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Foreword to the book by Paul Smith Former Chairman Eversheds Sutherland. Consultant and Author.


I am delighted and honoured to have been invited by Nick to write the foreword to his excellent book, Leading by Coaching. I met Nick when I was Chairman of Eversheds Sutherland, a global law firm with 66 offices. He coached senior members of the management team in communication skills. I found his approach and methods intriguing. His book provides a deep understanding of the scientific principles of leading and coaching. Nick’s book has the resources you need to fully appreciate why leading by coaching works, what it involves and how this leadership style can be used to improve individual and organisational performance. Leading by Coaching contains a wide ranging and detailed academic study of how the brain works, underpinned by the latest neuroscience research findings. Nick uniquely explains the science behind the Gestalt coaching method and why it brings about accelerated learning and change.


Many of Nick’s insights resonate with my own experience of moving from being a student to working as a lawyer and eventually becoming the elected leader of the firm. The power of silence, that he strongly advocates, is a learning I was fortunate to gain in my first week of University. My tutor had on his wall the following quote from Viktor E. Frankel:


“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom”.


I have followed this learning throughout my career. Rather than reacting instantly, this space allows a considered response, the time to reflect and to seek other views. Your response time can be as long or as short as you wish. The use of silence as a window of self-discovery is a recurring theme in Nick’s book. Resonating with my own experience, Nick advocates the instrument of coaching is the coach, and their most powerful tool is silence. The coach controls the silences to allow individuals the space to gain a deeper understanding of themselves through thinking about their thinking.


When I started my career the leadership style was command and control. The first senior partner I worked under had been in the military and his style was to send out orders which the rest of us were obliged to follow. When I became the Chairman of the firm, however, I soon realised that the only way I could have influence was through engaging in an authentic and sincere way. New age leaders, as Nick says, are values based, humble, mindful, inclusive, good listeners, empathetic and imbue their followers with a strong sense of purpose. In my post Chairman life at the firm, I have been coaching younger lawyers, helping them to develop their careers. New soft skills have to be learnt which require deep personal insights and this can be best achieved through everyday coaching conversations. Only through using a leading by coaching style, as advocated by Nick, can leaders help talented individuals grow personally to fulfil their potential and develop into our future leaders.


The guiding principles in Nick’s book are brought to life through the wise words captured from the conservations he had with a diverse range of senior leaders he interviewed for his book. Equally the organisation case studies in Leading by Coaching provide practical insights into how leaders can have more impact as change agents.


I thoroughly recommend this book as a comprehensive and very timely personal guide for todays’ leaders who want to inspire and develop tomorrow’s leaders to be ready to take full advantage of the opportunities that a rapidly changing world provides.

Place your order here for Nick's book at Amazon
Or download the book now from SpringerLink - £21.99
Or go direct to the publisher Palagrave for an eBook download - £21.99

Here are some reviewers comments:

Are leaders born or made. Wherever you sit on that spectrum, this book will make you more mindful of what you do while simultaneously making you better at it. Most readers today want to see the neurological evidence for new ideas and innovative approaches. Nick delivers in spades. If you already excel at leadership, Nick’s neuro-scientific and innovative psychological approach will help you hone where you excel. If you’re new to leadership, this work fills your toolbox with powerful tools. His person-centered approach, borrowed from Gestalt psychology, brings some effective crossover methods to the leadership arena. The part that drew me in the most was the way Nick shows how Leading by Coaching centers on fostering personal growth in each individual in the organization. That’s a necessity in today’s workforce. Although written for the organizational leader, I recommend it for all audiences.


Michael A. Rousell, Ph.D.

see Mike's TED talk

Praise for Leading by coaching


Amidst the avalanche of books on leadership in recent years, this one stands out as offering something different and something of real practical value. Leadership is a fluid concept and there are many authentic and valid leadership styles but Leading by Coaching offers a pathway to what may well come to be seen as a core skill for all successful leaders. In a business world bedevilled by short-termism, Leading by Coaching sets-out how talent can be nurtured and developed by leaders in a way which helps to genuinely build and sustain organisations over the long-term.


