The Champions of How?

The three key questions in leadership are the shortest: what, why and how?  Leaders are expected to answer these questions and communicate their answers to their organisations.  What are we going to do? Why have we decided that? And how is it to be done? When Tony Tyler became the Director General of IATA, the [...]

2019-02-28T10:21:15+00:00February 14th, 2019|

How Are We to Understand a VUCA World?

It has almost become a cliché to describe the current economic and cultural environment using the acronym VUCA which had its origins in the 1980s American military. This suggests that many of the most difficult circumstances facing organisations and their leaders stem from Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity. Yet it is challenging also to ask [...]

2019-02-28T10:20:52+00:00January 31st, 2019|

The Complete Leader?

In a world that is crying out for great leadership, the social media and airport bookshops are full of apparent insight and help. I searched on Google for ‘Become a better leader’ and on the first page I was recommended 20 ways… 10 ways… 7 steps… 4 simple things… and the like. The implication that [...]

2019-02-28T10:20:27+00:00January 17th, 2019|

Leadership in 2019

I am frequently asked to address the subject of leadership under new and current circumstances. Leadership in the financial crisis? Leadership under Brexit? Leadership of change? And my answer is typically the same: leadership is leadership whatever the circumstances. It does not change in its purpose simply because the context changes, though its methods may [...]

2019-02-28T10:19:57+00:00January 3rd, 2019|

The Entrepreneur’s Business Case: Astronomy and Rhetoric

In the quad of the Bodleian library in Oxford is a series of old lecture rooms, each door labelled above with the name of the subjects taught there. Titles such as Moral Philosophy and Divinity are unsurprising, but not so the juxtaposition of Astronomy and Rhetoric. What have they to do with each other and [...]

2019-02-28T10:19:24+00:00December 20th, 2018|

Brexit and the Bereavement Curve

As an occupational psychologist I find it fascinating to notice how the reactions to the Referendum Brexit vote – admittedly from a Remain-ian’s perspective - are a perfect example of the commonly observed stages of bereavement originally described by psychiatrist Elizabeth Kubler-Ross in her classic book “On Death and Dying”. In some quarters, we [...]

2017-01-03T09:37:44+00:00June 26th, 2016|

Coaching without the aid of a psychometric safety net

As an occupational psychologist recently undergoing full Executive Coaching accreditation (thanks to the excellent Ashridge Coaching for Consultants programme) – I have experienced the interesting challenge of coaching without the use of my beloved psychometric tests. The closest description to how that feels is that it is like having one hand tied behind my back. [...]

2017-01-03T09:37:44+00:00April 17th, 2016|

Coaching via Skype or phone: does it work?

I used to believe that the only "real" way to coach was to meet face to face. I thought there was no substitute for being in the room, with all the verbal and non-verbal clues and cues clearly visible. I believed that any other medium would make it impossible to relate fully to the coachee [...]

2017-01-03T09:37:44+00:00January 10th, 2016|

Remedial coaching: overcoming shame and re-building engagement

I was recently struck by some observations by Simon Cavicchia (in De Haan and Sills, 2012) on the experience of shame in the coaching relationship. It prompted me to think more broadly about the impact of shame in relation particularly, to individuals who are referred for remedial coaching, and to teams who become labelled as [...]

2017-01-03T09:37:44+00:00August 31st, 2015|

Bringing back the human side of work…

“Empathy is the critical 21st Century skill” – reports Geoff Colvin in his recent article “Humans are Underrated” in Fortune magazine (Aug 1 2015) As more and more work is taken over by machines including computers and robots, social interaction and relationships assume even more importance, Colvin’s article reminds us that “we are social [...]

2017-01-03T09:37:45+00:00August 7th, 2015|