Become a Cascading Leadership consultant

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Cascading Leadership is a free peer-to-peer leadership development programme for voluntary and community sector (VCS) organisations working in health and wellbeing. It enables VCS leaders to share their extensive and varied expertise with peers, to talk about some of the challenges they face and to plan new ways of working.

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

Cliciwch yma i weld y wybodaeth hon yn Gymraeg 

Could I be a consultant?

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 programme 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 sector.

Watch past participants talk about their experiences of being consultants on the programme and the impact this had on them and their organisations.


AG: Anita Grover
AM: Abdul Mulla
SA: Sam Anderson

AG:    I was really attracted to the programme because it was an opportunity to share some of my leadership experience within the sector. I thought it was a fantastic model that was being developed to be able to support others within the health sector. It was a chance to give something back but also to challenge my own personal development within this particular field. 

AM:    When I first heard about the programme, the fact that I could talk to others - it gave me the opportunity to talk to my peers from other parts of the country about my concerns and fears and anxieties. It was quite refreshing and quite liberating to be able to do that and that's what the programme offered me. 

SA:    Having somebody that's coming already with that understanding, that's current, and able to engage in what you're facing and come up with possibilities and explore them with you within a framework that you both understand, felt really exciting. 

AG:    I think one of the things that I found about the programme and the group of consultants that I worked with was it was such a diverse group of individuals; people had different motivations, different levels of experience and there was no right level of experience. It was about an approach and the ability to be able to go on that journey. 

SA:    The learning style at The King's Fund for me, it starts from a baseline of respect. There's a real respect for everybody in the room for what they're bringing and that sharing of experience and understanding and them helping you to express that and share it in a way that builds on everybody's strengths. 

AM:    The Cascading Leadership programme has made, I would say, quite a big difference to me personally. It has given me more confidence. It's raised my self-esteem. It's given me belief that what I am doing is right, I'm on the right track. It's allowed me to use those skills that I've learnt on the programme with my staff team. 

AG:    I'm very aware that some of the skills and techniques that I've picked up during the course of my supervision, I've been able to apply within the organisation and encourage others to use those same techniques. That's helped them and their relationships with other organisations because I do think that leadership at all levels is such an important part of everyone's development and that helps us to be the best organisation that we can be when we're engaging with others within the sector.

SA:    The benefit to me of being involved in Cascading Leadership is the investment it's given me in my skills and development and the knock-on effect that's had for my organisation. It's increased my confidence, it created space and let me get to know others throughout the UK that I wouldn't come across otherwise, so built my own network, and through supporting others and exploring their questions you often get answers for yourself and learning in that way too. 

What does the course involve?

For the consultants, the course is organised around three workshops, where you will learn different techniques and skills, hear from previous programme participants and take part in small group supervision sessions.

The first workshop takes place over two days and provides the opportunity to meet and network with the other consultants in your group. At the end of the workshop, you will receive the details of your partner, who you will be working with over the next nine months. The two of you will meet at least five times over that period.

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

Between workshops, you will work with your partner to help them think about the issues they are facing, while using supervision from a senior member of The King’s Fund Leadership team to develop a critical understanding of your own leadership and its implications for your work. There will be an additional one-to-one supervision session towards the end of the programme.

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

  • accurately assess and develop your facilitation skills
  • consider, test and develop a set of core concepts to underpin your consultancy role so that you feel confident to ask questions 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 a consultant
  • develop your ability to fully understand your partner and what they might need
  • use supervision to review and develop your practice as a consultant or senior leader

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.

By the end of the programme, you will be able to:

  • 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.

How will I benefit?  

An external evaluation of the Cascading Leadership programme found significant benefits for consultants, including:

  • developing and practising specific leadership skills to support their own organisation
  • stronger relationships with key stakeholders
  • supporting a stronger local sector.
I’m very aware that some of the skills and techniques I’ve picked up during the course of my supervision I’ve been able to apply within the organisation.
Consultant 2019
Cascading leadership has helped me build my confidence and I really do think the relationship between the two charity leaders – that peer relationships – is as beneficial to the consultant as to the partner.
Consultant 2019
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 2018
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 2018

2020 programme dates

The leadership development days will take place at The King’s Fund on the following dates:

  • workshop one: 3–4 March 2020
  • workshop two: 23 June 2020
  • workshop three: 24 November 2020

You must be available for all the dates on the course. The consultant–partner meeting dates and locations will be agreed by the two participants.

How much does it cost?

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 much time will I have to commit?

Consultants attend one two-day workshop and two one-day workshops at The King’s Fund in London. After being matched with a partner, the pairs must meet five times, and each meeting should last up to two hours. The consultant will usually travel to the partner’s organisation, but you can agree to meet somewhere else if convenient. Some sessions may take place over Skype.

How to apply 

If you would like to apply to become a consultant, please complete the online application form and submit it by 9 December 2019. 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 to your own organisation. Shortlisted consultants will also be asked to take part in a brief telephone interview. We will let all applicants know about our decision by the end of January 2020.

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.

If you would like further information about the Cascading Leadership programme, please take a look at our frequently asked questions page.

Become a Cascading Leadership consultant

If you would like to apply to become a Cascading Leadership consultant, please complete the online application form

The deadline for applications is 9 December 2019.

Apply now