Lead, don't follow

Bite-sized concepts, observations and philosophical musings for progressive business leadership

This is what some of our clients have said about us…

Lloyds Banking Group - This banking executive wanted to explore and improve his already impressive capability. A CoachDirectors coach challenged his thinking and approach in order to develop a more flexible range of effective responses to the challenges he was facing. This ultimately led to him taking on a new more senior role in global banking.

The executive coaching I have received has helped me to improve my capability as a leader to respond to a variety of challenges. It has increased my understanding of what motivates me to perform well and how I approach my role within LBG. It has helped me channel my own energy more effectively in my role and has begun to remove some obstacles to further higher levels of performance.
Key Learnings:
Executive coaching has provided a safe environment in which to rehearse a range of different behaviours and responses to current leadership challenges. Understanding my preferred operating style and how to flex this to adapt has given me enhanced capability to respond.
Talking through my leadership challenges and exploring and rehearsing the means available to respond has expanded my ability to respond successfully. I have also been encouraged to approach the problem from the perspective of my stakeholders.
The executive coaching from my CoachDirectors coach has encouraged me to examine and align my own personal motivation and sources of energy with my current and future role with LBG; driving a career progression plan and a series of objectives with which to approach my next roles here.
In a timely coincidence, my working with CoachDirectors has coincided with a period of significant organisational change. Working this through with an interested but impartial third party has helped me to challenge assumptions and prejudices during key decision making processes.
Head of IT, Risk & Fraud, Lloyds Banking Group

Philip Morris International - This senior executive based in Switzerland recognised the need for coaching support to build his confidence to initiate and lead some radical projects and policies within the organisation.

Stephen is a great and a highly skilled coach. He is clear, concise, patient, focused, and confident, a confidence which he spreads easily to the coachee. In any coaching session with Stephen I become infused with optimism, and an unwavering awareness of what’s possible (not merely what’s predictable!).
My coaching sessions with Stephen have been illuminating, clarifying and confidence building. He is highly focused and very professional at all times; even with the presence of several observers present he never loses sight of the client and the goal of the session. He is extremely clear in his thinking and this has brought me tremendous value in achieving my goals, which I have done with a velocity I would never have expected, but which is entirely down to the clarity and actionable way forward that Stephen’s coaching brings.
Stephen is also a gifted teacher and guide – he has brought an enormous amount of value to the development and execution of an Executive Coach Training Program, tailored specifically to the needs of our organization. His contributions and leadership bring significant added value and results in equal measure.
Director Safety and Clinical Assessment, Philip Morris International<.b>

Gala Coral - This client recognised that in his move from Chief Operating Officer to CEO at a relatively young age he wanted to work with someone to ‘pull out of him’ his natural style as a CEO, rather than a mentor who would give advice. The work was undertaken during an extended period of intense activity for the individual and the business which involved restructuring, redundancy and multiple challenges.

On becoming CEO of Gala Coral there were a myriad of challenges facing me in running a 20,000 people organisation. Stephen’s role as coach has been extremely important to me during this time.
I would summarise his key attributes as:-
An ability to think his way into your situation and to empathise with situations that you may be facing.
Untiring ability to listen and to allow problems to be downloaded constructively – there is no room for self-indulgence!
The deployment of “theory” but with a light touch to illustrate points he wishes to make.
A creative approach to problem solving ensuring that it is you that develops the solution – in other words he teaches you how to fish rather than giving you a fish.
A clear determination to read around the subject of your situation so that the help he gives is always contextualised and not given in isolation.
Stephen can be tough and is always insightful. He creates unease with his insight but is always quick to convert this into a positive leaving you with a clearer path to solve issues of conflict or personality.
I am delighted to recommend him as a personal coach and would be very happy to discuss this in more detail if necessary.
CEO, Gala Coral

Inmarsat - This global telecommunications organisation had a group of senior directors who needed to collaborate to deliver programmes worth hundreds of millions of pounds. Individual coaching and team coaching led by a CoachDirectors partner, Stephen Daltrey, enabled them to achieve the success they sought.


