Ailsa Gudgeon

Ailsa Gudgeon is a senior voice and communication coach with over 15 years’ experience of working with senior and high-potential clients from the corporate world.

She covers all areas of leadership communication – voice, body, content, structure and delivery. She helps her clients to engage their audience and speak with confidence, clarity and influence in any setting from conference or boardroom presentations to key meetings and one-to-one conversations.

Ailsa has established a powerful reputation for helping her clients achieve swift and transformative change. Her approach is characterised by a warm, enthusiastic style, deep expertise and the ability to diagnose extremely quickly the key issues that each person needs to address. She tailors her approach to the individual, helping them to relax and enjoy the work while achieving often dramatic results.

Ailsa’s specialised coaching is an integral part of Sandler Consulting’s practice. Her services include:

  • Providing customised, individual sessions to clients in executive coaching programmes where communication-related development needs have been identified. In these situations Ailsa and the executive coach work closely together to ensure maximum benefit for the coachee. Often only one or two sessions are needed to bring about the desired progress
  • Delivering one-to-one coaching on a stand-alone basis to clients whose main needs are in the area of communications. Issues range from difficulty in engaging, influencing or impacting audiences due to delivery style or content through to impoverished confidence and performance anxiety
  • Leading Commanding the Room – an intensive, highly effective one-day workshop for small groups which is offered primarily on an in-house basis. One large services company has found this programme so valuable that 250 executives have attended over a period of five years
  • Making a major contribution to the Talented Women’s Impact Programme, Sandler Consulting’s longstanding event for female leaders, Ailsa helps each participant address the one or two key aspects of their communication style which most limit their impact or performance. Significant and tangible results are achieved, even in a single session, in areas such as posture, breathing, calmness, confidence, voice or delivery.

Ailsa has developed, over many years, a Message-Driven Model which provides an invaluable guide to preparation of content and structure. She uses it to help the client take a strategic approach to communication, focusing on the needs of their audience and avoiding typical pitfalls such as ‘talking at’ people or providing too much detailed information. This approach helps the client to speak succinctly without notes, builds story-telling ability and enables strong and flexible audience engagement.

This model is dovetailed with somatic (body) work designed to ensure a compelling and confident delivery. This includes posture, grounding, tension release, breathing and voice coaching. The help that Ailsa gives clients in these areas can often provide a breakthrough in their performance.

As a qualified Voice Coach and experienced English teacher, Ailsa’s expertise is drawn from a broad range of training and practice in professional theatre, theatre training and education. She also sings semi-professionally. She has trained acting students in a range of high-profile establishments including LAMDA, Rose Bruford and Central. Professional theatre work has taken her to the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC), Glyndebourne Opera and the West End. For many years, she trained interpreting students in voice and communication skills at the University of Westminster, and ran workshops for Conference Interpreters at the European Parliament in Brussels and the Court of Justice in Luxembourg.

Ailsa has worked with a broad range of Sandler Consulting clients including ABN Amro, Argent (Property Development), Baker & McKenzie, Barclays, BBC, BP, British Land, BT, Burberry, Céline, Diageo, Disney, EY, Harrods, Herbert Smith, John Lewis, Land Securities, Look Ahead, Morgan Stanley, Myleasehold, PayPal, RPC, Save the Children UK, Tesco, Twinings, UBS, USS and Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute.

Ailsa’s coaching clients have commented that:

“Ailsa was wonderful...she has transformed the impact I make at Board meetings and outside.”

“Thank you so much for our last session. It has made such a difference. I feel more in control, not just about public speaking, but in all aspects of my life. The abdominal breathing has been revolutionary.”

“The coaching session yesterday was excellent. Your analysis and energy was fantastic and extremely helpful to me. It’s rare to feel that three hours are so well spent.”