Communication performance 

Tony Corballis is an executive coach  focused on communication performance. He is specialised in high-level  or complex communication training, typically for aspiring professionals and thinkers or renown business leaders. In other words, people of calibre and usually those in leadership transition or career transition.

He works with developing skills and competence only. You have the innate ability to perform more powerfully and intelligently. Coaching in communication performance for transition can help you stay one step ahead.

He is not a life coach. Nor is he 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 empirically-based psychological studies.

No cut-outs, no one-size-fits, no Ten Top Tips, no ‘lock-in’ tricks

You won’t get gimmicky memes or trademarked colourful models and frameworks from Tony Corballis as you might from other coaches.

To be a great leader, thinker and inspiring communicator all at once, you need to work beyond the superficial. At the outset, we both recognise how unique you are. Coaching with Tony Corballis works with your own natural competencies, without pressing you into any carbon cut-out.

  • The Corballis Communication approach is informed by current thinking on framing neurodiversity as evolutionary advantage, treating you as individual.
  • You have a unique but adaptable 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 and many others.
  • Therefore, all coaching is entirely bespoke, to you.

There’s absolutely zero life-coach hype, no trendy trademarked ‘top tips’, very few magic wands and only the occasional silver bullet.

And at Corballis Communication, we are not looking for exploitive lock-in coaching-client relationships that span years. We identify your goals – our deliverables – and we achieve them fast. You’re in and out the door. Because we love results.

Practical and relevant

What we do is firmly set in who you are and where you’re working or heading.

  • We often use cycles of unpacking awareness, applying it with various sorts of role-play, and  building on it with constructive reflection and analysis. Everything is kept in the context of business – your work, career or workplace. 
  • We draw on psychological and leadership frameworks, learner profiles and team-management styles, keeping abreast of the output of thought leaders such as Daniel Coyle on workplace teams, and renowned organisational psychologist, Renee Bellamy Booth, on insights into c-level experience.
  • We are keenly informed by contemporary HR practices, particularly across finance and banking, large corporates and innovative IT firms. 
  • We are experts in both linguistic and para-linguistic 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 imbued in Tony Corballis a profound understanding of how learning and development works best. In higher education circles, we talk about ‘developing the learner’ and ‘learner autonomy’. It is about empowering you to take the wheel, which is the basis of coaching.

  • Tony Corballis harnesses the power of your ‘metacognition’ (self-awareness on your thinking and development) largely through critical reflection and self-analysis, but also through harnessing the core principles of CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) in working with your belief systems, and its less-empirical but common-sense ‘cousin’ NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) which, despite its critiques, does give us plenty of old-fashioned wisdom. Result: your anxieties shed. Which is usually a terrific thrill. 
  • He keeps abreast of thought leaders in this area, such as Stanford's inspiring Carol Dweck on Growth Mindsets, as well as relevant findings from across neuroscience as it emerges.
  • 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.

Reality-based, but evidence-based too

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 developing executive presence, communication effectiveness, narrating your leadership (or other) competencies, fortifying your voice, or strengthening your personal brand. That said, our techniques are never unfounded or in isolation: in other words, they are never simply a set of games devised by exuberant failed actors or self-professed gurus. 

  • 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 diversity in corporations, to name a few. 
  • Tony’s practice is also cross-fertilised and informed by the expertise of older leadership coaches like Ken Seigel, Richard J. Leider, David Allen, Barbara Moses, and Brian Tracey, as well as the more cutting-edge like Tim Ferris and Susan Jeffers on facing difficulty.
  • 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  the greatly exalted Michael Halliday (for insights into Systemic Functional Linguistics, which greatly informs the analysis of business communication).

Helicopter view

Tony Corballis has coached a great number of senior executives including many c-suite, board members, CEOs, and non-executive directors. He has been privileged with intimate insights into top-down corporate perspectives.

