• Consulting to organisations
• Training consultants and coaches
Discover what’s really going on
I am really not
I went for the
CEO’s job, but
didn’t get it
(click to visit each section)
Our beliefs 4
Key principles 5
Our approach 6
Consultancy – core focus areas 9
Effective leadership 10
High-performing boards and executive teams 12
Successful mergers and integration 14
When work goes wrong 16
Executive coaching 18
Executive education 20
Meet the team 24
Contact details 27
Discover what’s really going on
I want to merge
within 3 years
When things go
wrong I always
• The heart of any organisation is its people. We believe that
organisations succeed or fail on the basis of the individuals that work in
them. The best strategies and business plans will not yield results and
effective leadership if staff are not behind them. This is particularly true
of organisations where the success of the enterprise depends wholly on
individuals who are able to work reliably, responsibly and collaboratively,
bringing to their role both technical expertise and sensitivity to others.
• Relationships matter at work – not just in order for individuals
to get along, but to ensure effective and creative working practices that
deliver measurable outcomes. Successful team collaboration is crucial to
organisational success and the leader-follower relationship can make or
break effective delivery. Unacknowledged differences (in opinion, power,
perspective, experience) can derail the best strategic plans.
• Learning from one’s own experience is the most powerful
type of learning. Experience matters and the way we work with clients
is ‘experiential’. Typically in our work we involve clients in an ‘experience’ – it
might be as simple as asking a group to divide into two smaller groups to
undertake a task. How the group goes about the task of dividing into two is
important – what happens, which groups form? Why? What do people feel?
These questions – this experience – is treated as a key indicator of the state
of the group, the department and ultimately the organisation. Feedback and
reflexive learning are also intrinsic to our methodology.
• Working below the surface – addressing the emotional dimensions
of organisational life, which are often unconscious or unexpressed, making
it possible to manage deeper motivations and resistance to change.
We uncover and tackle the root of dysfunction rather than simply its
manifestations. This adds a unique dimension to our understanding and
formulation of how an organisation is or isn’t working.
• Contextual thinking – helping people to see the links between and
within the different layers of an organisation’s system and its wider
context, leading to a broader picture of the issues and a greater range
of possible responses.
• Co-creating solutions to organisational issues – we don’t
prescribe ready-made answers; we work with organisations to achieve
success on their own terms.
• Working with turbulence, chaos and stress – evidence suggests
that organisations are complex and not entirely rational; we work with the
confusing, irrational, emotional and messy elements of organisational life
in order to facilitate change, release creativity, increase flexibility and build
As a not-for-profit business unit of the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation
Trust, we bring clinical expertise and business acumen – a powerful combination
of skills – to work with leaders. Our consultants will help you focus on the
relationships between individuals, their roles, the work of your organisation and
the environment in which it operates. This in turn can help you manage
organisational change and development, as well as issues around leadership,
authority and delegation.
Tavistock Consulting works across sectors, boundaries, organisations and roles
• Organisational Consultancy
• Executive Coaching
• Team Development
• Board Development
• Leadership Development (with an emphasis on system leadership)
• Specialist Mediation
• Action Learning Sets
• Organisational Development and Change Management
• Training and Programme Facilitation
• Group Relations Conference
Consultancy – core focus areas
We have four core focus areas. They are effective leadership; high-performing
boards and executive teams; success with mergers and integration; and when
work goes wrong. The following pages describe the work we do in these areas
in more detail.
Securing the best leadership for an organisation is a challenge. How does an
individual lead with energy, empowerment and creativity? How does a leader
encourage co-operative endeavours and manage destructive competition?
Understanding leadership has been an integral part of Tavistock thinking since its
foundation. In the early twentieth century Tavistock pioneers worked with the army
and the government to study the attributes necessary for effective leadership and
followership, and to transform the processes that had led to so many unnecessary
deaths in the trenches of the First World War. We’ve been using our particular
understanding of group dynamics to help transform leadership in all sorts of
organisations – from the NHS to large corporates – ever since. Whether your
preoccupation is culture change at a macro level in the private sector or a desire
to work more effectively with your team in the NHS, or even if you simply wish to
help promote creativity in your organisation, we can help you take up your role in
a different way. Working with us, you will become a better leader and develop an
unfolding sense of your organisation and the part you – and everyone – plays.
