top of page

coaching first-time leaders in the creative industries

Hello, my name is Zoe Fenn and I coach people in the creative industries to prepare for, step into and thrive in their first management and leadership positions.

At 30 I found myself in a leadership position. I was full of ambition and eager to learn, but I also felt totally out of my depth. I was managing a team of smart, creative people, many of whom had been doing the job a lot longer than me.


Luckily for me my company paid for coaching to support me, and it was transformational. I learnt many things. I learnt how my belief that I had to be the smartest person on the team with all the answers was getting in the way of empowering the team. I learnt that my desire to be liked above all else was leading me to take on my team’s problems as my own, dodge difficult conversations and spend way too much time chatting over coffee. 

The shift from doing the work to leading the work is a big one. And often a lonely one. Who can you work through your challenges with when you feel the need to prove yourself to your boss and stay strong for the team?


This is why I am passionate about coaching first-time leaders and managers to believe in themselves and their capacity to lead. 

Stay curious, lean into your personality traits, and just enjoy the ride


Anna Codreo Rado, from her book "You're The Business" (2021)




You are where you are because you are already brilliant. But a leadership role will require new things from you. 


This feels hard, not because you lack skill (you definitely don’t lack skill), but because leadership requires you to see yourself and your role at work in a radically different light. This is really difficult to do on your own.


Do you find yourself saying things like…


I don’t let people down

My team's problems are my problems

I am too old / young / inexperienced / introvert to…

I am not strategic / creative enough to…

I need to be an expert in….


If the answer is yes, then sounds like we would be a good coaching fit. Working on these assumptions will transform your capacity to lead. You will grow your confidence, reduce your workload and create better results.


Much like a successful brand, you need sound insight in order to grow. As a coach with 15 years experience in consumer insight and strategy this is exactly what I do. I call it insight-based growth. 


I use a mix of coaching and creative tools to generate insight – new ways of seeing yourself and your role at work. Upon this foundation you will adjust the way you think, feel and act at work, coming up with better ways to meet the challenges and embrace the opportunities of being in a leadership role. 

Insight: The capacity to gain an accurate and deep understanding of someone or something 

(OED definition)



Who are the future leaders in your company and what are you doing to prepare them?


I witnessed first-hand how in the creative industries the skills that see people progress quickly are not necessarily those required in leadership positions. Technical experts, creative geniuses, new business generators all need to adapt and grow as they move into leadership roles.


Find out more about my group first-time leaders coaching programme here.



Are you stepping into your first management or leadership role?

Do you really want to nail it, but also feel daunted?


Get 6 months of leadership coaching support to help you prepare for, step into and thrive in your new leadership position.


Find out more here



Been a leader or manager for a while and having a moment of panic?

Suddenly feeling overwhelmed and don’t know what to prioritise?

Got a specific problem you know you need to address, but don’t know how to tackle it?


This is 100% normal. Get back on track quickly with my 3 month Leadership Coaching Re-Boot programme.


Find out more here.

Ready to lead
Future leaders
Site owner and creator Zoe Fenn



You Burn Bright was set up by me, Zoe Fenn.


For 15 years I worked in international consumer insight and strategy to help brands grow. As Head of the UK Practice and Head of Insight I worked with some of the world’s most well known brands, from global giants such as Unilever, PepsiCo and GSK to local favourites like M&S and KFC. I did laundry with mums in Manila, ate chicken with teens in Glasgow and went to beauty salons with women in Saudi Arabia.


And if I learnt one thing, it was that the brands that shone the brightest were those that understood themselves, the people they served and the cultures they operated in the best.


A life-long learner, I have a degree in Classics from Cambridge, am a graduate of Omnicom University and am a qualified coach through ICF Accredited The Coaching Academy. I am continuing to study for my Corporate and Executive Coaching Diploma.





By having honest conversations and running a role play exercise I have been able to have more honest conversations with the rest of my work team to discuss issues and possible solutions which has had a really positive impact on my working environment

Emily, PwC

I had a very positive experience of coaching with Zoe. She helped me clarify my ambitions and priority areas of focus, to frame goals as achievable, and to build habits that better help me manage stressful situations / reframe experiences in a constructive way

Sarah, Google



Coaching with Zoe has been enormously helpful to me over the past 6 months. It’s helped me think through specific issues I’m facing in my role at work, and also consider my behaviours and role more holistically.Coaching has helped change my relationship with work so that I’ve been able to focus on what I enjoy, and develop in areas that have been more challenging. 

Charlotte, Lifestream

When I started coaching with Zoe I was preparing to apply for a leadership role in a new area; I’m a confident person and yet I just couldn’t get started. Talking with Zoe, I realised just how much self-doubt I was masking, even from myself. The coaching helped me focus on the strengths I could bring to the new role, and helped me show-up, as myself, from day one

Caroline, Mondelez International

I had a very positive experience of coaching with Zoe. She helped me clarify my ambitions and priority areas of focus. This helped me to frame goals as achievable, and to build habits that better help me manage stressful situations, including reframing experiences in a constructive way.

`Sarah, Google

I have unlocked new capabilities within myself

`Sesh, Frog

Coaching with Zoe was an incredibly valuable experience. It taught me a lot about my professional blind spots and simple tools to overcome these

Kristen, Ancestry




If you are a future leader ready to step up, then get in touch to book your free 50 minute taster session

Thanks for submitting!

bottom of page