Colin Williams


Colin’s work focuses on Leadership development, organizational change and multi-cultural working. He believes that individual development is most productive when it is directly linked to the business and organizational challenges with which an individual is working. He acts as an executive coach for individuals and teams, designs and facilitates large group events and runs a variety of Leadership development programs. Over the last few years he has been increasingly active in the field of Virtual Action Learning, coaching and Leadership development.

Previously a Business Director in Ashridge Consulting, Colin is currently an associate Director of Open Enrolment Programs at Ashridge Business School and an Associate of Black Gazelle Consulting. He works across tailored and open executive development programs as well working on major consulting initiatives. He began his career in the hotel industry with spells in Germany and Iran in 1975/76 before spending eight years in France in a variety of management positions. With over ten years international experience managing operations in the service sector, Colin completed an MBA at the City University (Cass) Business School in London in 1987 before becoming a consultant.

He has been involved in two major international research projects looking at Leadership in Action across Europe. During the most recent of these the team shadowed top managers for two years to see how their ‘Leadership in Action’ could best be understood. Challenging the ‘leader as transforming hero’ model, they identified that pragmatic skills such as listening, giving and receiving feedback, challenging and coaching complemented by an ability to interpret context and respond accordingly were key to success. Their concept of Living Leadership (Get Real, Get Connected and Get Help) describes this ability to be ‘in the moment’: having the courage to take risks and the humility to take advice. Living Leadership is a best seller in the FT Pitman series and an updated second edition was published in 2009. The ideas have been well received, and applied, by managers around the world.

Colin works in English and French across Europe, Asia and North & South America with multi-national companies and public sector organizations. Current and recent clients include Electrolux, Vorwerk, Sanofi Aventis, Volkswagen, International Power, BP and Kuoni.