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Professor David Clutterbuck, Special Ambassador, European Mentoring and Coaching Council

Professor David Clutterbuck is a leading figure in leadership, communication, and coaching and mentoring. He talks to the Industry Leaders about why he's tried skydiving and stand-up comedy to stretch and test himself, and his mission to make mentorship available to everybody.

How did you end up sitting where you are today?

From an early career as a management journalist, I set up my first consultancy company in the early 1980s. Everything since has in some way related to the quality of conversations people have. I have now written more than 70 books in the fields of communication, talent, leadership, coaching and mentoring and advised thousands of companies.

What kind of work does your role involve?

I help people, teams and organisations have the conversations they need. In the past 20 years, my focus has been on developing coaches and mentors globally.

What gets you excited about your industry?

Helping people learn how to help others. Helping them also to clarify their dreams and make progress towards them

What's the best advice anyone ever gave you?

Don't take yourself too seriously. One of my pro bono roles is head of the research committee at the London School of Comedy, exploring the social and well-being aspects of laughter.

What, or who inspires you?

One of my first mentors was Peter Drucker. I am inspired by the people I work with - and especially those with, for example, neurodiversity, who provide a different perspective.

How do you keep up to speed with what's happening in your industry?

I read and write as eclectically as I can. Also, being a coach supervisor means that coaches bring me all the most difficult cases, which stretch me as well as them and provide superb resources for reflection and learning.

What was the most challenging project or situation you've overcome?

Over the years, I have developed the habit of seeking a learning challenge every year - something that will stretch me; from skydiving to stand-up comedy.

Having a child with Downs' and autism was, in hindsight, one of the best things that happened to me. I have learned so much form this.

You finish work today and step outside the office to find a lottery ticket that ends up winning $10 million. What would you do?

Redouble the efforts to launch my current bi project to create 5 million school-age coaches and mentors globally.

How do you switch off after a day at work?

I read, exercise (walking and ice skating), and write children's stories.

If you had one wish for the future of your industry, what would it be?

I am at the forefront of the movement to democratise coaching and mentoring - making it something for everyone, not just the privileged few.

What book or podcast should everyone know about?

Back in 1985, I wrote the first book on developmental mentoring "Everyone Needs a Mentor". It is still going strong after multiple editions.

More generally, I don't like the idea of one book. I will go into a bookstore, close my eyes and point at a random shelf. Then explore a world of learning I would not have thought to investigate. That's eclectic learning!

How should people connect with you?

You can connect with me via any of the following:

Twitter Mentor2mentors

LinkedIn: Prof David Clutterbuck

*Looking to level-up your leadership skills? Check out our article on the best self-help books for business leaders and entrepreneurs. participates in Amazon's Affiliate Links programme. So, if you click through the highlighted links and buy a book, we may earn Amazon commission (we hope that's a win-win!).


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