leadership coaching
women leading - women in global development

We All Lead

We are all leaders – whether it’s in our homes, schools, organisations, or communites. 

Regardless of context, when we are leading, we are required to inspire, innovate, lead change, deliver results, and care for our people.

Women are often required to navigate additional challenges. Social and gender norms, prejudice and discrimination, bias, race, ethnicity, organisational structures, process, and practices, as well as personal choice – can all influence women’s access to, and participation in leadership. 

Leadership coaching can help navigate this journey so that you can lead with more impact.


Women’s Leadership Coaching

For women who want to maximise their personal, professional and social impact.

This leadership coaching is designed to help you:

  • Accelerate your career and your personal and professional development
  • Build your leadership impact and positively influence others
  • Lead from your values, strengths and interests
  • Build and leverage relationships, networks and resources
  • Develop greater self and other awareness
  • Cultivate resilience in you and your teams
  • Lead yourself and others with empathy and compassion

Depending where you are starting from, you will grow your capacity to: 

  • Articulate a leadership identity and build your leadership brand
  • Exercise your emotional intelligence
  • Identify and share your accomplishments
  • Develop compelling communications 
  • Positively influence others
  • Negotiate for what you want and need
  • Lead change with confidence
Woman coaching another woman - coaching for women in global development - leadership advancement for women

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How it works

Each person and each leader is unique – so we start from here. 

We discuss your wants, needs, and expectations so that we can co-create a coaching programme that suits you and/or your organisation.

We work together on-line for our sessions and you have the opportunity to continue your work between sessions with bespoke activities designed to help you go further by experimenting/practicing what we have done in the sessions. 

We do regular check-ins to see how you and doing and how we are doing as a partnership to ensure that we are growing.

    If you would like to explore individual or group coaching – schedule an introductory call (no charge).

    Older woman leading team - women leading in global development - women advancing in leadership

    Person-Centered, Solution-Focused

    My coaching is person- or ‘you’-centred and solution-focused. Individuals receiving coaching are the recognised experts in their life and drive the coaching agenda – and global development professionals often have unique challenges – we work on what is important for you and your growth and development.

    The coaching is focused on movement towards your goals, which involves identifying ways forward and taking action. This means that you are: a) your own agent of change b) you have work to do.

    Whilst one the key components and benefits of coaching is the non-judgemental thinking space – this needs to be complemented with action. Your results are largely dependent on your engagement in the process, including your willingness to experiment with your learning and put it into practice.

    women support women through mentoring
    Two women having a coaching conversation - leadership coaching for women in global development

    My coaching is founded on deep listening, inquiry, reflection, learning and doing. As a coach, I will:

    • Listen to you actively, without judgement: you will have my full attention
    • Ask powerful questions
    • Promote discovery and insight
    • Challenge assumptions and limiting beliefs
    • Help you to discover new thoughts and beliefs
    • Provide structure
    • Assist in setting goals, planning, and strategising
    • Create opportunities for learning and growth (exercises and activities)
    • Hold you accountable for what you want to achieve
    • Trust you to make your own decisions
    • Tell the truth

    what others say

    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

    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

    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
    MD MPH

    An Important Investment

    Leadership coaching has been shown to be an impactful investment. 

    The coaching relationship is a powerful partnership that produces transformation through inquiry, learning and action in a safe space to do so. 

    It encourages you to connect to the totality of your resources – your power, your strengths, your experiences, your wisdom – and to take action to create the results you want.


    Download ‘Leadership Self-Reflection and Action Worksheet’. This resource includes a series of prompts to help you articulate your leadership identity and takes you through questions that can help inventory some of your key resources.