One to one coaching testimonials

Clare’s coaching approach is unlike any other I have had in my career; she thinks about the whole person rather than just the professional aspects, and has a wonderful mix of being curious, intuitive and firm. Clare has helped me to figure out root issues and interdependencies and she always ensures that I leave a session feeling comfortable and clear about actions that I want to take.

Lauren Myers, Director, Matrix


Clare's support has been invaluable to me. Clare helps to provide clarity in thinking, something that’s so critical when managing a global fast growth company. Clare’s wealth of experience and guidance, along with practical takeaways from her session set me up to successfully lead Peakon’s revenue teams through the pandemic and an acquisition.

Neil Ryland, Chief Revenue Officer, Peakon (now part of WorkDay)

We feel incredibly lucky to have a coach of Clare's calibre and experience supporting our staff at the Shrewsbury Ark. Working with the rough sleeping community is incredibly tough and having a safe space and an experienced coach to help keep things in perspective and find a way forward, when work can feel like constant firefighting, is a truly invaluable resource.

Emily Bell, Chair - The Shrewsbury Ark (homeless charity)

Clare has been invaluable in helping me build up my confidence and uncover my purpose as I aim to change careers out of finance into a more creative industry. She has helped me overcome certain fears and inertia, giving me focus. She has considerable commercial acumen which combined with her counselling skills helps make for a socially intelligent, high-level executive coach. She communicates in a down to earth, concise, positive, kind manner and is someone whom I trust. Whilst tough at times, I have thoroughly enjoyed our sessions and look forward to an ongoing coaching relationship with Clare.

Charlotte Fletcher (business owner - finance)


I was first introduced to Clare in Spring 2019 when I had left my corporate employer of the time. I was feeling a bit bruised but keen to pursue moving sectors from Entertainment into Food.
This was probably a little naive and definitely an interesting challenge given I have no experience in the category and I've got 25+ years in Entertainment and Leisure! Clare asked some very focused and challenging questions which made me really think hard. With all her experience in the sector, she was also able to demystify it and be both pragmatic and encouraging. Roll forward a year and the impact of Covid 19 meant I had lost my income stream as a self employed consultant and I was in the running again for a Food sector role that I thought I really wanted. Clare helped me again, this time with Interview prep. As a result of the time spent with Clare and her experience and sageness, I was Interview ready. I have had other coaching in my life which has been average to great but Clare has something incredibly special. She listens, asks challenging questions but manages to be empathetic, encouraging and motivating all at the same time. She's also warm and human and I felt at ease with her from the first time we met. This is a rare combination of skill and great personal attributes. I am in awe of Clare's professional abilities and the scope of her skillset across business. I would recommend Clare 100% to get you back on track and moving forward.

Benvon Crumpler, Marketing Director, Leisure Industry

Thank you so much for everything Clare, I couldn't possibly quantify how beneficial my time with you has been! Never before has someone had such a significant impact on my life without us actually meeting in person - I really look forward to doing that one day soon!

Rozalyn Wilson, Head Of Retail, Astrid & Miyu 

I would recommend Clare as a professional coach whatever stage of your career you are at. She has provided calm and carefully considered coaching during my return to the corporate world and also when moving to more senior leadership roles. Her calm and considered approach make discussing concerns and coming up with strategies and solutions easy to do.

Sarah Hughes, Senior Agri – Food Consultant, Promar International

I was introduced to Clare by a friend who had recently moved into a senior position in industry, and he spoke extremely highly of her. I was contemplating a number of things, feeling dissatisfied with my job in the finance industry. Clare provided a calm and thoughtful mirror, and without pushing in any particular direction helped me work through the issues I had, and helped me understand the issues that were driving me and how best to reflect on the possible paths that I could take. This was a hugely valuable time, which allowed me to discuss a variety of issues in a safe and constructive environment.

