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Five minutes with Dr Sarah Hurlow

Dr Hurlow has worked closely with a range of private and public sector organisations to design and facilitate leadership development programmes.

Previously the Executive MBA Programme Director, Dr Hurlow continues to teach across our undergraduate, postgraduate and executive portfolio.

Dr Sarah Hurlow
Dr Sarah Hurlow

How did you end up at Cardiff Business School?

My first degree was in English Literature from Goldsmiths College – when Richard Hoggart was rector. My PhD looked at the language used to construct this thing we call ‘leadership’ and this ultimately brought me to Cardiff Business School – where most recently I have been looking at the rhetoric used to popularise coaching. I am fascinated by the way language is used at work to legitimise initiatives.

Why go to a university for executive training?

I have designed and facilitated lots of in-company leadership development programmes, but I think universities offer something special because not only can we discriminate between the quality of different research, we are also trained to question assumptions, and challenge habitual ways of doing things.

What are you working on currently?

This year I have been studying for an Institute of Leadership & Management (ILM) Level 7 Coaching qualification.

I am also doing some research with a colleague from the US, looking at ways in which we can enhance existing models of coaching to facilitate critical reflexive practice. We are also interested in understanding coaching as a form of (self) control.

What secret skills do you have?

My eldest son is training to be a professional drummer, and in the last few years I have taken on the unique role of ‘the drummer’s mother’. I’ve become an expert at fitting a full drum kit into the back of my three-door car and know the difference between the Western harmony tradition (based on major 5ths) and the Coltrane cycle (3rds).