Global Leadership & Coaching: Flourishing Under Intense Pressure at Work is a unique and personal look at coaching, leading and working internationally, bringing together inspiring, original and dramatic stories of leadership from around the world. From war zones to refugee camps, prisons to hospitals, elite sport to supermarkets, each case study draws on psychoanalytic below the surface thinking to analyse, interpret and understand a leader’s decisions, motivations and fears.
Rachel Ellison’s inter-cultural approach takes us to Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq, Sudan, Somalia and the Central African Republic, to Honduras, the Czech Republic, the USA and the UK. Global Leadership & Coaching presents a series of individual case studies from Ellison’s own experiences working with senior commercial, public and third sector leaders across 35 different countries, cultures and organisational contexts. Compellingly written, this book explores the a diverse range of themes to consider when managing risk, danger and extreme emotional stress in some of the most hazardous and challenging work environments. Throughout the text, leaders share their stories of learning how to lead and develop others.
Accessible, engaging and original research, Global Leadership & Coaching: Flourishing Under Intense Pressure at Work is essential reading for today’s leaders and aspiring leaders looking to develop themselves personally and professionally. This book is also a resource for coaches and coach supervisors. Global Leadership & Coaching provides contemporary, practical and applicable examples of excellence in leadership, for individuals and organisations seeking to develop a high performance, reflective and reflexive corporate learning culture, which enables employees to successfully navigate challenge, increase productivity and find joy in coming to work.
Table of Contents
Foreword: Dr Susan Kahn; Introduction: Rachel Ellison.
Chapter 1: Leading where it's hot, dusty and dangerous: What commercial and public-sector leaders can learn about effective leadership from non-governmental development aid workers.
Chapter 2: A hero is someone who wins a war, not loses a leg: How a Paralympic coach led his diversely disabled athletes to gold.
Chapter 3: Stocking the World Foods aisle: The story of how a global supermarket manager had to relearn how to lead effectively, in a multi-ethnic context.
Chapter 4: Cooking for Conflict Resolution: An exploration of difference. How unexpected collaborations can foster greater innovation, creativity and success.
Chapter 5: Coaching across multiple cultures: Confronting stereotypes in the coach-leader relationship.
Chapter 6: Leading behind bars: Insights from Inside. Leadership learning from a former prison governor who says in terms of crime, he could have 'gone either way'.
Chapter 7: Location location location: How one client claims his leadership learning was transformed, because of the different places, buildings and environments his coaching conversations took place in.
Chapter 8: Desires and Defences: Leadership in a Refugee Context.
Chapter 9: Communism cripples character: The story of how transition from political oppression to free democracy and unleashed waves of innovation, capitalism, lies and laziness.
Chapter 10: Comfort and containment: An exploration of the architectural and psychological 'spaces' associated with an experience of being in a neonatal intensive care unit.
Chapter 11: Closing Thoughts.
Rachel Ellison, MBE, is a former BBC news correspondent and international development aid programme director. She is now an executive leadership coach based in London, UK.
Rachel’s deep and diverse insights are brilliantly brought to life through a number of fascinating case studies in this valuable contribution to the literature of leadership. Covering an extremely broad spectrum, from the deeply personal account of the experiences inside NICU to the powerful story of leading an NGO in a war zone, Rachel shows that whilst the situations may differ the fundamental challenges of leadership are universal. This book is a great resource for anyone wanting to explore leadership: accessibly written, thought-provoking and universally applicable. - Andrew Hodgson, Head of Finance Northern Europe, Uber.
