Interviews with charity leaders in the Christian Social Impact Network 

Invest in the Leader
“A wise person asked me: ‘If you want to make an organisation really fly then who is the most important person in that organisation to invest in?’ ‘Invest in the leader.’ I said, ‘Without a great leader, the organisation will never be great.”
Richard Beard, Leader of The Jericho Foundation

Clearer Sense of Identity and Purpose
“I love the days … As the founder of a charity your identity is often very closely linked with what you do – many times I was challenged about this. The one to one sessions with my coach helped me identify ‘who I was’ and this has helped enormously.”
Joanna Gordon, Leader, Daniel’s Den.

Protected time to accelerate understanding and energy
“The 1-2-1s included in the package have offered me protected time to accelerate understanding and the energy to do what I need. When I’ve been stuck with certain issues, my coach, Charles McLachlan, has opened up a surprising number of alternatives and insights. Working with someone who believes passionately that God’s people are called to bring about Kingdom transformation in the marketplace has meant that our sessions have been prayerful as well as profoundly productive.”
Neil Perry, Leader of Romsey Mill

Shared empathy, insight and understanding
“Membership of the … group has already helped me to focus my leadership on what I need to do in order to move forward, at a very significant time both nationally and personally … sharing issues in this non-threatening, confidential forum of colleagues … the collective mind – an amazingly shared empathy, insight and understanding – provides inspiration for personal leadership action.”
Chris Jones, Leader, C.J. Learning

I Cannot Recommend It Highly Enough.
“Founding a charity from a seed of an idea meant that I had a steep learning curve to navigate in order to bring my skills and leadership in line with what the charity needed. The peer support sessions were a very important tool for me, it’s a safe space to discuss issues and challenges and to seek advice and guidance – the experience and wisdom that I was able to tap into … was invaluable. The group wants your organisation to be a success but more than that, the group enables you as a leader to flourish alongside your organisation. I cannot recommend it highly enough.”
Hannah Peck, Founder, Baby Basics

A Safe, Confidential Space
“Inspiring, informative, challenging and encouraging. I would really encourage those who would value some space and time out to think and learn more about the next steps to up your game in being a CEO to join in. It’s also a highly valuable experience and environment for new CEO’s learning the ropes. I always encourage more women to join in.”
Mandy Marshall, Director of Gender Justice, Anglican Communion

A Big Benefit is Not Feeling Alone
“A big benefit for me, for being part of [the group], is the sense of not feeling alone, and that there is a lot of other CEOs going through exactly the same stuff, and the problems that I have are not unique to me. Because leadership can be quite a lonely place … working with a bunch of other CEOs who are in exactly at that same place, a regular meeting point to share those challenges and to feel like you’ve got a group of people around you who can really support you in that decision-making has been fantastic.” Max Manners, Formerly Leader, Resco Living

I’m Able to Breathe in Challenging Situations
“It gives me the feeling that I’m able to breathe when I have challenging situations in my management team. It’s good to realise that I’m not the only one dealing with these challenges, and to be able to communicate with others going through similar experiences, and to have the speakers that come and tell us some solutions to the issues that we’re going through. I think that’s been awesome.”
Fitzroy Dawson, Leader, Merton Community Transport

It Has Filled In The Gaps
“Personally, it has helped me to progress in my role running Snowdrop; I set it up from nothing. It has grown in an incredible way and the stability of that is partly due to what I’ve learnt each month… My experience was in managing volunteers and working in the field but in terms of the skills needed to run the organisation, I was lacking. That’s where [the group] came in and gave me guidance, knowledge and challenges that increased my stability and confidence in my role and thus the healthy growth of the organisation. It is a great place to regularly go once a month for input in different areas.”
Lara Bundock, Leader, Snowdrop Project

Outstanding and Relevant Teaching by Top-Level Professionals
“The group is excellent … we have outstanding, relevant teaching by top level professionals that helps me to build a bank of resources that I can refer to as and when needed. Also it is incredibly worthwhile to have supportive peers who are otherwise unrelated to my life for contemplating issues. That aspect … helps me anticipate and hopefully prevent mistakes.”
Sharon Gower, CHEX Project Manager

A Group of Peers that I Haven’t Got Anywhere Else
“What’s changed for me has been getting to know a group of people who I’ve been able to open up with, about what’s happening in the organisation. Some of the challenges, some of the dilemmas I face. It’s kind of a group of peers that I haven’t got anywhere else, and so it does provide a great opportunity to share and learn and grow together, really, in how to manage an organisation.”
Jonathan Tame, Executive Director, Jubilee Centre, Cambridge

I Really Value the ‘Stop and Think’ Time
“I’ve appreciated the step aside from the day-to-day, and the space to think, and the permission to ask good questions about my own practice and the practice of the organisation. And I think just really valuing the “stop and think time”, and then trying to ensure I’m not the only person who gets some “stop and think time” in the organisation. That’s probably the main benefit.”
Sam Richards, Former Director, Oxford Youth Works.

The People Who Come Bring Such a Source of Wisdom to Me
“It has been a huge benefit to me, both personally as my role as a coach has developed, and as an advisor to people. I’ve picked up so many tools, resources and perspectives that I’ve been able to put straight to use with the people I work with and support. Also I’ve found the … other people who come … such a source of wisdom to me. When we bring an issue, we unpick it together, and they ask just the right questions to help me move to a place of productivity.”
Hannah Miller, Director, Sidekick.

Benefit of Being Coached by a Fellow Christian
“People often say that life is lonely at the top and I’ve generally not agreed. I always thought that if you have a great team of like minded people you’ll always feel supported and this has been my experience in my 7 years as CEO of CAP. Then I spent my first 2 hours of coaching with Charles McLachlan. What a shock – this was about me, not about someone else, but about me! It made me realise I spend my whole life giving out and supporting others that to have someone focus on me, where it’s simply about the problems I’m facing and challenges I have to overcome – it was breath of fresh air. I hadn’t been lonely, but I’d not had anyone supporting me! Since that first meeting I’ve found that coaching creates the environment for me to think more deeply and have my assumptions challenged. I’ve had so many new ideas, or talked through the implications of ideas I’d already had.I also understand coaching now! Coaching isn’t about an expert giving me the answers, it’s about helping me find the answers from within me. The benefit of being coached by a fellow Christian, means we both know and acknowledge that any wisdom is really coming from God, by His spirit.”
Matt Barlow, Lead Pastor, The Light Church and Former CEO, CAP