Examples of some newspaper articles Rick has featured in.

Shackleton’s Way at the Grand Hyatt Muscat:

Press release for one of Rick’s Shackleton Seminars at the Grand Hyatt Muscat, July 2009.

Source Article: Click here.

Shackleton “Lessons for life”:

Richard was interviewed by the Gulf News newspaper regarding the acclaimed Shackleton’s Way seminar and course.

Source article- Gulf News:


Nearly a century ago, an Antarctic explorer helped turn ordinary men in extremely contrary circumstances into extraordinary people. Anupa Prathap speaks to a man who is applying those skills today…

A battle for life on an ice floe 1,200 miles from civilisation nearly a century ago is today being extrapolated to the realm of corporate leadership.

In 1914, Sir Ernest Shackleton led 27 men, for almost two years, through a harrowing fight for their lives after the wreck of their Antarctic-bound vessel Endurance left them stranded.

However, every man survived and each ascribed it to Shackleton’s superb leadership skills.

A new best-selling book, Shackleton’s Way: Leadership Lessons from the Great Antarctic Explorer by Margot Morrell and Stephanie Capparell details the effort put in by him to keep alive, maintain the spirits and ultimately save the lives of his men. He helped turn ordinary men in extremely contrary circumstances into extraordinary people.

An inspirational tale about finding strengths in individuals and being positive to achieve goals and lead a better life, Shackleton led by example and caring.

“It is a great story and very importantly highlights timeless leadership skills which can be learned by anyone,” said Richard Coles, leadership skills training manager, New Leadership Development Unit at Emirates airline.

Innovative approach

Coles has been training for more than a decade but has only recently adopted this innovative approach, which has been well received by his students. He intends to use other success stories in the future to conduct training, along with writing a book about his techniques.

“Shackleton is a leader who triumphed by putting people first and striving for the seemingly impossible. He exercised strong communication skills and never asked people to do anything that he wouldn’t,” Coles said.

“Damped dissent by responding to the needs of each person, kept up morale by staying alert to his men’s concerns and never gave up hope. He once said ‘Optimism is true moral courage’.”

The lessons learnt from Shackleton can be applied not just to the workplace but people’s personal lives too, according to Coles.

“Leadership skills are required in almost everything we do. A mother needs those skills when bringing up her children,” he explained.

“Shackleton always looked for the good in people and what they had to contribute to a situation. He lived by his values and truly cared for people. It was about addressing the problem not attacking the person.

“His comment ‘There are lots of good things in the world, but I’m not sure that comradeship is not the best of them all’, is a perfect statement of the man.”

Every polar exploration provided a unique laboratory for leadership skills. The environment was so isolated that there was no room for error on the part of the leader. The many tales of death and madness from early polar expeditions are evidence of leaders who failed to keep their groups together.

“In the rest of the world there are lots of ways for people to blow off steam, they go home in the evening, out to dinner with friends, go to a movie, all sorts of options that don’t exist in the unrelentingly harsh climate of Antarctica,” said Coles.

“On any polar expedition, even today, the ship, or hut, and your companions form your entire world and there is no getting away from them. Therefore, the leader must constantly be on the alert for any breaks in morale and immediately act to correct them.

Be prepared

“Today, everybody in relationships are like explorers in a new land. Life is being redefined constantly. It moves at a much faster pace than ever before and stakes are much higher. There is a sense that you always have to be prepared for abrupt change and for crisis.

“Shackleton was a genius at getting out of a scrape. He was a meticulous planner, and always thought out many options for action. But, if a situation suddenly changed, he’d throw out all his careful plans and try a new course. That takes exceptional courage.”

Coles observed that in personal lives too, quite often the unexpected crops up and stops us short and no amount of experience would have prepared us for it. The options then are to either give in or move forward “learn and develop, like the manner in which Shackleton did on his earlier polar Nimrod expedition”.

“It was because of that he became the great leader he was on the Endurance expedition,” Coles observed.

Major lessons

According to him, the major lessons we can learn from Shackleton are meaningful communication, power of optimism, leading by example and keeping up morale.

“Truly listening and taking in and acting on the information received are imperative to get people to listen to you. The value of one-to-one conversations in understanding and communicating with people is as relevant in the workplace as it is at home,” he pointed out.

“Children are the best examples of this, listening to and understanding them is imperative for their development. Also don’t expect them to put in more effort than you are willing to yourself.

“Being optimistic in adverse circumstances is the best way to deal with life’s problems. Look at the half full glass. These are all lessons from Shackleton that can be applied to our daily interactions to make us more effective, efficient and ultimately better human beings,” Coles concluded.

© Al Nisr Publishing LLC – Gulf News Online

Source: Gulf News

Shackleton “Exploring Leadership Skills”:

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