Sara Milne Rowe - Founder

Performance has always been at the heart of my life. When I was five, I started ballet classes. Alongside my dance, I also took up the violin. It was very hard. I persisted and worked my way to Grade 8. Toured with the Cambridge Youth Orchestra and danced at Sadlers Wells before attending University.

Looking back, I now see how these early experiences began to shape my core beliefs about some vital conditions for performance improvement. Firstly, a total commitment to practice and the rigour involved; secondly, having someone to both support and challenge you to be better.

As a teacher I worked in two inner city comprehensives. In both I noticed that some teachers had an almost magical influence over their students. Even children who were disaffected and disruptive for most of the day seemed to suddenly choose a different mood and act like committed pupils in their lessons. What were those great teachers doing to influence the children so they wanted to learn? And how might that relate to Business leaders and those they lead? This compelled me to found Coaching Impact in 2004.

I now work alongside leaders and often their teams in a variety of organisations - like a curious detective - helping them define and then choose the most useful practices to measurably improve their performance and impact. Every interaction fuels my fascination for what it takes to be better at something. My personal ambition is to continue learning, practicing and improving in the spirit of impact for good.

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Simon Scott - Partner

Running alongside my Dad as he cycled the Thames towpath calling out to his latest schoolboy crew is one of my favourite memories. I was 8. From his coaching (and book!) I learnt about the value of applying science to making a boat go faster and from the running I became a reasonable middle distance runner despite no talent at all!

Both came together through my involvement in the British Miler’s Club. Founded by Frank Horwill, this was a movement that challenged conventional training practices and developed new practices based on science. For a time in the 80s, British middle distance athletes went faster and ruled the world. Then the rest of the world caught up!

11 years as a Royal Marines Officer taught me about the power of a high performance environment, a collective ethos and spirit that creates the conditions for ordinary people to achieve extraordinary performance over and over again through deliberate, rigourous, quality practice – and to stay cheerful, even in adversity.

Since then, in the last 21 years, I have been lucky enough to continue to have fun and to learn with and from many great people including; international sportsmen and women, talented children, a writer, devoted charity leaders and remarkable people in all sorts of organisations from the FCO to leaders of Global companies and entrepreneurs running their own business from start up to scale. We make most progress when we work on real time very real opportunities.

In every case my aim is simple; to help others to learn better ways to be stronger and to be measurably more successful – however they chose to define their success.

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Lizzie Bentley Bowers - CI Education

My love of performance and the Arts started in my teenage years with music. Having worked my way to Grade 8 on three instruments, I was soon performing as an accomplished musician with various globe-trotting youth orchestras ­ the highlight of which was playing to audiences of over two thousand in Brazil and Argentina.

After university I worked as a Drama teacher in a London comprehensive, working to bring out the best in students from challenging backgrounds. I have grown a passion for enabling people to believe in and act on what is possible for them. As a senior manager at the school, I became an expert in state management - both my own and often that of others, particularly when facing highly charged situations and extremely challenging behaviours.

My interest in learning more about resilience, communication and sustained high performance led me to become a performance coach. I now work with leaders and their teams in both Education and Business to enable them build and sustain the most useful practices and help them be more successful. I am committed to my own learning and performance challenges ­ last year this took the form of my first marathon. This year's challenge involves the piano and a mud run - though not at the same time!

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Caroline Hall - CI team

I discovered the joy of bringing a story to life making theatre at school and Kings College London, and then working as a theatre and opera director across the UK.

I ran my own theatre company and became Associate Director with Stephen Daldry at the Royal Court Theatre.

Having successfully led actors to perform at their best onstage, I moved into TV, and as Series Script Editor on "EastEnders", led the editorial team, and personally edited over 30 episodes, two of which won BAFTA awards. As part of a high profile, high performing team, my focus was on the impact of a great story on its audience.