Peter Large

Executive Director




I like the way you have found a balance between structure and substance, and how you manage to address a complicated and complex topic in a way that is interesting and lively and sometimes truly entertaining. I very much like the Pauses for Thoughts. And I think the Prologue is a brilliant way to start. You offer a clear structure from the beginning, so readers know up front what they can expect, when and where. And again, you do it in a way that is not too dry but with a light touch So, all good....  In short, fascinating topics - but at the same time a really good read!


Hans von der Linde formerly General Counsel Downstream at Shell



“If you want to be a true leader then all you need to do is to get people to follow you. Nick Marson has accumulated an unparalleled understanding of what it takes to be able to achieve this. Having coached dozens of global business leaders his book brings together decades of study, insight and experience to give the reader everything they need to know about how to become a respected and successful leader”


David Ross

Director, Weber Shandwick




What I love about Nick’s approach in this book is that it highlights to need to “put the hard work” into Leading- as he says, “one conversation at a time”. There is no crash diet answer; people are all individuals and if you can’t be bothered to care about them or listen to them, the days are gone when you will be able to lead them effectively and sustainably”



Sian Fisher CEO, The Chartered Insurance Institute



This excellent and insightful book is definitely worth a read and a pause for thought if you want to be a better leader and coach –it makes you take a step back and focus on the power of silence and taking the time to truly listen and engage.



Ingrid Waterfield                                           

Director KPMG   



“A book that inspires you to think, to reflect and to self-evaluate. Helping leaders to create silence, listen well and to have the confidence to be themselves.”



Victoria Brackett
Chief Executive for Business Legal Services
Irwin Mitchell LLP




I love the way Nick has woven his story and deep, personal experience into this book. With care, wisdom, and practical guidance, Nick inspires us to look within and find our authentic, brilliant and best selves, and then he challenges us to consciously and humbly bring what we find to our every inter-action, so we too can change the world for the better, one conversation at a time. A recommended and mind-opening read!


Ben Emmens, Author Conscious Collaboration. Director, the Conscious Project.




Leadership is in large part seeing something in others that they don’t yet see in themselves. There is not a more powerful approach to identifying and helping bring awareness to untapped potential than coaching. In Leading by Coaching, Nick Marson will provide you with a complete and practical framework for unleashing the potential of those in your charge—one conversation at a time. 


Anthony Iannarino

Author of Eat Their Lunch: Winning Customers Away from Your Competition. 




“I really liked the style of the book. It's powerful stuff, powerfully put across. It's clear and to the point, and explains difficult concepts (e.g., the structure of the brain) very accessibly.  I like the way it addresses the learner personally, via a step-by-step approach, with regular pauses to summarise and to ask the reader to reflect and apply what has been said to his/her own experience.  The autobiographical element really adds to this, and acts as encouragement.  Teaching may be different from coaching, and pastoral work different again, but there are nonetheless many similarities & I found myself regularly nodding in agreement with points you were making. 


I think the chapters work in the same way as a good lecture programme, with regular repetition to reinforce salient points and timely retrospective reference to points previously discussed. I like the style of the book: it's punchy and direct, lots of short sentences which make for greater impact, useful checklists that ask your reader to reflect on his/her own practice and situation, and which also, at chapter ends, tie things together. So many things of interest and value - the different styles of leadership, the real-life examples, the emphasis on listening and on positive feedback. The future-proofing focus on the disruptive nature of the digital world, a really useful checklist on cultural differences, and chapter 9 ties everything together and continues a feature of the whole work, always questioning the reader.”


Dr Keith Wren formerly Lecturer in Comparative Literary Studies at The University of Kent

and Vice-Chancellor of Chaucer College

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