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Empowering UK Community Finance:

A Case Study of Accelerator Coaching Programme for 13 CDFI Chief Executives

Project Objective:

The Capacity Building Programme, initiated by the Impact Investing Institute and delivered by Responsible Finance, aimed to enhance the capabilities of UK Community Development Finance Institutions (CDFIs). The overarching goal was to equip CDFIs with the necessary skills and confidence to manage larger funding volumes akin to national investment vehicles. To achieve this, the programme employed a holistic approach encompassing executive coaching, participation in Development Day events, and ongoing support from Responsible Finance.


Under the guidance of Teresa Peters, Director and Executive Coach at Accelerator Coaching Ltd, each CDFI enrolled in the programme underwent three one-hour coaching sessions. These sessions were meticulously designed to address key performance indicator (KPI) sectors crucial for organisational growth and development. The sectors ranged from enhancing delegation skills to fostering resilience, from improving time management to nurturing a growth mindset.

The Outcome

To gauge the effectiveness of the coaching sessions, satisfaction scores were collected from participating CDFIs at the onset and culmination of the coaching period. These scores, rated out of 10 for each KPI sector, were then averaged to preserve confidentiality.

The results of the programme were nothing short of remarkable. In just four months, there was an average improvement of 11% in satisfaction across all KPI sectors. This significant enhancement underscores the transformative impact of the coaching sessions on the participating CDFIs. By bolstering their leadership capabilities, fostering a culture of adaptability, and refining essential skills, the programme has empowered CDFIs to effectively manage larger funding volumes, thereby advancing the broader goals of community finance in the UK.

Moreover, most of the programme delivery was conducted virtually, adapting to the remote working environment. The success of the programme has led to ongoing work, with Teresa Peters continuing to coach three of the teams involved. This extended engagement includes delivering DiSC communication styles workshops and conducting further Strengthfinder assessments. Additionally, some Senior Executives have committed to further coaching using separate budgets, indicating the sustained impact and value of the programme. Tess’s ability to energise all participants and foster their involvement and commitment has been particularly noteworthy. She expresses great enjoyment in working with such a passionate sector.

Teresa Peters business portraits. Holiday Inn.  July 22

” Working with Tess was an absolute pleasure. Her enthusiasm is contagious, and I felt at ease with her immediately. The CDFIs she coached varied in size and organisational structure, so it was crucial that the coaching was tailored to their individual needs and business characteristics. Tess accomplished this perfectly.

Initially, she conducted benchmarking activities to enable us to effectively report on the programme’s success, providing tangible evidence that resulted in rich and detailed feedback. Throughout the programme, Tess kept me updated on her progress while maintaining confidentiality. Her final report was incredibly thorough and comprehensive, detailing the success of each participant in the coaching programme (anonymised to ensure confidentiality). The feedback from the CDFIs exceeded all expectations—Tess truly made a significant and notable impact within the organisations.

We are planning to work with Tess again soon within our own team at Responsible Finance, which I am looking forward to immensely. Tess is supportive, approachable, and genuinely cares about making a difference. Her passion is evident, and her commitment to her work is unquestionable. Meeting and working with Tess has been a fantastic experience.”


Rai Hart, Member Support Officer, Responsible Finance

“Teresa has helped me understand my strengths and what drives me and also that I need to understand this isn’t the same for my team and where I need to manage them differently.

The coaching was so important as it can be lonely as a leader at times and it is good to take the time to think key challenges through.  It has made me think about how I delegate more to our Leadership Team.

I will be booking further sessions with Teresa.”


Stephen Deakin, Chief Executive, BCRS

“Working with Teresa allowed me to take a step back and consider a range of strategy elements.

The sessions were a good reminder to try and minimise getting distracted or bogged down on less or unimportant stuff and focus on what matters.

Executive Coaching with Teresa was a well worthwhile exercise. Whilst there were no immediate transformative changes it was very helpful in pushing me to step back and reflect on the strategic aspects I was working on and to reassure I was on the right track. Teresa is super enthusiastic about helping others and putting them at ease which help me drill down to key elements that I wanted to consider.”


Sean Dennis, Deputy Chief Executive, Capitalise Business Support (LDB Group)

“The coaching gave me more confidence in my abilities and management style. By calling on my strengths I am now able to better apply them to supporting our growing team.

The strengths mapper exercise was particularly revealing and led to some very interesting and productive conversations. Teresa has given me more focus has helped me to better apply my strengths to the workplace.


John Peters, Managing Director, SWIG Finance

“The sessions with Teresa acted as a catalyst, allowing strategic thinking, and empowering me (and my teams indirectly) to navigate challenges and the future with confidence. I’ve utilised this experience as our roadmap to success – helping us to build a thriving and resilient organisation.

By allowing me to reflect, Teresa has helped everything ‘fit together’ this has propelled our operational enhancements.  She has helped me to be more confident – it has been an important time to actually stop and reflect and be proud of far we have come – sometimes we judge ourselves too harshly against other organisations, but this has allowed me to be proud of who we are and create our own special USP.”


Sheridan Sulskis, Chief Executive, Coventry & Warwickshire Reinvestment Trust

It was good to have dedicated time with an experienced coach from outside the business with the ability to agree aims/objectives and follow through.


Iain Burnside, Chief Operating Officer, DSL Business Finance

The Executive Coaching with Teresa impacted changes in terms of valuable help around succession planning and approaches to it, particularly how to prepare the team.  She helped identify and change my approach to individuals.  In addition to making adjustments in how best to develop some team members.


Karen Davies, Director, Purple Shoots