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What do you have in mind?  

In developing our leaders of the future it is critical that

we encourage both purposeful thought and reflection.

In the following blogs, Hilary shares some of the

principle ideas, experience and vision

which informs her leadership philosophy.   

Lead with Courage: Embrace Your Inner Strength


In the world of coaching, leadership is often associated with qualities like vision, charisma, and strategic thinking. While these attributes are undoubtedly essential, there's another attribute that sets exceptional leaders apart: courage. Leading with courage means stepping out of your comfort zone, facing challenges head-on, and making difficult decisions with conviction. In this blog, we will explore the significance of leading with courage and how it can transform your leadership style, inspire your team, and create a positive impact in your coaching journey.

1.       Embracing Vulnerability: Leading with courage begins with embracing vulnerability. It means acknowledging that you don't have all the answers and being open to learning from others. As a leader and coach, being vulnerable allows you to connect deeply with your team, fostering trust and empathy. By creating a safe environment where individuals can express their thoughts and ideas without fear of judgment, you empower them to bring their best selves to the table.

2.       Taking Calculated Risks: Courageous leaders understand that progress often requires taking risks. They have the ability to assess the potential rewards and consequences of a situation and make informed decisions. By encouraging calculated risks within your leadership practice you inspire your team to think creatively and innovate. Failure becomes an opportunity for growth rather than a setback, fostering a culture of continuous improvement and resilience.

3.       Embodying Authenticity: Authenticity is the cornerstone of courageous leadership. When you lead with authenticity, you demonstrate your values, beliefs, and principles through your actions and decisions. By staying true to yourself, you inspire your team to do the same. Authentic leaders create an environment where individuals feel safe to express themselves, fostering creativity, collaboration, and a sense of belonging.

4.       Communicating Effectively: Leading with courage can involve having difficult conversations and addressing challenging issues head-on. Effective communication is crucial in these situations. Courageous leaders communicate clearly, honestly, and empathetically. They actively listen to their team members, encouraging open dialogue and valuing diverse perspectives. By fostering transparent communication, you create an atmosphere of trust, accountability, and shared understanding.

5.       Inspiring Others: Courageous leaders have the ability to inspire and motivate others. They lead by example, demonstrating perseverance, resilience, and a positive mindset. By sharing your own journey and overcoming obstacles, you show your team that challenges can be overcome and dreams can be achieved. Your courage becomes contagious, empowering others to step out of their comfort zones, embrace change, and reach their full potential.

Leading with courage is not about being fearless; it's about acknowledging your fears and pushing forward despite them. By embracing vulnerability, taking calculated risks, embodying authenticity, communicating effectively, and inspiring others, you can transform your leadership practice and create a lasting impact. Remember, courageous leadership is a journey, and every step you take towards leading with courage brings you closer to becoming the inspirational leader you aspire to be. So, embrace your inner strength, and lead with courage!

The Power of Our Stories: Unleashing Personal Transformation


Human beings are natural storytellers. From ancient tales passed down through generations to the anecdotes we share over a cup of coffee, stories are an integral part of our lives. However, there is a deeper significance to our personal narratives. Our stories have the power to shape our identity, influence our perspectives, and ignite personal transformation. In this blog, we will delve into the profound impact of our stories and discover how harnessing their power can lead us towards a path of growth, resilience, and self-discovery.

  1. Self-Reflection and Empathy: Our stories allow us to delve into our past and reflect upon the experiences that have shaped us. By examining our journey, we gain insight into our strengths, weaknesses, and patterns of behavior. This self-reflection fosters empathy, as we begin to understand and relate to the stories of others. By embracing our own stories, we develop a deeper appreciation for the diverse narratives that surround us, leading to greater compassion and connection.

  1. Overcoming Adversity: Within our stories, we often encounter moments of adversity and challenges. These struggles can be transformative, as they test our resilience and character. By embracing and sharing these stories of overcoming obstacles, we inspire others to persevere in the face of adversity. Our stories become a beacon of hope, reminding us that we have the strength and tenacity to navigate even the most difficult circumstances.                                                                                                                             

  2. Empowerment and Growth: When we fully embrace our stories, we reclaim our power. Our past experiences, both positive and negative, provide us with valuable lessons and opportunities for growth. By acknowledging and owning our stories, we take control of our narrative, allowing us to break free from limiting beliefs and step into our true potential. Our stories become a catalyst for personal empowerment, encouraging us to embrace new challenges and seize opportunities for personal and professional growth.    

