did have a brief sojourn as marketing manager for an
executive coaching company, which first introduced
me to leadership development. It highlighted to me
that I wanted to work in this area, but wanted to do
it ‘properly’ and
I found out what I needed to do to work
at the level I currently work at and planned my future
development. I knew I needed the credibility of working
at a senior management level and so went back into
industry to get management experience and work myself
up to the
level of director in a large manufacturing group.
I then left, did a further degree in applied psychology,
a Masters in occupational psychology, and also some
specific training and qualifications in coaching and
I set up my company and have developed an impressive
client base. I suppose that my unique selling point
is that I have both business and psychology qualifications,
plus both business and psychology experience. There
very few people in my field who can say that.
I run a number of leadership development programmes,
as well as coaching senior managers. I continue to have
links to academic institutions and am a visiting lecturer
at LJMU. This helps me to keep up to date in the research
and development of leadership theories and development
approaches. I liaise with academics on a regular basis,
but prefer to work in an applied setting. My links to
industry and my work with organisational leaders is as
important as my links with academia. This combination
allows me to facilitate the desired results for my clients.
Isn’t the falconry link just a gimmick?
Perhaps some people might think
considering how easy we could
link concepts and beliefs given
the proper resources. For instance,
some researches point to the
hire kerry industry
in Ireland as related to the
If these two can be linked,
surely it's easy to make up
connections about predatory
birds and leadership right?
However, read almost any
book on the
psychology of birds of prey
book on leadership, and you
can’t help but see
the links. One of my specialist
areas is emotional intelligence
and I remember laughing when
a ‘meet the birds’ event
Steve was running. The falconer,
Rob, said that we couldn’t
work with the Eagles that
day, because they were in
mood, and you don’t
want to work with a narky
Eagle’. Falconry is
about communicating in very
difficult circumstances and
to communicate effectively
you need to understand the
impact of emotion as well
as what is being communicated.
Rob obviously has an in-depth
understanding of the emotional
states of the
birds he works with. Again
falconry is a perfect way
to get these messages across.
There is a lot of research that supports the effectiveness
of what is termed experiential learning. By seeing and
experiencing new ways of working, new approaches and
ways of behaving, it’s often easier to learn. If
people also enjoy the learning experience, it has a greater
impact. It’s often easy to get stuck in a comfort
zone, so handling a wild animal can help to take you
out of your comfort zone and see things from a different
perspective. Falconry is a fantastic way of doing this.
The programmes we have designed that incorporate hunting
take things even further. The hunting aspect really helps
to impact on communication skills and on the strategic
perspective of leadership, plus it enhances teamwork.
For me as a leadership development specialist, this
is some of the most exciting and enjoyable work I do.
I get to work with people who really are experts, as
in the area of falconry their knowledge is arguably unrivalled.
The delegates who attend always add to the events, bring
something new to every workshop. If you attended the
same workshop twice, you would learn something new and
different at each event. I also get to work with some
remarkable wild animals too, and am always somewhat awestruck
and honoured to have one of these magnificent creatures
on my arm.
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