First thoughts from CIAO’s CEO Anna

Liz Cross and Anna Maddox (on right) 20180625

CIAO’s Chair, Liz Cross, (on left) and CEO, Anna Maddox

After a month in my new role as CIAO’s CEO I have been reflecting on what drew me to the position and what it feels like to be here.

Firstly, thank you for the warm welcome the team have extended to me. I feel at home already.

I was immediately drawn to the role within CIAO when I saw the advert. It spoke to two of the things that had had big impacts on my professional life over many years: coaching and the criminal justice sector.


I first became interested in the power of coaching and the transformational effects it can have as a new and inexperienced manager (yes, this was quite a few years ago). I attended an internal course, which dramatically changed how I thought about leadership and managing a team. It gave a name to the type of manager that I was, enabling me to reject being pushed into a more ’command and rule‘ approach.

The impact felt profound for my team. I was able to engage them with the mission while empowering them to solve their own problems and grow as individuals.

I continued to use these skills in many different roles but it wasn’t until 2017 that I was offered the opportunity of some life coaching myself. I don’t think that it is an exaggeration to say that it completely changed how I thought and my outlook on life. Since then I strived to embed coaching into the organisation I worked for.

Criminal Justice

My interest in the criminal justice sector is based on the work which the organisation I worked for was doing with pregnant women and new mothers in a prison with a mother and baby unit. In this work the women were treated as expectant or new mothers first and foremost: acknowledging that they had many of the same hopes and fears as other expectant mothers. It didn’t focus on where they had been or why they were there. Women told us that this was really important to them and enabled them to prepare for parenthood.

Coaching speaks to my natural curiosity. When I found out there was an organisation providing coaching to prisoners and those at risk of offending I was fascinated. If the impact of coaching on me and my team was so profound what impact could it produce elsewhere?

After reading Clare’s book, Coaching Behind Bars, and looking at the impacts on CIAO’s website I knew it was the place for me.

So, what now?

I am honoured that the board have selected me to support them in delivering CIAO’s vision where all people convicted of offences, or at risk of offending, are offered life coaching so they can help themselves and others.

I have a successful background in enabling charities to work on public sector contracts, taking small, proven ideas to a larger scale. But I can’t do this alone.

I want to talk many people as possible within CIAO and those that commission us. I will make contact soon but if you’ve got something in particular you’d like to talk to me about, please do get in touch.










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