The individual as leader
How do your own history, preoccupations and context interlink with your
leadership role and your organisation? How do you authorise yourself effectively
and get authorised in your role? We offer role consultation and one to one
coaching to support you in understanding the different levels of authorisation
required. We help clients to understand themselves as leaders, take up their role
effectively and discover their potency in their organisations. Coaching provides
leaders with a space to think clearly under pressure and to take a look above,
below and within in order to identify the many factors that impact their role.
• Interacting with boards
• Managing your boss
• Intelligent delegation
• Promoting involvement
• Listening to your teams
• What makes you tick
• Understanding your own history and context
• The unconscious CV – avoiding pitfalls
Here’s what clients have said following our work together:
“I feel I have a much better understanding of my key drivers and how they influence
my behaviour at work and beyond.”
“I usually arrive at our sessions beaten up by the demands of a busy and stressful
executive job, and I generally leave with far greater clarity and motivation
than when I arrived. I would recommend Tavistock to anyone who is genuinely
determined to become an excellent leader of people and organisations.”
The expert as leader
What qualities do you need to be a good leader? Do you excel in your field? Have
you been ‘rewarded’ with a senior leadership position? You might be a fabulous
teacher or a gifted software engineer, or be enjoying a successful career at the bar,
in finance or in research. But what about leading an organisation?
We work with leaders, boards and organisations to develop an understanding
of the process of leader selection and the dynamics that often accompany the
promotion of a particular discipline to a management or leadership position.
Here’s what clients have said following our work together:
“Tavistock Consulting supported me through a difficult transition and helped me
manage a very tricky difficulty with my team. This helped move our company into
a new phase.”
“Nothing I have undertaken has had such a lasting active impact on me and
Leadership across the business
You may be the new CEO of a troubled London borough or a struggling high-
street brand. Or perhaps you are the new broom at a government department
renowned for its challenging culture.
At the heart of our ‘Leadership across the business’ approach are bespoke events,
designed in association with you, to enable your organisation to better understand
its culture. The values, norms and tacit assumptions of the organisation will be
revealed through experiential learning.
Here’s what clients have said following our work together:
“The programme provided me with the opportunity to think about my part in
the group – what I contribute to the dynamic and what I might be drawn in to,
inadvertently or otherwise.”
“…dynamics and tensions being played out [in] real time. I was able to observe
what was going on in organisational life, the way factions are created, splits
occur – all observable in the way the event unfolded.”
“…compelling and hugely enlightening in terms of group and organisational
Paying attention to how your team is working will improve your strategic focus
and performance. You’ll experience greater participative leadership, openness,
trust and communication. Our experience is that teams that work this way are able
to understand their organisations more holistically, work across boundaries and
manage change more effectively. We regularly observe that attention paid to the
culture of the team and relationships within it will help it achieve its goals.
and executive teams
The concept of high-performing teams was pioneered in the 1950s by Tavistock
thinkers who understood that to be truly ‘high-performing’ a team must be aware
of not only what it is achieving but also, crucially, how it is working together.
Assessing and making links
When we are invited to work with any executive team or board we analyse what
is going on beneath the surface by spending time observing the group as they
go about their business. We thus become aware of the dynamics that are being
played out in parallel throughout the organisation.
• We may witness unspoken and conflicting personal agendas. These impact
upon how effectively teams are able to work together and may prevent
them achieving what is expected.
• We notice trigger points when organisations are changing and their
structure and systems are inadequate for the task.
