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I enjoy writing on themes around leadership and diversity, both for my clients and occasionally for journals.(hyperlink to Training Journal article).
I am proud to have written on of the pioneering books on diversity “From Equality to Diversity, published in 1992 by Pitman Publishing. It has been a useful reference to people working in the field and keen to discover more about “a business case for diversity”.

You will find here articles I have written over the years, grouped in the following themes:

If you would like to receive an update to let you know about a new piece of writing – usually about two – to three times a year – please subscribe using the form on the left.

Coaching & Leadership

Posted on June 10, 2015 in Articles, Coaching, Leadership by KarenLeave a Comment »

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I recently heard an executive being interviewed about his organisation’s problems and the lack of leadership. The top team was criticised for lacking “any curiosity about the situation”.

The ability to remain curious about what surrounds you is, I believe, a key aspect of excellence in leadership and is a mindset that coaching can help bring out and expand in leaders.

Read more here

Time is a thief? Urgent vs Important

Posted on December 4, 2013 in Articles, Leadership, Purpose by KarenLeave a Comment »

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Pile of stonesTime feels like it speeds up around this time of the year, doesn’t it? With festivals like Divali and Eid just past, and Christmas festivities to come, we all look forward to celebrating in this, the darkest time of the year.

And in the meantime, there are all those projects to be finished before the deadline of the holiday season. Sometimes we can feel hounded by time itself – there’s just not enough of it between now and the end of the year!

To read the full article, please click the link below:

Times a thief Urgent vs Important

How Do Leaders Best Learn?

Posted on July 5, 2013 in Articles, Leadership by KarenLeave a Comment »

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two people talking at deskOne of the most powerful ways to work with a client who wants to genuinely change the culture and leadership of their organisation, is to design a rich mix of 1:1 learning with a series of short punchy workshops, and plenty of practise in between.

I have worked in this way with several clients recently, and seen some fabulous results. (One recent client said that they thought their move several places up the Sunday Times “Best Places to Work” this year was in part as a direct result of the leadership programme we designed for them!)

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One Minute Is All It Takes To Gain Perspective

Posted on July 5, 2013 in Articles by KarenLeave a Comment »

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view over mountain“Managing stress” has raised its’ profile as a theme with clients quite a bit lately, and I am finding that coaching leaders in a few easy mindfulness techniques is a great way to support busy execs where “work hard – and harder” is a strong cultural driver.

A simple breathing technique is the “One Minute Meditation” which is essentially a way to slow things down and move out of a feeling of overwhelm to gain perspective.

To read the full article, please click the link below:

One minute is all it takes to gain perspective

Curiosity and Leadership

Posted on December 14, 2012 in Articles by datasouthLeave a Comment »

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curiosityI was interested to hear the word “curious” come up on recent coverage of the leadership crisis at the BBC. An executive was accused of lacking any “curiosity about the situation”.

 

The ability to remain curious about what surrounds you is, I believe, a key aspect of excellence in leadership. One of the problems of the Boardroom is the isolation that can creep in. Directors, who lose touch with their “curiosity” about things, find it all too easy to close down their awareness and look for what confirms their own point of view.

To read the full article, please click the link below:

Curiosity and Leadership

Shift Happens

Posted on December 14, 2012 in Articles by RachaelLeave a Comment »

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Spiral staircaseOccasionally there are magical moments in coaching where a shift is felt by both client and coach. Something has shifted at a deeper level; as the unconscious mind surfaces a new connection, a completely fresh perspective emerges.

It’s a spine tingling moment as you sense that the coachee is moving towards the leader they really want to be. Rather like a line of dominoes, once the shift happens, other changes can often quickly follow.

To read the full article, please click the link below:

Shift Happens

Working Across Boundaries

Posted on December 14, 2012 in Articles by RachaelLeave a Comment »

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walking-boundaries1One of the real barriers to excellent performance can develop when organisations retrench into competing fiefdoms, rather than seeing themselves as part of a coherent and well-functioning whole.

This often gets worse in tougher times where the “drawbridge” mentality can take hold as divisions compete hard for budget and people, close down the open exchange of information and move into a more fearful “survival” mentality.

To read the full article, please click the link below:

Working Across Boundaries

Leadership Feedback Tool

Posted on December 16, 2010 in Articles, Leadership by RachaelLeave a Comment »

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For a while now I have been working with a 360 degree feedback tool I designed. It’s for leaders who want to do a deep review of their leadership approach and style, and explore the impact they have on others.

The first stage is a “Reflection” form – a series of questions and a checklist of detailed leadership competencies in what for me are the 4 core areas for leadership: Vision, Engagement, Resilience and Drive.

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Systems Thinking and Leadership Development

Posted on December 15, 2010 in Articles, Coaching, Inclusive Leadership, Leadership by RachaelLeave a Comment »

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ant colonyOne of the big influences on my leadership coaching and development is “Systems Thinking.” The origins of this powerful approach are from the 1970’s and from the world of therapy, but there has been some wonderful development of this work more recently to apply it to the complex systems that are the organisations we work in.

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Legacy and Top Five Regrets

Posted on December 13, 2010 in Articles, Purpose, Values by RachaelLeave a Comment »

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view over mountainOne of the powerful themes that can help clients really focus on what they want in work and life, is to explore the legacy we leave behind us. When we move on from a job, from an organisation or even when we leave a room!

What do people sense about us – do we lift or diminish people? Change a mood for better or worse…?