Michael Stanes, Finance, London 

Clare is always a great person to talk to, offering invaluable insight and wisdom and asking questions that really get to the heart of a challenge. This has become even more important to me during these uncertain times, (Covid 19), with Clare helping me to navigate my way through them and allowing me to see the light at the end of the tunnel. A session chatting with Clare is a hugely invigorating way to spend an hour.

Tom Linay, Content Business Director, DCM

I had only two coaching sessions with Clare but found them incredibly valuable and they came at key points in my life; returning to work from having my first child and later making the difficult decision to leave a role I had been in for nearly 10 years without another role to go to. I found Clare open and warm from the outset and connected with her easily. She is a great listener whilst also knowing when to come in and ask just the right questions. She is not afraid to challenge you when needed, for example when I needed to look at my difficult childcare situation differently in order to resolve it, but also gives you confidence when appropriate, for example in knowing that my instincts and decisions were right when I was doubting myself. I came out of both sessions feeling lighter and feeling positive in my way forward.

Alex Grounds, Business Intelligence Analyst

Clare is a truly excellent coach. Easy to talk to, she quickly gains an understanding of you as a person, where you are at in your life and work and what you need to do going forward.

Neil Pummell, Head of Client, DCM Media

I have seen various coaches in my career however I have never connected so well with one as I did with Clare. She puts you at ease as soon as you enter the room and has a wonderful way of truly working with you to find solutions to problems. She is completely natural with her approach and offered me guidance and ideas that I hadn’t considered before which meant between sessions I was able to reflect and really see the difference our sessions were making. I couldn’t recommend her enough for anyone looking for a coach who is dedicated, kind and patient.

Zoe Ibrahim, Category Director, DCM Media

The Finding Focus day was transformational for me! Clare expertly guided me through a series of intensive, and often challenging, exercises – to enable me to identify my goals and understand the obstacles that held me back. I came away with a renewed self-awareness and a real sense of purpose. For Clare to have found this in me, is a testament to her skill as a coach. Clare has great listening skills; she is empathetic and challenging when needed. Clare grasped a good understanding of me in a short space of time.

The day worked well for me in terms of structure and delivery. I found it to be transformational in terms of my thinking around further focus and goals. I thought that Clare struck a perfect balance of positive feedback, encouragement, listening, interpreting and directing me through all of the tasks. When needed, Clare was sensitive and supportive, but also able to move things along when necessary.

Kate Horlock, previously a barrister now identifying her next steps both in career and broader life (following experiencing an intensive one-to-one Finding Focus day)

The MBTI assessment of preferences gave me a great deal of ‘food for thought’ and I’ve been able to use what I learned to reflect in a far more structured and constructive way than previously.

I feel I’m at the beginning of being able to evaluate what my strengths are and areas I’d like to focus upon and improve. Seeing my profile helped me understand myself better and why I both enjoy and battle with elements of running a business alone.

I am making a conscious effort to focus upon the benefits of my preferences rather than just the limitations of those I’ve yet to develop more fully. I wish everyone had a coach. I think our mental health, well-being and productivity would be greatly heightened if this were the norm in every workplace.

Karen, Owner of Educational Training Business for Teachers (following MBTI feedback)

Clare is a reliable, approachable and skilled coach. She is also flexible in her approach to the sessions, which permits complete freedom of discussion on any given subject. This allowed us not only to cover the fundamental area of guiding me towards starting my own business, but also to touch on related subjects across other areas of my professional and personal lives. This helped to unravel the blockages that were preventing me from being decisive and making progress. I would highly recommend Clare as a professional coach.

Alex, Financial Director

Clare has enjoyed a career working within the food and drink industry and building her own successful business. By using this experience, coupled with great listening skills, further enhanced by her executive coaching qualifications; Clare is uniquely placed to offer support and guidance to people like myself who have reached a mid-career crossroads.

