Performance coaching

Tony Corballis is an executive coach and a performance coach, specialised in high-level communication typically for renown or aspiring business leaders and thinkers. People of calibre. He works with developing skills and competence only. You can and will perform. You will perform powerfully … and intelligently. Stay one step ahead.

He is not a life coach, nor a careers coach except as it relates to recruitment strategy, nor a sector-dedicated business coach that uses work shadowing or mentoring, except as it relates to communication.  Neither is he a psychotherapist, despite that he draws strongly on empirical psychological studies.

BANNED! All cut-out, one-size-fits, Ten Top Tips or ‘lock-in’ tricks

To be a great leader or thinker and an inspiring communicator together, you need to work beyond the superficial. At the outset you recognise how unique you are. Coaching with Tony Corballis works with your own natural competence, without pressing you into a carbon cut-out.

  • The Corballis Communication approach is informed by current thinking on treating you as individual.
  • You have a unique but shifting team-management style such as that profiled by Magerison McCann’s famous tool.
  • You have a certain learning style profile, made up of perceptual construct biases, as detailed by Gregorc, and extended by De Bono, Gardner and Drexler Sibbet.
  • Therefore, all coaching is entirely bespoke, to you.

There’s absolutely zero life-coach hype, no trendy trademarked ‘top tips’ and very few magic wands. And at Corballis Communication, we are not looking for exploitive lock-in coaching-client relationships spanning years. We identify your goals – our deliverables – and we achieve them fast. You’re in and out the door.

  • We often use cycles of unpacking prior skill and awareness, various sorts of play, and constructive professional reflection and analysis.
  • Everything is kept in the context of business – your work or workplace.
  • We draw on psychological and leadership frameworks, learner profiles and team-management styles.
  • We are keenly informed by contemporary human resources practices, particularly across finance and banking, large corporates and innovative IT firms.
  • We are experts in linguistic and paralinguistic aspects of communication.
  • At the outset there is a thorough needs analysis and in some cases a situational analysis.
  • Coaching is often centred on competency-based instruction and assessment.

Working with your subconscious

Our techniques work with both your conscious and your subconscious. More than two decades in training and higher education has instilled a deep understanding of how learning works best. In higher education circles we talk about ‘developing the learner’ and ‘learner autonomy’. You are empowered: you take the wheel.

  • Tony Corballis harnesses the power of your ‘metacognition’ largely through critical reflection and self-analysis, but also through harnessing some of the core principles of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy in working with your belief systems, and its slightly less empirical ‘cousin’ Neuro-Linguistic Programming with its amazing and practical old-fashioned wisdom. Your anxieties shed. Subtextual insight is blinding. Excitement builds.
  • Every properly credentialled executive coach and performance coach will be intimately aware of the interface between the conscious and subconscious. Listen to Barry Smith of the School of Advanced Study at the University of London and Nicholas Shea of King’s College London discuss this.

Practical and real, but evidence-based

But the approach and methods are not all founded in ‘-isms’. Be prepared to roll up your sleeves and do the mileage. No one learns to swim without jumping in the water. The same goes for executive presence, communication, narrating your leadership or other competencies, fortifying your voice, or strengthening your personal brand. Nevertheless, our techniques are never in isolation: in other words, they are simply not just a set of games devised by a band of merry but failed actors.

  • Tony Corballis draws on brilliantly practical frameworks such as those developed by Dr Peter Fischer on Leadership Transition, by Jo Owen and others on influence, by Costa and Kallick’s Habits of Mind, by Stephen Covey in his Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, by the great trainers and authors at The Mind Gym, and by Laura Liswood on corporate diversity, to name a few.
  • Tony’s practice is also cross-fertilised by the expertise of Ken Seigel, Richard J. Leider, David Allen, Barbara Moses, and Brian Tracey, some of the world’s greatest leadership coaches and thought leaders in the field.
  • Communication lies in language. His language strands draw on a blend of disciplines and a range of experts: Tony Lewis (for the predominant Lexical Approach), Steven Pinker and David Crystal (and a number of other linguists, for general expertise), Guy Cook and Michael McCarthy (for particular pedagogies including communicative approach to language development, and other methodologies) and Noam Chomsky (for explorations of the power of language and power through language) along with Halliday (for insights into Systemic Functional Linguistics, which greatly informs the analysis of business communication).

Leadership life

Further, Tony Corballis has coached a vast number of senior executives privileging him with intimate insights into high-level corporate life. His own organisational experience, in parallel, lies in large institutions spanning consultancy on departmental restructure, departmental line management, operational implementation, financial accountability, and bringing about culture change in a public sector institution embittered by industrial dispute. Nearly two decades ago, he explored public and organisational communication in great depth as post-graduate study and worked in media relations for an NGO. All these practical perspectives help inform the coaching approach.

  • Yet not just contemporary practice guides his work. Tony Corballis is shaped by great seminal thinkers through history as well, like Kurt Lewin (on groups in organisations), Schein, Hosftede and Triandis (among others, on cross culture and its many facets), and of course everyone from the likes of Confucious and Gandhi, to the likes of Drucker, Handy, Mintzberg and Fiedler and their ilk, to the likes of today’s legends Jobs and Gates and the gurus at the Harvard Business School, when it comes to inspired leadership.

A Tony Corballis taster

Below is a general idea of what it’s like to be coached by Tony Corballis. For specific recruitment coaching, when you’re facing interviews and wanting to snare your dream job, listen here for a quick outline of the approach. For more general approaches, read on.

