James first came to appreciate the value of coaching through his own personal experience of being coached. At the time, he served on the board of a large public-sector organization contemplating a radical transformation of its business. He decided to start by transforming himself, including working with a coach. The experience was so valuable – in terms of the quality of his own life, as well as the better results he was able to deliver for the business – that he undertook to train as a coach himself, and to support individuals and organisations in the same way.
After qualifying as a coach in 2005, he worked to define & implement good coaching practice in the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO), including designing and delivering coaching skills training for an internal cadre of coaches. In parallel, he enjoyed a successful diplomatic career, including periods living and working in the US, Luxembourg (as UK Ambassador), Germany, the EU’s HQ in Brussels, in Egypt and at home in the UK. During that time, he tackled a series of senior roles spanning policy, operational delivery, media, and the leadership & communication of business transformation; so he has experienced at first hand many of the challenges that leaders today typically face.
Now based near Bath, James works across the UK and internationally. He is a credentialed member (PCC) of the International Coaching Federation (ICF) and served for two years on its UK board. He is an NLP Master Practitioner and qualified NLP Coach; and is also qualified to administer the Myers Briggs Type Inventory (MBTI) and the Team Management Systems (TMS) profile.
An important focus of James’s current practice is helping people and organisations to thrive in times of profound change. Complexity and unpredictability seem no longer to be markers of a crisis or disaster; they’re simply the way many things now are. Navigating this landscape effectively needs more than just skill and experience. It demands a different kind of engagement; which in turn demands that leaders remain resilient and resourceful. For James, personal authenticity and self-leadership provide a powerful foundation for this resilience. Building and strengthening that foundation is often an important strand in his coaching work. In addition, situations James often supports clients with are:
- Leadership brand – defining, communicating & leveraging the hallmarks of your leadership style and how they show up in the business. Knowing and telling your own story
- Personal impact – enhanced personal presence, better-structured communications, a more strategic approach to stakeholder management, or learning to flex your behavioural style
- Key transitions – pitching or preparing for board-level, MD or other senior leadership roles, and planning for the first 100 days. Changing career or setting a new course
- Culture & relationships – Role-modeling ethos & culture, effective feedback, building a strong leadership team, handling difficult conversations confidently & effectively
- Challenges and difficult decisions – helping leaders to think clearly and navigate complexity
As a coach, James’s approach combines directness and challenge with lightness, warmth and humour. He has worked with individuals and leadership teams in diverse organisations including BlackRock, ING, SwissRe, GSK, Skanska, Olympus, and the BBC. Public Sector clients include the FCDO, MOD, the Ministries of Transport and Education, and the Intellectual Property Office.