might be summed up as ‘emotional intelligence’.

Leadership is now a fundamental part of management. People who are not nominally managers may also function as leaders, influencing others (even if in an informal manner) by their personalities and behaviours.

Let us help you and your team become better leaders through coaching (1 to 1 or teams) or through our range of workshop programmes and team building events.

Executive Coaching

If you are a leader then executive coaching could be for you. It is a structured, results-driven process, which guides you through your business problems and challenges and assists you to transfer your learning into results for your organisation. The Executive Coaching process increases your skills as a leader and effectiveness in:-

  •     Communicating your organisation's purpose, vision & goals
  •     Building relationships that result in outstanding team performance
  •     Producing results more from the direct efforts of others

Who Uses an Executive Coach?

Executive Coaching is used by businesses who want to shift the organisation from compliance to commitment, so that they can achieve competitive advantage.

  • Corporate Executives and Managers who need to deal with an ever-increasing stressful, challenging and results-focused workplace
  • Entrepreneurs and Business Owners who are looking to succeed in their business but recognise the need for an independent confidential 'sounding board'

Typical Executive Coaching areas include:

  • Focusing you as the leader towards results
  • Partnership in your journey towards greater competence and effectiveness
  • Engaging you in the specific leadership challenges that you face
  • Link teams to the goals and point out the need for you to set specific expectations of your teams to achieve greater results
  • Helping you gain more confidence and competence in your leadership ability