A pre-meeting chat gauges your needs and the direction. Perhaps you’re an executive looking to develop gravitas and personal brand through your public speaking: I ask myself what makes up your natural style. How might you use your strengths for intensity or impact? Are you looking for mastery in specifics like managing presentation content, or coping under the pressure of challenges from audiences? Or keeping a clear head while accessing bewilderingly complex engineering detail? Or are you after a sustained dynamic look and cutting out mumble and waffle? Or are you looking to survive excruciating performance anxiety leading to panic attacks? Perhaps you simply need vocal variety and manage fatigue? Or do you need to learn to tell your stories so they box-tick assessors or recruiters and distinguish you? Perhaps you just need to overcome small obstacles that prevent you cranking it up to the next level – from a conference contribution to a keynote speaker, from a client sales pitch to a boardroom pitch, or to address high-consequence groups like shareholders, investors or community stakeholders?

As your coach, my goal is to get to grips with you and your priorities, and establish a comfortable base where we operate at our best. I apply a dialogic approach to get a feel for your circumstances and both your professional and personal histories that are relevant. I listen intently – on a great number of levels.

I also examine the phonological features of your voice, the behaviours that accompany our chat and how they connect with semantic meaning – or not. I observe and sometimes challenge or probe with counter-perspectives for that essential critical insight. I note the pattern of rhetoric used to deliver messages.

Knowing that personal development leverages best off strengths, I look for and note your most spontaneous, effective and comfortable style, which serves as a touchstone later on. The base for a psychological anchor.

During the weeks that follow, we roll up our sleeves and work.

I question you and sometimes video your response for ‘metacognitive’ work: thinking about thinking. Skills development might be applied, through various techniques in developing pace and voice, in specific tools for the structured rhetorical expression of ideas such as defending against negatives and accusations, or expressing your motivations and achievements, in lexical enrichment, and a myriad of other exercises. Or in managing anxiety, through understanding your cognition and your feelings.

Between these exercises, we reflect and project. Bit by bit, your thinking is saturated in positive reflective practice that begins to automate as habit (work its way into your subconscious) and we bring everything together. You might have learned to use story-telling as a means to touch your audience emotively – not from a scripted and cheesy Internet prototype downloaded, but from your authentic intimate self, ever more sharp, poignant and impactful. It resonates. A handful of stories applicable to every occasion. You might have learned the trick of using widening circles of identification. Or the trick of using staged hinting to lead the audience to your key point. Or other structures that make you feel safe and in control.

There is nothing as thrilling as witnessing change in yourself.

You exit coaching fast, freshly carrying in your competence a clear notion of win. Enhanced speaking, plus a roadmap (and supportive follow-up) to sustain what you’ve gained. Your new-found capability, to trust in yourself, to feel safe as you step into new social, functional or business roles. You love the limelight. You are sharp, vivid and alive, even at your most spontaneous, and you begin to see this reflected in the faces of your people.

Tony Corballis, 2016

Coaching quality and ethics

Tony Corballis is guided by the code of ethics drawn up by the European Mentoring and Coaching Council competency framework for coaches and mentors. He guarantees to coach only within the remit of his expertise. Where client needs fall outside of this, he invites the client to be referred to a third-party practitioner, such as a therapist, psychologist, ear-nose-throat doctor or financial adviser. He guarantees never to exploit a client and aims to bring the greatest benefit (within the client’s wishes) at the lowest cost possible. Unlike many life coaches and therapists who see clients in long-term financial terms, Tony Corballis seeks to quickly and efficiently deliver on goals and discharge a client happy. He pinpoints key areas for improvement and finishes the coaching course with communication or performance gains that are clear to the client. In other words, his deliverables are articulated and measurable and strictly limited to within his scope of specific professional expertise.

Earlier training-based track record

  • Inducted into and trained on many high-profile global assessment systems, including as an examiner.
  • Designed recruitment training programs as Principal Trainer for City CV Ltd., the UK’s leading recruitment support provider.
  • Designed and ran an MA module for several years: Professional Enhancement for Conference Interpreters.
  • Conference and internal trainer in professional development events, Masaryk University, several years.
  • Project managed annual university-wide browser-based skills and literacy diagnostic for 7000 learners, at Middlesex University.
  • Consultancy: conducted a review for an educational department restructure in Middlesex University.
  • Preferred phonology trainer for KL Communications who provide interpreters to UK government and royals.
  • Preferred writing trainer for new staff inductions at The Risk Advisory Group.
  • Authored three books, including award-winning English for Management Studies (published by Garnet Education for worldwide distribution) and winner of the 2009 ESU Duke of Edinburgh English Language Book Award.
  • Developed commercial e-learning content bought to market in Australia, China, Thailand and Vietnam.
  • Author of many taught courses on communication and English for Economics, Finance, Management, International Business, IT, Vocational Training and academic study.
  • Current part-time coordinator of departmental-level professional development, at University of London SOAS.
  • Current part-time Head of TEAP Courses at University of London SOAS (teacher training), and a trainer on them.
  • Two decades of part-time teaching, with a renowned specialism in English for Management, Economics and Finance.
  • Planning, budgeting, marketing, staffing, line managing, scheduling 21 staff and 40 invigilators for 31 formally assessed courses, independent learning centres, and two examination centres, at Southwark College of FE (now Lewisham Southwark College) as a programme manager, reporting to director level.
  • Consultancy to supplementary schools in North Kensington.
  • A passionate wordsmith: edited a great many published academic journal articles and papers, in linguistics, HRM, finance, IT and business. Also written and ghost-written countless corporate reports, press releases, web copy pieces, and glossy magazine articles.