Leadership coaching

Wills Memorial Building, , University building

Leadership coaching is a form of active learning, integrating personal and organisational needs. It can support you in taking up or developing your leadership role to the best of your ability in a fast changing environment where you may feel isolated at times.

We provide leadership coaching for certain professional services and academic staff. We also coach on the Bristol Senior Leaders Programme.

Deans and Heads of School, Divisional Heads and Faculty Managers who would like support in their leadership role should discuss their requirements with the Coaching Service. Other Academic staff taking on leadership roles within their Faculties e.g. Faculty Research Director, might be eligible to use internal coaching and are encouraged to contact the service to discuss this.

Both the internal and external coaches used by the University of Bristol have an understanding of the University context. They will work in depth with you, one to one, with the coach creating a safe reflective, thinking space and perhaps fulfilling the role of sounding board, thinking partner or sense maker. The coach will engage with you as a whole person in depth, not just in your work context.

What do people work on?

You will set your own agenda and can choose to work on a range of themes which might include:

  • emergent strategy
  • personal values
  • personal wellbeing and resilience
  • emotional intelligence
  • how to bring one’s authentic self to work
  • influencing
  • workload management
  • confidence and appropriate assertiveness
  • relationship building
  • people and performance management
  • career development and decision making

What outcomes have people reported?

Leaders who have used the service report that coaching helps them to see the range of options available to them rather than merely reacting to events. They also say it helps them adapt to new responsibilities, build on strengths, reduce destructive behaviours, enhance teamwork and support organisational change, often with a new found clarity and confidence. The coach supports this achievement by a process of active listening, skilled questioning and feedback, drawing on a range of tools, techniques and models to allow you to develop accurate self-perception and also to understand how others might see you. Feedback tells us that the impartiality of the coach is particularly highly valued.

Eligibility and booking

If you would like to enquire about booking or eligibility please contact staff-coaching@bristol.ac.uk




  • All staff on the Bristol Senior Leaders Programme
  • Participants on some of the University's leadership development programmes. Other academics taking on senior leadership roles e.g. Faculty Research Director, Deans, Heads of Schools and those in more senior posts may access coaching. Please contact staff-coaching@bristol.ac.uk

Professional Services

  • All staff on the Bristol Senior Leaders Programme
  • Divisional Heads and Faculty Managers 


If you would like to enquire about booking or eligibility please contact staff-coaching@bristol.ac.uk


On the Bristol Senior Leaders programme, all participants are offered coaching, so in these cases their managers will know that they are using the service. However, the content of the individual sessions will always be confidential. The service does feed back to the University key themes that arise from leadership coaching.

Do I need my manager's permission?

Leadership coaching is usually delivered as part of a leadership and management programme. Entry onto these programmes is competitive, and will require the support and permission of your line manager. Therefore your manager will most likely be aware that you are attending leadership coaching in this context. Usually this is not a problem as the service is recognised as an effective developmental activity, fully supported by the University.

Does it cost anything?

There is no charge for the internal service. However, some senior staff may prefer to use external coaches. In this case, the Faculty/Division may have to cover the coaching cost. There is an established process for accessing external coaching. Please contact staff-coaching@bristol.ac.uk to discuss this further.

"It's been invaluable. It's really helped me gain clarity, and focus on and explore the things that I've needed to at the time. You have gently challenged me and helped me to look at my blind spots or areas I might otherwise have avoided. I'm looking forward to continuing working on the areas that I need to develop now that I'm clearer."

Bristol Senior Leaders client