Good questions challenge prevailing thinking. Coupled with action, questions can reveal what’s possible and unlock progress. Very often the most powerful questions stand on the shoulders of earlier exploratory questions. I work with questions.
Taking new perspectives, enabling and informing a round of thinking that goes further, understanding clearly what’s possible and what’s needed to reach further – these are all qualities of being surrounded by good and great questions.
Join me here as I employ questions, working closely with some of the UK’s most exciting new companies and in research projects, book and podcast.
Ben Wales is a coach to entrepreneurial CEOs, their senior teams and individual leaders. His coaching focus is individual and team high performance and leadership. With his highest performing clients he has created an approach called a Questioning Environment to stimulate the quality of thinking that leads to breakthrough and accelerates success.
Originally a rocket scientist for the UK’s equivalent of NASA, Ben pivoted into a 19-year career running and growing start-up and scale-up companies in entrepreneurial hotspots London and Stockholm. He realised the #1 ingredient of the breakthroughs that accelerated the companies he led are the moments that people and teams pulled together in a way that exceeded all expectations, including their own.
After studying and researching coaching and behaviour change at Masters level at Henley Business School Ben founded his coaching practice to work with leaders in quick-growing, independent and private equity funded companies – a way to impact teams with the potential and ambition to create compelling success stories.
Since first meeting Ben in early 2019 - I knew early on that he would bring value to my leadership growth and thereby the growth of our company. Ben has a knack for asking the right questions and not shying away from probing things in a challenging way. To have Ben onside, fighting for your best, is not just about having a reassuring ally for the business leader, it will facilitate positive growth for the wider leadership team resulting in positive outcomes for every employee of an organisation.
Tim Cocking, Founder & Managing Director, BrightCare
Ben is good at asking poignant questions and introducing alternate ways of looking at things, which helps me reflect and think about how I approach situations. Ben never rushes; we take as long as we need on a discussion, either talking about long standing goals or digesting individual events. He always offers analytical and constructive insight and I always look forward to unpacking life with him – I wholeheartedly recommend Ben as a coach.
Peter Tooke, Head of Technical Services, ramsac
I’ve been a member of Vistage group 385 for almost 2 years now and the value it has provided me is immeasurable. I’ve been really impressed with the quality of the group, our leader/coach (Ben Wales) and the speakers who regularly come to address the group on specific subject areas. I have found that many particularly taxing business challenges have been so much easier to solve after discussion either one on one with Ben or as part of a group discussion. I can vouch very strongly from personal experience for the benefits that Vistage membership provides – I am convinced that my company’s accelerated success is in no small part to the value I gain from Vistage membership and form Ben’s leadership and coaching.
David Buckingham, CEO, Ecrebo
I'm making better, more informed decisions that ultimately leads to achieving profitable growth in a faster time. The honesty and vulnerability that everyone in the group brings to each session is testament to Ben's ability to create a safe environment where we can all go hard at the issue's our businesses face in full knowledge that there is total trust and respect for each member of the group. Ben and V385 have made me realise that I can't possibly have all the answers, I sometimes need help and being part of the group has made me a more effective leader and Cloud Distribution more successful.
Greg Harris, Co-Founder & Managing Director, Cloud Distribution
Ben is an outstanding Chair of the Vistage CEO peer group I’m a member of. He is a calm and well organised facilitator for the group with a critical ability to help maintain focus in excitable moments! I also work with him as a one-to-one coach and find him insightful, thought provoking and always willing to challenge my preconceptions and assumptions. His sessions definitely keep me on my toes and leave no room for complacency, which I value immensely.
Neil Pizzey, Managing Director, Amazon Filters
Ben has the ability to distil a problem in a very measured and succinct way, using both his real life experience and training as a coach. This has enabled me to effectively get to the heart of issues, eliminating background noise and distractions.
Michael Potter, Managing Director, Curve
After two years my involvement in the CEO peer group chaired by Ben continues to be invaluable in the growth and development of the business I run and the team I lead.
Martin Flick, CEO, Olive Communications
Working with Ben at Vistage and directly I have been introduced to concepts that have improved the structure of my company and enhanced my interaction with colleagues. After only a few months I found that focusing on the important issues was creating time for further business development. I have also been able to apply what I have learnt to my personal and family life. In less than two years I have been able to implement significant changes and I am excited about what lies ahead.
