Inspiring Performance is driven through the passion and experience of people who believe that small changes can make a huge difference.

For more than a decade, we have invested time and energy to identify what makes people tick. First-hand experience in three Global Challenge Round the World Yacht races gives our team a unique perspective of human behaviour and its effect on individuals, performance and culture.

An extensive study, conducted in partnership with Henley Management College, provided an intriguing insight into emotional intelligence and its importance for leaders, teams and organisations. Working with our clients in business and sport, we continue to validate these findings and broaden our understanding of high performance. We have developed an inspiring leadership model, identified a dynamic team working tool, identified an EI performance framework, created a suite of analytical measures and published three practical development books.

Our People

Inspiring Performance attracts bright, fun-loving people, who draw on real life experiences and professional values to make what they do and what they say relevant and memorable.

All of our consultants are ‘high performers’, who have achieved success in competitive and dynamic environments. They have risen to the top in companies, reached the pinnacle in sport or simply pushed themselves to the limit in pursuit of their personal ‘Everest’.

Having been there and done it, they understand the impact that feelings, thoughts and attitude can have on performance. They know what it takes to realise a goal and they are fantastic at inspiring others to take small steps towards change.

Andrea BaconAndrea Bacon

Co-Founder and Research Director

Andrea Bacon is the Co-Founder & Research Director of Inspiring Performance, a company she has driven through her passion to share her personal learnings and first-hand experiences. Specialising in leadership, teamworking and emotional intelligence, Andrea regularly inspires business audiences with her presentations.

Andrea started her career in media and investor relations, before competing in the 1996/7 BT Global Challenge Round the World Yacht Race. As a crew member of the winning yacht, Group 4, Andrea learnt many lessons in leadership and team work and subsequently co-authored the book Global Challenge – Leadership Lessons from ‘The World’s Toughest Yacht Race’.

Intrigued by human behaviour, Andrea set up a research forum, in partnership with Henley Management College, and used the 2000/1 BT Global Challenge as a live case study, to track the skills and behaviours of the skippers, focussing on emotional intelligence and its impact on leadership, performance and culture.

The findings from this study provided an understanding of what makes a high performing leader and how to sustain competitive advantage over long periods.These findings were captured in a second book, Inspiring Leadership – Staying Afloat in Turbulent Times, an accredited MBA text.

Andrea inspires her audiences by drawing on the powerful, stimulating and pragmatic lessons she has learnt, and applies this learning in a practical way when coaching individuals and working with senior teams. She also coaches and develops senior business executives and with Ali Dawson co-authored her third leadership book – Emotional Intelligence for Rookies.

Andrea’s development programmes are designed to inspire leaders to think, feel and act in a manner that engages and energises others.

Office: +44 (0) 1489 557 960

Mobile: + 44 (0) 7770 638 608

Email Andrea

Katie CummingKatie Cumming

Client Director

Katie Cumming joined Inspiring Performance in 2005 after completing a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology at Southampton Solent University.

Katie is a highly driven individual who designs and manages development programmes for Inspiring Performance clients across a wide range of business sectors, around the world. Her logistical and project management skills ensure that projects are executed to the highest standard and her ‘can do’ approach reassures clients that Katie will do whatever it takes to deliver to their brief.

With her degree in psychology, Katie particularly enjoys observing and developing behaviours within individuals. She has created many highly engaging and hugely successful behavioural change programmes, pooling resources and managing varied teams including other consultants, speakers, actors and athletes.

Outside of work, Katie is a competitive sailor, having won various titles, including Student Yachting World Champion and Ladies National Champion.

Office: +44 (0) 1489 557 960

Mobile: +44 (0) 7838 170 504

Email Katie

SimonSimon Walker

Senior Consultant

Simon is a powerful, dynamic and inspirational speaker and an expert in leadership and team dynamics. With great enthusiasm, he draws from his first-hand experiences in sport, adventure and business, having raced around the world twice, led expeditions to the Arctic and Antarctic and led several high profile businesses.

Simon is also one of the UK’s leading experts on Generation Y – those born since 1980 – and how to better understand and lead them, creating winning high performance teams across all generations.  He is co-author of ‘Generation Y: What they want from work’ (Triarchy Press 2008). He speaks at many events worldwide and recent key themes include:

  • Team leadership
  • Leading in difficult situations
  • Motivating and inspiring others
  • The challenges of leading Generation Y

As well as a being an experienced keynote and motivational speaker, he is also an accomplished event host, workshop leader and a highly credible, skilled facilitator of senior teams, executive committees and operating boards. His work often involves helping top teams work better together, after major change such as a merger or restructuring. He also facilitates groups as they tackle specific business issues. Each assignment is treated on a case by case basis and he applies a range of strategies and techniques to assist the particular context and dynamic.

With a background in technology, he has held leadership positions in several SMEs and has worked with a number of leading consultancies throughout Europe, Asia and the United States.  He was featured as one of 16 business leaders in Fast Company magazine’s ‘Who’s fast in 2001’.

As a highly experienced professional yachtsman, he has raced around the world twice, the second time leading a widely-respected campaign as skipper of Toshiba Wave Warrior in the BT Global Challenge 1996/7 – ‘The World’s Toughest Yacht Race’.  He finished second overall in July 1997, the youngest skipper in the event.

As well as working with many blue chip organisations, Simon has also developed top flight teams in the sporting environment.  This includes working with international yacht racing crews and with Sir Clive Woodward’s England and British & Irish Lions rugby squads.

