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Thank you to the 1,400 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 questions!
I hope reading

7 Questions with Matt Coleman

helps you in your leadership.



Jonno White

7 Questions with Matt Coleman

Name: Matt Coleman

Current title: Director of Primary Education

Current organisation: Nene Education Trust

Matt Coleman (BA Hons PGCE, awaiting certification for NPQEL) - Director of Primary Education for the Nene Education Trust.

It is my core belief that every child is deserving of the best possible start in life; both academically and socially. I am a local lad proudly working in Northamptonshire and I happen to be in a position of responsibility; I strive to empower others to be better versions of themselves in whatever they are doing. I love the local community that we are a part of and can’t wait to see our schools advance as our offer to our stakeholders improves all the time.

7 Questions with Matt Coleman


1. What have you found most challenging as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise?

Working in the education sector and moving from being Headteacher to a Director of Education, overseeing 6 schools, my biggest challenge has been learning how to be less operational and more strategic. I am no longer responsible for the day to day running of any of the schools.

Working alongside people is also a challenge - but wonderfully rewarding at the same time. I have said it many times over; people are fascinatingly weird and that's why working so closely with highly-skilled individuals is such a privilege.

2. How did you become a CEO or executive of a large enterprise? Can you please briefly tell the story?

I have been working in the education sector for over 12 years now. My journey has been quite typical; teacher, to deputy headteacher, to headteacher, to this executive role as Director of Primary Education.

I was headteacher at an awesome school in East Northamptonshire from 2015 to 2019 and we achieved some amazing things. The reputation of the school remains phenomenal. I drove the change through focusing on person-centred leadership at all times; hearts and minds every step of the way!

I am now in a role where I oversee 6 primary-phase schools currently. I can affect change on a bigger scale. I believe that, fundamentally, our education sector is not forward-thinking enough and we need to do a lot more to prepare our young people for the ever-changing world that they are moving into.

3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?

The first thing I do in the morning when I wake up is take a few minutes, before the children stir, to think about and note down the things that I am grateful for. Gratitude is key and doing this simple activity helps to ground me.

My work is varied; at the moment I am mixing it up between working from home and working in the head office. The working week is generally full on - early mornings and working into the evening. I always try to take time in the evening to sit with my family; where possible we eat together and I always put my children to bed. I try to be in bed around 10.30pm...

4. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?

We are human beings. We are fundamentally flawed and will makes mistakes. However, if we stay true to our values and moral compass and try our best, then that's all we can do.

As a leader, I have always tried to surround myself with colleagues who are far 'better' than me. I also find it vital that I have mentors/coaches/elders whose support I can draw on. Surround yourself with good people!

5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?

Brene Brown, Dare to Lead. (in fact, any of Brene's books!)

As Brene Brown says in ‘Dare to Lead’; “What we can do, and what we are ethically called to do, is create a space in our schools and classrooms where students can walk in and, for that day or hour, take off the crushing weight of their armour, hang it on a rack, and open their heart to truly being seen.”

We all have armour.

6. How do you build leadership capacity in a large enterprise?

Trust people. Be vulnerable. Be honest. Surround yourself with experts and let people flourish. Don't beat people up for making mistakes.

It's all about culture. A culture of community; openness; togetherness; support; allowing for and learning from mistakes.

A healthy culture to grow and develop people is key.

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