Who are you?
Are you responsible for identifying your future leadership team?
Are you in charge of growing your senior leader bench strength?
Do you need an objective external assessment of senior leader capability?
Do you need clarity on what ‘great’ leadership looks like for your organisation?
Do you want to assess for a senior appointment?
Are you seeking an experienced coach?
Are you looking for someone to screen and supervise your coaches?
Do you want experience and value for money?
Who am I?
I’m an organisational psychologist with more than 20 years’ experience of working with senior leaders in an assessment and development capacity, in the UK, Australia and the Asia Pacific region.
I founded ExecExcel in 2015 to do what I love doing – helping senior executives to excel and helping you to determine if an individual executive will excel. As an independent consultant, I can harness 20 years’ consulting firm experience and five years in-house, to bring you a high-quality service which is also much more affordable than the top – or even mid-tier – consulting firms with whom I have worked.
I work with leaders individually, to identify the key strengths that have enabled their career success to date and to pinpoint the areas where investment of development effort is most likely to reap rewards in terms of their progression and success. This is done collaboratively through an in-depth biographical exploration and a small number of carefully chosen psychometrics. For additional richness, the senior executive identifies a range of stakeholders from whom I gather feedback on the individual’s approach to work and leadership.
The output is a personal profile, agreed with the executive, that provides an accurate snapshot of how they operate, along with clear pointers for their development in the context of their career aspirations and the organisation’s senior succession plans.
I have carried out well over 1000 senior leader assessments. Clients in Australia, New Zealand and the Asia Pacific region have included Australia Post, Barclays, BHP Billiton, BP, Bupa, Fletchers, Godrej, Laing O’ Rourke, Orica, Pacific Brands, Qantas, Treasury Wine Estates and Wesfarmers. UK clients have included Astra Zeneca, British Telecom, Cadbury, Diageo, Glaxo Smith Kline, Lloyds Banking Group, Royal Bank of Scotland, Scottish Power, Standard Life, Tesco and Wincanton.
Coaching and Coaching Supervision
With an Advanced Diploma in Executive Coaching, I have been coaching executives for more than 20 years. I coach senior leaders at Divisional Executive Team level in ASX 50 companies, and their potential successors, or leadership team executives of smaller organisations. As a UK chartered psychologist, I combine psychological insight with a strong behavioural focus and a constant eye to helping executives navigate the challenges they face in delivering against the objectives of their role. Where additional insight is needed in relation to an individual’s leadership approach and impact, I gather feedback from a variety of identified stakeholders, to inform the coaching. In Australia and the Asia Pacific region, I have coached executives at BHP Billiton, BP, Bupa, Cleanaway, Crown Castle, Deutsche Bank, Hydro Tasmania, IDFC, Marie Stopes International, REA, SKM, Sportsbet and Wesfarmers.
Because of my love for the science and art of coaching, I completed a Diploma in Coaching Supervision in 2013 and have been supervising coaches since then, individually and on a group basis. I have supervised coaches in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur and Mumbai. I also undergo supervision myself, to ensure continuing self-awareness and good practice.
Both while a consultant with YSC Ltd – the UK based business psychology consultancy – and while working as an independent consultant, I have co-designed and facilitated numerous leadership development programs. In Australia, I have facilitated leadership development programs at BHP Billiton and Asciano. In the UK, I facilitated senior leader programs at Prudential, Lloyds Banking Group and Royal Bank of Scotland. My assessment and coaching work informs my work in the leadership development space. I happily work alongside other independent or larger consulting firms. My approach to program design is highly bespoke, while drawing on the best of what has worked in other organisations.
Leadership Capability Frameworks
Leadership capability models or frameworks are important in providing a benchmark of what ‘great’ looks like in a given organisation, in the same way as the company’s values outline the non-negotiable behaviours or principles that the company stands for.
I have collaborated with a variety of organisations in the development of their leadership model, including clients in financial services, retail and construction.
For more than ten years, I have drawn on ‘templates of excellence’ or ‘Success Profiles’ to inform my assessment work, whether for selection or development purposes. The templates describe what ‘great’ looks like for a particular role (e.g. FD, HRD, MD, etc.). I have led the design of a range of excellence templates.
If you have a strategically critical role, occupied by half a dozen or more individuals, where the difference between ‘great’ and ‘good enough’ performance makes a real difference to your financial results, please contact me. I will help you to identify the skills, experience and personal characteristics that distinguish the best performers.
How I can help you to determine if an individual executive will excel
Where you need to make a senior executive appointment, or identify potential senior level successors, I bring the same experience and rigour to my assessment work. Based on an in-depth biographical interview and a couple of carefully chosen psychometrics, I can highlight an individual’s key strengths for the role/s you have in mind, and the key risks or development opportunities. Compared to a typical head-hunter or recruitment consulting firm report, my assessments provide a more in-depth account of what you can expect from the executive being assessed, e.g. how they are likely to lead people, approach problems and their level of self-awareness.