• We observe the emotional undertow that precludes a rational approach
to challenges and we encourage teams to reflect on what is happening –
allowing members to reframe their issues in a fuller understanding of what
is actually going on and what might be the root cause of team dysfunction
An executive board should ideally be the containing hub. It needs to manage
complexity, change and uncertainty on behalf of the organisation. The huge
challenge of this responsibility means that individual board members must be
resourceful, resilient and open to whichever difficult emotions are impacting upon
staff. An inability to be so can directly affect the organisation’s capacity to carry
out its task. Failure to manage emotion and the dynamics of difference surfaces
as lack of trust, rivalry, prejudice and exclusion and leaves teams vulnerable and
ineffective. The resulting negative behaviours may then emerge throughout the
organisation, leading to stagnation, a failure to reach potential and, at worst, to
Understanding the team dynamics
Tavistock consultants create the conditions in which it is possible to examine
difference and stimulate curiosity and tolerance for individual perspectives. At
the Tavistock we have spent more than sixty years understanding how group and
organisational dynamics within boards and executive teams directly affect their
ability to achieve success. By identifying and working with difference, overt or
hidden, we tackle the thorny problems that may have been preventing teams from
becoming truly high-performing.
Some of the activities you might experience during a Tavistock intervention:
Audits and assessments help Tavistock consultants to understand how well the
existing teams will support the upcoming change, based on how they are working
now and how similar or different their opinions and approaches are toward
tensions/issues. This helps to identify what must be addressed at a team, board
and cultural level.
In the thick of it
The most important part of the change itself is to acknowledge and let go of
what is painful and to rally around new possibilities for the sake of the team. We
work with teams at varying levels of acceptance, from newly formed leadership
teams supportive of the change – where the focus may be on readying to lead the
charge – to underperforming teams damaged by the restructure. In the latter cases
we support the healing process and help members let go of what has been and
refocus on what could be.
After the main changes are complete, we can work with you to review lessons
learned and to design an organisational strategy that will ensure the important
integration work is built upon. This can include Tavistock Consulting continuing to
work with different levels of leadership to support everyone in this crucial phase,
ensuring trust, a shared vision and a robust and open way of working.
Successful mergers and integration
Changing any structure is a complex process. At Tavistock Consulting we help
leaders to grasp the difficult human aspects of transition so they can lead change
with understanding and emotional intelligence.
Integration, restructures, mergers – so often they don’t work out or deliver value
because the personal experience of individuals is overlooked or discounted. This
often shows as:
• a feeling of takeover rather than merger – one culture feels more dominant,
the other feels ignored, and performance suffers
• a new culture, identity or brand is driven through and doesn’t take hold –
the new organisation or department gets stuck
• interpersonal dynamics feel difficult, strong emotions seem to drive
leadership decisions and behaviours and relationships break down – a
divisive culture of blame and accountability-avoidance ensues
Our role is to reveal what’s really going on for your people during an organisational
restructure and to help you lead them successfully through your chosen change
– enabling you to start something new as one team. Ultimately, the following key
business measures are effected:
• improved retention of staff
• higher employee engagement
• more effective leadership teams
• more aligned and thus more motivated workforce
• improved customer service
When work goes wrong
Life at work does not always run smoothly – when it goes wrong, it can have
devastating and unseen effects not only on individuals but also on the business
as a whole. We support and develop organisational capabilities to get work right
when it matters most.
Organisations experiencing tension and conflict are often forced to deal with an
inbox full of internal complaints and grievances. Not only is this highly disruptive,
it’s also expensive and time-consuming. If left over time, grievances and complaints
can become a dysfunctional way of communicating among staff, revealing what is
increasingly described as a culture of bullying and harassment.
Bullying and harassment
All too frequently a culture of bullying and harassment can show itself in
• governed by fear – not willing to speak up or keep others accountable
• sown with disengagement – with a growing disrespect for authority,
suffering performance and skyrocketing rate of absenteeism
When disputes or difficulties are located in individuals, there is a real and practical
need to resolve these issues quickly. While we may offer specialist mediation to
seek resolution, what we often find is that individual or team disputes can be
indicative of a bigger problem in the system.
Our strength at Tavistock Consulting lies in offering a multilayered approach to
what can be a complex and endemic problem. Using a combination of diagnostic
tools, we widen our attention from the individual(s) to look at the context of the
whole organisation and seek to understand what’s actually going on underneath
this culture of conflict.
• Is there an unhealthy divide between management and ground-level staff?
• What’s it really like to work in the organisation at the present time?
• What recent or historical changes have taken place that might have sown
seeds of unease or discontent in the staff?