Simon has delivered many motivational presentations to international clients, including Microsoft, Royal Bank of Scotland, Lloyds TSB, CSFB, Barclays, Toshiba, Drivers Jonas, West Mercia Police and The Cabinet Office. Simon’s international conference appearances include:

  • Bohemian Club – San Francisco, USA
  • 6th Annual Leadership Trust Conference, UK
  • Real Time – ‘Fast Company’ Magazine conference, Philadelphia, USA
  • 13th IISI conference, Seoul, Korea.

Office: +44 (0) 1489 557 960

Email Simon

Nick Coombe

Senior Consultant

Nick Coombe is a highly respected leadership consultant, with a breadth and depth of experience and a pragmatic approach to developing leaders and teams.

After 24 years in Her Majesty’s British Army, commanding both soliders and civilians around the globe, Nick took on the leadership challenge in the charitable sector. Initially leading the Dorset Wildlife Trust at a time of considerable change, Nick later became Chief Operating Officer of Hope and Homes for Children, managing the team, juggling the finances and guiding the organisation through a critical stage in its development.

Nick joined Inspiring Performance in 2000, managing a team of consultants and delivering a senior managers programme for an international investment bank across Europe, the Middle East, Asia and the USA.

Nick enjoys working with people and enhancing team performance. He has worked in many sectors including utilities, finance, airlines, property and public healthcare.

With a passion for making a difference and a drive for personal achievement, Nick has inspired many others to join him in 21 London Marathons, a 125 km Sahara Trek for Help for Heroes and, in 2013, an incredible ascent of Mt Kilimanjaro in support of Kids Aid Tanzania.

Nick is a Member of the Chartered Management Institute, an Affiliate Member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development and is accredited to use a range of personal, emotional intelligence and team profiling tools.

Office: +44 (0) 1489 557 960

Email Nick

Our Research and Books

The BT Global Challenge Round the World Yacht Race was the platform for our initial research and what a unique opportunity this proved to be… Involved in three races over a period of 8 years, the IP team collected and validated a plethora of data – informing and shaping our thinking around leadership and teams. When emotional intelligence came to the fore, the IP team worked with Professors Higgs & Dulewicz of Henley Management College to establish its real value and importance for leaders and organisations. Explorative work with Dr Alan Watkins of Imperial College, London highlighted the impact of physiology on performance and real time tracking of sailing world champion, Mike Golding OBE, during his solo, round the world race provided further evidence to support our work. At Inspiring Performance our concept is simple: understand what is going on within and manage it accordingly: feel, think and act differently.
Global Challenge

Global Challenge – Leadership Lessons from The World’s Toughest Yacht Race

Co-authored by Andrea Bacon this book tracks the high performance behaviours of the skippers in the 1996/7 BT Global Challenge Round the World Yacht Race, and includes Andrea’s first-hand insight as a crew member of the winning team.

The book outlines lessons learnt on leadership and teamwork and, with illustrations of the use of high performance behaviours, provides answers for leaders and teams looking to improve personal and team performance.

 “I purchased this to give to a client, as the book is an excellent book for mentoring and leading groups and teams!” Amazon Reader

Inspiring Leadership

Inspiring Leadership – Staying Afloat in Turbulent Times

This accredited MBA text was published following extensive research conducted by Andrea Bacon and Rosie Mackie in partnership with Professors Higgs & Dulewicz of Henley Management College.

Tracking the skippers of the 2000/1 BT Global Challenge Round the World Yacht Race, the study highlights the impact of emotional intelligence on leadership, performance and culture.

Combining these significant findings with existing theories of leadership, motivation and team dynamics, this book provides leaders with an in-depth understanding of what make a high performance leader.

“This is a powerful book with simple and transparent lessons.” Richard Olver, Former Chairman, BAE Systems

Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence for Rookies

Andrea Bacon and Ali Dawson’s research and application of EI in the workplace led to the publication of this book.

A practical handbook for developing emotional intelligence, the book helps   individuals to understand where their emotions come from, how they affect them and others, and most importantly how they can change the way they feel, think and act.

Designed to take the reader on a journey of self-discovery, this book really brings emotional intelligence to life.

 “An excellent book, easy to follow and interactive

I loved the style – it felt like a voice talking to me, like I had a coach

Our Models and Diagnostics

Our models and diagnostics are often used in conjunction with our client’s own competency framework, ensuring the most appropriate approach for board directors, team leaders and individuals.
Inspiring leadershipInspiring Leadership™ 

The inspiring leadership model balances cognitive and emotional intelligence with skills, attributes and behaviours. We recognise that leadership is personal and leaders need to develop a style and core set of attributes that is ‘right’ for them. So, rather than being prescriptive, we work with individuals to identify ‘their’ essential mix; core elements that play to their strengths and reflect their style, drivers and preferences. By creating a personal leadership approach, we develop authentic leaders.

Synergy WheelTeam Synergy Wheel™

This model provides team leaders with a framework to build and develop high performing teams; equipping both the leader and team members with tools and techniques to ensure excellent communication, support and performance. The Team Synergy Wheel can also be used as a diagnostic tool, identifying the element(s) that may be the underlying cause of chaos, stress or lack of drive within the team.

Diagnostic toolsDiagnostic tools and techniques

A comprehensive range of 360° tools (emotional intelligence, high performance, leadership, team and cultural) allow us to identify where we can be most effective in improving individual, team or organisational performance.