I have completed selection assessments in Australia and NZ for BP, Bupa, Fletchers, Laing O’ Rourke, Pacific Brands and Wesfarmers. Non-Australian ‘assessment for selection’ clients have included British Telecom, Diageo and Tesco.
With 25 years’ experience as a leadership and organisation development consultant, I moved from the UK to Melbourne in 2012 to establish the Melbourne base of the consulting firm YSC Ltd. I set up my own practice in 2015.
At YSC, I was a key contributor to YSC’s intellectual capital in the areas of organisational effectiveness assessment, authentic leadership and team effectiveness. I also led a global consulting team in the development of a framework to support organisations with their gender diversity challenges. Previously, I worked as a change management consultant with Ernst & Young, the supermarket chain Asda Stores and the testing house SHL. I worked in a clinical capacity with the UK mental health charity MIND and with mentally handicapped adults through the Ireland based Brothers of Charity.
I have a Masters Degree with Distinction in Organisation Development from Sheffield Hallam Business School (UK), a Bachelor of Arts (Honours in Psychology, First Class) from the National University of Ireland and an Advanced Diploma in Executive Coaching from the Academy of Executive Coaching. I am a member of the British Psychological Society and Special Group in Coaching Psychology, the UK Institute of Chartered Psychologists and the International Coaching Federation. I grew up in the West of Ireland.
“I worked with Claire over a period of six months, as I transitioned to the role of CEO at Australian Volunteers International. This is my first CEO role, and I was conscious that the step up required from operating as a Senior Executive to CEO was considerable. I wanted to look in particular at steering positive organisational culture and building a high preforming leadership team as well as introducing new ways of working into the organisation. Claire was able to provide concrete support which focused on practical outcomes. She thoughtfully challenged my assumptions, ensured I was focused on the right areas and levers and provided useful tools and frameworks to support me with structure and rigour. Claire was quickly able to build a rapport with me that meant I trusted her insight and feedback – she helped me work through both immediate issues but also to think about the medium- and longer-term organisational positioning. For anyone making a similar transition I would highly recommend Claire as an empowering, thoughtful and appropriately challenging coach.” — Mel Gow, Chief Executive Officer, Australian Volunteers International.
“I engaged Claire to help me when faced with a significant career decision, and it had become apparent that I was unable to make progress on my own. Claire’s coaching style is incredibly supportive and engaging. She combines a well-structured approach with warm and authentic conversation, and although I was aware of the structure, it never got in the way. The insights that Claire helped me articulate allowed me to move forward when I had quite literally become ‘stuck’. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Claire; she was quick to understand the situation and used a range of techniques to help me work through and evaluate the trade-offs more effectively.” — Rebecca Crawshaw – Senior Consultant Customer Propositions – NAB
“I was put forward for coaching as part of a senior management leadership programme to help me grow both as a leader and to build my networks in the company. I initially struggled to find a coach with the right experience, but Claire ticked all the boxes. She has been outstanding throughout our coaching sessions, helping me to build, shape, and explore my management style by asking the right questions and using a range of techniques to help bolster my learning. I particularly appreciated Claire’s proactiveness in our sessions, she pushed me by giving me things to work on in between sessions and also sending supporting material and interesting, relevant and timely links to boost my learning outside our meetups. My work situation changed unexpectedly mid-program and we had to quickly pivot our focus. Claire did this seamlessly, enabling me to redirect my energy and priorities and helping me to embrace new and exciting opportunities. These sessions have made a real impact on my work. I feel more confident and better prepared to deal with new challenges both in my current role and beyond. I have no hesitation in recommending Claire to anyone who needs a hands-on, supportive, collaborative and energetic coach to help progress further in their career.” — Daniel Mattioli, Head of Labs Engineering, Refinitiv
“Claire was assigned to me as a coach through a global leadership development program for female leaders working in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine). As an early-mid career researcher, I was going through a challenging time and feeling lost and confused about my career path. I was so fortunate to have met Claire, who offered so much support and wisdom. Claire is kind, thoughtful and a great listener. I was impressed by how much clarity she brought me each time I downloaded complicated problems to her. Claire’s coaching style really worked for me – she approached my challenges with compassion and understanding and always helped me tap into my inner wisdom. As a result, every piece of advice from Claire was organic and effective. I am now feeling much better about my career and feel more confident about dealing with future challenges as I have the tools that Claire has taught me. Claire understands the academic environment very well and I highly recommend her to fellow academics who are navigating through this competitive environment.” — Melody Ding, Associate Professor, the University of Sydney.
