Leadership coaching testimonials

During this last year of COVID, Clare has been instrumental in getting me through it and out the other side, excited about the future. Her approach is friendly and empathetic and she is quick to adapt her methods to suit me. The fact that she has run her own business, adds a greater understanding of what I’m going through. I really like how she holds me to account and sets expectations for me to achieve. She is direct with her advice and feedback, encouraging me to envisage a clear future. I look forward to my sessions and always appreciate her help, wise words, understanding and direct approach.

Tamara Hill Norton - Founder, Sweaty Betty

Working with Clare has helped me to get clearer in my own mind as to what success really looks like for me, my family and business and worked on practical steps to achieve this.

Clare asks simple questions which get to the heart of the issue and listens, only probing where needed.  

She has helped me to find the answers to many of the questions I’ve been asking myself but struggling to answer or get to the root cause.

I get a huge amount of value from Clare’s bullet point summaries after meetings which always nail the ‘work on’s’ over the coming weeks.

Will Harrison (Partner), Chartered Financial Planner, Director, Penney Financial Partners

I have tried coaching twice before and it never felt right , so when coaching was offered to senior managers as part of the covid pandemic support I decided to try for a third time. I am so glad I did because I was introduced to Clare who has helped me to work through issues and helped me build my confidence and resilience and deal with some tough stuff. Her approach has been the best and she has been supportive, motivating, balancing, objective and insightful.

Victoria Thorne, Divisional Director of Nursing and Therapies, NHS

I have worked with Clare over an extended period, during which we were forming a new international Executive team to drive growth in a new market, and during a time when Covid came and made us re-assess our choices on focus on strengthening the brand and business.

During such a period of team formation and business change, I appreciated having Clare as a sounding board in order work through the opportunities and challenges ahead.  I have found Clare very personable and professional and it has been easy to develop a trusting relationship of mutual respect.  Clare’s strength is in asking insightful and reflective questions and being open-minded and non-judgmental – the perfect environment for positive and constructive conversations.

Sarah Clark​, Chief Commercial Officer, OKA Direct Ltd

It is with much enthusiasm that I recommend Clare Downes as a professional coach. I have had the pleasure to work with Clare for the past 18 months and during difficult times and in an isolated pandemic situation, Clare has supported me through these difficult time. Clare brings a balanced and considered approach to coaching and has help me as an individual to navigate and deliver exceptional results through very challenging business conditions.

 Clare is extremely professional and helps to identify the gaps and to also coach and direct you in areas where focus should be made. During the last 18 months Clare has also held leadership workshops to bring structure and balance to the business on its priorities and to help build business strategies.

Matthew Talbot​, Global Supply Chain Director, OKA Direct Ltd

Clare has supported me for over a year. She has been instrumental in my journey to becoming a stronger leader, but also helping my team get through the pandemic and become stronger as a team. She is always there to help and guide, with a combination of encouragement and sound judgment. She is also a great brain storming partner, asking all the right questions and enabling me to think in varying perspectives.

CONNIE H.J. NAM , Founder & CEO, Astrid & Miyu



I started working with Clare at the beginning of the Covid-19 crisis, and it couldn’t have been better timing! Navigating this crisis has been one of the toughest challenges of my career; not only dealing with a raised level of stress, workload and pressure, but also having to deal with the unprecedented and uncertain nature of the crisis, along with the emotional fallout of the crisis’ impact on our company and staff. Clare thankfully has been with me every step of the way, helping me navigate the right approach to various situations, but also helping me make changes that aren’t just for this period, but for my longer term success. Clare is excellent at listening to what I have to say, and pinpointing the areas that need to be addressed, and her suggestions are small manageable steps that often build on discussions we have had over the weeks. Within the 3 months that we have been working together, I’ve already adopted behavioral changes that will benefit me for life.

 Emmalene Maxwell, Chief Financial Officer, The Fold 

Clare tackles with you the difficult decisions in a methodical way. She cuts to the bone but is empathetic. She's been there, done that successfully so her coaching isn't speckled with empty management platitudes. Ultimately, she will help you hold yourself to account.

Saehwan Park, Founder, Sansu Drinks Ltd

I have known and admired Clare for her work as a coach for the past couple of years. When COVID-19 pandemic hit our economy, and in turn my business, I really struggled. Clare very kindly offered to coach me through this process. I cannot recommend Clare's coaching highly enough. She asked me questions I wasn't asking for myself or for my business. She helped me have conviction in my decisions and find the courage to take the bold steps necessary quickly. As a result, I and my business have not struggled anywhere near as much as we might have. If you are considering Clare as either a personal executive coach, or to mentor your leadership team or facilitate board level strategy sessions, my advice would be to grab the opportunity with both hands. You will not regret it.

