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Isla Baliszewska

islaBackground & Experience

A fascination with the mind, how people behave, and Argentine Tango led Isla to a career in coaching and mentoring. Her business life encompassed running and owning companies, working in finance and leasing, IT and recycling, telephony, asset management, property management and publishing. Working with sales teams and leaders to gain customers, grow business and develop new opportunities involved all those fascinating aspects of stretching mindsets, encouraging strategic thinking, being innovative and embracing change.

Isla founded Smart Coaching & Training to bring together a group of fabulous people with expertise across all areas of people and organisational development. Her own clients have come from diverse private, public and corporate sectors including technology, e-commerce, HR, fashion and retail, leisure, social care, compliance and insurance. She has worked with numerous government backed business support schemes including Ready for Business and Growth Accelerator and supports individual clients through career change and progression.

Client history and assignments include: Improve International | Travelodge | Nursing & Midwifery Council| South West Councils | Wiltshire Police WAA | Johnson & Johnson | Sarsen Technology | Reading Council | A4E | Wiltshire Council | NHS | RNIB | Lumleys Insurance |Portman & Staffordshire Building Societies | Conservative Central Office | Smiths News | JMann Associates | individual leadership coaching / career coaching/ personal development.

Approach & Benefits

Isla’s extensive coaching and mentoring experience is focused on helping businesses, leaders, teams, entrepreneurs and individuals achieve smarter results. She tackles areas from business growth through strategic planning and innovation to developing teams and individuals to communicate better, become more motivated, engaged and capable in delivering profitable outcomes. Her support is resourceful, committed, results oriented focusing on targets and objectives, helping clients set goals, review options and implement successful systems and processes, while enjoying what they do. 

The benefits of Isla’s approach include:

  • the opportunity for a reality check, time and space to make the right choices
  • stretching mindset and changing perspective to build strengths, getting different and better results
  • discovering innovative ways to build confidence, be resilient and communicate powerfully
  • having a sounding board, a personal check point, a challenging and supportive partner
  • encouraging growing self-awareness, the ability to self-promote, self-present
  • high impact support for businesses and leaders to create and grow sustainable enterprises
  • a dynamic approach to planning and strategy
  • clarity on career change and progression, boosting personal performance
  • transforming uncertainty into opportunity.


Selected Testimonials

“Isla has been fundamental in helping me manage my business from being a business plan to becoming reality. Isla has great skill in helping you step outside of ‘the moment’ to look at the bigger picture, helping to prioritise what I really need to be working on to drive the business forward and to help create realistic timescales to achieve the work and which are still challenging but not unrealistic. I would highly recommend Isla to anyone who runs their own business and wants to grow and move their business forward.” Director high-technology retail company

We employed Isla to work with a member of staff to enable them to build positive relationships with team members. Isla was very effective, at all times acknowledging confidentiality and establishing trust. Ensuring the staff member took an active part in the sessions and developed action plans meant that the coaching journey ensured development towards the objectives. I have no hesitation in recommending Isla to organisations which are looking for coaching solutions.” HR Manager international training agency

After I had been made redundant, Isla helped me pick up the pieces and drew out all my strengths and her brilliant written summaries of our sessions were so constructive, positive and incisive. She listened carefully and made no  judgements, but gave me exercises to help me identify strengths and clarify goals. Encouraging, supportive, warm and thoroughly professional, Isla is a first class careers counsellor and I thoroughly recommend her to anyone at a crossroads in their lives. I honestly doubt I would have such a great job without her intervention.Development Director

Other Activities & Professional contributions

Qualified in personal and business coaching and mentoring, Isla is also a certified SFEDI Business Advisor,  NLP Master Practitioner, IAPC&M Accredited Master Mentor, member of and trainer for the Association of Business Mentors and member of the Association for Coaching. She is Head of Training at TEEG (The Entrepreneurial Education Group) and was a contributor on the MentorsMe initiative, as part of Task & Finish Committees at The Department of Innovation Business & Skills, developing the business support landscape.

Speaking appearances and workshops have covered soft skills, career progression and development, entrepreneurship, managing change and uncertainty, the emotional journey at work, building confidence and resilience, presentation and leadership skills. And where does the Argentine Tango fit in? Trust, Appreciation, Negotiation, Graciousness, Openness – all elements of that great dance, and all elemental to being a great coach and mentor.