leadership coaching

helps you grow your personal, professional and social impact so you can be and do more


 is at the heart of all personal and professional development


mentoring is providing professionals with the means to grow and develop personally and professionally through training and the sharing of experiences

Hi, I’m Palena Neale
Founder and Managing Director, unabridged
Leadership Coach, Mentor, Educator

Service, learning, and empowerment are three of my core values and have always informed my life and career choices. I started out as an educator for my younger siblings in our makeshift school, followed by “mini-university” lecturer for young people as my prized summer job. I made my professional debut as a corporate trainer, completed PhD research, and served as an OD practitioner for over 20 years in global health organisations to improve individual, team and organisational performance.  

As an ICF accredited PCC-certified coach, I have worked across the globe and in different industries with hundreds of women who are eager to be and do more for themselves, their families and their communities. 

All to often, women find themselves stuck at a certain point/level in their career, which can, in part, be due to an over-reliance on their technical skills and an under-reliance on building the necessary leadership skills required to make them, their vision, and their work visible in order to achieve greater impact.

As a coach, I work with clients to co-create bespoke programmes based on their leadership vision and that respond to their particular needs. 

As a trainer, I design and deliver interventions to address barriers that can get in the way of women leading and having the impact they desire. 

I also write extensively on topics related to women’s leadership, which you can find in Forbes, Psychology Today and Harvard Business Review.

Palena Neale

unabridged interventions are about building on your power and potential to effect positive and purposeful change – to be wholly yourself as you lead and achieve your goals


Unabridged Coaching

leadership coaching

Think. Inspire. Achieve.

Unabridged Leadership


Grow. Develop. Succeed.

Unabridged Mentoring


Share. Communicate. Advance.


We work with global development professionals and organisations, helping them to enhance their performance and leadership to achieve more personal, organisational, and social impact.

Our clients include:

  • Women who want to grow their leadership – presence, style, impact
  • Women transitioning to leadership roles 
  • Chiefs of Party, Country Directors, Department/ Programme heads who want to refine their leadership
  • Professionals seeking to transition into global development work
  • Individuals looking to create their purpose and live their passion
  • Organizations investing in leadership development
women in leadership positions

Our clients are talented, socially aware, and keen to make a positive difference in the world. They want to raise their professional game – and together, that is what we do.


Palena was crucial in helping me to develop and grow as a person and professionally. Sessions with her were enlightening. Her coaching enabled me to put things into perspective and even shift perspectives. In particular I appreciated the tools she taught me, which I use regularly, and that have been of real practical value to me. Thank you so much, Palena. You are a great coach and I deeply value the time we have spent together and the progress you have helped me make in my life.

Christine Adam, Deputy Director, International Organization for Migration (IOM)

I have truly enjoyed the Executive Coaching program. It has helped me to reassure myself of what I wanted to do and pursue career wise. All our conversations during the sessions were enriching. I value the reading materials Palena generously shared with me throughout the program. As a result of the coaching, I now have an action plan for networking and self-branding to get to higher levels in my professional area. It has encouraged me to visit places to reach out to many professionals in my work environment.

Musa Y. Gassama, Director, UNMISS Human Rights Division
Representative of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, South Sudan

I really appreciated Palena’s listening skills, intuitiveness and adaptability. She demonstrates genuine kindness and empathy towards her interlocutors, mixed with useful and practical tools that promote self-reflection and realization. She places the human aspect above all and creates a safe space for expression. It was a very fruitful and enjoyable journey, the lessons of which will undoubtedly have lasting effects on my perception of my own leadership abilities and capacity to overcome difficult obstacles with strength and confidence. A very sincere thank you to Palena.

Anne-Laure Henry-Gréard, Chief Technical Adviser, ILO-IFC Better Work Madagascar

Palena’s coaching was outstanding. With her brilliant resources, highly skilled exploration and exceptional empathy, she not only facilitates increase in knowledge and awareness but actual behavior change. In short: Palena is a wonderful growth agent whom I can wholeheartedly recommend!