His own organisational experience as a leader, in parallel, lies in traditional and large institutions spanning consultancy on departmental restructure, departmental line management, operational implementation, departmental financial accountability, and bringing about culture change in a public-sector institution embittered by industrial dispute. Also, nearly two decades ago, he explored public and organisational communication in great depth as post-graduate study and subsequently 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 also shaped by great seminal thinkers on leadership through history, like Kurt Lewin (on groups within firms), Schein, Hosftede and Triandis (among others, on cross culture and its many facets including across silos and organisations), and of course the great philosophical approaches to leadership from the likes of Confucious and Gandhi, to the  more applied approaches from the likes of Drucker, Handy, Mintzberg and Fiedler.
  • He also is also inspired by today’s leadership legends Jobs and Gates, politicians like New Zealand's Jacinda Arden, and the many modern-day gurus at the Harvard Business School, when it comes to inspired leadership.

A coaching taster

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

A pre-meeting chat gauges your needs and the direction. It is a needs analysis, albeit informal and easy.

Perhaps you’re an executive looking to develop gravitas and personal brand through your public speaking; I would 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 (in other words, not just to what you say).

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. Often I reinforce the memory with guided recall of communication events that flowed well.

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

I question you and sometimes video your response for ‘metacognitive’ work at a subconscious level (thinking about your thinking; owning your development).

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 downloaded prototype, 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’ that Obama harnessed so well, such as in linking a helpless infant in Chicago to geopolitical events. Or the trick of using staged hinting to lead the audience to your key point, igniting their curiosity. Or other structures that make you feel safe and in control and make you sound clever and relevant.

There is nothing as thrilling as witnessing change in yourself.

You exit the coaching programme fast, with enhanced competence and a clear idea of your win. Enhanced speaking with gravitas, 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 now 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

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. His reward lies is in your independence, not your dependence.

He pinpoints key areas for improvement and finishes the coaching course with communication or performance gains that are clear. In other words, his deliverables are articulated and measurable, and they are strictly limited to within his scope of specific professional expertise.

Track record

Tony Corballis has:

  • Coached and trained over a thousand individuals, including senior managers, directors, c-level, non-executive directors, and advisers to high-profile politicians and a prime minister, along with many early-career professionals and grads,  into target roles or through transition phases, mostly in banking, finance, commercial and consultancy, but also legal, law, insurance, IT, marketing, communications, academia, science and medicine, and other sectors. 
  • Designed, delivered and cascaded training programs as Principal Trainer and Coach for City CV Ltd., the UK’s leading career consultancy and recruitment support provider.
  • Designed and run an MA module for several years: Professional Enhancement for Conference Interpreters, at Middlesex University.
  • Delivered conference, symposium and internal training in various professional development events, internationalisation training, and training in self-promotion for research fellows, at Masaryk University and in teacher training at Leiden University.
  • Project managed annual university-wide browser-based skills and literacy diagnostic for 7000 learners, at Middlesex University.
  • As a consultant, conducted a review for an educational department restructure in Middlesex University.
  • Provided phonology training for KL Communications who provide interpreters to royals and UK government officials including prime ministers.
  • Designed and delivered training programmes in investigative report writing at The Risk Advisory Group and Nardello & Co in writing for financial analysis at Arax Properties Ltd. and in other communication skills at The Walt Disney Company, ESPN, Balfour Beatty, AMP Capital Investors, and many other blue-chip firms.
  • 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 for ACL Pty Ltd. bought to market in Australia, China, Thailand and Vietnam.
  • Inducted into and trained on many high-profile global assessment systems, including as an examiner.
  • Authored many taught courses on communication and English for Economics, Finance, Management, International Business and IT.
  • Coordinated departmental-level continuous professional development events, at University of London SOAS.
  • Is Head of TEAP Courses at University of London SOAS (an annual teacher training programme) and is a regular trainer on them.
  • Taught part-time for 28 years, with a renowned specialism in Academic Development and English for Management, Economics, Business Studies and Finance.
  • Planned, budgeted, marketed, staffed, line managed, scheduled 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.
  • Consulted to supplementary schools in North Kensington on educational support provision.
  • Proven to be be a passionate wordsmith: deep-proofed and edited a great many published academic journal articles and papers, in scholarly research articles for authors from Middlesex UniversitySouthampton UniversitySOAS University of LondonUniversity of BirminghamBeijing Normal University and Universitat Jaume I de Castelló and others, on linguistics, finance, accounting, human resource management, business strategy and management. He has also written and ghost-written countless corporate reports, press releases, web copy pieces, and glossy magazine articles.

Get in touch with Tony Corballis.