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Developing Leadership in Practice (DLiP™)

Developing Leadership in Practice is a programme designed by experts in practice. It aims to help practitioners develop, project and hone the leadership qualities expected of a new or aspiring partner. Registration is now open for our autumn 2021 cohort. Book your place today to unleash your true leadership potential.

Transformative Benefits

  • Facilitating the mindset change from manager to commercially confident leader.
  • Generating new ideas and perspectives to enable strategic leadership.
  • Simulating live commercial issues so that key skills can be practised.
  • Ongoing coaching for participants and feedback for the firm.
  • Providing the firm with credible successors.
  • Access to external peer network enabling the sharing of new ideas and perspectives.

Key details

Who is DLiP™ for:

Designed for newly-promoted partners and senior members of staff who have been identified as having partnership potential.


4 months


London (in person option) or live online 


September 2021

Programme overview

Why DLiP™?

The future growth and profitability of your firm depends upon you, your current partners and those who will join you to drive the firm forward.

DLiP has been designed by experts in practice specifically to help practitioners develop, project and hone the leadership qualities expected of a new or aspiring partner.

“The role of partner is a definite mind-set change and it comes down to the difference between being a manager and leader. A manager works to a defined set of principles, procedures and resources, but a partner needs to contribute ideas for the future growth and direction of the firm. DLiP has been designed to ease this transition for chartered accountants.”

Graeme Bursack, Partner, Goodman Jones LLP

Who should attend?

DLiP is designed for newly-promoted partners and senior members of staff who have been identified as having partnership potential. Participant numbers are limited to 15 per course so that our facilitators can provide one-to-one coaching and feedback.

Key learning outcomes

New entrants to the partnership team need to be:

  • commercial
  • client service focussed
  • able to build sound relationships
  • capable of solving problems and securing positive outcomes
  • an effective communicator presenting a positive image
  • a team player.

DLiP is designed to develop these leadership skills.

Business benefits

DLiP equips your next generation of partners with winning client and commercial skills through:

  • facilitating the mind-set change from manager to commercially confident leader
  • generating new ideas and perspectives to enable strategic leadership
  • balancing the multiple dimensions of leadership in a partner role
  • simulating live issues so that key skills can be practised and assessed
  • ongoing coaching for participants and feedback for the firm
  • providing the firm with credible successors.

Participant benefits

DLiP supports practitioners in developing the behaviours and capabilities for a partner role through:

  • access to an external peer network enabling the sharing of new ideas and perspectives
  • on-going coaching and support from our practice experts
  • increasing confidence and capability through application of case studies
  • developing the skills to balance the big picture, detail, team and the individual
  • personal development plans for practical implementation in the firm.
In-house training

We also offer tailored training solutions, ideal for organisations seeking hassle-free, flexible and cost-effective training delivered to multiple delegates at your location of choice. Our expertise lies in translating your requirements into a pragmatic, interactive training programme highly relevant to your people and organisation.

Rakesh Shaunak

Managing Partner of MacIntyre Hudson

Rakesh Shaunak 

Rakesh talks to us about commissioning ICAEW to design a leadership programme for their new partners.

Until recently, employees at MacIntyre Hudson benefited from excellent training at all stages of their career bar one: when someone was promoted to partner, they were thrown in the deep end and expected to have developed a seamless front crawl before too long.

The transition isn’t a simple one however. Rakesh explains: “The Partner needs to be the ‘provider’ rather than the employee, and it takes much more than just dispensing technical advice. You need to be thinking and behaving like a leader, and be great at things like business development and client engagement”.

You no longer have anyone above you directing you, and are suddenly responsible for directing strategy, winning new business and growing the firm. Good training can go a long way to making this transition as fast and successful as possible.

So as Rakesh puts it, “choosing a provider is a big decision.” He himself spent a good deal of time researching professional development suppliers. When his HR director suggested ICAEW, he thought "The Institute? Really? Don't they just deal with regulation and technical matters?" Rakesh runs a successful business and wanted to partner with someone experienced in preparing people for a commercial world, not just a technical one.

“I had no idea ICAEW could help with training like this and I'm really pleased we asked you to work with us,” Rakesh asserts. He goes on: “I have people who are on the ICAEW programme saying to me: ‘Gosh, I didn't realise there was so much to being a partner. I knew what the role was but had no idea how to do it.’ The programme prepares you for that leap and teaches you to be authentic to your own style.”

ICAEW have run the programme for MacIntyre Hudson for two years now, and have received fantastic feedback from those who have taken part. Rakesh concludes:

“The biggest benefit has been the mindset change. Individuals now realise they need to be working on the business rather than in the business. The focus for them is growth, clients and strategy rather than technical work, which is exactly the shift I was looking for.”