“I sought assistance from Claire to help me distil and put into action the feedback from an in-depth 360 review, following my first year as a Business Unit CEO. Claire was brilliant at helping me make sense of the feedback. She helped me narrow in on what my strengths are, as well as what should be my areas of focus, given the kind of leader I wanted to be and the goals I had set for the business. Together we worked on developing an action plan and constantly revisited what was working, what was not, and we continued to adjust and adapt as we progressed. I really appreciated and valued Claire’s input and found she challenged in a way that was both productive and thought provoking. I would highly recommend Claire as a coach if you are seeking to build your senior leadership capability.” — Doug Swan, CEO The Workwear Group.
“I decided to take up the opportunity for coaching with Claire after being promoted to the role of Superintendent with AFP. Claire’s experience with law enforcement, coaching of female leaders and transitional coaching appealed to me. I wanted to explore how I needed to step up as a leader of other leaders. What I most benefited from in the coaching was the tools that Claire provided me with to lead and transition to a strategic role. Her curious approach to understand and pull apart a leadership dilemma was a strength that enabled me to reflect, adapt and apply leadership qualities that resulted in win-win outcomes. Claire helped me see myself as a leader and encouraged my growth with additional reading material and references. I actively utilise the tools I have learnt from Claire, which has a direct impact on my working life and personal life. Claire is kind, thoughtful and goes that extra mile for her clients. Thank you Claire.”
“Claire coached me at a time when I needed to increase my impact and confidence as a leader, recognise and give myself credit for my own capabilities, and learn how to stand back and empower my team more effectively. What I most appreciated was her ability to provide a confidential space and a safe environment to explore my thinking and approach. Our sessions enabled me to find the time to reflect and analyse my default assumptions and perspectives that were limiting my personal and professional development. Claire was able to challenge my assumptions and identify new approaches that I could experiment with as a leader. As a result of Claire’s coaching I have developed a new tool set to help me reflect on my capabilities and situation in a different way which has significantly contributed to an increase in confidence and overall effectiveness and impact as a leader. I am now able to operate at a more strategic level with more confidence and significantly less self-doubt. I am succeeding through my own sense of self- empowerment but also through the empowerment of my team. Allowing my team to develop solutions that evolve through trial and error is often leading to more enriched outcomes and is always resulting in a more engaged team. I would highly recommend Claire to anyone who wants to build their effectiveness as a senior leader and invest the time in their own development.” — Karly Georgiou, Head of Transformation, Coles
“I wanted to engage a coach because I had two specific development goals – developing my ability to influence and building my identity as a leader. I worked with Claire over a 9 month period and we quickly developed a strong connection. Claire is empathetic, supportive and highly insightful. Claire’s coaching led me to insights about my identity that I can only describe as a breakthrough – this has had an immediate positive impact on both my professional and personal life. Claire helped me to adjust my mindset and develop a number of practical and achievable strategies to influence and build rapport with others – these adjustments and techniques were very unique to my needs, circumstances and role within my organisation. During the course of working with Claire, I needed to address some unexpected challenges. Claire provided me an enormous amount of support, guidance and the tools to navigate these challenges. I really enjoyed our time together and highly recommend Claire. I would like to thank Claire for the impact that she has had in shaping both my professional and personal development.” — Elise Gold, Investment Director, trawalla capital
“Claire coached me at a time when I needed to test whether – having reached an objectively significant career milestone – I was actually doing what I wanted to be doing with my professional life. Claire challenged and tested my assumptions and starting points, while also being warm and empathetic. I really appreciated Claire’s thoughtfulness – both in how she prepared for our sessions (including the different tools and exercises she would suggest) and in how she engaged and responded within a session. As a result of Claire’s coaching, I was finally able to make a decision I had been grappling with for years, and had circled around with family, friends, mentors and another career coach without reaching a resolution. I cannot recommend Claire highly enough: Claire provided the coaching and tools I needed to find clarity, and to feel confidence in my decision.” — Kate Creighton-Selvay, Partner, King & Wood Mallesons
“Claire supported my transition to a senior executive role in Australia, over an 18-month period. During that time, we built a strong connection as Claire was excellent at building trust and a deep rapport quickly. Claire was deliberate in the planning and measurement aspects of my Leadership development and this bespoke and tailored approach was immensely valued. Importantly stakeholder feedback at the end of the period was able to evidentially support the growth in my personal Leadership Development. I wish to thank Claire for her openness and honesty, that abled a strong relationship to grow and create the outcomes sought by my organisation.” — Nicki Nicol, General Manager, Marketing & Customer Solutions, BP Australia
“I wanted to maximise my effectiveness as I transitioned into a Managing Partner role. We explored the leadership brand I wanted to create and the challenges of moving from ‘peer’ to leader while simultaneously becoming a member of the Management Committee. What I most appreciated about Claire’s coaching was that she was able to ask the right questions to facilitate resolutions of dilemmas in my mind, and help generate options to tackle various challenges… I have benefited most from the shifts I have made in my style and by achieving clarity around better ways to communicate for more effectiveness. This coaching helped me to further my engagement with fellow MC members.” — Satish Mandhana, Managing Partner, IDFC (India)
“I wanted to let you know I have very much enjoyed the process and experience with Claire. The report is probably the best ‘development report’ I have received in a long time.”