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Coaching Skills for Leaders

Posted on December 13, 2010 in Articles, Coaching, Leadership by RachaelLeave a Comment »

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woman speakerRecently I ran a three day workshop for leaders who wanted to power up their coaching skills.

One of them said that he wished he had developed “coaching” as a leadership style he could draw on, years before, when he was leading his organisation through rapid change. Although in many ways a successful leader, he recognised that if he had been able to “let go” and see that his micromanaging was not improving the quality of what was being delivered, but actually slowing it down, he would have had a much more relaxed time of it.

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Transformational Coaching

Posted on December 13, 2010 in Articles, Coaching by RachaelLeave a Comment »

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transformationSometimes people ask me what kind of coach are you? One of the words I use to describe my kind of coaching is transformational.

And what does that really mean Rachael?”, a colleague of mine asked recently.

Firstly, I love working with people who want to commit to a journey of self discovery, beyond performance improvement, to make a quantum leap in the way that they lead.

Maybe it sounds a bit arrogant – who am I to think that I can transform anyone?

Well first of all, I don’t transform them. The transformation comes from the client’s learning through the coaching – the insights and connections that they make during our work together.

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Action Learning Leadership

Posted on January 28, 2010 in Articles, Leadership by RachaelLeave a Comment »

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business people walkingAs a response to clients’ tightened budgetry belts, and as a cost effective alternative to 1:1 leadership coaching, I have found that offering leaders in organisations  action learning leadership has been very well received.

A small group of leaders with some common learning aims form an “action learning set”, and we coach on some agreed  common leadership themes, which tie closely into the organisations’ leadership competency framework.

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Inclusive Leadership – what is it?

Posted on January 28, 2010 in Articles, Coaching, Inclusive Leadership, Leadership by RachaelLeave a Comment »

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diversity2

Organisations need leaders who are adept at working with people who seem different from themselves – often due to increased work with partners and businesses outside the UK. This allows leaders to truly live their brand as an employer who values diversity.

What is it like to be an inclusive leader – ie someone who really enjoys  – and has great skill at  – leading a diverse team? What are the skills involved? Is it something you could aspire to being?

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"Feedback is the feedstock"

Posted on January 28, 2010 in Articles, Coaching, Inclusive Leadership by RachaelLeave a Comment »

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040307refinery
One of the themes that comes up again and again with coaching leaders and their teams is feedback. When a client wants to really transform as a leader through coaching, feedback can shift from being something to be faced only when really absolutely necessary to becoming something to be welcomed and a productive source of learning.

One senior exec from an oil industry background turned to his colleagues in a leadership session I was running for them and said:   “Feedback really is the feedstock – it’s the high quality input that’s needed to make the “oil refinery” of our business function. Without it we could be in danger of stopping learning and churning out substandard product.” Nice metaphor!

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"Values hold the quiet centre"

Posted on January 28, 2010 in Articles, Values by RachaelLeave a Comment »

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compass_pocket
At times of uncertainty when most things around us seems less reliable, less predictable, our values hold us at the quiet centre of the storm. This is true both at the organisational and the personal level.

For the organisation, values are the ship’s compass by which it defines itself – or redefines itself – when pushed off course.

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Empathy – a vital skill for corporate leaders?

Posted on September 24, 2009 in Articles, Empathy by RachaelLeave a Comment »

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Recently I published an article on empathy and emerging leadership with Schneider~Ross, the diversity and change practice I co-founded 20 years ago:

“I believe that we will see a new kind of leadership emerging, “phoenix like”, from the ashes of the current global financial crisis. It is one where a highly prized capability will be empathy. It may not feature in more than a handful of leadership competency frameworks just now – but I believe, increasingly, it will do…”

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Moving on up? – a shift in identity for leaders

Posted on September 24, 2009 in Articles, Identity, Leadership by RachaelLeave a Comment »

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My core passion is working with leaders and their teams – whether global business leaders or entrepreneurs, supporting them as they move up onto a wider stage where some very new skills are required of them.

As they step onto that stage, their abilty to relate to people both emotionally and socially moves up their performance agenda, while actually the technical skills that got them there in the first place may well not be needed in the same way again.

So it’s not just about tacking on a few additional skills – it’s a real shift in identity.

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Coaching – Topping up our resources

Posted on September 24, 2009 in Articles, Coaching by RachaelLeave a Comment »

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At the end of a project, a client recently asked me whether it would be OK to book a top up coaching session at some point in the future. This got me thinking.

Towards the end of the coaching assignment, the skilful coach will be pacing their way with the client to make sure that the client is in the best possible place to take her learning onwards and upwards – and taking responsibility for that learning. Any tendency towards dependancy on the coach is not healthy – and this is explored further in the ICF Code of Ethics, of which I am a signatory. http://www.coachfederation.org/Ethics/

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Paint the picture – now sharpen the focus

Posted on September 24, 2009 in Articles, Coaching, Leadership by RachaelLeave a Comment »

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snowflakeCoaching is more and more being acknowledged as a core ability for outstanding leadership. Here is Alan Lafley, outgoing CEO of P&G, on his coaching leadership style, which he believes has helped him achieve transformative change at P&G:

“….Coaching at P&G doesn’t mean coddling. On the contrary, Lafley demands that his managers take on the responsibility of making tough strategic choices. “Most human beings and most companies don’t like to make choices. And they particularly don’t like to make a few choices that they really have to live with. They argue, ‘It’s much better to have lots of options, right?'”

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