Then my husband became leader of a national organisation and my sister became a Head Teacher, and I witnessed the need for them to influence several different audiences every day. They, and their stories, had to be strong, clear, and resilient, and I was inspired to begin my work as a coach and facilitator.

My theatre and media experience now feeds into my performance coaching. I collaborate with business leaders and their teams, helping them to build clarity and energy, make faster progress, and bring their leadership stories to life, for each of their audiences.

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Abi Griffiths - CI team

As a TV Presenter for channels including the BBC, Channel 4, BTSport, Eurosport and the Extreme Sports Channel, I am passionate about the art of performance and impactful communication.

At the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games I presented Beach Volleyball, Hockey, Wheelchair Basketball and Paralympic Goalball.  I have co-presented the England rugby show '"O2 Inside Line" with Austin Healey and the motoring game-show “Driving Wars” with Colin Murray. I have worked extensively in motorsport, bridging Sky Sports’ Speedway, Channel 4’s Formula Ford, ESPN’s SuperLeague Formula as well as a multitude of adrenaline-fuelled Red Bull events. I have recently become the host of BTSport's flagship motorsport show "Motorsport Tonight".

My passion is unearthing the human story behind each athlete’s extreme physical challenges.  This is especially hard when interviewing elite performers who’ve given their all, lost and just want to be left alone!

Whether I'm interviewing defeated boxers, England rugby players, addressing live audiences of 100,000 plus or delivering live breaking news reports moments after completing the Boston marathon, I have learnt how to manage my performance under great pressure - often with people talking in my ear and with continuous live changes.

Working with Coaching Impact, first as a client, and now as a performance coach, I have been able to share my expertise, stories and practices to help others learn ways to perform well under pressure too.

I am a voice for “A Positive Image”, which recently met at the House of Commons to celebrate women in sport and work closely with the charity Place2Be.

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Alison Lucas - CI team

My interest in performance has grown out of my desire to be the best coach I can, enjoy my time supporting my family, and looking after myself. I aim for these aspects of my life to support each other, and not compete. I believe deeply as a leader, coach and parent that to support the growth and development of others I need to model the practices I believe are key to creating a sustainable, resilient and energized life. These practices include being continuously curious to learn, share, and stretch myself, and take every opportunity to have fun!

I have a background in senior management having held leadership roles in FMCG organisations. I work with senior leaders, on a one to one basis, and with leadership teams across a wide range of industries. I help them be the best version of themselves over the long run. I start by getting real clarity of purpose.

I support and challenge my clients in equal measure. I feel lucky to have worked with so many fabulous clients and get immense personal satisfaction in knowing that I have played a part in delivering their desired change.

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Andy Salmon CMG OBE - CI team

I recently retired from the Royal Marines after 36 years, having been Commandant General. I spent much of my commando service leading organisations and teams in conflict. My passion is for unlocking high performance and learning, and as Commandant of the Commando Training Centre Royal Marines, introduced a comprehensive coaching system to help Royal Marines at all levels perform at their best in very challenging situations.

Since leaving, I use this experience and interest in human performance to develop ways to teach, coach and mentor leaders and teams, so they too learn to perform consistently well, especially under pressure.

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Debra Woods - CI team

At the heart of what I do is a belief that people have huge potential to grow, whatever their starting point.  I am particularly interested in what drives each of us as unique individuals, and how we can use this uniqueness to build real understanding of ourselves and others, to generate the most from our opportunities.

I work with individual leaders at all levels, and their teams, to deepen this self awareness, to generate real clarity about what success looks like for them, and to practise useful habits, so that people wake up to their day feeling more positive, productive, curious and energetic.

In my coaching work, I have discovered that genuine awareness of the impact each of us can have on others, and our power to make this impact productive, increases both our humility and our capacity for performance and meaningful contribution.

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Rob Olorenshaw - CI team

Over a period of 20 years I have a gained a unique blend of skills and knowledge by operating at Board level in a variety of roles and organisations. I have a strong track record of delivery across a range of disciplines including business transformation, service delivery, operational management and the integration of businesses.

