Become a Cascading Leadership consultant

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Cascading Leadership provides an invaluable free opportunity for leaders working in health and care organisations of any size in the voluntary and community sector in the UK to develop their leadership skills and receive practical support. 

This page provides information on the role of a Cascading Leadership consultant, and how to apply. If you have any questions please email 

Could this be for you?

If you are an experienced senior leader currently working in the voluntary and community sector (VCS), with a wide range of leadership skills and experience, this could be for you.  

You will be: 

  • committed to cross-sector collaboration and willing to support another VCS leader to work through complex problems 
  • keen to develop your ability to support and challenge others to reflect, while also reflecting on and developing your own practice to support your organisation and the wider health and care sector 
  • curious about what you don’t know, and able to work with complex situations which may have no obvious solution 
  • excited about the possibilities of developing cross-sector leadership in the VCS and joining a growing learning community providing consultancy support within the VCS. 

How will you benefit?  

An external evaluation of the first two cohorts of the Cascading Leadership programme reported significant benefits for consultants: 

  • developing and practising specific leadership skills to support their own organisation 
  • stronger relationships with key stakeholders 
  • supporting a stronger local sector. 
My own style of management has shifted considerably with far more focus on empowering my team to come up with their own solutions in a supported environment rather than answering all their questions.
Consultant, September 2018
I feel much more able to offer support and have more belief in my ability and effectiveness. I feel less like I am ‘pretending’ to know what I'm doing and more like I DO know what I'm doing!
Consultant, May 2018
I feel the programme has already better equipped me to challenge and influence local agendas, for the benefit of local civil society organisations and their beneficiaries.
Consultant, May 2018
I feel the programme has enabled me to address some of the issues around working with local partners. This has been relevant to influence the agenda set by local statutory organisations and encouraging collaboration within the sector.
Consultant, May 2018
It’s been inspirational.
Consultant, May 2018

What will you do? 

For the consultants, each programme is organised around three workshops. The first workshop takes place over two days, offering an opportunity to meet and network with the other 15 participants in your group.  

You will also be matched with a partner and given their details during the first workshop. We aim to ensure that you are matched with a partner based within two hours’ travel time from your organisation and not in direct competition with your work; we will also consider skills and previous experience, and organisational challenges. You will meet your partner at least five times over an eight-month period.

The second workshop takes place halfway through the programme, and the third and final workshop follows your fifth meeting with your partner.

During the workshops you will learn different techniques and skills, hear from previous programme participants and take part in small-group supervision. Between workshops, you will work with a partner to help them think about the issues they are facing, while using supervision from a senior member of The King’s Fund Leadership staff to develop a critical understanding of your own leadership and its implications for your work. There will be an additional supervision session towards the end of the programme.

During the workshops and follow-up work, we aim to help you to: 

  • accurately assess and develop your facilitation skills to help your partner and the people in your own organisation explore complex issues and develop new ways of thinking and behaving    
  • consider, test and develop a set of core concepts to underpin your consultancy role so that you feel confident to ask questions that probe below the surface of your partner’s issues, make sense of any resistance, and avoid rushing to tell people what to do   
  • evaluate the learning and experiences that have shaped you as a leader and consider what else you need to do in fulfilling the role of consultant on this programme and to support the wider VCS 
  • develop your ability to use what you are thinking and feeling to help make sense of what may be going on in the conversation with your partner 
  • use supervision to review and develop your practice as a consultant or senior leader 
  • keep a journal to record your work with your partner and peers on the programme and use this to develop your thinking about what may be going on with your partner and in your own practice. 

We are interested in developing senior leaders who can support and challenge others to reflect on how they take up their leadership role and manage dilemmas and challenges. We are looking for people who can:

  • offer advice but do not always have to be the expert 
  • be encouraging and ask critical questions  
  • be silent while others try to make sense of their situation 
  • use their emotional intelligence to make sense of what is going on 
  • ‘hold’ their anxiety if progress is complex and answers are not immediately forthcoming. 

2019 programme dates

The course will run twice in 2019. You can apply for one or both courses, depending on your availability, but you must be available for all the dates in any course you apply for. We would normally have only one participant from any organisation on each programme.

Course 1 

Leadership development days at The King’s Fund: 

  • Workshop one: 22 and 23 January  
  • Workshop two: 21 May 
  • Group supervision: 23 July 
  • Workshop three: 24 September 

Course 2 

Leadership development days at The King’s Fund: 

  • Workshop one: 5 and 6 March 
  • Workshop two: 24 July 
  • Group supervision: 22 October 
  • Workshop three: 10 December 

The consultant/partner meeting dates and locations will be agreed by the two participants.  

Cost of this programme 

There is no charge to take part in this programme, which is being funded by The National Lottery Community Fund.

A consultant’s place is valued at £4,200, based on training and supervision that you will receive from The King’s Fund, plus other benefits such as travel and accommodation.

How to apply 

If you would like to apply to become a consultant, please complete the online application form and submit it by 30 November 2018. You can save your application and come back to it later.

We will want to know about your role, the organisation you work for and why you are applying. Try to be as open as you can about: why now, why consultancy, what you want to learn, and how you can apply any learning back in your organisation. 

We will let all applicants know about our decision by mid-December. Shortlisted consultants will also be asked to take part in a brief telephone interview. 

There is often high demand for places. If you are offered a place, we will expect you to commit to taking part in the whole programme. We will ask you to complete an agreement to confirm this commitment that will need to be signed by a trustee or board director of your organisation.