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Louisa Hardman

Louisa is a respected leadership consultant, coach and facilitator, working with international clients in the public and private sectors to achieve real learning and change. She was an early Key Associate with the Leadership Foundation, has contributed to TMP since 2009 and been Programme Director since TMP 32.
Advance HE
Job Title
Programme Director

Within the sector, Louisa also directs internal Leadership Development for several Universities, coaches Executive Team members and facilitates senior team development. She is currently facilitating the Leading Places project to develop collaborative leadership between Universities and civic partners in Brighton, Coventry and Gloucestershire.

Alongside her work with the Leadership Foundation, Louisa is a NHS Leadership Academy Faculty member, where she is Programme Director for InterSect, a system leadership programme and also contributes to the New Chief Executives’, Directors’ and Nye Bevan Programmes. In addition, she is a lead associate with Ashridge Hult Business School, where she is a coach developer and supervisor. In 2000 she founded her change leadership consultancy, Living Potential Consulting, to work with innovative, knowledge-based, organisations whose work aims to improve lives.

She is passionate about her work and aims to design creative and engaging interventions that deliver improved individual and organisational performance. Blending organisational realism with psychological insight, her clients span a range of sectors, currently including higher education, health, central and local government, broadcasting, publishing, professional services, transport, social housing, charities, utilities, membership organisations, trades unions and the police.

Louisa brings a deep understanding of individual, group and organisational dynamics and change, cultivated through a unique combination of study and experience. She has MScs in Organisational Psychology, Change Agency and Coaching Psychology and is currently completing programmes in Gestalt psychotherapy and Tavistock systems psychodynamics.

Before her consultancy career, Louisa worked in the fields of Law and Social Housing, latterly working as HR Director for a London Housing Association and as Organisational Development Director for the Health Education Authority and within the BBC. Her most recent work on influencing beyond positional power will be published in the forthcoming book ‘How to Be a Nurse Leader’ by Wiley in February 2017.


Find out more about Advance HE One-to-One Executive Coaching services.

Coaching experience at a senior level

Louisa coaches Chairs, Chief Executives, Executive Directors and senior leaders in Higher Education and in the media, health service, government, financial services, regulatory bodies, social housing, utilities and legal services.

Coaching experience in Higher Education

Louisa is a Programme Director for the Top Management Programme and runs internal leadership programmes for many Universities, including Queens University Belfast, Manchester University, UCL, London Metropolitan University, University of the West of England, Birkbeck, Hull and Cambridge. She has extensive experience of coaching Executive Teams in Higher Education as well as individuals, including Vice-Chancellors, Pro-Vice Chancellors, Deans, Heads of Department, senior Professional Service leaders, Heads of School and Principal Researchers.

Coaching style, approach and influences

Louisa’s coaching has a strong developmental orientation, addressing current interests whilst building leadership insight, confidence, capability and resilience. Through a series of reflective yet rigorous conversations, Louisa encourages clients to clarify their ambitions, identify key impediments and take practical, cumulative steps towards achievement. She brings a deep understanding of individuals, groups and organisations to her work, cultivated through experience, studies and teaching. Her work is also influenced by Tavistock thinking in systems psychodynamics.

Louisa has worked with the NHS Leadership Academy to develop inclusive leadership cultures, a perspective that she is committed to introducing within Higher Education.  This builds on her previous work in the BBC World Service, working for Language Services in Turkey, Egypt, Africa and the UAE.

Example of issues explored in coaching sessions

Example issues include:

  • Moving into a more senior role and establishing a new team
  • Developing fresh organisational strategy to respond to changing organisational context
  • Personal influence and career development
  • Leadership confidence and authority
  • Managing upwards and organisational politics
  • Restructuring and mergers

Professional background

Louisa enjoyed a career in Law before moving into organisational and community development within social housing, health and the BBC.  Since moving into consultancy in 1995 she has worked across all sectors developing leaders and leadership, facilitating culture change, building effective teams, fostering innovation, defining strategy, nurturing partnerships and enabling high performance.

Louisa has been Managing Director of a small consulting business for the last twenty years, which she combines with working as a Faculty member of the new NHS Leadership Academy, an associate with Ashridge Hult, a Health Improvement Associate with The Kings Fund and Key Associate with Advance HE.

Qualifications and accreditations (including diagnostic tools)

Louisa holds a BA (Hons) in Law, BA (Hons) in Psychology and MSc in Organisational Change. She is accredited as a coach by the EMCC/Ashridge (distinction) and has a Masters in Coaching Psychology. She is currently completing a Masters in Gestalt Psychotherapy and Ashridge Diploma in Coaching Supervision. She is trained to administer MBTI, SDI, TMSDI, Hogan diagnostics, Firo-B and Hay’s suite of tools, including the Emotional Intelligence Inventory.

She is a member of the RSA, APECS, the Society of Coaching Psychologists, British Psychological Society Coaching Psychology Group and is a Chartered MCIPD.

Case Studies

Work satisfaction

The client was highly experienced and able, but felt that his personal development was out of step with recent organisational changes. Coaching reviewed strengths and weaknesses, enabled insights into preferred ways of working and identified opportunities and strategies for work satisfaction.

Change leadership

The client needed support in introducing and bedding down change – issues of gaining commitment, communicating, managing resistance, holding the gains.

Strategic focus

The client was operationally focused and did not delegate enough, interfering with staff’s responsibilities. Coaching addressed issues of self-confidence and competence in working at a more strategic level, and trusting others to be effective in operational areas.

Team leadership skills

The client’s team was not developing as hoped and the client wanted to review her leadership skills and behaviours. Coaching included: developing an understanding of the team’s dynamics (including observing the team in operation and getting input to the coaching from them), addressing problems with ‘difficult’ individuals in the team and developing an effective personal leadership style.

Role development

The client had been appointed to a newly-created role and had to design the job from scratch. Coaching provided a sounding board and regular feedback.

Personal style

Feedback had criticised the client’s personal style as authoritarian. Coaching explored how that manifested, a range of possible styles and enabled the client to experiment with different styles.

Merger Support

The organisation was about to merge with another and the client needed to prepare staff for this event – issues of managing uncertainty, developing flexible approaches and protecting core skills and achievements.

Organisational effectiveness

The client was under pressure to reduce costs, improve processes and re-deploy staff more effectively. Coaching offered approaches, tools and expertise.

Quotes from previous coachees

“I can say without a shade of a doubt that the coaching sessions I had with Louisa were the most valuable development opportunities I ever had in my professional life.” Regional Director, Arts Sector.

“Louisa’s constructive, practical approach helped to find solutions to complicated and delicate problems that I simply would otherwise not have addressed. My leadership and Institution are both stronger as a result.” PVC, University.

“Louisa has the ability to deal with the most challenging of business and personal issues at the very top of the organisation. Her work is to the highest professional standards, both ethically sound and rigorous, inspiring real confidence in her clients.” Vice-Chancellor, University.