  3. Connection and Inspiration: Sharing our stories creates a powerful connection with others. As we open up and vulnerably express our experiences, we create a safe space for others to do the same. Through storytelling, we realize that we are not alone in our triumphs and tribulations. Our stories inspire and uplift others, reminding them that they, too, have the strength to overcome their own obstacles. The power of shared stories unites us, fostering a sense of community and support.


Our stories hold immense power to shape our lives, inspire others, and propel personal transformation. By embracing our unique narratives, we embark on a journey of self-reflection, resilience, empowerment, and connection. As coaches, we encourage our clients to explore and share their stories, recognizing the transformative potential within them. So, let us honor our stories, for they are not just chapters of the past but stepping stones towards a brighter future filled with growth, authenticity, and meaningful connections.

Building Relationships, Valuing Allyship           and Creating Connections

I want to talk about the importance of building relationships when it comes to public sector system leadership. Sure, we often think of leaders as these mighty figures who make all the decisions, but the truth is, leadership is all about people. So, let's dive in and explore why building relationships is crucial for effective leadership in the public sector. 

First off, let's be clear: public sector system leadership is not a one-person show. It's a collaborative effort that involves multiple stakeholders, from government officials and civil servants to community leaders and citizens. And to navigate the complex web of interests and priorities, building strong relationships is essential.


One of the key reasons why relationships matter in public sector leadership is trust. Trust forms the foundation of any successful endeavor. When leaders take the time to build relationships with their team members and stakeholders, they foster an environment of trust and open communication. This paves the way for collaboration, as people feel more comfortable sharing their ideas, concerns, and feedback. Trust also plays a vital role in ensuring that decisions are accepted and implemented by the various parties involved.

Building relationships also allows leaders to tap into the collective wisdom and expertise of others. No leader has all the answers, and recognizing this is a sign of strength, not weakness. By fostering relationships with a diverse range of individuals, leaders can access different perspectives, knowledge, and skills. This not only enriches their decision-making process but also leads to more innovative and effective solutions. After all, the challenges faced by the public sector are often multifaceted, and a collaborative approach is crucial for finding comprehensive solutions.

Furthermore, relationships are vital for effective communication. As a leader, you need to be able to clearly convey your vision, goals, and expectations to your team and stakeholders. By building strong relationships, you create a sense of shared purpose and understanding. People are more likely to listen, engage, and support initiatives when they feel a personal connection with their leaders.

Now, let's not forget about the importance of relationships beyond the workplace.


Public sector leaders are responsible for serving the needs of the community they represent. By establishing relationships with community leaders, organizations, and citizens, leaders gain valuable insights into the needs and aspirations of their constituents. This grassroots connection helps leaders make more informed decisions that truly address the concerns of the people they serve.


In conclusion, building relationships is not just a fluffy "nice-to-have" in public sector system leadership; it's an absolute necessity. Trust, collaboration, access to diverse perspectives, effective communication, and community engagement are all vital ingredients for successful leadership in the public sector. So, if you find yourself in a position of leadership, remember to invest time and effort into nurturing those relationships. It will pay off in spades and help you create a positive and lasting impact on your organization and the communities you serve.

"Hilary has earned my trust and respect over decades of working together. She is approachable, pragmatic, and down to earth. Her ability to balance large-scale strategy with genuine empathy for the human element is remarkable. Hilary's warm and caring communication style, rooted in her nursing background, has always resonated with me. As a leader, she excels in cultivating and nurturing strong relationships, just like a skilled gardener. I have personally benefited from her coaching practice, where she applies her extensive skills and experience."


Dr Raj Patel MBE 

Council member GMC

Former Medical Director Primary Care NHSE 

The Pivotal Role of Coaching in Unlocking Your Potential: The Role of Neuroscience in Cultivating a Growth Mindset

In the pursuit of personal and professional development, one concept has gained immense recognition: the growth mindset. Coined by psychologist Carol Dweck, this mindset is all about believing in your ability to grow, learn, and improve through effort and perseverance. But have you ever wondered what's happening inside your brain when you embrace a growth mindset? Neuroscience provides us with fascinating insights into how our brains adapt and thrive when we foster a growth mindset rather than a fixed one.

