Dan Leatherdale

Dan Leatherdale

Dan Leatherdale

Open Space Associates Ltd

Interview with Dan Leatherdale

Finance Monthly was able to join with Dan Leatherdale, the Managing Director of Open Space Associates - a multi-award-winning coaching provider, with a phenomenal global blue-chip client-base, that works in the field of leadership performance and communication. As Dan explains, by combining expertise from a range of disciplines, they are able to create highly-targeted coaching programmes that will suit each client individually, while ensuring invigorating, highly effective and often pivotal learning experiences. Their approach is spirited, practical and evidence-basedÐanchored in a conviction that self-awareness, authenticity and purpose are vital to us feeling and performing at our best.


Dan, can you tell us about your various areas of expertise such as being a psychologist, coach and writer. What made you combine these skills to create Open Space Associates?

I became convinced early on during my 20 years of helping people achieve their goals that a Ôone-school' approach is no match for the wonderful complexity of human beings. So, we draw on a range of disciplines. These include psychology, the art of communication, the principles of learning design and our understanding of business and how organisations work. As a team of professionals, we're constantly learning, and continuously innovating - all to give clients the techniques, frameworks, strategies, and words they need to land ideas with people and change the worlds they inhabit.

Can you tell us more about your leadership approach as managing director as well as the approach you take as a coach, how does your approach guarantee success for the client?

As MD, I hope I bring humour, humility, curiosity, and empathy into my work Ð alongside a robust focus on outcomes. And as a coach, I'd say the same things hold true. This helps to establish a safe, playful, exploratory atmosphere. The client is in the driving seat, while I am there to make sure we focus on the right things and keep progressing towards defined actions that will make a measurable difference for the client.

The core belief of Open Space Associates is that "we can all be impactful if we can create the right space for ourselves." What sparked this belief and how do you create this space for clients?

The privilege of coaching is you get to see how ridding oneself of psychological Ôclutter' is a first step to being able to breathe, see things clearly and feel good about the world. The clutter is made up of anxieties, doubts, and false assumptions Ð as well as the noise that comes with deadline pressures and competing agendas. This then leads to clutter in our communication and our relationships. Finding an open space is vital. We start at the beginning, exploring a client's fundamental sense of self, their values, and their purpose Ð connecting them to where they've come from, where they are and where they want to go. Once this open space has been found, without fail, the answers start to flow.

How have you perfected the writing and coaching programs over the years, how have they changed as you and the business progress?

All our work is evidence-based, with practical tools that clients use to bridge the gap between good intentions and implementation. Over the years, we have developed a wide range of programmes, materials, models, and other resources. For example, we've recently developed a proprietary model based on five critical domains of leadership and fifteen related skill sets. We will use this model in our 1:1 work, but also to help us structure leadership development programmes. We have also developed a robust assessment tool that will deliver a comprehensive report of where an individual has strengths and where they have room for development. We are also creating a state-of-the-art online learning platform where clients will have access to a wide array of learning materials and other resources.

Can you tell us about the outcome of your programs, and how have clients benefited from taking your courses in the past?

The joy of our work is we get to sit with our clients as they go through ups and downs. We've helped people build teams, change cultures, pivot their organisations, and turn around negative reputations. We've helped them take on senior roles and come out the other side having nailed their demons, won over their people, built great networks, shared inspiring visions, and established their roles in a way that will endure for years. We also have a range of pro bono and charitable arrangements allowing us to help people who wouldn't otherwise have the budget to access our sort of close support.

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