As we come through the Covid-19 pandemic, a time when the importance of self-compassion and the ripple effects of our positive and negative mental, emotional and physical health are widely recognised, Executive Leadership Coach and Founder of Leaders Are MAD – Making A Difference, Claire Walton, 52 from North Yorkshire, released her debut book, in which she shares how achieving your Highest Potential Self (HPS) can not only bring out the best in you, for you, but also lead to incredible lasting change in those you influence.
This week, Claire became a global bestselling author when her book, ‘SUPER NEURO YOU – Achieve more success for less stress’, flew straight to the top of the Amazon bestseller charts within hours of its release, hitting the Number 1 spot in categories such as; Business Coaching and Mentoring, Business Consulting, HR, Change Management, Physiological Aspects of Psychology… and many more.
Written during the Covid-19 pandemic, ‘Super Neuro You’ is designed to help readers access the superpowers of their Highest Potential Self (HPS) and positively influence the people they connect with: family, friends, colleagues and people in the community, creating a huge ripple effect of positive change. In the Author’s words: “Now that is MAD coaching – Making A Difference! This book should come with a health warning,” says Claire “Reading it could seriously improve your performance, prospects and overall physical, mental and emotional wellbeing!”
The book takes the reader through a journey of change they will no doubt be inspired by. It’s a book that can be read purely for pleasure or interactively, by applying the exercises undertaken by the main character Laura, an executive director in her mid forties. Laura is successful but she doesn’t feel like she’s living up to her highest potential. She seeks out someone who can help her with transformational change – Claire. Throughout the book, readers take the journey with Laura, reading Laura’s journal in which she reflects on life; to the sessions with her coach and her attempts to practice the techniques shared with her.
You see Laura’s powerful transition from a successful, yet exhausted woman feeling unfulfilled by her success, to a happy and healthy woman who is a role model for success proactively sharing her learning with others. You hear Laura reflect on the ups and downs towards achieving her ideal life and the lessons she’s learned along the way.
In the intro to the book Claire shared parts of her own story. The rest of the book is all about Laura and her life. Claire told us, “Laura is a fictional character, a composite of many of my clients and a little sprinkle of me.” She adds, “I wanted to demonstrate that anything is possible – if you’re
struggling with something, remember your struggles can be used as fuel for you to make a difference. I have always found this helps me get through difficult times. The main character is fictional to protect my clients and at the same time allow the reader to see close up the detail of a
person’s life, excerpts from coaching sessions and the impact coaching can have”
The final chapter is a few words from Claire’s perspective on helping clients like Laura. “It doesn’t matter how much experience we have, or how many letters come after our name,” says Claire. “Two important aspects of life are; commitment to learning and choosing to go MAD! Lifelong learning is key to our growth and fulfilment and we can all make a difference in the world. I advocate for people trying to be their best and as long as they are trying, I will always encourage and support them.”
Claire is the Founder of Leaders Are MAD – Making A Difference a business born from her passion to inspire and enable people to become leaders who make a real difference in a positive way through their influence of their role. Claire has an extensive background in Senior Leadership and Executive Director roles across diverse industries working at big brands including; ASDA, WHSmith, Dixons Retail and Carlsberg… she has also supported leaders within large global and UK organisations such as; Convergys, Morrisons, Coop, Benenden Health, Japan Tobacco International, Coop, Home Group, Arriva Trains Group, Barbour, Computershare…
Claire’s “MAD” story began in her twenties working for ASDA, learning from the likes of CEO, Archie Norman and Retail Director, Allan Leighton. She said; “These guys taught me how to be a leader who makes a difference,“ remembers Claire. “Archie and Allan were driven by a passion and a purpose, they had clear vision and steered the organisation through a renewal to become one of Britain’s most successful turnarounds.”
Following her success with ASDA, Claire moved into financial services where she took with her, her toolkit of ‘purpose, vision, values and culture’ to effect great culture change and business performance. “It wasn’t always recognised and rewarded,” says Claire. “Sometimes people don’t want to rock the boat or upset the status quo. They want to make a difference but don’t always have the courage of their conviction to prioritise this. I’ve always had the courage of my conviction.
‘MAD’ leadership is not always easy and comes with challenges and choices in how to respond to them. We have to develop the skills to apply our courage wisely, not something I’ve always been able to do in the past and hence why I continue to develop my own skills. I’ve continued to look
for opportunities to ‘Make A Difference’ and have worked hard to learn, develop and grow as a ‘MAD leader.’ – My vision is a world in which leaders Make A Difference, where this MAD-ness is not the exception but the norm.”
Following completion of a Master of Business Administration (MBA) and several high profile roles with national and international companies, Claire set up “Leaders Are MAD” in 2014 and she’s been supporting business leaders through individual, team and group coaching and facilitation ever since.
Claire describes the values that drive her as:
- Purpose – To act with the ‘why’ in mind
- Passion – To act with heart and soul, energy, commitment and Courage
- Care– To act with consideration for the impact on others
- Fairness – To act with integrity, treat everyone equally and without trying to achieve an unjust advantage
- Challenge – To act with curiosity, and question everything to lead to confidence and improved outcomes
- Resourcefulness – To act with pragmatism and flexibility, overcoming difficulties through quick, clever, creative problem solving
With the immediate overnight success the book has already had, it’s clear to see that ‘SUPER NEURO YOU – Achieve more success for less stress’ is needed and it has already been well received by many across the globe. The book not only follows Laura’s story, it is also full of resources for
readers to take away to work on themselves.
Claire said; “I’m delighted to have become a best-selling author, I was so excited about the book launch, but in all honesty, also a little anxious to see what people think when they read it. I have endeavoured to be; courageous, confident, creative, clear and compassionate in what I have written and I look forward to hearing people’s thoughts and connecting and working with more people in the future.”
On launch day (22nd April) the Kindle version was on sale for 99p and all profits from sales that day are to be donated to a local domestic abuse charity close to Claire’s heart. As someone who has experienced domestic abuse in the past, Claire supports the charity regularly through her pro-bono work and fundraising campaigns. Claire said; “As part of my continued work with My Sisters Place an independent specialist ‘One Stop Shop’ for women who have experienced or are experiencing domestic violence – I will be donating all profits from the book launch day Kindle sales, to help more women and children live free from all forms of violence and abuse.”
The book has been published by the award winning team at Authors and Co, who work to showcase and celebrate empowering stories of women.