Every day leaders in all fields wrestle with stressful situations, but not many of us work in war zones or face life and death situations. This book draws vivid lessons from the experience of those courageous people who do. It analyses different responses to acute stress. It points the way to positive, life-enhancing solutions to extreme demands. I recommend the stories Rachel Ellison tells so well to anyone looking for inspiration for their own leadership role. - Alan Bookbinder, former Director, Sainsbury Family Charitable Trusts
Rachel Ellison's book speaks to everyone who has leadership responsibilities and teams to manage. Her meticulously researched case studies shed light on the issues leaders face across a fascinating range of organisations and cultures. By focussing on individuals and how they respond to very specific personal challenges in settings from prison to Paralympics, Rachel draws lessons which apply across large and small organisations. She shows how leaders grow through awareness of their own background and motives; and how important it is to engage honestly with others, respecting their culture and outlook. This book will be invaluable for everyone who wants to connect with those they lead, and to understand what real leadership means in a global context. - Sir Martin Donnelly, KCB, CMG, former Permanent Secretary for the Department for International Trade and the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS).
This highly accessible book challenges us in an understanding of leadership that extends far beyond the more commonly defined competencies of envisioning the future and inspiring followers. It invites us to explore the critical effect of the emotional labour of work on the individual, the group and the organisation. Through the range of evocative narratives, we are invited to tolerate, feel and think about deeper, usually covert, dynamics of organisational life. The book offers a gift of insight to leaders.- Wendy Harding, PhD, CEO and Director of Academic Programs, National Institute of Organisation Dynamics, Australia.
From her position of trust coaching leaders in some of the most challenging situations and her own personal experience, Rachel Ellison offers a wealth of insight which is relevant to leaders in all walks of life. Her observations of the psychological importance of space and environment in a neonatal intensive care unit, mirror some of the challenges faced by businesses seeking to reconcile the spiralling costs of city based property and a desire felt by many employees to work more flexibly outside the office. In the supermarket chapter, we meet a World Foods buyer who is truly trying to embrace and harness the power of diversity (a word too often used to refer only to matters of gender or race) to create commercial as well as cultural successes, experiences that can be applied by us all. Packed with reflective learning, this is a book I keep going back to and every time I do, I find something new to think about. - Jenny Hearn, Director PWC
Diversity is key to this engaging discussion of what leadership means. Ellison has a unique ability to plot psychological learning against a backdrop of real human theatre. The canvass moves from Afghanistan to Jerusalem, from cycling to salami, from the authenticity of leadership to the authenticity of gherkins. The world has needed someone to come out and say authoritatively that diversity will help your organisation thrive more successfully and do your job better. What Ellison is telling us is that diversity is not a tick box exercise but a vital tool and in fact a requirement of effective leadership.Ellison says you win trust by learning and listening, and she doesn’t shrink from the big questions, such as what leadership teaches us about ourselves and about those around us?
I loved this book and the idea that leaders are leaders, all over the world and in every walk of life. Buy a copy of this book if you want to learn about diversity of teams, how women are empowered when they join together, and how commercial success and collaboration in business can be a shared cow. - Rebecca Hilsenrath, Chief Executive, Equality and Human Rights Commission
This book presents us with diverse and deeply personal stories. It challenges us to embed the powerful lessons within them into our professional lives. As an educator, the text encouraged me to find vital learning about our work environment, space and boundaries, even from the most extreme and distressing circumstances. I was engrossed by the leader’s stories but really appreciated how the author summarised each chapter by directing the reader, to reflect on their own thinking and learning. Ellison’s insight, pace and clarity makes for a thought provoking read with lasting impact. - Niki Jackson, Director of Education NNLS / Youth Education Director.
In the well populated field of Leadership Coaching books this one is different. It demonstrates how leadership takes many different guises but the qualities it requires are the same and the questions a Coach needs to explore are as relevant in times of cultural change as in active conflict zones as in board rooms. This thought provoking account of the writers experiences provides insights about how a Coach can enable the navigation of different leadership situations by considering the hidden story as well as the presenting facts. And a bonus for the reader is the stimulus questions at the end of each chapter - particularly valuable for Coach Supervision groups! - Liz Macann, former Head of Coaching, BBC.
I often find it difficult to find a business book that stimulates my thinking and emotions. Rachel Ellison’s book clearly does this. I felt a personal connection and empathy with the leaders sharing their stories and could relate to the challenges they face. The real-life, non-corporate situations create powerful perspectives that are thought provoking and inspirational. It is a reminder to business leaders, sports coaches and parents of their responsibilities to care for their teams and families, as a collective of individuals with their own needs and to be a catalyst for each person to achieve their aspirations. The book challenges traditional ways of thinking with humility and in a non-arrogant style. - Geoff Ranson, Senior Director, Internal Audit Asda Wal-Mart.
