Georgina Woudstra is much more than an executive coach. She is a chief executive coach with more than 30 years’ experience and a proven track record in coaching CEOs and executive boards as well as senior leaders and top teams. She specialises in coaching new and established CEOs as well as CEOs in the making.
Growing up, I was academically able but I was passionate about arts and crafts. On leaving school, I embarked on a four-year degree in fashion design which developed my creativity and innovation skills. Many scouters attended final shows looking for talent, and I was recruited by a US company to design their knitwear collections, based in Taiwan and Hong Kong.
When I returned from Asia, I fell back into running a courier company that my partner and I had started whilst I was at fashion school. It was growing like wildfire so I immersed myself, enjoying the stimulating fast track of learning about running operations, sales, marketing and accounts. I found I had a natural affinity for business.
After a couple of years, I craved greater challenges, so I accepted the offer of helping to turn around the fortunes of a struggling engineering firm. At the same time, I studied accountancy as I knew I needed to understand the economics of business. Word got out, and I was asked by other business owners if I could help them to improve their business performance, before I knew it, I was effectively acting as a finance director for companies that were too small to have one.
Growing up, I was academically able but I was passionate about arts and crafts. On leaving school, I embarked on a four-year degree in fashion design which developed my creativity and innovation skills. Many scouters attended final shows looking for talent, and I was recruited by a US company to design their knitwear collections, based in Taiwan and Hong Kong. When I returned from Asia, I fell back into running a courier company that my partner and I had started whilst I was at fashion school. It was growing like wildfire so I immersed myself, enjoying the stimulating fast track of learning about running operations, sales, marketing and accounts. I found I had a natural affinity for business.
After a couple of years, I craved greater challenge, so I accepted the offer off helping to turn around the fortunes of a struggling engineering firm. At the same time, I studied accountancy as I knew I needed to understand the economics of business. Word got out, and I was asked by other business owners if I could help them to improve their business performance and, before I knew it, I was effectively acting as a finance director for companies that were too small to have one. This evolved into a business distributing accounting software and providing consultancy services, which was a rarity back in the Eighties. Our business developed a strategic alliance with a large tech company, and as desktop computers became more prevalent and more powerful, our customers grew from small businesses with single user systems, to large organisations with multi-user systems and complex needs. I realised that successfully implementing these systems was more about people and change, than technology. So, I embarked on as Masters in Change Management, and during my research I discovered coaching. This seemed to bring together my love of business, learning, self-actualisation and personal growth.
So, I trained as a coach and started my own coaching practice. Back in the early Nineties, coaching barely existed in the UK and it was a struggle to begin with, but I’m very persistent so just kept at it. Since then, I have coached hundreds of executives and teams, supporting them to realise their potential. My niche is coaching experienced and aspiring CEOs and believe that my courageous nature, entrepreneurial streak and head for business all help me to partner with clients to navigate their way through complexity.
The role of chief executive can be lonely and challenging. It is essential to find a path, to find a vision and to find your inner compass. As a CEO, you are only as successful as your team; so getting a strong and effective team is paramount, so I also support CEOs with senior team coaching.
Team Coaching is not widely understood yet, as organisations are more familiar with traditional team development, often delivered as workshops lead by a trainer or facilitator. Rather than being a workshop or an event team coaching is a journey over time, team coaching is about sustainable learning and change. Instead of the expertise being imported from outside the team, the team owns the process and the coach mines for the collective wisdom and potential of the team. These increase buy-in, ownership, energy and results.
I believe that the challenges faced by the world today- in business and in society- will only be solved through greater collaboration. Yes, collaboration is not easy and we need more team coaches to help teams to develop their capacity for teamwork, both with intact teams and between teams and between organisations. I founded the Team Coaching Studio in 2017 to provide high-quality learning experiences for coaches looking to develop these skills. I now co-lead alongside a talented team, faculty and community.
Everyone is different, so my approach varies from client to client. I aim to combine real presence and listening with a grounded psychological understanding and many years of business experience.
I’m a firm believer in the power of increasing your self-awareness and self-leadership. It’s about being the best version of yourself. Without a doubt, this is the most effective way to improve your performance and relationships.
I’m direct, and honest and ask questions that others may avoid. I’ll help you feel clearer about who you are and able to discover your own authentic style of leadership, so that you know your strengths and what drives you.
Georgina is an International Coach Federation (ICF) Master Certified Coach, an accreditation reflects the highest level of expertise and experience as a professional coach.
She discovered coaching whilst undertaking an MA in Change Management and hasn’t looked back since. She has a passion for learning and, alongside many other certifications, she holds an Advanced Diploma in Coach Mastery from ITS, a Diploma in Transactional Analysis, a Certificate in the Supervision of Coaches, Mentors and Consultants from BCG, and is a graduate of Corporate Coach University.
She is also the founder and principal of the Team Coaching Studio, which provides internationally recognised, ICF-accredited programmes to train and support exemplary team coaches.
Georgina’s latest book is Mastering the Art of Team Coaching: A comprehensive guide to unleashing the power, purpose and potential in any team (Team Coaching Studios Press).