Changing the culture of an organisation does not happen overnight and quick-fix
solutions simply do not exist. It is necessary to consider wider organisational issues
to set a real and sustainable shift in motion and to bring about lasting change in
the behaviours and attitudes across the workforce.
A crisis at work
A sudden crisis can have a shocking and devastating effect on an organisation.
Such a crisis could include the sudden death or suicide of a work colleague,
a serious incident involving a service user, patient or client, or any other
unexpected event that has a serious impact on the whole organisation and
its staff. The implications can be far-reaching in ways that may not be
anticipated from the outset.
In the public sectors, serious clinical incidents can be devastating. In situations
when the necessary legal investigation can come to dominate, staff can feel
paralysed, blamed and under scrutiny. The human factor can be forgotten and
the opportunity to understand, analyse and learn from the event is lost.
Tavistock consultants act at the heart of the crisis: the psychological impact of
organisational crisis and the resulting implications for staff and the service.
Our phased approach is both immediate and long term. We move to swiftly
respond to the needs of individuals and groups affected by the event, before
commencing a bespoke set of short- and medium-term interventions that
consider the wider and long-term implications for the organisation.
Clients are given frequent feedback and we review
the work as it proceeds, ensuring a goal-directed
approach. Meetings are confidential, unless it is
agreed that there would be benefit in offering
feedback to the organisation itself.
All Tavistock Consulting coaches are trained and
experienced as practitioners, teachers and supervisors
of coaching. We are members of the European
Mentoring and Coaching Council and adhere strictly
to their ethical and professional practice guidelines.
We recommend executive coaching for business
leaders and senior managers who may be managing
high levels of uncertainty and complexity in a context
of organisational change.
Clients may be newly appointed or promoted,
reviewing their development or preparing for a new
role – perhaps a move from a functional specialism
to a more strategic leadership position – or they may
have identified personal challenges that are holding
back their progress or contribution to their business.
Tavistock Consulting coaching focuses on developing
leadership capacity. Creating a space for individuals
working under pressure to reflect, the sessions are
designed to help leaders improve their capability
to think clearly under difficult conditions, to act
creatively and collaboratively and to take up their
leadership or management role with maximum
effectiveness. Our coaches offer clients support in
managing the impact of change and transition on
themselves and others.
Our approach builds on our tested method of
organisational role consultation, which has been part
of the Tavistock repertoire since long before the
current interest in coaching took hold in the wider
culture. The distinctive competence we offer is in
helping clients focus on the less apparent feelings and
responses in themselves and in others that may be
influencing their decisions and actions. Often clients
are struggling to manage difference – not necessarily
visible difference, but the subtle yet powerful
manifestations of difference that lie under the surface
around every boardroom table and which, if not
faced, can not only result in unhappiness and lack of
fulfilment at work, but may also have the power to
destabilise the entire organisation.
We offer Masters and Doctoral level qualifications in Consulting and Leading –
these university accredited courses form part of the Tavistock and Portman NHS
Foundation Trust’s wider training portfolio. We also offer training in Executive
Coaching, which is accredited to senior practitioner status with the European
Mentoring and Coaching Council, and professional development courses through
our open programmes, bespoke courses and Group Relations Conferences.
Why train with Tavistock Consulting?
Our unique approach
The Tavistock approach to consulting and coaching enables students to work at a
deeper level with their clients or as managers within their own organisations. Our
systems-psychodynamic approach brings together thinking and practice from
three sources – psychoanalysis, systems thinking and the group relations tradition.
Experience and expertise
Students benefit from engagement with staff who work as consultants and
coaches in a wide variety of different contexts, many of whom have published
books and papers about their work. Students often comment how much they value
feedback from faculty regarding their assignments, and the supervision of the
often complex projects they undertake during their training.
Style of learning
Students value the small study groups and the space these provide for the
introduction to, and participation in, experiential learning and reflection. Students
undertake live assignments, delivering coaching or consultancy to develop skills
through practice-based study. The prospect of sharing a learning experience with
fellow students who have different sector expertise and roles, or who may be at
different life stages, also attracts many people to our long courses.
