Ian Smith

Ian helps leaders and organisations navigate transition and uncertainty. Collaborative and thought provoking, he provides an environment where individuals and teams can build bridges from current reality to achieve truly great things.

Talk to Ian

Send me an email: ian@springbrookpartnership.com
Call me: +44 (0) 7733225257

My areas of expertise

  • Navigating challenges and difficult decisions
  • Guiding leaders through transition (personal and organisational)
  • Organisational change and transformation
  • Senior teams and Boards
  • Team coaching

Industries I have worked in:

  • Non-profit sector
  • Infrastructure
  • Facilities management
  • Building materials and aggregates
  • Water and wastewater

What services do you offer?

Individual Coaching

Team Coaching



What’s been my biggest leadership challenge?

Immersion into the newly privatised rail industry to lead the change from public to private sector in infrastructure management and maintenance. Leading culture-change both internally with the senior management team and operational staff and, externally, establishing an environment of respect, trust and open communication with client and train operating companies.

What made it so difficult?

The restructuring of privatisation caused immediate fragmentation and silo mentality within the industry rather than regional cohesion. An untrusting client and the inability to be able to talk directly with the end users served to further undermine confidence in the capability of a professional organisation to perform with integrity.

What helped me overcome this challenge?

Listening, empathy and encouraging open communication with the client were key. Supported by an open book approach, shared offices, frequent reviews and real-time lessons learned conversations. Leading by example in managing the behavioural and culture change with my senior team, significant time investment on the operational front line.

What did I learn?

The power of listening and understanding and of valuing people and the positive contribution they can make. The intrinsic desire of individuals to seek to drive their team towards success. Courage to take a team on a journey. The ability of individuals to work as a team when they are given permission to think and create solutions.   

What’s my style as a thinking partner?

I work with individuals and teams to enable them to build bridges that will safely navigate challenges and transition. I do this through empathetic listening, thoughtful questions and by helping to create connections between the ‘now’ and the ‘not yet’.

My coaching is built upon three decades experience in senior leadership leading operations and building teams in corporate and non-profit sectors. I have a collaborative style and an ability to quickly build trust and rapport. Leading from ‘the inside out’ is my mantra, helping leaders and teams alike explore, discover and lead from their true values.

I create a safe place for reflection on past experience, for thinking through the current reality and for stretching forward to future dreams and goals. Providing a thinking environment, a space to enable you to walk through uncertainties, to map a pathway towards realisation of your goals. Through encouragement and challenge to help you stretch towards your true potential.

What's my professional background?

My career embraces senior leadership in the non-profit and corporate sectors, over thirty years in senior management. A Chartered Engineer, I began in the water industry in infrastructure maintenance and capital project design and management.

Taking up a senior technical role in building materials manufacturing, I joined Stanton-Bonna, becoming part of the leadership team. After five years I joined Aggregate Industries, progressing to the executive team and leading one of the major product groups. I was part of a task group leading through significant process improvement and restructuring.

I was invited to join the newly privatised rail industry, managing part of the infrastructure. Building open client relationships was both a key challenge and success. Within Amey, my role also embraced facilities management and corporate governance.

Joining the non-profit sector consolidated twenty years of corporate leadership. I led the growth of a UK charity into ten countries across Europe, the Middle East and Africa, establishing indigenous teams. I have gained extensive experience through being part of a global leadership and working cross-culturally.

Who have I worked for?
  • Aggregate Industries
  • Amey
  • RZIM
  • Stanton-Bonna
  • Thames Water
  • Springbrook Partnership
What do I do away from work?

I’m married with two sons who are both married. We also have the joy of four young grandchildren with whom we love spending time. In an attempt to keep fit I enjoy the gym and running. We enjoy lake and mountain walking along with good cheese and wine. I serve on two non-profit boards and am a governor of our village school. We are involved in local church activities and live in West Oxfordshire.

What credentials and qualifications do I have?
  • European Mentoring and Coaching Council – Accredited Coach at Senior Practitioner Level
  • Henley Business School – Professional Certificate in Coaching
  • International Coach Federation (ICF) – Professional Member
  • Association for Coaching – Professional Member
  • Chartered Engineer (Chartered Institute of Water and Environmental Management – Member)
  • IEMA – Member (Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment)

What people are saying

Ian’s Contact Details

To explore how we could help you, please get in touch. It starts with a conversation.


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Catalyst Thinking Partners is a collaborative community of like-minded coaches. Each of us operates our own practice and all contractual arrangements with clients are managed through these separate entities.

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