Francesca Elston

Francesca Elston

Director, Head of Public Sector (UKE)

Since joining YSC in 2014, Francesca has worked predominantly at CEO and C-suite level for large, complex and often global organisations, specialising in assessment and coaching. During this time, she has carried out several hundred executive leadership assessments as well as coaching well over a hundred senior clients; her current practice has over forty coachees in CEO or C-suite roles in public and private sector organisations. She is now YSC’s Head of Public Sector for Europe and the Middle East, supporting a wide range of public sector organisations in making sure that their current and future leadership needs are met. Her other areas of expertise include CEO and C-suite succession readiness and talent development (individual or cohort), global financial institutions and corporate functions. For two years she held the role of YSC’s Global Head of Assessment, with responsibility for evolving best practice, maintaining standards and developing capability in YSC’s assessors worldwide.

Francesca has had a long-standing career in organisational psychology, which developed through investment banking, strategy consulting, IT and business change management, organisation development, and finally a role as Head of Learning and Development for an IT and business consultancy. Before joining YSC, she delivered several long-term independent consulting assignments for large public and private sector organisations.

She holds a first-class degree and an MSc in mathematics from Oxford University, and an MSc and PhD in positive psychology from the University of East London, as well as being a qualified coach. Her academic research has focused on strengths-based coaching in the workplace, individual well-being, meaning and purpose, engagement and personal resilience. She has also lectured on well-being for the University of East London’s positive psychology distance learning programme.









Francesca combines all the qualities of a great coach. She is incredibly quick and insightful, sensitive to context and circumstances and analytical in her approach while giving very practical advice. Francesca has coached me through a range of challenges, some involving high pressure situations and others involving the need to take a more strategic view of the future of the organisation I lead. She has added the same high quality and value to all of them.


Large Multi-sector Organisation

I first worked with Francesca when she helped me to prepare for a leadership role at the top of Government. Her assessment at the time was a game-changer for me in terms of the insight it gave me into my own motivation, strengths and weaknesses. More recently, she has been my coach during my time leading a large and complex Government Department facing multiple challenges. I have found her support to be invaluable. She develops a profound understanding of the leaders she coaches, and the challenges we and our organisations face. My conversations with her are probing, stimulating and occasionally uncomfortable – she is never less than frank and direct in surfacing difficult issues. However my sessions with her also invariably leave me with a clearer sense of what I want to achieve as a leader, and renewed energy and sense of purpose around how I can succeed. She commits wholly to the coaching relationship, and has always been there when I have needed advice or support.

Permanent Secretary,

Government Department