Dr Caroline Horner

Caroline is an executive coach and organisation development consultant with more than 29 years’ international experience. A proven leader herself, Caroline is the founder of i-coach, one of the UK’s most respected coach development programmes and has enabled hundreds of aspiring coaches to develop and achieve recognition and qualifications in coaching. Before entering the world of coaching, Caroline worked in various leadership roles including as VP Marketing for NatWest Card Services, as well as senior positions in IT, telecommunications and corporate communications.

Today, Caroline’s key focus is on challenging both organisation and personal paradigms. She works closely with C-suite executives, senior teams and Boards across the public, private and not for profit sectors helping them unlock their individual and collective leadership potential - her aim organisation effectiveness through individual and team excellence.

Crucially, Caroline combines both proven theories and practical experience, bringing real-life business knowledge, as well as extensive qualifications in leadership, organisation development and coaching. As one of Caroline’s clients you will be encouraged to examine your perceptions and interpretations of the world, experiment with new behaviours and explore issues in fresh and inspiring ways.  The experience is often challenging, sometimes surprising but always illuminating.

Senior leaders work with Caroline across a wide range of challenges. It could be a business goal, such as developing more effective leadership, improved influencing and engagement, enhanced gravitas, successful transition to a new role or career and increased resilience. Or it might be a broader change in your work and life – for example, building confidence or finding more meaning and purpose.

Caroline holds a DProf (Doctorate in Professional Studies) in Coaching Psychology from Middlesex University, an MBA (Distinction) from Imperial College, London, is a trained mediator and has completed the NTL Certificate in Organisational Development. Caroline is recognised as a Master Coach by the International Coach Federation and in addition she holds the European Mentoring and Coaching Council (EMCC) EIA award at Master Practitioner level. Caroline is trained in numerous psychometric tools, speaks worldwide on coaching and has contributed to several books and articles.

Clients include:  Activision, ARA Europe, Citigate Dewe Rogerson, Competition & Markets Authority, Deloitte, Tesco, Home Office, Ministry of Defence, GSK, Haleon, KPMG Saudi, News UK, MBDA, NHS, Royal Navy, Roche, Save the Children, Sentiem, Sony, Standard Bank, Standard Advisory, Straumann Group, Versus Arthritus, Wavemaker, YoungMinds, Zodiac Maritime

“When I became the head of the UK business of a global organisation (headquartered in Malaysia), I shifted from being in the business to leading it. A confident ‘doer’ I was a slightly under-confident leader. I sometimes felt like a toddler bumping into walls. I recognised I needed support to develop and succeed in the role.Caroline’s friendly, no-nonsense approach suited me. She is easy to talk to. She listened and played back my feelings and thoughts succinctly. With her, I built my confidence by uncovering my values and communicating my expectations to the team.Caroline balanced my needs and those of the organisation. For example, we focused on enhancing the skills needed to interpret unspoken organisational signals. I stepped back from being a ‘doer’ and became a strategic, holistic facilitator, meaning my team and I could develop together.Coaching enabled me to better direct, reflect and engage to drive the business forward. I doubted my ability to succeed in this role before. Now I can say (and people can see) that I’m confident, comfortable and doing well. Investment in the site was totally off the table two years ago but I’ve just secured its largest ever investment.Embracing open-mindedness helped me get the most from coaching. Taking a deep breath and space to consider how I’m doing, how I feel and what's going on for the team has made me a better and more confident manager, leader and person.”

Richard Town

General Manager at Sime Darby Oils

“Working with Caroline was transformative during my shift from 'doing' to 'leading' as a managing director. Caroline's guidance, especially in a region with few peers, provided a supportive and insightful partnership. Her practical observations led to tangible outcomes, emphasising the concept of guided learning for both short-term solutions and long-term benefits.Caroline excelled in challenging areas like change conversations and employee optimization, offering a non-judgmental approach that brought new insights to decision-making. Our positive connection extended beyond work issues, with Caroline's ability to reframe discussions and balance freedom and focus making our partnership highly effective.Caroline's coaching style fosters an exploratory mindset, surpassing the expectation of learning specific skills. Her inviting conversation style encourages comfort and productivity in each engagement. In summary, Caroline's coaching catalysed personal and professional growth, going beyond expectations to create an environment for meaningful behavioural changes. I wholeheartedly recommend her transformative and exploratory coaching.Contrary to my initial expectations, Caroline's self-guided approach to coaching was refreshing and we covered a great deal in the course of our conversations. She adeptly navigated the conversation's flow, creating moments for reflection.”