Start of a journey
Our training programmes, which typically run in two-day blocks, can lead to a
Masters or Doctoral Tavistock qualification in consultancy. Once students graduate
they become part of an ongoing academic and practising community, with
opportunities throughout the year to reconnect with the Tavistock and fellow
graduates through alumni networking meetings and talks.
Helping organisations change from within
We facilitate the growth of powerful leaders through our on-site training for
leadership teams in a variety of ways. Our bespoke short courses, which
typically last three days, include: Learning for Leadership; Leading Change;
Decoding Team Dynamics; Introduction to Consultancy Skills; and Understanding
the Wider System.
Consulting and Leading in Organisations: Psychodynamic and
Systemic Approaches (D10)
Duration: The MA takes two full years, with the dissertation written during the
second summer for submission in October.
This Masters programme develops consultants, managers and leaders so that they
have a full understanding of the human dimensions of organisational systems. It
gives students the skills to work more effectively with the unconscious processes
that affect working life. As leaders or consultants, graduates can expect to make
significant contributions to the better leadership and management of boards,
executive teams and whole organisations, thus improving productivity and quality
of service for clients and stakeholders.
Here’s what students have said about this course:
“One of the most challenging and interesting learning activities of my life so far in
education and work.”
“My attitude to work is changing as I understand the dynamics driving my
organisation and my reasons for selecting it more clearly.”
“Have found the written feedback very thoughtful and helpful both from my tutor
and on the essay marked.”
Professional Doctorate in Consultation and the Organisation
Duration: Three-year (part-time) taught component. The research component
varies. Registration must be within sixty months of submitting research proposal.
A professional training in consulting to organisations from a Tavistock systems-
psychodynamic perspective, providing an opportunity to undertake scholarly
research and to contribute to the knowledge base in the field. This Doctorate
course offers an advanced and sophisticated training designed to equip
consultants to work with the complexity of contemporary organisations in private
and public sectors. Students gain the capacity to train others in organisational
consultancy and to deepen their understanding of organisational issues.
Here’s what students have said about this course:
“The Doctorate certainly does what it says on the box. I feel much more able to take
up my role as a consultant, and near the end of completing my research, have been
offered several senior positions in the consultancy world. Delighted.”
Executive education cont.
“Teaching is consistently high quality; the course
design is a strength.”
“As an independent practitioner I have been able to
think more clearly about my work.”
Tavistock Qualification in Consultation
Duration: Three years, part time.
The course, which supports the development of
consultancy practice, is integrated across year groups
– students join those studying for the Professional
Doctorate in Consultation and the Organisation.
You will carry out consultancy projects in different
settings, across sectors, either working alone or as
part of a team. The course includes a work-focused
professional practice seminar together with
consultancy work and theory-led discussion groups
and individual consultancy supervision. Students
become part of a learning community of consultant
practitioners and researchers based at Tavistock
Consulting, and upon completion will have fulfilled
almost 50 percent of the requirements needed to
undertake the Professional Doctorate.
Executive Coaching programme
Duration: 18 months, part time.
Accredited by the European Mentoring and Coaching Council to senior practitioner
level, this practice-based course is rooted in a systems-psychodynamic approach
to organisations. This approach allows coaches to work in depth and to tackle the
hard-to-reach issues that sometimes limit the performance of organisations, teams
and leaders. This method of executive coaching helps to uncover and successfully
work with what’s going on below the surface.
Here’s what students have said about this course:
“I do think this is an excellent programme and for me, absolutely essential to
bring to fruition my previous learnings. The Executive Coaching programme has
really enabled me to integrate what I previously learned at the Tavistock into my
practice. I would recommend it strongly to anyone who wants to apply systemic
psychodynamic thinking to coaching and consultancy.”
Group Relations Conference
Duration: Three or four days, non-residential.
A personal development programme that works to increase personal effectiveness
in any organisational role. The conference is designed to be a miniature
organisation – a range of events take place that mirror typical organisational
situations, and participants experience leadership and followership in unrehearsed
ways in different group configurations. The conference and its activities seek to
examine organisational behaviour as it happens, and incorporates a process of
ongoing feedback from staff and other participants.
