Last year Claire Sanford, Director of Humanitarian Business Transformation at Save the Children, began a period of coaching over 12 months with Ros Toynbee Coaching. Here is her story of what the journey was like and the results she was able to achieve as a result of our work together.

Claire Sanford

Case study: New role, becoming more confident in making the shift from manager to leader

“In early 2018 I assumed a new and exciting role leading a team with a stimulating brief to grow and develop the future-facing element of our humanitarian work.  The role, whilst incredibly exciting, took me far away from my natural comfort zones and created a number of challenges that I was keen to overcome.  I sought support from Ros, as I was confident that coaching would support me in my new leadership role, I wanted her support to help me lessen some of the interference that I was experiencing and which was impacting on my performance.  I wanted Ros to help me have:

  • Greater confidence in my ability to lead with authority which inspired positive action,
  • To help me better understand the political and power relationships
  • To support me to be able to build effective and high performing teams specifically focussing on how to coach for performance, how to inspire and motivate team members and encourage positive action even during times of adversity.

What transpired through our 12-months relationship was far more than I could have imagined.  Ros helped me to identify and distill what was important to me, what my values were.  This has been instrumental in helping to guide my decision making, helping me to determine the type of leader that I aspire to be and in my day to day approach to work.  Ros helped me to identify the fairly high, self-imposed expectations that I have of myself and my need to constantly fulfill these, a feeling of being an imposter in this role and the need to constantly prove myself to others.  Ros also helped me to become more aware of myself and the feelings that I experience in different interactions.  This has been ground-breaking for me, as I am now more aware of how situations, both positive and negative create a reaction in me, what the triggers are and how I maintain or adapt to these different interactions by recognising the feelings these are causing for me and how I maintain these feelings or anchor myself so I am better able to recover and respond.

Colleagues and peers have commented on the shifts they have seen in me in the last 12-months.  My line manager has spoken to the courage, humility and discipline that he really values in me as a leader and I have felt and seen the shifts that have occurred in me at different times over the last year.  Events that I would shy away from 12-months ago, I now face head-on, situations that I would have avoided, or taken the easy option or decisions, I now ground in my core values as to whether or not I can defend my decisions or actions.

In nutshell, 12-months ago I felt very isolated, quite alone and really felt like I was in rough seas, being bashed and overcome by big waves.  This is not how I feel now, the seas feel calmer, and when there are rougher waters I know I have the skills, awareness, confidence and understanding to withstand these circumstances

My coaching journey with Ros has been both inspirational and transformational;  I feel that I have grown into a more determined, aware, confident and resilient version of myself.  I genuinely feel that you can throw anything at me, and the awareness and reflections which I have discovered during our journey has strengthened myself and my leadership capabilities.”


Did you resonate with Claire’s challenges? Would you be interested in coaching for yourself or members of your team? Schedule an exploratory leadership conversation with us to talk about your situation and what you would like to resolve or where you would like to become more confident in yourself and your ability to lead and influence. Alternatively, you can phone the office on 020 7702 9299