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Lesley Dobree

Lesley Dobree is an experienced leadership development consultant, specialising in executive coaching and leadership development. Within universities, Lesley has worked with leaders in a range of academic and professional service roles, including DVCs, PVCs and Directors of Professional Services.
Advance HE
Job Title
Executive Coach

Lesley’s preferred types of coaching include:

  • Executive and leadership coaching:  Lesley enjoys working on a one-to-one basis with individuals on chosen issues relating to their leadership or wider organisational roles. Her coaching clients identify the specific issues that they wish to bring to each coaching session and, through the coaching conversations that ensue, actions are identified to facilitate change. Issues can be diverse and varied but quite often emanate from personal leadership styles, communications and interpersonal relationships in the organisation, leading change, power relationships and striking an acceptable work-life balance.
  • Career transition and development coaching: Coaching is helpful when applying for promotion, preparing for interviews, starting a new job or coping with the adjustments required to transition effectively into a new role. Coaching may also be helpful when facing redundancy or retirement in preparation for the life changes that inevitably occur at these times
  • Personal leadership skills coaching: Even experienced leaders need to continue to develop and adapt their skills to cope with changing internal and external circumstances impacting on their roles. Coaching is beneficial at times of structural or cultural change, working with a new boss, dealing with challenging people or preparing for difficult conversations. Increasing personal resilience, confidence, personal effectiveness, reducing work related stress, improving work-life balance and enhancing personal fulfillment are issues that also emerge fairly frequently in coaching conversations.


My background

Lesley has always been interested in people and continuing personal development. She started her career as a nurse and midwife and worked in NHS in leadership roles for 10 years. After moving into higher education and developing a successful academic

career, alongside raising a family, she became the Dean of large Faculty and then Deputy Vice Chancellor. She held this exciting and busy full time role for 13 years. In 2017, Lesley established her own company and has worked as an executive coach and leadership development consultant since then. 

In summary, Lesley in an experienced leader with a successful track record of working at the most senior levels in higher education and understands the many challenges associated with this type of role. Throughout her career she has enjoyed coaching and mentoring a range of academic and professional services staff and gained great satisfaction from witnessing their growth and development. After working full-time for most of her career, Lesley is enjoying the flexibility of self-employment and coaching a diverse range of people in senior leadership roles.

My approaches to coaching

There are a number of things that differentiate the way Lesley works as an executive coach including:

  • Her experience as a respected and long-serving senior university leader provides excellent, in-depth understanding of the internal and external HE context and the current diverse challenges facing UK universities and their leaders at this time. This contextual understanding is valuable when coaching those working in the UK HE sector.
  • Her professional background as a health worker, teacher, academic and senior leader have allowed her to accumulate a wealth of knowledge, expertise and skills which she draws on when establishing coaching relationships. These, along with well-developed interpersonal skills and a high level of emotional intelligence enable her to establish rapport easily and inspire confidence in her clients.
  • She enjoys seeing people develop, make changes and succeed in achieving their stated goals. She is passionate about supporting diversity and inspiring women and other under-represented groups to succeed at the highest levels of leadership in universities. As a coach she is enthusiastic, energetic, supportive, encouraging and, if needed, challenging to facilitate progress towards stated goals.


Coaching and mentoring experience

Lesley completed the ILM Level 7 Diploma in Executive Mentoring and Coaching in 2017. She has worked with a wide range of senior university staff since that time and has received consistently excellent feedback from clients on her coaching skills, interventions and the support she has provided. New clients often make contact following word-of-mouth recommendations from former clients which are resulted in a steady flow of clients. Most of her coaching relationships are with individuals in senior academic and professional service leadership roles.

Relevant coaching qualifications and accreditations

ILM Level 7 PG Diploma in Executive Mentoring and Coaching

Member of the Association of Coaching (MAC)

Member of the Institute of Directors