Through one-to-one sessions, she has helped me through the ‘remain in employment v. go my own way’ debate. I am now 100% confident in my decision – with much greater clarity on the direction of how I want to take my business forward. It is also reassuring to know that I will still have access to Clare for coaching/ mentoring throughout the journey – I expect her reality checks to help enormously!
I strongly recommend Clare Downes to anybody at a similar career crossroads.

David F, Commercial Director

My sessions with Clare proved to be valuable and helped me to really focus. Clare created the space for me to consider the direction that I wanted to take for my business. Her prompting questions challenged my thought pattern and enabled me to visualise where I saw myself and my business.  My sessions with Clare have shown me the importance of time planning; creating monthly schedules to calmly execute ideas and make sure that I progress; making the ideas become reality and achieving the goals which had been circling in my mind!  She was always at the end of the phone or email when I had questions; her logical advice was gold dust. I’d recommend Clare to anyone looking for a clear thinking, straight talking coach mentor.

Charlotte, Founder of food and drink events business

I approached Clare after watching her speak at a CPD conference; she seemed to be the sort of person who could help make sense of the issues I faced.

I had become disillusioned and was losing my self-confidence, my dream job I had worked so hard for close to home, had turned into a nightmare. That said, I wasn’t in a strong enough place to even contemplate escape. Spending time with Clare and with her quiet consideration analysing the issues that I had, has made me face my fears, prioritise those concerns and redevelop the skills I thought I had lost. In a short time, this has made a difference to the emotional energy that my job had been taking up and has helped me return to a position of control and confidence. The job hasn’t changed, my approach to the job has.

I have realised you cannot change everything around you and neither should you need to try but you can alter the effect that these external influences have on you. If you are in any doubt that simple and small changes can give significant differences, give this a try. THANK YOU.

HSQE Manager – a waste management Company

From the moment I spoke to Clare I felt I had found a person who would understand me and my business, she patiently listened and then helped me to break down the areas I needed to think about in to manageable amounts. I have made more decisions in six weeks than in the previous two years. I have been able to make a plan and communicate this to others with renewed confidence. Clare’s wealth of experience and contacts have been more than I could of hoped for when I first picked up the phone. I am looking forward to continue to work with Clare and for her to keep me on track!

Lisa Morgan, Lisa’s Larder – lamb producer and farm shop

I approached Clare and a series of coaching sessions with quite a challenge! I had an idea for a new enterprise but little notion as to how to put it into action. It was a fortuitous moment when Clare got in touch in August 2016 to let me know that she was setting up a coaching arm of her business. Six sessions and six months later I have a clear vision for what I want to achieve, a developing network of support, and a business plan for a new charity! Clare’s expert coaching has taken me on a journey which began with refining all my big ideas about leading something new and adventurous into a project plan that has a strategy, clear purpose and achievable steps. Clare is astute, always quickly ascertaining what will enable progression towards the end goal. Each coaching session has moved me on in my thinking with the result of being able to clearly articulate the means to get to the next stage.
The sessions are always challenging (in a good way!), pacey and developmental. Without Clare, my big ideas would have just continued to be an intangible dream! Thank you Clare.

Senior Lecturer, Canterbury Christ Church University

Thank you so very much for giving us your precious time and wise words. We both hugely appreciated the opportunity to talk with an open ear about all of our ‘pillars’, plans and concerns. Sometimes it can be hard to see clearly, with so many balls in the air. Being able to talk openly and honestly about it, with the addition of clear and considered input from you – has really helped to direct a clear pathway forward.

Suzannah Goodale, Pillar Property

We have a thriving garden design partnership, and after 13 years, it is easy to continue with the constant day to day flow of work without pausing to review the business overall. Meeting Clare through personal recommendation was very timely. Her expertise, energy and enthusiasm have helped us with a 360 examination of our working practices and lifestyle balance.

Clare readily shares practical ideas and suggestions for ongoing business development and marketing. We have been inspired to turn our discussions with Clare into actions. We are looking forward to collaborating more with her in the next exciting phase of our business.