Jim McMullin

Vice President, Call of Duty (International) at Activision Blizzard

“Caroline is both a kind and challenging coach. She has a lovely style where she’s able to help you reflect quite honestly on what you want to improve and develop, whilst feeling supported. She very quickly got to know my team and was able to detect personalities and dynamics in a way that helped me think about how to lead them best as a team. My team enjoyed the time with her and felt she was really invested in helping them as well as me. She’s able to seamlessly move back and forth between the big picture ‘how am I showing up as a leader’ to the tactical and tangible ‘how do I do x, y, z with my team for this specific intervention’. I wish I had been able to set a clearer ‘I want to achieve these two things and measure progress’ but there were some significant unexpected changes in my world during our engagement. Caroline was super responsive and flexible to adapt to what I needed, and she helped me grow as a leader in a new role. The questions she asked me would often pop up in my head throughout the course of my work and helped me navigate many situations. I have valued our time together and would jump at the chance to work with her again.”

Jen Baxter

SVP Strategy & tech transformation at GSK

“I worked with Caroline over a period of around six months when I was Chief Executive of the National Infrastructure Commission, and she made a huge difference in helping to navigate the move from being a (relatively senior) cog in a large organisation to being wholly responsible for a smaller one. She was fantastic at helping me examine my own leadership style and the patterns of thought that underpinned it, to help me build on my strengths and - critically - to identify strategies to deal with the areas where I habitually avoided challenge or conflict. She also helped me work through my priorities for my next role, which directly informed my move to the GLA. Caroline is an excellent coach - her approach is thought-provoking and reflective, but she is not afraid to make concrete suggestions where needed, whether to provoke a reaction or unlock a way forward. To benefit from working with her, you need to be prepared to enter into a genuine process of self-examination and to be challenged about your own motivations and decisions, although the work became more concrete as the process went on. The sessions were not always comfortable - Caroline was prepared to probe underneath initial, instinctive responses - but they were richer for that reason. I would thoroughly recommend her.”

Philip Graham

Former Chief Executive National Infrastructure commission

“Feedback from colleagues suggested they couldn’t quite make out the real me. Rising rapidly into leadership, my persona was unflappable, formal, and direct. A colleague in HR said they’d never seen me stressed. Initially flattered, I realised that what they were really saying was that they’d never seen my human side.This was the impetus for coaching. I wanted to be less formal and more authentic. Relaxed leaders are better leaders after all. I met five or six potential coaches. On paper, what made Caroline stand was her experience working with global leaders across different industries. In person, what stood out was phenomenal skill at listening. The other coaches were excellent, but they spoke a lot more and listened far less.At first, I reverted to my professional persona but Caroline quickly broke that down! We immediately began to explore the power of vulnerability for leaders. We identified my values and my strengths. Understanding what makes you tick will get you closer to a life that makes you happy. I resonated with Caroline’s approach of leveraging strengths rather than focusing on areas of weakness. Caroline responded to what was going on in my life, which meant the impact of coaching stretched beyond my job.For some, the idea of coaching might seem like going to the dentist and doctors at once. Self-reflection can feel uncomfortable but it’s like going to the gym: you have to bear the discomfort, keep showing up, keep building muscle.Post-coaching, my organisation has a leader who values authenticity and knows themself better. People have taken notice. I’m more relaxed and I’m clearer about the future. In addition to my current role in global marketing, I’ve moved into the investor relations space - something I wouldn’t have done before coaching.”

