A coach who means business
I will not die an unlived life.
I will not live in fear
of falling or catching fire.
I choose to inhabit my days,
to allow my living to open me,
to make me less afraid,
to loosen my heart
until it becomes a wing,
a torch, a promise.
I choose to risk my significance,
to live so that which came to me as seed
goes to the next as blossom,
and that which came to me as blossom,
goes on as fruit.
Being a leader today is like taking a trip with no map. No sooner do people feel they have got their bearings, than another route appears.
My job is to help you navigate this uncharted territory so that you can manage yourself and other people better. With over 15 years’ consulting and coaching experience, I know how an organisation’s unwritten rules can throw you off-course and undermine self-belief. This can become problematic when you are leading and influencing others, seeking a promotion, or committing people to critical change.
Change is continuous, and we are affected by global and local events. The job of keeping people clear and motivated is tough and it is leaders who chart the course. Understanding yourself better sets your internal compass, defining a true north that expresses your values, expectations of yourself and others, and your priorities as a leader.
How I Work
I might ask questions like: What does doing what you do mean to you? What kind of leader are you? How might other people describe you? What do you love about what you do? What really frustrates you? How much does your learning and development matter?
If any of these questions made you stop and think, what do you notice about your responses? Are these things you’ve thought about before, or much at all?
Coaching is a relationship that begins with you. But it doesn’t stop there. I help you reach further into yourself in order to engage more fully with the world around you.
Coaching helps you see how you work with others, what your strengths and talents are, and where you have blind spots. It sharpens your understanding of what you think, how you feel and how you interpret your surrounding culture and environment. Together we explore how your current personal and world views both help and hinder your latent potential.
I’m Kirsty Leishman. Thank you for visiting my website. I wonder what brings you to it? How does development interest you?
Here are a few very different types of leader who I have been asked to work with in the last six months.
An operations director, recently promoted to an executive role, whose challenge is to broaden her influence across the business.
An experienced executive who has joined a new company and wants to be really clear about what he is bringing to his new role.
An ambitious young high flyer who has recently been promoted to manage a team of seasoned experts.
A senior public and voluntary sector leadership group figuring out how to work together.
Kirsty talks about working with leaders
“Kirsty sets a benchmark through her insights into how other people do things. She offers a different context and access to a greater database of leadership [experience] that’s not available in the company.”
EXECUTIVE LEADER, OIL & GAS MAJOR
“Kirsty was a catalyst in my accomplishment of some significant professional milestones during a critical stage on my leadership journey.”
SAFETY DIRECTOR, GLOBAL FOOD SERVICES
A few months ago, a CEO and I reviewed one of her key new strategies. She remarked afterwards that our review had helped her realise that the strategy, although a “thing of beauty”, was “worthy only of a place in a museum” because “it is owned by no one else but me.”
Put yourself in her shoes for a moment. Think about a pressing issue that is on your mind; something you need to progress, resolve or at least bring to a better state. Who else is involved? What conversations have you had with them?
Now think about your relationships with each person involved. What do you notice? How much might your current relationship with each person be helping or hindering the task in hand?
People sometimes worry that coaching might “turn me into someone I’m not.” I see the opposite happening. The clearer you become about who you are – what’s important to you, where your strengths and beliefs lie – the more confident, effective and engaging you become. It’s like a dance. The better you know your steps, the more comfortably you’ll move around.
“This has been the most useful discussion I’ve had for a long time.”
“As my coach, Kirsty has been an inspiration to me. She picked up nuggets from our conversations and challenged my beliefs. This was key to enabling me to make shifts that resulted in desired outcomes. She role-models professionalism that is balanced with an inherent caring ethos.”
CEO NHS BOARD
Someone said to me recently that our coaching conversations were safe places for thinking aloud. I listen to you so that you can hear yourself, and that clears the mind. I enquire. A deft question can unlock otherwise closed doors. Together, we identify what is important for you and for your organisation to accomplish from coaching.
“I have never got the impression that you are trying to get approval from anyone. Your focus is on the business objectives i.e. there is never any sense that this is some sort of ego trip.”
“Your humble and open approach sets the tone for others to be truthful and honest and helps create the safe environment where the real concerns and difficulties can be expressed.”
“Kirsty facilitated a team day for us, and we all enjoyed it hugely. She is intelligent, approachable, flexible and thoughtful, and she made this day a really successful one for us in many ways. We liked Kirsty’s adaptable and inclusive approach – she was willing to let things flow at their own pace and in a way which we all found comfortable, yet she always kept focussed to our needs and objectives. We would definitely use Kirsty’s facilitation services again!”
“The sessions were extremely successful, both in terms of the business objectives achieved but also in terms of building the team.”
“Is this just chance? Would this be the case if we worked with any facilitator? I am convinced that it is not chance having worked with a number of other consultants where the outcome has not been so good.”
“The difference you make is not obvious – not some bespoke tool – but a lot more subtle: you don’t try and takeover – you are focussed on trying to bring out the best out of the people leading the event and helping them think through what they’re trying to achieve.”
“Your coaching starts by your support in catalysing the planning stage. This results in a blend of meticulous planning with flexibility to respond to the session’s emerging flow.”
If you are a team leader or member reading this and you realise that somehow, yours doesn’t look or feel like a team, you might want to ask yourself: What kind of team are we? Are we as aligned as we need to be in order to fulfil what’s required of us? How does the rest of the organisation view us? What do our customers and stakeholders expect? What are our collective tasks?
I challenge teams to think through issues such as: Why are we a team? What is our purpose? How would we rate relationships with and between our stakeholders? How are we at working together?
Here are three examples of teams I have recently worked with:
A leadership team brought together to construct a multi-billion dollar energy storage operation, the first and largest of its kind worldwide.
The management team of a health board in developing their strategy for the integration of service provision.
A voluntary sector leadership team re-designing their approach to future service delivery.
“As a facilitator, Kirsty has excellent skills which she hones to build higher performing teams. She helped us to help find common ground and an aligned way forward.”
EXECUTIVE LEADER, OIL & GAS MAJOR
Everyone has their own stories of working within teams, some good, some bad. “We had a common goal.” “We spent time working out who each of us was.” “It sounds odd but it was the crisis that pulled us together.” Team members may be part of a group but their experiences of it are intensely personal. Discussing these experiences can be liberating and energising, and it’s the way people start to articulate their common purpose.
As a team coach and facilitator, I have partnered and guided clients through a maze of strategic, operational, cultural and relational issues.
Who Am I?
I live in Highland Perthshire with my husband and two dogs. From our house on a hill we look over the pass of Killiecrankie and Grampian hills. I balance my passion for the work I do with a love of exploring wild places. We have holiday cottages, which Steve has developed from a former barn and I am taming some of the hillside into a garden.
I have been involved in teaching, consulting and coaching throughout my career. I trained with the School of Coaching in London in 1999 before joining the School’s teaching faculty. At the time I was working for the Change Partnership (Praesta Partners). I opened my own business in 2001, since when I have worked for many different clients: oil and gas operating and contractor companies; the NHS; local authorities; the civil service; prisons; law firms; telecoms; voluntary organisations, start-up businesses and creative-agencies; hair-dressing and retail.
I am an experienced and qualified coaching supervisor – through Bath Consultancy Group – with whom I am also an associate. I develop my practice through supervision and the application of leading approaches to systemic individual and team coaching. I am also a licenced practitioner of the Global Leadership Profile through Action Inquiry Associates.
“I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.”
44 01796 470 245
44 0790 777 852
Pitlochry PH16 5LR