Tony Corballis: communication performance 

I am a trainer and coach  helping with communication performance. My specialism is high-consequence or complex communication training. It is  typically for aspiring professionals and thinkers or high-profile business leaders: people of calibre and those in leadership or career transition.

 You have it in you to perform more powerfully and intelligently. I work with developing your skills and competence only, to help you stay one step ahead.

I am not a life coach. Nor am I a sector-dedicated business performance coach that uses work shadowing or mentoring, except as it relates to communication. Neither am I a psychotherapist, despite that I draw 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 quasi-trademarked colourful models from me as you might from some 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. We work with your own natural competencies, without pressing you into a carbon cut-out.

  • My 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 instrument.
  • 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.

Tony Corballis training and coaching: practical and relevant

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

  • I 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 your work, career or professional workplace. 
  • I 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 leadership insights into c-level experience.
  • I am keenly informed by contemporary HR practices, particularly across corporates, law, consulting, finance and banking, and innovative tech firms. 
  • I am an expert 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 or training is often centred on competency-based instruction and assessment.

Working with your subconscious

My techniques work with both your conscious and your subconscious.

More than two decades in training and higher education has imbued in me 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 empowering you to take the wheel, which is the basis of best-practice coaching.

  • I harness the power of your ‘metacognition’ (self-awareness on your thinking and development) largely through critical reflection and self-analysis, but also through 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, gives us plenty of old-fashioned wisdom. 
  • I keep 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 credentialed 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. No one learns to swim without jumping in water.

The same goes for developing executive presence, communicating effectively, narrating your leadership (or other) competencies, fortifying your voice, or branding yourself. That said, my 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 without education. 

  • I draw 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. 
  • My 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. The 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 great Michael Halliday (for insights into Systemic Functional Linguistics, which greatly informs the analysis of business communication).

Helicopter view

Through coaching senior executives, directors, c-suite and board members, including CEOs and non-executive directors, I have been privy to top-down corporate perspectives and insights.

My own past experience as a leader in organisations lies in traditional large institutions spanning consultancy on departmental restructure, departmental line management, programme management, departmental financial accountability, and bringing about culture change in a public-sector institution embittered by industrial dispute. Also, I explored public and organisational communication in great depth as post-graduate study and in media relations for an NGO.

All these practical perspectives help inform the methods underpinning my training and coaching approaches.

  • Yet not just contemporary practice guides my work. I am also shaped by great seminal thinkers on leadership through history, like Kurt Lewin (on groups within firms), Schein, Hosftede and Triandis (among others, on culture including across silos and organisations), and of course the great philosophical approaches to leadership from the likes of Confucious and Gandhi to the likes of Drucker, Handy, Mintzberg and Fiedler.
  • I am also inspired by today’s leadership legends Jobs, Gates and Merkel, politicians with image-management prowess like New Zealand's Jacinda Arden, and the many modern-day gurus at the Harvard Business School, when it comes to inspired leadership.

Tony Corballis: a coaching taster

Below is a rough idea of what my general communication coaching is like. 

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

Perhaps you’re 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, cutting out the 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 your stories to box-tick what assessors or recruiters use to 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 any 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 record 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 content and voice. We might use specific tools for structuring rhetoric, expressing ideas and optimal scenarios, defending against negatives and accusations, expressing your motivations and achievements and competency narratives, or in becoming more articulate. Or perhaps in managing anxiety, through understanding your cognition and feelings and their impact on your performance.

Between these exercises, we reflect and construct. 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. Or the trick of using staged hinting to lead the audience to your key point, igniting their curiosity. You succeed, you feel safe and in control, and you are 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

I am guided by the code of ethics drawn up by the European Mentoring and Coaching Council competency framework for coaches and mentors.

I guarantee to train and coach only within the remit of my expertise. Where client needs fall outside of this, I invite them to be referred to a third-party practitioner, such as a workplace mentor, therapist, psychologist, ear-nose-throat doctor or financial adviser.

I guarantee never to exploit a client and aim 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, I seek to quickly and efficiently deliver on goals and discharge a client happy. My reward lies is in your independence, not your dependence.

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

Tony Corballis: Track Record

  • Coached and trained thousands of 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 law and legal, banking, finance, commercial and consultancy, but also insurance, IT, marketing, communications, academia, science and medicine, and other sectors. 
  • Designed, delivered and cascaded training programs as the longest-serving trainer, webinar speaker and coach for City CV Ltd., the UK’s leading career consultancy and recruitment support provider, a partner of Hanover Executive Search.
  • Designed and delivered training programmes at The Risk Advisory Group and Nardello & Co in investigative writing and at Arax Properties Ltd. in writing for financial analysis, and in interpersonal and public communication skills at The Walt Disney CompanyESPNBalfour Beatty, AMP Capital Investors, and many other blue-chip firms.
  • 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.
  • Designed and run an MA module for several years: Professional Enhancement for Conference Interpreters, at Middlesex University.
  • Designed and delivered employability training to graduate cohorts at 5 universities: HEC Paris (MBAs), Kings College London (Finance and Business Administration), Queen Mary (Finance and Business Administration), Istituto Marangoni, and London Metropolitan.
  • Designed, recruited for and ran the TEAP Courses at University of London SOAS (a tri-annual teacher training programme) and regularly trained on them.
  • 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 training for KL Communications in phonology, for interpreters to senior British royals and UK government officials including prime ministers.
  • 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.
  • Have been inducted into and trained on many high-profile global assessment systems, including as a qualified examiner.
  • Authored many taught courses on communication and EAP/academic development support for Economics, Finance, Management, International Business and IT.
  • Coordinated (and delivered a great number of events for) departmental-level continuous professional development, and delivered various university-wide CPD events, at University of London SOAS.
  • Taught part-time for 28 years, with a renowned specialism in academic development and support 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. Also written and ghost-written countless corporate reports, press releases, web copy pieces, and glossy magazine articles.

Get in touch.