Koru Leadership... Challenging – but supportive

Challenging – but supportive

We all ask for feedback – but may gulp a bit when it comes. Director of Koru Leadership, Hilary Samson-Barry, was slightly taken aback by the following comment from a senior executive she had worked with closely for some time.

‘She has the ability to frame issues in a question. This can be quite troubling. I remember in an early session with Hilary feeling quite disquieted, quite challenged. She asked me something that I couldn’t process. What is she driving at, I wondered. It was only after the session that I got to where she was going to. She has the ability to throw you slightly off balance – but still be supportive. I left all the sessions feeling better and more positive about myself than when I arrived. But it was always more than just a cosy chat; it promoted serious thought. And I think that comes from her having senior managerial jobs. It’s authentic, not just flim flam.’

So, not a simple tick on a ‘happy sheet’. But it is true, she acknowledged, that as consultant, coach, leader and facilitator (or provocateur, as one client suggested), she is always curious and does like pursuing questions. Two of the questions that frame her approach to working with people are:

  • What is most important to you in your work context?

  • What outcome will make most difference to you?

Hilary also has a profound understanding of the challenges that confront leaders who are trying to make the inside fit the outside – and vice versa. Areas of particular experience and expertise are:

  • coaching, mentoring and facilitating

  • strategy and organisation development, with especial focus on political savvy.


Effective leaders, Hilary knows, need to be able to direct their gaze both inwards and outwards. For example, in the not-for-profit sector, she has worked with organisations in exploring the implications of a changed role and revised stakeholder expectations. What does it mean today to be both a charity and a business, and how can you operate successfully in what seem to be contradictory worlds? She has also worked extensively with boards and senior management teams on governance issues – work which can involve both coaching and development of strategy.

Increasingly, individuals find themselves confronted with some equivalent of the question: ‘My life: where do I fit in?’ In today’s pressured working conditions, it’s much easier for committed professionals to focus on outcomes for organisations, clients and staff than to pay serious attention to the shape and direction of their own lives. Under the directorship of Hilary, Koru Leadership uses a range of approaches to enable people to gain/regain control of their lives, identify the balances they want to achieve among different aspects of their life, and plan how to create these balances.