Senior Global Marketing Director Pharmaceuticals

“Curious about my potential and ambitious to fulfil it, I expressed an interest in executive coaching to my Line Manager and Chief People Officer. As someone on the organisation’s leadership fast-track, they were happy to invest in my development and encouraged me.Throughout my career, I acquired leadership skills predominantly through mentoring and self-directed learning. I had an enriching coaching experience several years ago and I felt the time was right to seek the guidance of a coach again, one who could help me delve deeper into my purpose, be the best version of myself, equip me as a future global leader and contribute to my organisation in new ways. In Caroline I found that.During my very first meeting with Caroline, I valued her honesty. She didn’t say ‘yes’ to everything. In a warm and engaging way, she articulated her approach which aligned with who I was. Crucially, she also understands cultural nuance and has extensive experience working with global leadership, a space I plan to step into.Our conversations were always practical. From understanding the techniques leaders need to step back in order to let those they lead flourish. She told me that I didn’t need to read more leadership books. I should trust what felt right for me.My strengths have become amplified and my concern with impressing others has reduced. She encouraged me to trust in the value of being myself.My line manager reported that the CEO has seen a stark difference in me. My ability to read the room, demonstrate empathy and put my listening skills to use are all much more apparent. I think more broadly and horizontally than before.You have to be curious and have a mindset of wanting to learn. To get the most out of coaching, you must be ready for the conversation, to be resilient and responsive. Difficult questions will confront you and make you feel uncomfortable, but it’s all about moving forward. This investment in myself has enabled me to leap forward.”

Associate Director in Retail

“I transitioned from being a frontline leader in nursing to chief of staff, to sitting round the executive table as assistant director. Those are big jumps! If the trajectory of your career and background is similar to mine, you might encounter others who doubt your ‘right’ to take a seat at the table. You might even doubt it yourself.Through coaching, my leadership has developed in myriad ways. For example, I have a much wider view of the organisation and the context in which we operate. I’ve developed my capacity to hold more than one perspective. I know how essential it is to take a moment to pause and reflect before reacting.But perhaps the most important and confidence-enhancing thing to come out of my coaching experience was that it made my value-add clear: not just to others, but to me too.Caroline was a good fit for me: I resonated with her methodology and we established a rapport and connection almost immediately. She made me feel comfortable to speak freely and show vulnerability in a way I’d never done before.Caroline helped to bring my strengths, and the value of my experience, into much sharper relief. I became much clearer about who I was as a leader: a strategic thinker, with a naturally empathic approach. We never dwelled on weaknesses as weaknesses. We treated them as opportunities to strengthen my leadership.What coaching – and a skilled coach like Caroline – offers is a supportive space to focus on yourself. If you want to develop as a leader, a protected place in which you can talk, reflect and be constructively challenged is vital.In our conversations, Caroline played back what I said in a way that made me realise new things about myself. In particular, that I was my harshest critic and that I needed to show myself much more self-compassion.Like many others who step into leadership roles and acquire significant responsibility, work dominated my life and I lost the balance I needed. Working hard, wanting to learn as much as I can and striving for success will always be fundamental parts of who I am, but I now have that perspective which tells me when I need to pause, take a step back or delegate, which are essential components of effective leadership.”

Assistant Director NHS


“It takes an outstanding individual to crack longstanding beliefs and behaviours … Caroline’s determination to succeed and support me through this journey is a gift.”

Head of Digital, Government Department

“Caroline has been a critical force in almost everything I have achieved in the last 18 months. She provides a safe space that has allowed me to explore myself as a leader and the impact of my leadership. She encourages and challenges in a way that is both gentle and forceful. I recommend her to anyone who is looking to explore new dimensions of their life and career.”

Caroline Hope, Deloitte UK & Young Minds UK

“Her coaching style was very much one of guiding and listening rather than leading and instructing. She provides the context and space for one to debate and better understand the priorities of ones career. Despite coming to the process with a degree of reservation, I found the experience extremely useful and would strongly recommend Caroline to others.”

Simon Ashby-Rudd, Head of International Coverage Standard Bank Group

“Caroline is an amazing coach, she creates the safe space to allow the individual to really be open and not feel judged. Caroline’s fast array of tools in the personal development and coaching arena helps to tailor. Her positive energy leaves the candidate with confidence to further continue his/her journey.”