Jeannie McGillivray, Managing Director, Remote (digital development)


Like many, I've faced daunting new challenges brought about by Covid, and I've really had to dig deep to discover new depths of my leadership capabilities to support the business and my team. Working with Clare throughout lockdown has genuinely helped me not only to survive through these difficult times, but thrive and come out the other side stronger. Clare has a real understanding of leadership challenges, and asks thought-provoking yet simple questions which give you immediate perspective on where you are now, and what you need to do next. I often find myself now asking 'what would Clare say?', anytime I encounter a problem! Clare is a calming influence and genuinely cares about your success, which is a welcome positive influence in a sea of uncertainty. I genuinely can't thank her enough for her kindness and support, in just a few weeks she has profoundly impacted my confidence and outlook for the future - I wouldn't be where I am now without her!

Rozalyn Wilson, Head Of Retail, Astrid & Miyu


It's a bold statement but investing time with Clare has been the overdue gamechanger to my entire life. Professionally, I am developing the discipline and kindness to be a truly strong leader, developing deeper relationships with my peers through patience and sharing. With Clare's positive reinforcement, I am also growing more resilient to set-backs in both my business and personal experiences. It's as if by magic to me how talking things through with her turns the key. It has not been easy - you must put in the work - but in a short time, Clare has given me the skills to believe I can tackle whatever comes with a cool, calm and positive demeanour. I am so grateful to have a true partner in Clare to support me on this journey, to becoming ever happier and more successful both in my role as a CFO and in my personal hopes and dreams.

Simone Goodman, Chief Financial Officer, Peakon

I’ve been working with Clare for the last 4 months. She’s been able to help me prioritise my energy and be a better leader. During the COVID-19 crisis, she has kindly offered to help my leadership team on a weekly basis on a pro bono basis. Everyone’s been coming out of her sessions energised and motivated. Clare is a great coach with a combination of sharp business acumen and a kind and generous heart.

Connie Nam, CEO & Founder, Astrid and Miyu (jewellery)

I had always thought who do business leaders go to, to discuss a whole array of topics about their business and life away from the business? Leaders may not always have somebody above them, with which they can talk through topics such as short and long term strategies, new concepts or ideas, or just share thoughts on staff or personal matters that cross over in to the work place. Then I found the answer, business leaders go to trusted and recommended business coaches. I was very fortunate to find Clare Downes, not only did she understand me as a businessman she instantly got me as a person too. This enabled me to have very clear and open discussions with her from day one, she is patient, insightful and always encouraging.

The thing that struck me most about Clare was her ability to listen to me whilst I would be discussing a particular issue or topic, and then always be able to offer and answer or direction for me to take or look at. She has improved my management style both up and down in many ways, including the ability to know when to step away and overview my business and then think about it in a different way. I have been with Clare for six months now and will continue to use her, that time is invaluable to me now – it also has saved me time and money in my business in the way I have approached specific projects for example, so in my eyes she also offers great value to you as an individual and business. I cannot speak highly enough of her, and have already started recommending her to other senior people I know.

Leon Neil, M.D. Vestey Industry & Retail Divisions

It enabled me to self-reflect on my style and how this may come across to others.  It helped me to understand the internal feelings that we have when others have different styles of expressing information or dealing with information received that is not in line with our own. It has enabled me to reflect on why I think the way I do, why I feel the way I do when others don’t react in the same way and how I can be more self-aware in my management style.  I have made changes at work that will allow me time away to consider how I want my business to move forwards into the future without being swamped by the day to day mundane.

Clare is a skilled listener and ensures that you feel relaxed and open during the feedback session.  Clare questioned without making you feel that she was making judgments and allowed me the time to self-reflect and come to conclusions with her guidance. She approaches the task in a professional manner without making you feel it is stuffy and clinical.  She is an open person that is a skilled listener, she can apply theory to situations and allows you to open-up whilst not feeling judged.

Sarah, Owner of Children’s Nursery (following MBTI feedback)

I think that Clare has a great coaching style and I really value the time that we spend together, it gives me time to think and assess my priorities. I really like the fact that Clare really tailors her coaching specifically to my requirements. I feel that Clare considers her approach and adapts to my needs. After five sessions, we took some time out to review and realise how much we had worked on – and the progress that we had made in lots of areas. I don’t think that I would have done a lot of these things, had I not worked with Clare. I now have another five to look forward to…

Davina Barker, Sales Director, DCM Media

Clare has almost effortlessly, facilitated conversations, questions and a thinking process that has led to new learning, development, greater self-awareness as well as self-belief. In particular, coaching has helped me to develop and improve my leadership abilities, promote more effective teamwork and manage more effectively and efficiently the many competing demands on my time.

Lynn Ladbrook, CEO Breast Cancer UK 

Having reached the final stages on 2 previous MD applications, before effectively ‘coming second’ at both final interviews; I decided to engage Clare to help me prepare for the third attempt. Through practice interviews, Clare gave straight, constructive feedback that allowed me to position myself far more effectively. I am in no doubt that Clare’s support through the preparatory stages was instrumental in helping me secure my first MD role.
Clare is able to use her own business experience to complement her natural coaching flair to great effect. So much so, that I continue to meet with her on a quarterly basis for an impartial discussion around some of the challenges that arise through my role.

David, Managing Director - Food Manufacturing, Shropshire


Leaders have specific challenges and often find themselves in a lonely place. After all of the hard work to reach the top, you are then faced with a totally new set of challenges that you have not necessarily been prepared for along the way.