“I found Claire to be highly supportive and incisive in the questions she asked and the self-insights she provoked. I benefited most from Claire’s ability to take discussions about live activities “in the job role” and articulate the areas of generic leadership strengths and development opportunities. She also has an ability to link today’s leadership behaviours and impacts back to my purpose and my personal style.” — Andrew Cowan, Commercial Director, Diageo NI Ltd
“Claire is a fantastic coach – she is empathetic listener who skilfully got me to tease out solutions to some of the issues I was dealing with and helped me on my journey to reach development goals. I can see the difference in my day to day work (and sanity levels!) in the way I think and approach tasks and deal with immediate stresses. Claire was very good at asking the right questions and keeping us on track and I felt that she took the effort to really find out what made me tick!” — Tracey Brett, Global Procurement Director, Marie Stopes International
“Claire has helped me to be more cognizant of my behaviour and how to change it. She has also genuinely enabled me to better understand myself and to find really tangible things to focus on and work with.” — Martin Denton, Business Unit Transition Director, Fujitsu Services
“Claire provided me coaching and support as I worked through a challenging period in the work environment. Claire gently but effectively challenged me to observe and develop greater levels of insight, which allowed me to regain some self-assurance, and improve my self-management. During the program, Claire brought in a range of tools, techniques and leadership theory which collectively and effectively supported the coaching journey. It was a pleasure to work with Claire, and I thank her for the role she played in further shaping my career and capability.” — Alison Chalmer, Head of Customer and Internal Communication, Cleanaway Waste Management Ltd
“I sought coaching to facilitate my transition into the Executive Team. Over the course of the programme I formed a strong bond with Claire, which was critical given the constant evolution of my development landscape. At no time did I feel that this was an “off the shelf” service, instead I benefitted from a highly bespoke & personal coaching experience which helped me achieve my immediate goals but, more importantly, has challenged me to think bigger and more broadly.” — Simon Amess, Chief Risk Officer, Lloyds International
“Claire is a wonderful business coach and has successfully enabled me to positively shift and develop my leadership. The structured, goal oriented and evidence based approach felt tailored and specific to where I needed to grow. Claire is warm , honest and empathetic, her ability to listen, probe and challenge my thinking was effective and empowered me to develop in identified focus areas. I appreciated the practical advice, techniques and scenario planning. I would most certainly recommend Claire and would like to thank her for the expert advice and support.” — Tamsyn Elder, General Manager, Corporate Partnerships, Bupa
“I was fortunate enough to have Claire as a coach during a very significant time of change in my life. Armed with not much more than an impetus to make a career change, spurred on by recent bereavements in my life, Claire brought structure to my change aspirations and really challenged me to think through what exactly it was that I was, and wasn’t, looking for. We connected on a personal level, and quickly established a strong rapport and trust. I found her empathy and warmth to be perfectly balanced with her ability to challenge and provoke thought. Together we developed an evaluation framework which was extremely helpful when I was weighing up quite a number of different opportunities at the same time. Beyond helping me find and land a brilliant new role which has been so enriching, Claire also supported my onboarding and getting up to speed quickly utilising the work of Watkin’s The First 90 Days. Claire is a highly experienced and effective coach, who I would not hesitate to recommend.” — Carolyn Bendall, Chief Marketing Officer, Swinburne University of Technology
“I started working with Claire when my firm decided that I needed to better demonstrate ‘firm leadership’ to be on the partnership track. Claire was great in helping me understand what ‘firm leadership’ meant and why some leaders could see what I was doing and others couldn’t, helping me think through how specific interactions with people were strengthening or weakening their perceptions of my leadership capabilities. Claire’s coaching helped me improve my relationships with leaders in the firm and made me think hard about how I define leadership and what I respect in the leaders in my firm. The difference I have noticed in my capability as a senior leader is that I’m getting better collaboration with other leaders, having a more visible following amongst the team, and feeling happier and getting greater enjoyment from my work. Through putting the coaching into practice and changing the way I interacted with some key leaders in my firm, I was not only able to enter the partnership track but rapidly progress through to becoming a partner at the first opportunity after my coaching began. I would highly recommend Claire as a coach to you if you’re looking for someone who can give pragmatic guidance but also encourages you to look inwards and make your own decisions.“ – Alastair Phillips, Partner at LEK Consulting
Call Claire FitzGerald
on +61 499 448 090
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