Julia Rohe, Programme Officer, UNIDO – TCS/CIS

Palena is such an amazing coach. Her intuitive and sensitive listening skills have supported me through my current professional challenges. She has provided me with the right advice needed to boost my professional network and leadership skills. I am truly grateful for her expertise and kindness. Thank you for not letting me off the hook until I reached my goals.

Loubna Olouy, WHO Program Manager, Ministry of Health of Morocco

The coaching sessions have been a journey of transformation and discovery. The integration of personal and professional development was skillfully handled, with the introduction to journaling being a standout aspect. This practice has not only helped me in self-reflection but also in translating these insights into professional growth. Palena’s expertise and supportive nature fostered an environment of genuine growth. I highly recommend these sessions to anyone seeking to deepen their self-awareness and enhance their professional capabilities in tandem.

Fatoumata Tandiang, Chief, Communication, Advocacy and Partnership

Palena is a wonderful coach and I cannot tell you how much I benefited from her leadership and guidance. A kin listener, she creates reflection, raising insight and self awareness. Very supportive, she motivated me to be a better leader, to increase my visibility despite my discomfort, and to take my career and leadership skills to the next level. I am so grateful for her guidance and motivation.

Vanessa Coulomb, Director of Country Programs, Palladium

I had one of my most significant self-realizations in a session with Palena. If it weren’t for her incredibly thoughtful way of probing and reflecting, it would have taken me many more years to come to the same realization. Thanks to my sessions with Palena, I am able to work and live with a greater understanding of myself. This is a significant gift.

Emily Sullivan
Partner & Consultant – Adolescent & Youth Participation, Fondation Botnar

It has been a special experience and an honor to have had Pr. Palena Neale both as a professor and a mentor. As a student I had the privilege to learn not just from her extensive academic knowledge but also from her diverse and rich professional experience. As a mentor she not only thought me a lot about how to efficiently enter the professional world, but she helped me believe in myself. We all have our doubts and down moments, and she took the time to listen, understand and help me grow as a person. I sometimes felt like I was asking too much of her, but she always responded with honesty, kindness and rigor.

Pr. Neale is not just professor and a mentor to me, she’s an inspiration and am grateful.

Diane Domkam – Institutional Affairs Officer, Engie, France

I learnt that coaching is a helpful approach and can lead to self realization and positive thinking. I started understanding art of coaching and a distinct coaching style from Palena. She is wonderful person and I was very comfortable communicating with her even though we never knew each other before or ever met in person. The video calls helped and I realized distance does not matter if you have the right intention.

Shaonli Shaonli Chakraborty, Assistant Director, Swasti Health Catalyst

Palena has a wonderful way of running leadership workshops. Attending her workshops reminded me of my personal and professional values, boosted my morale and helped me better support co-workers and clients. Importantly, her workshops are down-to-earth, fun and compassionate. Highly recommended (also for male leaders!).

Paul L. Janssen

Palena is an acute listener, with great warmth and empathy for her coachee. Sessions are focused, goals agreed at the outset, and gentle yet determined enquiry, challenge, humour and intuition, leads to clear actions, insight and learning. Palena helped me to hold myself accountable for my actions at all times. I learnt that trusting the process is key to the coachee achieving great results. Personally I found that pushing against self-imposed barriers can be liberating. I made progress with many of the topics that we discussed and having Palena as my thinking partner enriched the actions I took.

Wendy Russell, Managing Director, Harper Russell, Ltd

working together

How will we work together?

Book an initial Discovery Meeting (free of charge) to explore options.

  • Leadership and career coaching for women
  • Mentoring programmes
  • Learning interventions

As an an ICF PCC-accredited executive and leadership coach, I adhere to both the Barefoot Coaching Ltd. Code of Conduct for Coaches and the ICF Code of conduct.

All coaching, mentoring and learning interventions are tailor-made and designed to respond to your needs. For certain assignments, I work with other associates, forming a team of experts.


We work face-to-face at your office in the Paris area, or by Skype for international clients. I am also available to travel, on prior agreement.

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