Inmarsat had a group of four senior directors whose roles were inextricably linked and the nature of their inter-relationship was a crucial factor in the successful delivery of major projects in coming years.
I contacted Stephen, as I wanted to make some investment in all of them for their mutual gain through a tailored 360 process. The aim was to provide feedback followed by some hours of coaching invested with each to set a path towards personal and corporate achievements.
Stephen is very personable and was skilled at creating an individual coaching relationship with each of the four directors, enabling him to challenge and support each person to gain insight into the way they interact with others and achieve their personal and corporate goals.
Stephen also ran Learning Groups that pulled the four directors together and supported them to look honestly at their relationships and level of collaboration. As a result there is increased understanding and co-operation within the group and they now independently meet twice a month to continue building their working relationship.
I am delighted to report that the project has been a proven success verified through an initial 360-feedback process with a follow up 360 at the end of the programme. This showed improvements in each of 10 Leadership Competencies set for the group of four directors. The highest improvement was on a tailored competency I had set which measured improved collaboration among the group of four directors.
Inmarsat received a good Return On Investment and I credit Stephen with enabling the four directors to work together, as well as develop their individual leadership competencies. One of the directors has since been promoted to Vice President. Stephen’s flexibility of style, knowledge of coaching and ability to achieve change and exceptional outcomes has had a positive impact on the business and ensured that we will be utilising his services again.
Vice President Corporate Development, Inmarsat Plc

I engaged with Stephen as one of a leadership group of four. The group was picked as we hold crucial positions in different departments at our company, and it was paramount for delivery of high profile projects that we worked well together.
We had a combination of one-to-one sessions and ‘all four’ sessions facilitated by Stephen. My one-to-one sessions with Stephen gave me significantly better insight into my own perceptions and behaviours and the affect on relationships with others.
Stephen was an excellent facilitator of the ‘all four’ sessions allowing sensitive subjects to be addressed in a constructive manner and I do firmly believe that our sessions have helped us to improve our working relationships.
I like working with Stephen. I find him very personable and feel that he has an excellent ability to challenge my perceptions on self and colleagues. As the world opens up, he is also a constructive partner in helping to find ways to use the new-found clarity to improve relationships.
Vice President Information Systems, Inmarsat Plc

Oxford University Press - The work with this client began with a general exploration of his role and responsibilities. Through the coaching dialogue and process of challenge and support he slowly recognised that there was an opportunity to flex his thinking and behaviour as a leader in the business. This took courage and trust and led to highly positive results.

I am the Director of a group-wide, central function, responsible for delivering IT projects and services to discrete publishing divisions in Oxford, NY and branches around the world.
Working with Stephen has been a fantastic and life-changing experience, making me more effective both inside and outside of work. He’s highly skilled at coaching, at holding up the mirror so that you can see yourself and what you might want to change or adapt, and how you might go about it. He’s at such a level of competence that most of the time you don’t even realise he’s using his considerable skills, knowledge, tools and technique right up to the light-bulb moment where you realise what it is you have to do in order to succeed. It’s not a prescriptive process; the coaching sessions go wherever they need to, to help you improve your performance at work. My already strong performance at work is now even better than before, more rounded, more able to get the right outcome, take the right action, or to build the necessary relationships than previously.
It hasn’t been an easy journey though, sometimes it has been challenging and painful, making me look at the reasons behind the routine behaviours that many of us come to rely on and use without questioning. I have, with Stephen, confronted behaviours and mind-sets that were no longer helping me manage my team, or engage as effectively as possible with my internal customers, as I could be doing.
I then had to be prepared to experiment with alternatives, not always easy when you’ve spent a working lifetime using the same ones. The value of all of this has to be measured in the outcomes though, and I have had very positive feedback from my peers, and divisional managing directors with respect to our transactions and working relationships.
With my team, I’m getting value and delivery from people that I would previously have discounted or moved out. Unprompted our CEO recently described my interactions with the business as ‘stellar’. I can’t imagine that having been said before our coaching work!
Group IT Director, Oxford University Press

Police Information Technology Organisation (PITO) - The CEO of a public sector organisation was consumed with leading the organisation through major transition and change where it would ultimately be merged into a wider group. His commitment to the business meant he had given little thought or time to what next? His work had given him a sense of purpose and meaning and potentially staying absorbed in the daily issues was a way of avoiding an unknown future. The coaching enabled him to face the issue and develop clear plans to take him forward in the rest of his life.

After many years as Chief Executive of a government agency I recently retired. Prior to that period of major change, Stephen was able to help me prepare myself for that transition and smooth the way to a more balanced life style of semi-retirement.
Stephen is an excellent listener and his relaxed coaching style enabled me to raise my self awareness and focus on what I wanted out of life post full time employment. His grasp of a situation and his natural perception enabled him to accurately articulate my desires and priorities, which significantly clarified my own thinking.
During an extremely busy and disruptive period in my life, my sessions with Stephen enabled me to focus on my own desires and aspirations and to concentrate for a few hours on the emotional and practical steps necessary for me to shape my future life. His coaching forced me to reassess my skills and potential, together with my real and imaginary desires and enabled me to develop my personal strategy for fulfilment.
I would not hesitate in recommending Stephen as a coach for senior managers in preparing for life changing events or for discovering, rationalising and clearly formulating future career strategies.
CEO, Police Information Technology Organisation (PITO)

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