In one of my recent roles I was Chief Operating Officer on the Board of an incredibly successful, award-winning business with growth of 30% year on year, achieving £1bn turnover.

I continue to have a huge passion for Rugby, having played for my local club over many years – always pushing myself to perform at my best. I am now Vice-President.

Now a performance coach, I bring my experience and passion for leading and developing people to helping others realise their potential and improve business performance.

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Chris Grimes - CI Team

My all-time comic hero is Stan Laurel. He was the first comedian who really made me laugh. I was seven years old and living in Uganda - and I've been grateful to Stan and his influence ever since. 

I trained as a drama and voice teacher, then as an actor and improvisation performer.  Acting and Improvisation appear to be at two opposite ends of the spectrum: One dependent on the rigour and habit of 'repeated rehearsal', while the other - “making it up” - suggests no preparation whatsoever!   Ironically, improvisation, and the pressure that goes with it, demands preparation and skills that can only come through practice and frequent review.

I bring this experience and the practices to my work with leaders and teams often in high stake situations.    For example, I recently supported an executive team to prepare for and be stronger together in the process of selling their business and the critical performance moments that were required.  

I have been a performance coach working in business for 18 years and Stan Laurel always reminds me to keep it fun, keep it clear and, above all, keep it kind, underpinned by generosity, humility and warmth.

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Steve Williams OBE - CI team

I started rowing at 13 and immediately fell in love with that magic feeling of being part of a team on a mission all together. Unfortunately though I wasn't much good at rowing, but I stuck at it and, after a lot of hard work, I finally made it into the GB Olympic Rowing Team ten years later; but then only to miss out on racing at my first Olympics in Sydney 2000, instead being selected as the "spare man" (aka the worst job in the world).

Sitting on the sidelines watching the Best collect their Gold medals I was determined this was not going to destroy me, and from that moment I've been fascinated by what more is possible by the power of the mind and heart through belief, powerful choices and hard work.

Over the next eight years I won two Olympic Gold medals as part of the GB Coxless Four in Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008, and four World Championship Golds.

After retiring from rowing I wanted to test myself and the principles I learnt in rowing in other worlds and, amongst other challenges, I have summited Mount Everest and skied to the North Pole.

I've been working with businesses for ten years sharing the mindsets, codes and approaches we have in the GB Olympic Rowing Team, on Mount Everest and in the Arctic, in order to help leaders and teams perform at their best.

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Alex Payne - CI Team

In 2001, I drove a rusty old banger down the east coast of Australia with three friends, following the British and Irish Lions tour on work experience with Sky Sports.  Twelve years later I returned as Sky’s lead rugby presenter to tell the story of a gripping Lions series victory over the Wallabies.  I’m often asked how I ended up in my dream role, and I always cite luck, passion and hard work.  But that rather glosses over the reality of being thrown into the unforgiving environment of live broadcasting and just desperately trying to stay afloat.  I went from tea boy to presenter inside 18 months without any formal training, all the while feeling totally out of control.  Perhaps unsurprisingly, it is 'staying in control' that now forms the foundation stone of my impact coaching.

Over the years I have gone from sleepless nights ahead of live broadcasts to relishing the opportunity to tell a story to millions of viewers.  Along the way I have learnt how to feel comfortable in a high pressured environment, how to deliver a clear message, how to capture the moment, how to adapt and improvise, even how to handle it when things go wrong - and trust me, they do!

I firmly believe the best way to improve performance is by doing it for real, but there are also a number of ways to accelerate the improvement process.  After a decade under the bright lights I am now committed to helping others feel confident and in control when communicating.  I have worked with high profile individuals, FTSE 100 companies and in schools and derive huge satisfaction from seeing clients progress.

