“Stories matter. Many stories matter. Stories have been used to dispossess and to malign, but stories can also be used to empower and to humanize.”– Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
In 2017, after twenty years watching the power of stories when it comes to shifting perception and creating lasting change, Claire left the media world to help run a media-led behaviour change NGO, Girl Effect.
Her time at Girl Effect was transformational in many ways, but one dimension in particular stuck with her: impact measurement in behaviour change has repeatedly shown that stories are more effective at changing hearts and minds than any data set.
After leaving Girl Effect, Claire continued to study the influence of stories on our behaviours. This led her to develop the three dimensions of influence, which you can read about here. It also led her to the link between storytelling and leadership.
Claire’s core belief is that stories are the centre of our experience of leadership – whether it is the narrative we tell ourselves, the stories we tell others, or how we listen to other people’s stories. Great leaders are always great storytellers: from Greta Thunberg to Nelson Mandela, from Winston Churchill to Megan Rapinoe, it is through stories, images, narratives – not facts and figures – that the most inspiring people we know succeed in energising us and driving us to action.
This forms the basis of Claire’s coaching, which centres around understanding and refining our stories – whether it is to develop a more mature leadership style, to settle in a new role, to understand other perspectives or to deliver complex messages and presentations more confidently.
Claire’s focus is on balancing a strong sense of empathy and kindness (which isn’t the same as niceness!) with the pragmatic reality of what it means to be a responsible and successful business leader today. Good leadership skills aren’t innate – they can and should be developed and nurtured. Claire works with her coachees to develop their narrative as leaders, to define how they want to present themselves externally, and to understand how they can combine their internal values system with the expectations of their role. She helps them recognise the strengths they have at their disposal, and works with them to expand their capabilities by acquiring new tools and techniques.
She has the strong theoretical grounding of the acclaimed Professional Certificate in Executive Coaching of Henley Business School, and aligns herself with the principles of the ICF. Her coaching style is warm, open and relaxed, and laughter and humour are key ingredients in her sessions
Claire enjoys all forms of coaching, but is particularly interested in working on the physical manifestations of leadership – from body language to breathing, to projecting the strength and confidence that we all have but don’t always communicate.
She also has a keen interest in team management and personality types.
Claire works with established and emerging leaders across the media and digital sector, and occasionally outside of it. She also coaches trainee teachers through TeachFirst.