Understanding the Two Mindsets

Before delving into the neurological aspects, let's briefly differentiate between a fixed mindset and a growth mindset:

'Fixed Mindset': Individuals with a fixed mindset believe that their abilities and intelligence are static traits. They often avoid challenges, fear failure, and may give up easily when faced with difficulties. In this mindset, setbacks are seen as a reflection of their inherent limitations.

'Growth Mindset': Those with a growth mindset view their abilities and intelligence as malleable. They embrace challenges, persist through setbacks, and see effort as the path to mastery. They believe that they can improve with practice and learning.

The Neuroscience Behind a Growth Mindset

1. 'Neuroplasticity': The brain's incredible ability to adapt and rewire itself is known as neuroplasticity. Neuroscience has shown that when you adopt a growth mindset, your brain is more open to change. New neural pathways can form, and existing ones can strengthen. This means that learning and skill development become more accessible.

'Dopamine Release': Dopamine, often called the "feel-good" neurotransmitter, plays a pivotal role in motivation and reward. Embracing challenges and persisting through them triggers the release of dopamine. This neural reward system encourages us to seek out new opportunities for growth and learning.

'Reduction of Stress': Fixed mindsets can lead to higher stress levels, as setbacks are perceived as threats to one's self-worth. Conversely, a growth mindset reduces stress by framing challenges as opportunities for growth rather than personal failures. Reduced stress benefits overall brain health and cognitive function.

'Improved Memory': The act of learning and seeking to improve actually enhances memory retention and recall. When you're in a growth mindset, your brain becomes more attuned to acquiring new information, making it easier to remember and apply what you've learned.

'Increased Resilience': Resilience is the ability to bounce back from adversity. Neuroscience suggests that a growth mindset fosters resilience by training the brain to see setbacks as temporary and surmountable obstacles. This mindset shift can enhance one's ability to persevere through difficult times.

Practical Strategies for Cultivating a Growth Mindset

1. 'Embrace Challenges': Welcome challenges as opportunities for growth. When you face difficulties, your brain adapts and becomes more resilient.
'View Effort as the Path to Mastery': Understand that effort is not a sign of weakness but a means to achieve greatness. The more you invest in learning and practice, the stronger your neural connections become.

'Learn from Setbacks': Instead of dwelling on failure, analyze it objectively. What can you learn from this experience? How can you apply these lessons in the future?

'Use Positive Self-Talk': Replace self-limiting beliefs with positive affirmations. Encourage yourself to believe in your potential for growth and development.

'Seek Feedback': Welcome constructive feedback as a means to improve. Feedback is a valuable source of information that can guide your journey toward growth.

Neuroscience has illuminated the profound impact of mindset on our brains and, subsequently, our lives. Cultivating a growth mindset not only unlocks our cognitive potential but also enhances our emotional well-being and resilience. By understanding the neuroscience behind a growth mindset, we can empower ourselves to embrace challenges, persist through setbacks, and continuously strive for improvement. Remember, your brain is a remarkable organ, capable of immense growth and transformation when guided by the right mindset. Embrace the power of neuroplasticity, and watch your potential soar. Certainly, here are a few lines that highlight the importance of coaching in developing a growth mindset:

Coaching plays a pivotal role in nurturing a growth mindset. Through guidance, support, and tailored feedback, coaches help individuals reframe challenges as opportunities, encouraging them to stretch beyond their comfort zones. By fostering self-belief, resilience, and a commitment to continuous learning, Coaching unlocks the full potential of a growth mindset, paving the way for personal and professional transformation.

Professor Hilary Garratt

Hilary coached  me during a difficult time of massive reorganisational change. I was uncertain and uncomfortable about my  future. Hilary supported me to think differently and to rewire my thinking so I could raise my ambitions to do something different, other than what I was resigned to do. Hilary's ability to help me look deeper at what was holding me back gave me the ability to think differently, and to reach out for amazing opportunities. I am now embarking on a new career as  a Non Executive Director of a large organisation and also a Chief Nurse in a  Children's Hospice. Thanks Hilary for coaching me through this transformational journey.


Professor Catherine Randall

Chief Nurse - Derian House Hospice

Non Executive Director East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust

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