She co-authored chapters on team coaching in The Team Coaching Casebook (McGraw Hill), and Coaching Global Top Teams in the anthology Leadership Coaching: Working with Leaders to Develop Elite Performance (Kogan Page).
And, she writes for Coaching At Work magazine with her column, Talking Teams.
Georgina is one of the leading lights globally in the field of team coaching. In 2017, she founded the Team Coaching Studio to provide coaches with a pathway to mastery in team coaching, ultimately leading to professional accreditation with the leading professional bodies.
Work With Georgina
The role of Chief Executive can be a lonely one. You are in a unique position surrounded by high expectations from everyone – the Board, shareholders, customers, staff, the city and the public.
As CEO you are relentlessly on stage and everything you say and do is magnified. You no longer have peers or others alongside you. You have a Board to manage, an executive team to lead and an organisation to direct.
Everyone has a view about what you should be doing or focusing on. Yet these views can be mired by personal agendas, politics and turf wars, or worse still are the ‘yes men’ who say what they think you want to hear, not what you really need to know.
Georgina works with established and aspiring CEO’s on a retained relationship basis, unlike traditional executive coaching, which is often structured around a pre-agreed number of sessions. This means that she is your coach for the whole time that you need her and “on call” should she be required. You work together as much or as little as needed by Zoom, Teams, phone, email or other virtual means. The measure of success is value added – in other words, what you are getting from Georgina’s coaching is greater than the cost.
The coaching focuses on resolution and resilience – making sense of the system you are in and developing the strength to face any challenge. Georgina’s relationship with you is founded on a deep sense of trust, developing and growing over time and she often works with CEOs for several years.
Georgina’s clients are very successful and self-reliant, so this is not about dependency. It is about having a trusted partner who is not internal to the organisation and who has no agenda other than your success.
All Chief Executives benefit from a coaching relationship, providing a rare and safe place to think through the many paradoxical forces at play. Coaching enables CEOs to make sense of the patterns, politics and relationships that have the greatest impact on the success of the business.
As Harvard Business Review put it: “Two-thirds of CEO’s don’t receive any outside advice on their leadership and yet almost all would be receptive to suggestions from a coach.”
Working with a coach who understands the CEO role and the challenges and opportunities you face develops maturity – the sweet spot where you balance the backbone and heart to achieve extraordinary results, with the leadership skills to take people with you.
"Over the last couple of years Georgina has had a huge influence and positive impact on my performance as a business leader. She helps me to focus on and define the key opportunities and challenges I face, driving me to think differently about business and people dynamics and ultimately she has facilitated the creation of solutions and ways forward that I probably wouldn’t have contemplated without her help. Georgina has encouraged me to be bold and brave and the outstanding business results I have achieved are the real measure of Georgina’s success."
Major Division Of FTSE 100 Company
Executive Director, Major Division Of FTSE 100 Company
"It made me really think about what I want to do as a person, in the next stage in my life rather than just my career. She helped me to reflect on that … and it gave a nice external perspective on who I was and what I could achieve, made me more confident that my skills were marketable in any context. I thought ‘Yeah, I can do this!’ It broke down barriers with my confidence so I was able to push forward."
Vice President EMEA Oracle Applications, Oracle
"I’ve found Georgina’s coaching to be a revelation. I see things in a different light and ask myself and others different questions. It’s helped me manage relationships more successfully, and given me a deeper understanding of my own strengths and weaknesses and the situations in which I can be most/least effective."
Former Finance Director, Samsung
"I have worked closely with Georgina over a 2-year period. She provides a good balance between challenge and structure to ensure we archive a clear vision and direction. She is able to share experiences and has a great ability to listen and inspire confidence!"
Chidf Executive LG, Health and Proporty Division at Capita, Capita
"Georgina's breadth of knowledge within her field provides relevant input and a flexible approach. I value her opinion immensely and trust her judgement and guidance implicitly; as such I have had no hesitation in recommending her services."
CEO, BGL Group
"Georgina provided me with support for at least six of the nine years I headed up Lambeth Council as its Chief Exec. Her reflective approach was particularly helpful and I owe her much for the improvement in me as a leader and manager."
Former CEO Lambeth Council, and Public Leader of the Year 2012 , Lambeth Council
"Georgina brings a very strong currency in leadership development at an individual and team level and has valuable and successful cross sector insight and experience. I would commend Georgina to anyone who is aspiring to be a chief executive or an existing chief executive."
Group People DIrector, Post Office
"Georgina's insights into the organisational and emotional pressures experienced by a CEO and her toolkit of strategies and behaviours that help you deal with those pressures have been invaluable. I always look forward to our coaching sessions and those more 'in the moment' calls when she can coach in real time!"
Chief Executive, Doddle
MASTERING THE ART OF TEAM COACHING
A comprehensive guide to unleashing the power, purpose and potential in any team
GET IN TOUCH
The best way to find out more about working with Georgina is to arrange a call, so that you can discuss with her what you are looking for and how she can help.
Georgina is often with clients so it’s usually best to contact her PA, Abby Shacklock, to make arrangements.