Here’s what students have said about this course:
“I experienced the conference as rich and intense learning, which I anticipate I will
be learning from for a long time. It was particularly useful not to be given ‘answers’
and sometimes to be offered possibilities. This enabled me to find my own answers.
Early learning is that I have a much clearer understanding of my own leadership
and what can get in the way. I feel tangible change on a personal level, which I have
taken into my professional life.”
Meet the team
Dr Judith Bell (Director)
Judith is the Director of Tavistock Consulting. She is
a Chartered Psychologist and since 1997 has been an
Organisational Leadership Consultant, working with
individuals, groups, teams and organisations across
all sectors. She specialises in executive coaching to
board level across all sectors and leadership role
consultation to senior leaders, bringing an approach
informed by psychodynamic and systemic thinking
so that the work is firmly rooted in the current
Bev Thomas (Health Sector Lead)
Bev has worked as an Organisational Consultant since
1996, across all sectors. With a previous background
in Clinical Psychology, she has extensive knowledge
of the NHS and has consulted to a wide range of
clinical services in Acute, Mental Health and Primary
Care Trusts. She has expertise in team development
and facilitation, and in particular, working with
multidisciplinary teams and management groups on
leadership in clinical services. Trained in mediation,
Bev has a specific interest in managing conflict within
Dr Kay Trainor (Executive Education
Kay is Director of the flagship Masters programme:
Consulting and Leading in Organisations:
Psychodynamic and Systemic Approaches. She is an
experienced Organisational Consultant and Executive
Coach working in equal measure across public sector,
health, corporate and cultural organisations. Her
portfolio includes leadership conferences and courses
in leading change, working effectively with groups and
teams, and developing consultancy. Her focus is on
helping improve leadership effectiveness through one
to one executive coaching and ‘live system’ events.
Jennie McShannon (Organisational
Jennie has twenty years leadership experience in
the voluntary sector, with seven years as Chief
Executive of a national membership organisation.
Her interest is in assisting organisations to
understand how the work is often unconsciously
‘formed’ or ‘arranged’ or ‘systematised’ in such a
way to prevent them achieving their task and
purpose, and then guiding them to act upon their
understanding to become more effective and create
a more sustainable and healthier working environment.
Jennie is a graduate of Tavistock’s D10 Masters
programme (‘Consulting and Leading in Organisations:
Psychodynamic and Systemic Approaches’).
Dr Robyn Vesey (Organisational
Having spent more than ten years as a Clinical
Psychologist and manager in the NHS, Robyn brings
knowledge of health service structures and public
sector organisational life to her role. Her particular
interest is the relationship between different levels of
wider organisational structures, including the context
in which an organisation exists, and the emotional
life of an organisation. She works with individuals
and groups to address the complexity inherent in
contemporary organisational life, using a systems-
Jiten Barot (Marketing and
Jiten is responsible for all components of the
marketing mix and for supporting business
development. Since 1996, Jiten has worked within
various sectors, including medical devices, retail,
publishing and professional services. His broad
experience includes strategic and digital marketing,
targeting businesses and consumers. Jiten holds a
BA Hons degree in Business Studies and a diploma
in Direct and Interactive Marketing from the
Institute of Direct Marketing.
94 Belsize Lane
London NW3 5BE
+44 (0)20 8938 2475
Nerea is the Office Manager, Finance Lead and PA to
the Director. She holds a Management diploma from
Navarra University in Spain. Her varied experience
includes working with Community CAMHS in London
in activity management support, and providing
customer services and accounts management to an
international facilities management company. As a
fluent Spanish and Basque speaker, she has worked
extensively in export-related businesses active
between the UK and Ireland and Spanish-speaking
Naiara supports the core team and is the primary
contact for Associates and Students. She is
responsible for organising events, assisting with
co-ordinating courses and dealing with general
queries, while also playing an integral role in
administering the website and supporting the wider
marketing function. She holds an English and Media
certificate from Ballsbridge College (Dublin, Ireland)
and a Musical Education degree from University of
Basque Country (Bilbao, Spain).
Meet the team cont.