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Chris Rowe - CI Team

As a boy, my passion was sport, and performing better than the rest meant everything.  The first love was football - still is - and that early performance push resulted ultimately in having a trial for my beloved Liverpool – and scoring.  (A poacher’s goal from two feet out but, hey, they all count.)  What interests me, looking back, is how calm I remained about the whole experience surrounded by so many heroes.  I just did what I had done most days for the preceding decade, focus on what I did well: playing the game.  

At university, my passion for sport was equalled by a passion for performing.  The stage is very similar to the playing field.  You soon work out what you do well.  Once you know that, you work to perfect it.  My skill lies in building relationships with an audience so a story can have the best possible impact.  I've presented on radio for BBC R5, Talksport and Emap Nationwide, and on TV for BBC, BSkyB and Channel 5.  I also write to help other performers build those same relationships. My two loves merged perfectly when I was asked to write scripts for BBC’s flagship live sporting event, Sports Personality Of The Year as well as Onside, hosted by John Inverdale.  I also work with Scene & Heard, a London charity, building children's confidence by helping them write stories as powerful theatre.
 
I have helped companies create impactful conferences for over twenty years.  I work with leaders to strengthen their performance impact and prepare for what could be a stressful situation to confidently build a relaxed, warm relationship with their audience while focussing on performing to their best, enabling the audience to leave feeling motivated and ready to act.

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Jennie Lanksford - Business Manager

From the age of six I started playing the cornet and soon was playing in a number of different brass bands. This continued for over twelve years and included many concerts, various European tours and even recording an album!

Carrying that sense of team and preparation into my working life, I’ve developed a passion for supporting others to be successful. I started providing support to individual leaders and soon discovered that their clients also enjoyed my support. My skills have developed over 25 years of experience offering diverse business and project support. I am driven and energised by the many client relationships I have built over the years and enjoy creating new relationships now.

As my workload increased, I realised that maintaining my fitness was essential. Through persistent practice I have now become a committed and passionate runner. I have completed two half-marathons and countless 10k races. When I'm not running distance, I'm running CI.

As CI has grown I have been able to grow too and a vital part of my role now is recruiting, developing and supporting a bigger team – which I love.

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Jan Lewis - Creatives

My passion for learning and personal development came from early, somewhat clumsy and confusing interactions with my horses and dogs and a subsequent curiosity around how to be better at understanding and working effectively and happily with them. It became apparent I had to understand and work with myself!

In time, this led to me becoming a founding member of the Equine Behaviour & Training Association (EBTA), set up to improve awareness of the impact of human behaviour on equine behaviour by bridging the gap between academic research and practical application.

The understanding I gained and the skills I learned on that personal journey helped me to achieve my goals with my animals (ever grateful to them all). The learning also made me a better parent and has transferred into my working life enabling me to build solid and lasting relationships with people in varying roles and from diverse backgrounds.

These skills were developed further through experience in a variety of business sectors before having the joyous opportunity to move into the performance coaching arena, where I relish the challenge of creative design and events management and helping the CI team be the best they can be.

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Gemma Holden - Executive Assistant

Being curious and actively seeking out people even from a very young age was how I found myself being called a spirited child or perhaps ‘a chatter box’ may be more appropriate! Telling stories and listening to others has been my driving force for happiness. People are fascinating, complex and baffling in equal measure.

This thirst for getting to know others led me to a Philosophy Degree in my teenage years and then five years in Private Equity where I learnt that buying and selling is an incredibly human experience (with lots of financials involved). I then took a step back and discovered my real love – food and drink with years spent in Argentina, New Zealand and Australia working in restaurants, wine cellars and a cow shed! It is not surprising that as a social person, happiness for me comes from sitting at my family table with great people that I love, delicious food and discussion.

Today, I now have the great fortune to draw parallels to my beloved kitchen table at CI.  My role allows me to span the whole of the business: from engaging with clients, communicating with our team and ultimately being part of an organisation where discussion is key.

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