Rachel draws on the varied and fascinating experiences that coaching has exposed her to, creating a book that is colourful, thought-provoking and hard to put down. I especially liked the story of Fatima in Somalia and the near-impossible leadership choices she has to make. Rachel's analysis goes beyond the obvious and looks at upbringing, culture and personal drivers to help both leaders and coaches untangle complex issues at work. I loved it. / Deeply enjoyable. - Anthony Ryland, former Learning & Development Director, Samsung Electronics.
We lead in a very different world today where so many rules are being rewritten in all organisations – private, public, NGO. Coaching is one essential tool which will allow us to lead effectively in such a changed world. Rachel Ellison’s fresh and provocative book challenges us in powerful ways as to how as leaders and coaches we must raise our game to remain relevant and excellent in this new world." - Alan Smith, Senior Executive at a global financial services organisation.
This fascinating, insightful book takes the reader on a journey of others’ leadership experiences and coaching challenges, from the hot, dangerous war zones of Afghanistan and Syria to the mosaic tiled floors of the National Gallery, London. In each of its chapters, the author skilfully blends a personal human story with deeper more psychoanalytical insights, which can only leave us thinking harder about our leadership and interactions with colleagues. Equally skilfully the book draws out reflections for both leaders and coaches, the two complementary perspectives making it a particularly useful tool for each. - Tim Stew, British High Commissioner to Trinidad & Tobago, FCO.
Rachel thoughtfully examines the essential importance of investing time in relationship building with your suppliers, and of really getting to know your team and nurture it. The international supermarket chapter skilfully raises questions about FMCG food retail in 21st century Britain, the deeper meaning and role of food in the lives of communities around the world, the type of food we buy and why. If only most consumers had the chance to read this chapter and build an understanding of the unique supply chains giving them access to wonderful produce. A must read for leaders, coaches and consumers. - Jane Steward, Managing Director, Eastgate Larder
This book provides a fascinating insight into both the art and the science of leadership coaching. The case studies are compelling and (sometimes uncomfortably) honest. The insight into how a coach picks up on signals, chooses what to name and how to frame questions will make me more self -ware as well as more observant of the unspoken, and perhaps even subconscious, cues from those who work with and for me. This book can help on the journey to becoming a transformational and not just a transactional leader. - Emma Squire, Director of Arts, Heritage and Tourism, Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport.
Rachel Ellison’s book about leadership and coaching is incomparably fresh. Instead of shop worn theories of coaching pummelled by tired ideas, we are brought into the life space of her clients as they live and breathe their leadership challenges and dilemmas. From a refugee camp to neonatal intensive care, to elite high performance para-sport, this is a book about leadership as it is lived in the raw and about a coach who meets her clients where their experience, intellect and emotions converge. You the reader are invited to inhabit Ellison’s world and to learn along with her what it is like to help leaders achieve programmatic and moral excellence. - Dr Larry Hirschhorn, Director, Centre for Applied Research, Philadelphia USA; Chair Bridger Memorial Award Committee, ISPSO
Rachel Ellison is pioneering in relation to coaching a lovely tradition that has been highly valued in the field of psychotherapy – describing real cases in a personal way, complete with rich details and intricacies of coaching practice. The reader can follow the narrative of each case through the eyes of both the client and the coach, with additional insights provided by the psychoanalytically oriented supervision group. The stories offer a deep questioning of the ‘good practice’ imperatives of the field and challenge many traditional interpretations of how the coaching process should proceed. It is not a book with ‘how to’ strategies for being a coach or a coaching client. It offers something much more important – a glimpse into the real struggles and delights of the coaching encounter.
- Tatiana Bachkirova, Professor of Coaching Psychology and Director of the International Centre for Coaching and Mentoring Studies at Oxford Brookes University, UK.