Marrit (Gernaat) Dikker Hupkes, Shell

“Caroline, just a quick note from me to thanks very much for your help. Your approach was very thoughtful, and you definitely made me think hard about myself. The results have been great for me, and I would definitely recommend you to others. The outcome of our meeting for me was a very tangible set of actions that I continue to work on – you have an uncanny knack of getting to the root cause of what is important to me!”

Mike Dobby, Vice Chairman Deloitte MCS Limited

“I chose to work with Caroline because it was clear from the outset that she would not let me leave any stone unturned. The coaching experience exceeded even my high expectations. I will always be particularly grateful for her tenacity, for her thoughtful challenges, for her belief in me and for her humour. I have felt far more confident in my leadership and in myself ever since…the coaching I received now benefits every area of my life”

SVP Pharmaceuticals

“When I first started looking for a coach I wasn’t entirely sure what I was looking for. Caroline’s approach inspired me immediately…providing the right amount of challenge and supporting me to find my own solutions to seemingly intractable problems…working with her always feels like a joint venture. Her approach is non-judgmental, creative and collaborative. Caroline has helped me enormously to clearly understand my own strengths and development needs as a leader.”

Director of Communications, Professional membership organisation

“Caroline rapidly assimilated complex situations, relationships and drivers. I found Caroline to be perceptive and direct whilst providing a sensitive response to difficult situations and topics. I found the coaching sessions both challenging and energising and I am more empowered as a result. I believe this significantly contributed to an improved position for my role within the executive team.”

Senior Executive Airline

“Caroline is a dedicated professional who … really understood the challenges facing senior women in a challenging environment. Her strengths as a coach are her listening skills, ability to … penetrate to the heart of the issue … her astute capability to appreciate and empathise with my challenges. I have been able to develop a greater self-belief which has helped me to deal constructively with some very significant challenges. I have felt supported and challenged in a positive affirming way.”

Director People, Performance and transformation, local government

“Caroline was calm, friendly, open, and professional, a woman I felt I could trust. I needed someone who had an understanding of my type of work life and the issues that arise, and she was perfect in this role. Being coached by Caroline is a gentle and yet powerful experience. Sometimes it felt as though - without seeming to say much - she was holding up a very large mirror to me so I could work out for myself the right way forward.”

Director General, Ministry of Defence

“Caroline is excellent at asking questions and drawing out unexpected responses. She also takes a very detached view and helped me to understand the impact I was having, and to read better the signals that others were giving me. The material was all in my head and the data was available, but the act of talking it through with Caroline enabled me, with her coaxing, to join the dots.”

Rear Admiral, Royal Navy

Case Studies

“Caroline’s insight is a key strength. This, along with her broad knowledge of coaching and continuous encouragement, has had a significant impact on my effectiveness as a leader.”

“It takes an outstanding individual to crack longstanding beliefs and behaviours…Caroline’s determination to succeed, lead and support me through this journey has been a gift.”

“I can make my life work for me and still make an impact. I can achieve at work if I want to, or get another interesting job if I want to, or go travelling to Nepal if I want to. I am confident I can do something different and do what I want; it’s like a giant smile!”

Abi Fitzgibbon, Interim Head of Social Change, IRNIB

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“Start with your strengths and celebrate them. I built a real inner confidence by reinforcing what I think others see in me.”

Andrew White, Senior Director, FTSE 100 Company

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“I’m at a stage in my career when I ask myself what do I want to do next and how do I even explore this question?”

James Hailsham, Senior Civil Servant

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“I would recommend Caroline without a second’s hesitation – particularly to anyone who finds themselves at a major life crossroads. Her ability to offer constructive input without ever sounding remotely patronising was hugely impressive.”

Bob Judson, Air vice-marshal, FRAES FCMI MOID RAF(RETD)

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“Both Caroline Horner and Eunice Aquilina, who delivered the programme handled the group with exceptional professionalism and with authority which stemmed from their vast knowledge of coaching. I have dealt with many coaching consultancies over the years and, from my experience, i-coach academy is one of the more preeminent companies in the field.”

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