Get to know your Coach (and new MD of Black Isle) – Tom Blower


Tom has been a coach and director with Black Isle since 2015, but from April this year he stepped up to become the new Managing Director. He brings with him a wealth of experience, having worked internationally across a wide range of sectors, leading organisational change and leadership development projects.

He is an MSc qualified consultant with post graduate certificate in training and performance management. Tom’s core expertise as a communications coach and leadership facilitator is creating sustainable behavioural change through the design and delivery of bespoke, practical advice and coaching.


MD and Coach, Tom Blower

What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?

Always work with people from whom you can learn; don’t quit.


Which book/film/event changed your life?

Many. How Children Succeed, by Martin Seligman because it introduced me to Learned Optimism.


Give one characteristic that you feel every leader should have?

Curiosity. The most common aspect of their lives that people want to change, when they come on a programme or for a coaching session, is being too busy, not having enough time to step back, reflect, learn and change. Their world becomes a cycle of action plans, to-do lists, and meetings. They often vent their frustration at their situation, one of constantly rushing, or “fire-fighting.” Essentially, they have fallen into a trap which conflates being busy, with success. They have grown up habituated to task completion, of completing a series of discrete activities rewarded with a tick as a measure of success.

The reality of success is very different. Having an impact on the world, making a difference – which is how we judge people who are truly remarkable – is about bringing change. It’s not about having all the answers, but working with others to find them. All of this requires curiosity – being curious about people, identifying problems, being curious about the future, and, of course, being curious about how we can all affect personal change.


What is the biggest risk you’ve ever taken?

Leaving the Army – it represented stepping out of the comfort zone of a career laid out before me, belonging – in terms of an identity conferred by being part of a tribe, and the safety of having access to housing, healthcare and other services. I realised though that not taking a risk is often not a good enough excuse to avoid action, and I was excited at the prospect of the adventure, and the independence that leaving would bring. I was overseas when I decided to leave and explore the near endless opportunities that our world has to offer.


What is the most meaningful part of your job?

Helping others be remarkable.