Alison Keyworth is the founder of AJK Leadership Coaching. She is a Level 7 ILM accredited executive coach and member of the Association for Coaching, with over 18 years’ experience of facilitating the learning and development of others.

Coach & Mentor

Alongside running a successful leadership coaching business, Alison is also a coach/mentor educator, having led and facilitated postgraduate coach training programmes at several universities. Her dual roles in business and academia afford her the opportunity to stay abreast of the latest practice, developments and research in her specialist fields.

Leadership Experience

Her own leadership experience stems from previous positions held within the secondary and higher education sectors, and her own excellent mentors. She has experienced first-hand what a privilege and responsibility it is to be a leader, and the importance of continuous professional development to help maximise self-performance and the performance of others.

High Success Rate

With extensive experience of working with middle and senior leaders, Alison has been involved in mentoring people during their early careers and mentoring their mentors. She has coached many colleagues through to successful promotion, and supervised countless postgraduate research projects in the fields of coaching, mentoring and leadership.


Sharon Burnett, Executive Headteacher, Plymouth

I had the privilege of engaging in executive coaching with Alison, and it was truly a transformative experience. Three words I would use to describe the coaching are thought-provoking, challenging, and empowering.

Alison’s coaching is not just about providing solutions; it’s about guiding you to discover your own path. Through our sessions, I was able to carve out dedicated time for self-reflection, gaining invaluable insights into my role and the profound impact I have on children’s lives through the decisions I make.  Alison can create an environment that encourages deep introspection, and this process allowed me to unravel layers to discover an understanding of myself as both an individual and a leader. The impact of this self-discovery has influenced not only how I navigate the good times but also empowering me to face challenges head-on. Her guidance has also instilled in me the importance of treating myself with care and compassion—an invaluable lesson that extends far beyond the professional realm.

I wholeheartedly recommend Alison’s executive coaching as it’s a catalyst for positive change that ripples through both personal and professional aspects of life.

Richard Stevens MBE, DL, FCILT, MBA (HC), Managing Director, Go South West

I am pleased to provide this testimonial for Alison Keyworth, who has been serving as a professional coach for myself, the Managing Director, and a senior team member of our company for several years.

Engaging a professional coach can be a delicate decision, as it involves entrusting them with the development of high-potential talent within the organisation. One misstep can have lasting consequences on both the individual’s growth and the overall relationship between the coached and the team. In this context, I can confidently assert that Alison Keyworth has consistently demonstrated the perfect balance of empathy and challenge, making her an invaluable asset to my team’s professional development.

Alison’s ability to understand and connect with individuals on a personal level is truly commendable. Her empathetic approach creates a safe and supportive environment, fostering open communication and trust. This is a crucial foundation for any coaching relationship, and Alison excels in establishing and maintaining it effortlessly.

 Equally impressive is Alison’s skill in challenging individuals to stretch their limits and reach new heights of performance. She does not shy away from pushing boundaries, encouraging people to step outside their comfort zones and explore untapped potential. Alison’s coaching style is dynamic, adapting to the unique needs and aspirations of each individual she works with.

Under Alison’s guidance, I have witnessed people experience remarkable personal and professional growth. Her insights and feedback have been instrumental in shaping not only individual behaviours but also in enhancing the overall cohesion and effectiveness of our leadership team. Alison’s impact extends beyond the coaching sessions, influencing our organisational culture positively.

 In conclusion, I wholeheartedly recommend Alison Keyworth as a professional coach. Her ability to navigate the delicate balance of empathy and challenge sets her apart, ensuring that those she coaches not only develop themselves but also elevate their performance to new heights. I am grateful for the positive impact Alison has had on our team and look forward to continuing our partnership for years to come.

Dr Mark Leather, Associate Professor of Education

Alison Keyworth is without doubt the best leader I have had in over 20 years in education.  Alison genuinely cared for me and my colleagues.  I always felt as though Alison was listening to me and knew that her solution-focused approach to solving problems was a positive way of working.  Individually, Alison definitely brought out the best in me and helped me navigate the stresses of my professional academic practice.  I recognise that I benefitted from her wealth of experience and qualifications in coaching and mentoring. This was all achieved with a good sense of fun and humour whilst navigating some serious issues.

Dr Helen Goodall, HGAssociates

Alison is a skillful facilitator. She draws on her educational background to make sure that individuals are able to contribute their thoughts and opinions in the context of group conversations. Her clear communication, structured approach and strong group management skills enable teams and groups to engage in constructive sessions, whatever their focus. Alison’s solo facilitation work with my own clients has received excellent feedback and her ability to create a safe environment in which reluctant participants feel able to contribute has been particularly noted.

Dr Jonathan Harvey, Senior Lecturer in Special Educational Needs and Disability Studies

Alison was a colleague at Plymouth Marjon University for a number of years. I worked closely with Alison as she was my line manager in her role as Director of the Institute of Education. Working with Alison was extremely rewarding. It was clear to me that Alison used her exceptional coaching skills to create an environment within the Institute that was based on professional respect, trust and collegiality. I can honestly say that Alison was the best line manager that I have ever had, and I felt motivated to go the ‘extra mile’. To me that speaks volumes and is testament to the kind of environment that Alison created. Alison’s skill in creating thriving work environments is far beyond anything I have ever encountered. 

Mark Collins Commercial Director, Go SouthWest

When I was introduced to Alison, I was a bit sceptical about coaching, as I had seen it done wrong on many occasions.  

Within minutes of our kick off meeting I realised that Alison was a ‘real coach’. Alison came along at a time in my career where I was hitting a bit of a brick wall and getting increasingly frustrated. 

Alison’s sessions have allowed me to grow as a leader, unpacking personal blockers and setting tough objectives, pushing me outside my comfort zone when needed. 

I am two years into my journey with Alison and I cannot recommend her enough. Executive coaching with her has allowed me to personally develop alongside the business, enabling me to become a better leader and person.  

Professor Saul Bloxham, Dean of Health & Wellbeing

Alison’s leadership is founded on a strong set of professional and personal values and principles that establish clear boundaries. The working environment she skillfully creates builds a culture of respect and kindness that enables her teams to thrive.

Alison’s coaching expertise nurtures and challenges those she works with to be their authentic selves and brings out the best in others. Her executive coaching is founded on years of coaching experience leading academic teams in higher education, and educating senior and middle leaders from a wide-range of sectors to become effective coach/mentor practitioners themselves.

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