What people say about us 

"St Monica Trust is a charity based in the South West which provides dementia, residential, nursing and respite care for older people, as well as offering a care at home service and retirement villages and sheltered accommodation, for those who are able to live more independently. We have about 1000 residents.

The culture of this organisation is that colleagues who work for us are typically very empathetic, strong clinicians, passionate about offering vulnerable adults dignity and respect in the last phase of their life. As a consequence managing performance and having open and honest conversations which include good coaching, is typically much harder for this occupational group, who want to be caring. Building Fierce into our performance management process has enabled me to support managers to begin having improved conversations with their teams about a range of work related behaviours. The Fierce training that we have been able to offer has put firmly on the corporate agenda the debate that’s its right to have good strong conversations, even if these are not always the easiest.

We are on a journey and continue to build this area of capability with our managers. However as an anecdote I thought you might be interested to hear that yesterday I had a phone call from a senior operational managers saying that his managers are having conversations with their teams about personal attributes being demonstrated. However they need to ensure the standards the managers are now applying and talking to their teams about need to be consistent i.e. conversations are happening but managers now need to talk to each other more to ensure they are being consistent as a leadership team in these conversations. This is a huge step forward from where we were five years ago when these conversations did not even happen. Fierce has played a significant role in enabling us as a charity to make that change. "

Karen Findlay
HR Manager
St Monica Trust


“Around 70 managers within whg were provided with Fierce Training by PDA in 2013. The investment was made following feedback from a colleague engagement survey which indicated that we needed to develop management confidence and competence in managing performance. 

The training, which took place over two days was extremely well received by the participants and created a real buzz amongst our management colleagues. The training was accessible and engaging and provided managers with practical tools for improving the way that they communicate and manage their people.

We were keen to get the most from our investment so tasked senior managers with embedding the training through discussions at management team meetings and 1-1s. We also set targets for improvement in relation to key questions about the way managers relate to their teams and deal with difficult issues. 

The results of the 2014 engagement survey demonstrated a significant improvement in the perception of colleagues in these areas and we believe that Fierce played a role in this. 

PDA were a joy to work with and I would definitely recommend them to other organisations. "

Theresa Huburn
Director of People and Learning at Walsall Housing Group


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“I very rarely make recommendations, but I used Fierce Conversations as part of an intensive leadership programme at Wolverhampton Homes and it has made an amazing difference. All my managers are much more confident in dealing with issues of inappropriate conduct or capability; indeed these issues are less likely to arise because of greater staff involvement and improved all round staff management skills.
As managers, we now have a shared language and style of behaviour which gets the best out of our terrific workforce. I am proud to say that learning how to have Fierce Conversations has definitely helped us to attain 3 Stars with Excellent Prospects from the Audit Commission who recognised our strong leadership and massive cultural change."

Lesley Roberts
CEO of Wolverhampton Homes

“We have worked regularly with pda, Sarah, David and colleagues over the last 5/6 years. This started when we commissioned them to deliver Fierce to our senior leadership team . We were so impressed that Fierce has now been rolled out to all managers and most supervisors with great effect. Unlike other programmes Fierce is not only a brilliant concept but also leaves all participants with practical tools to take away, adapt and use in their day to day roles. We have found that “fierce conversations” whether team, coaching, delegation or confrontation conversations have crept into our company vocabulary and we all speak the same language! Sarah and David are also particularly good at making their programmes real, they spend time to make sure that the examples they use make sense to our business and they focus well on our needs. As a result , despite the fact that Fierce is a well-documented package and concept I never feel that it is “something off the shelf” but is tweaked to get the maximum benefit for us.”

Sue Kunynec
Director of Corporate Services
Wolverhampton Homes


"Fierce Conversations has been a part of our leadership development since 2006.

We realised that we had a gap in our leadership development for some time around people having conversations that count especially those conversations leaders considered that were more challenging. 

Our CEO having seen the Fierce approach, recommended we explored this further and having met Sarah and David we found a real ‘fit’ between them, the model and ourselves.

The session has been a regular and core element of our leadership development academies. Feedback from colleagues attending has consistently shown it to be one of the highest valued events. The techniques used have not just proved to be great theory in the ‘classroom’; they have been put into practice numerous times across our business. 

As well as giving people tools to do the job Fierce has given us a vocabulary around the topic of conversations that count and this too has helped us to develop a culture where having the right conversations is embedded.

I can highly recommend Sarah, David and Fierce Conversations: in summary real people practical tools in an engaging session.”

Helena Moore
Director of Comms and OD, Bromford Group


"People Development Associates delivered the Fierce Conversations Programme to a group of our senior managers. Rarely have I seen this group so energised, so engaged with their development, and to so instantly recognise the value and possible application of what they were learning. This owed much to the course content, but even more to Sarah’s delivery style; which was warm and engaging, conversational, full of interesting illustrative anecdotes and brought the material alive in an easily accessible manner. Our teams don’t respond well to an academic or theoretical approach and that’s not what we got. Testament to the event’s success is that like no other, many of the terms and labels used in the course content have passed into everyday usage."

Tim Pinder 
CEO Peaks and Plains


"I have personally been the recipient of the excellent training from this team on a number of occasions and each time have found the experience very appropriate to my needs and really illuminating in terms of the challenges encountered in every day management/leadership of services.
My first experience was as part of leadership training offered by the Health Foundation, we were lucky enough to have a number of days training and it covered an immense amount of influencing and positive techniques for managing many challenging situations (including one’s own behaviour!). I cannot recommend them strongly enough; they enhanced my leadership skills and practice immensely.
This led me to commission training for my team and we have done this now on a number of occasions. The PDA team have helped us with many issues facing NHS teams in the current environment, ranging from team building to dealing with difficult situations. The techniques taught are completely appropriate for the environment and challenges present in the modern NHS. My teams of all levels have really enjoyed and valued the training offered and just as importantly say that they have used the skills learnt on a daily basis to assist them in managing both leadership/management tasks and patient interventions.
The PDA team have the capacity to design training to assist with many different challenges and have been very helpful in understanding how we can influence the agenda of the NHS. It is refreshing to have assistance from a team that whilst are not a team of NHS Consultants are able to fully understand the issues and develop programmes to forward the agenda. The fierce conversations programme has been particularly helpful in equipping my staff for managing in these difficult times and it is fun. From my own perspective it always “shows” in enhanced capability and performance when the teams have completed this training.
I have no hesitation in recommending them to any NHS team and would be happy to talk to anyone considering this about our experiences. We will definitely be using them in the future."

Jude Monteath 
Head of Therapies
Royal Free  NHS Trust


“100% of participants reviewed have used the tools since the workshop”

Sue Beck
Learning & Development Manager
Centrica Energy