Caroline De La Lane and Louise Cummins, Garden Makers

Clare has really helped me to take a more proactive approach to my own career progression. She has encouraged me to think positively about developing my career in new and exciting areas. I have found her assistance in increasing my confidence particularly valuable.

Harriet Critchley, FBC Manby Bowdler

I have been working with Clare for about nine months. She has been coaching me on a change of career. Clare has helped me identify the various options for my future and to realise a clear way forward.

She has enabled me decide what I want from an alternative career and how to achieve my goals, with clear direction as to the steps I needed to take. Without her help my ideas would have remained simply ideas! Clare’s approach has struck the right balance of enabling me to feel enthusiastic about my new business whilst making me realistic about what is required to achieve my goals. It has been a partnership that has been both empowering and instructive. I am excited about working with her in the future.

Sarah Legge – Law

I met Clare when embarking on the search for the right business coach. Clare’s gentle authority, intelligence and empathy gave me the confidence that she was the right person to coach me. Clare has guided me to clearer understanding of myself and my aspirations, empowering me to go on a journey of self-awareness and achievement. She is mindful to guide without direct instruction, ensuring that I was well prepared, enlightened and able to take ownership of my actions and decisions. Throughout the coaching, Clare was readily available, ensuring that I was supported as needed. Clare has never rushed me, yet I feel I have moved at a surprising pace on this journey. Thanks to Clare’s guidance and careful insight. I feel well-equipped and enabled with a greater sense of clarity and purpose.

Liz, Design Director – Annoushka Jewellery (worked to develop skills as a director to enable full board contribution and team management)

Clare has been a pivotal support in my decision-making journey, as I have explored a career change from the Corporate FMCG World. Clare is incredibly approachable and exudes energy / positivity in all her interactions.  She is astute, experienced in business and a world-class networker.  She supported me with appropriate challenges/excellent questioning skills,  connecting me to a variety of inspirational members of her vast network and insights, on areas of employment that I was considering.  Through her support, I have become clearer on my career direction and it has lead to a confident decision to start up my own business in 2019.

Thea Roberts – VP Sales & Marketing in FMCG

Being someone who is lucky enough to have as wide range of strong influencers and sounding boards in my life, I hadn’t ever considered coaching as something I required. However, after a long stint at my current company, the desire to grow internally increasing, and an opportunity on the cards which could see quite a significant promotion and move of department, it was suggested that a coach could help me to grow personally and professionally, and contribute towards driving myself and my future on to exciting new projects. And so I met Clare, and instantly bonded. I knew that her calm, honest and direct approach was what I required in a coach, and we began our sessions. The sessions we spend together are invaluable to me. They have helped to grow me as a person and as a manager, and give me confidence in myself, my work, and with next steps in my career. I don’t think you are ever ‘finished’ with a coach, or with wanting to better yourself, and I feel very privileged to have been given the opportunity by my company to have someone who is on hand and dedicated (because Clare really is there whenever I need help and advice) to supporting me.

Anastasia Brand – Head of Events & Activations, DCM Media

Prior to meeting Clare, I had no idea what working with a coach meant or would entail. All I knew was that I was feeling quite overwhelmed trying to balance work and family, and needed some help with getting things straight in my head and prioritising. However, in the 6 months that we worked together, life has taken me in a totally different direction, and Clare adapted our sessions beautifully, all the time applying her same calm, confident approach.  She really helped me find clarity in my own thinking, identify my core values and come up with ways to incorporate those into my life, both from a big picture perspective and with day-to-day tools. I have thoroughly enjoyed our sessions and would recommend her services to anyone thinking about engaging with an expert coach.

Fund manager, London


I once explained my approach as challenging but the word nurturing was fired back at me. I think that this is probably because I am not a soft touch - but I absolutely do care. I listen, ask the right questions at the right time and you find your own answers.