Andrew Boyle, Founder and CEO, LGB&Co
I’ve worked with Ben for several years now – initially as a facilitator where he ran brilliant workshops for our Leadership Team, and more recently for 121 coaching sessions. Ben is extremely insightful and has really helped me develop as a manager and leader. Working with Ben, as someone outside of our company, has proven to be really valuable in terms of providing fresh, independent thought and challenges to the topics we discuss. I always leave our sessions feeling motivated and with new ideas.
Matt Longman, Head of Client Relations, ramsac
Ben’s coaching, mentorship and guidance has been outstanding. He has an incredible way of exposing the real business issues and provides a great sounding board when finding solutions to some of the biggest challenges I face as an MD.
I've gained the confidence to push the business forward and it has resulted in much faster and more sustainable revenue and profit growth. I’d recommend Ben to anyone wanting to build a successful company.
Sean Sweet, Founder and Managing Director, Blend
Ben has widened my view so that instead of being dragged down into the operational day to day problems, I am able to spend an increasing amount of time focusing my thoughts and energy into strategic and long term opportunities, both at the professional and personal level. Instead of living in the moment I live increasingly six months out, a year out, five years out. This has huge benefits to me as a leader, and also benefits my personal well-being.
Gareth Burrows, CTO, BreatheHR
"A born coach, Ben always finds a way to ask those deep, thought-provoking questions and has a natural ability to break down my challenges into more obvious and solvable pieces"
Paul Nolan, International CEO, Benebone
"Ben’s coaching, mentorship and guidance has been outstanding. He has an incredible way of exposing the real business issues and provides a great sounding board when finding solutions to some of the biggest challenges I face as an MD."
Sean Sweet, Founder & Managing Director, Blend
Ben is an exceptional coach whom I hired when faced with one of the biggest business decisions of my life. I knew Ben's reputation: he is insightful, incredibly bright and equipped with a brilliant toolkit and an ability to get quickly to the crux of the matter and so help his client to get there and find their own, workable solutions. The results were incredible for me. With his coaching I was able to find the right direction in a difficult and confusing time and also purpose, calm and renewed focus - which felt quite a challenge before we began!
Helen Martin, Entrepreneur
"An adviser at the strategic level, but also got his hands dirty and helped us with development of programme we then rolled out across over 20 of our divisions. The team and I loved working with Ben and I'd work with him again any time given the opportunity."
Hugh Murphy, Senior Leader, 3M
A leading coach to CEO’s, executive teams and individual leaders I am known for enabling big shifts in a short time.
After 19 years leading companies I know it’s rarely plain sailing and can be lonely at the top and also that accelerating a company requires a sustained focus and support enabling CEO, executive team, and key leaders to thrive and perform. This is why my coaching and facilitation practice is focussed to work with growth companies in each of these three areas.
My credentials to coach include:
- 19 years running, growing and leading companies in founder, managing director and divisional manager roles
- Studying and researching Coaching and Behaviour Change at Master's degree level at Henley Business School
- Spending 1000 hours a year working directly with CEOs, leadership teams and key leaders in successful growth businesses
Supporting CEOs and leaders at all levels during periods of growth, transformation and high challenge
Enabling senior teams to escape dysfunction, achieve high performance and become transformational
Is This a Question?
Almost anything is possible when you and your teams ask exceptional questions.
Every SME leader knows they need to tap into the ingenuity and wisdom of their teams to find new answers. But too frequently they’re frustrated that even their brightest people and strongest teams are trapped in status quo and groupthink.
At a time when fresh, clear and purposeful thinking is essential to thriving in in a fast-changing world, ‘Is This A Question?’ shows how routinely asking exceptional questions leads to fresh insight and breakthrough thinking.
With this book you will:
• Improve your questioning by following 5 simple rules
• Use freeing questions to reliably surface the exceptional questions needed to unlock any situation
• Release insight and breakthrough thinking in teams with a step-by-step guide to create exceptional Questioning Environments™
• Generate advantage by actioning every insight
Ben Wales is a coach to entrepreneurial CEOs and their senior teams. Originally a rocket scientist for the UK’s equivalent of NASA, Ben pivoted into a 19-year career running and growing start-up and scale-up companies in entrepreneurial hotspots London and Stockholm. Today, in his coaching practice, Ben focuses on individual and team high performance.
He developed the Questioning Environment approach to stimulate the quality of thinking that leads to breakthrough and accelerates success in his highest performing clients.