I‘m Michael Nicholas

Coach, Corporate Trainer, Professional Speaker, Author

Inspiring Leaders to Take Emotional Intelligence from Theory to Practice

Leading Expert in Applied Emotional Intelligence

These are increasingly challenging times for all leaders, with change happening with previously unseen speed, driving volatility to new heights and forcing even the best to handle uncertainty on an ongoing basis. No longer is it possible to treat unknowns as temporary, and neither can they simply be removed. Instead, we must evolve ourselves to match the complexity we now face.

This has put the ability to develop Emotional Intellience (EI) at the heart of modern-day leadership, impacting everything from effective decision making, to leadership style, to quality of relationships, resilience, agility and balance.

Many haven’t responded very well, and the performance gap between poor leaders and great ones has become cavernous. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Contrary to the common believe that social and emotional capabilities can’t be taught, Michael has a proven ability to help others achieve real changes in Emotional Intelligence that result in improvements in personal performance.

Inspiring, Insightful and Thought-Provoking Articles, Straight to Your Mailbox

Great leaders know that ongoing learning is increasingly essential to achieving high performance. Today, however, there is so much information and advice available it can be difficult to know where to start.

My goal in producing this newsletter is to offer a means to ease this burden, without overloading your mailbox. If you choose to sign up, every 2-4 weeks, I’ll send you links to three leadership articles that have caught my attention during my extensive research, each introduced with some personal insights and recommendations.

Why not let me do the hard work, so you don’t have to!

Leadership Coach

The results have been a revelation to me, particularly because the biggest benefit I’ve experienced wasn’t anything I set out to get.

Chris Green

Chief Executive Officer, Arcus

Corporate Trainer

Michael knows his subject. It is obvious to all that he has invested many, many years to reach the top of his game.
Julia Jones

Head of Global Academy & Associate Network, Thomas International

Professional Speaker

Michael engaged the audience and certainly persuaded them to want to look at things differently in the future. He is worth listening to if you get the opportunity.
John Stevenage

Chief Executive, Mensa Limited



Unlike many business books, this one manages to address a complex subject in depth, while remaining readable, digestible and stimulating. A brilliant book!
Rhian Bartlett

Commercial Director, Screwfix, on "The Little Black Book of Decision Making"

Skill Requirements are Changing

According to the World Economic Forum (WEF), half of the top 10 skills that leaders will need in 2020 will relate directly to aspects of making decisions that are almost entirely dependent on Emotional Intelligence.

In 2015, “creativity” was listed as the tenth most important work-related skill by the WEF. By 2020, it is expected to be number three. Over the same period, “critical thinking” looks likely to move up from fourth to second, while “complex problem solving” will retain its position at number one. These are all aspects of what it takes to make complex decisions in an uncertain world. Furthermore, “judgement and decision making” was on the list explicitly at number six, and “cognitive flexibility” – which is itself essential to creativity – was in at number ten.

The challenge is that – like leadership training in general – none of these things can be ‘trained’ through instruction; however, they can be developed. This distinction may be subtle, but its importance could not be greater.

EI: Mindset, Not Skillset

Emotional Intelligence has, for some time already, been widely recognised as the leading differentiator required for success in our fast-changing world. But if the WEF’s predictions for the top ten ‘skills’ in 2020 are correct, its importance can only increase. This will make the ability to develop it ever more vital. 

Michael’s approach to developing EI is built around the critical understanding that it is not a skill in the traditional sense; rather, it is the result of having a certain mindset. This explains why attempts to ‘train’ or ‘teach’ it regularly fail, and may have contributed to the common belief it can’t be taught.

Armed with this awareness, perhaps it is clear why so many of the tips, tools and techniques recommended for EI development fail to deliver. The only way to build such leadership capabilities is to ‘construct’ not ’instruct’ them – enabling individuals to develop them from the inside out by creating conditions that enable learning. The result: personal ownership, contextual relevance, flexible application, and real world, tangible results.

Every so often, something or someone comes along to challenge your thinking and make you approach life in a different way. Michael is one of those people. His thoughts, ideas, stories, experience, and especially his use of powerful questions, gave me more than I ever expected and improved my performance more than I could have imagined.
Martin Jones

former CEO, M&S Reliance, India

Published Author

The Little Black Book of Decision MakinG

Making Complex Decisions with Confidence in a Fast Moving World

The decisions we make every day, frequently on automatic pilot and and incredibly quickly, impact every area of our lives. This book delves into the thinking capabilities that underlie our decision making, guiding you through the different ways your mind approaches various scenarios. You′ll learn to recognise that decision making involves an interplay between your rational side and your intuition, and to understand how to create this balance appropriately.

The paradox, in the modern super-fast moving world, is that the uncertainty created by the huge changes that are taking place naturally shifts our mind into a state where it is least able to handle change. Specifically, we are hard-wired to lose access to precisely the decision making resources needed to handle ambiguity and volatility just when we most need them. But it doesn’t have to be this way: this book will show you how to retrain your mind to remain effective, whatever problems the world throws at you.

Already nominated for a personal development award, it was published by Capstone Publishing in July 2017.

To immediately download a pdf of the introduction and first chapter (no email required):

Michael Nicholas has produced a fascinating piece of work. This book will challenge you in many ways – particularly in how you make decisions in all parts of your life, not just in daily business. It takes the reader through a logical, data-rich and scientifically proven journey that will cause you to pause and reflect on numerous occasions. If you only read one book this year, I would highly recommend you make it The Little Black Book of Decision Making – you will not be disappointed.
Stephen Murphy

President International Business, DJO Global

About Me

Michael’s career started in the military, where he was one of the first five officers on the ground in the First Gulf War, overseeing the operational deployment of communications ahead of the first Tornado deployments. Later, he gained an in-depth understanding of business in a variety of roles, including as a Director in the strategy consulting practice at Deloitte, and senior leadership experience in Nortel.

Michael started his own business in 2004. His work is differentiated by his ability to integrate his extensive experiential knowledge with the findings of modern psychological and leadership research. A chartered engineer by training, he prides himself on applying logical, scientific thinking to bring a level of predictability to the seeming irrationality of human relationships. Thus, he ensures that there is “hard science” behind the ”soft skills” that he teaches.


For anyone with reservations on how valuable a coach can be I would suggest you spend a couple of hours with Michael.
Robbie Feather

CEO, Fenwick Ltd

Michael has great insight on how to look deep inside yourself and draw out attributes that you didn’t realise you had. I have worked with a number of business coaches and attended many leadership development training modules throughout my career and I have not found anyone who is able to deliver the results that I have experienced and seen him develop in others he has worked with. It is without hesitation that I highly recommend Michael
Lynne Mills

Director, The Institute of Customer Service

Michael has a real flair for making people more self-aware, and more likely to challenge the way in which they manage people and arrive at decisions and conclusions.
Jon Bye

Zone MD, Sainsbury's

Life is Change.

Growth is Optional.

Choose Wisely.