Karen Stewart

HR Director at Anderson Anderson and Brown LLP

Karen Stewart 

Karen brought ICAEW in to deliver an in-house tailored version of DLiP™.

Q. Why did Anderson Anderson and Brown decide on a tailored solution? 
A. It was important to the firm that we maximised the investment in our key players and by holding it in-house with smaller numbers, the participants got more attention from the facilitators. It also allowed us to tailor the content to make sure it was in line with the firm’s objectives and also met the needs of the managers.

Q. What benefit did the firm see?
A. Each participant came away feeling confident they knew how to lead the business, which was one of our main objectives and made the programme a huge success.

Q. What were the key outcomes for the participants?
A. Self-awareness, goal setting, influencing skills and support network. 

The DLiP™ experience

Held at approximate four-week intervals, each one-day workshop incorporates practical exercises, group discussions and case-studies with the emphasis on the application of key skills.  

At the start, delegates will construct a set of objectives to be achieved while on DLiP, as well as a personal 180-day plan. This plan will be developed and refined during their time on DLiP, and will be presented back to the group and their sponsoring partner back at their firm at the end of the programme.

DLiP is structured to enable participants to go back to their firm and start using their new tools and techniques, and to prepare for the next modules with the additional benefit of one-to-one coaching calls with facilitator. 

ICAEW encourages the delegates to keep in touch with the network of peers they are introduced to during the programme, to ensure that the sharing of knowledge, successes and challenges continues long after their time on DLiP has finished.

Module 1
Ready for Partnership

Examine and situate your journey to partnership through multiple frameworks – the general roles, responsibilities and behaviours of a partner; your MBTI preferences; and your priorities for the future.

Module 2
Internal Relations

Find your own leadership vision and style. Learn how to mobilise and influence people in your firm, give and receive feedback constructively, and deal with challenges.

Module 3
Building the Business

Develop your own personal networking style. Practise managing client situations, from tendering to fee negotiation. Set an ambitious plan for the next 180 days – how you’ll meaningfully contribute to the business and build a presence in the market.

Module 4
Managing your Impact

Build your resilience. Learn to manage your stakeholders. Develop your unique presentation style, then prepare and deliver a presentation on your future vision. Update your 180-day plan in light of thoughtful, pragmatic feedback from your peers.

We can customise all one-day modules for in-house delivery. Please contact us for details.

Case studies

“That’s return on your investment.”

Philip Haberman, senior partner of leading forensic accounting firm Haberman Ilett, talks to London Accountant about staff development.


Philip Haberman does not believe in networking. He is more interested in chatting with people. Perhaps a semantic nuance, or maybe it reveals something about the way he approaches others. Whatever it is, people seem to respond to it. During his time as partner at EY, Philip came to know Frank Ilett, himself a partner at Deloitte. When the pair founded Haberman Ilett in 2013, Philip found himself being approached by former colleagues electing to leave the security and prestige of EY to join him at his start-up. In 18 months the practice has grown from 4 to 40 employees, and shows no signs of slowing.

It is no coincidence then, that Haberman Ilett takes training and development seriously. They are keen to invest in their people. So far they have sponsored three employees to attend ICAEW Academy’s Women in Leadership programme (WIL), which supports women aiming for senior management, partner or board roles, and one employee to take part in DLiP™, their partner development programme.

“ICAEW Academy’s programmes have a real long-term benefit for individuals,” Philip affirms. “The participant meets a group of external peers who see them as a leader, and this helps them to feel like a leader.”

The Haberman Ilett founder believes that in order to be an effective partner, you have to feel like one. “Real self-belief is fundamental to success in a business environment,” he explains. “I need my team to go to their clients and tell them what they need to do with absolute conviction. WIL and DLiP™ build people’s confidence. I’ve seen the difference in employees: they come back from the programme with a belief in themselves, and it resonates with clients.”

WIL’s particular strength, as Philip sees it, is that it focuses on the participant’s assets, seeking to refine and craft their individual leadership style. He adds that its mentoring component is particularly powerful: “It can sometimes be hard to change the views of those who know you. A stranger is more objective, and you start from a position of strength, with no baggage.”

As for DLiP™, Philip declares: “It’s great that ICAEW are supporting small firms. Learning from other people is so valuable; you gain so much insight from other people’s experience.” Nor does the peer-learning end when the programme ends: the relationships formed over the course of this long-term and intensive training tend to be lasting, and continue to bear fruit years later.

When asked what he would say to people who are worried about the cost of these programmes, he replies: “It sends a really positive message to the individual: that they’re worth it. It says ‘We have confidence in you, your judgement counts’. Everyone can see it’s not a box-ticking exercise. It gives them a sense of empowerment and creates a positive atmosphere amongst colleagues.”

Philip concludes: “If you consider the value these programmes bring to the individual and the firm, they pay for themselves. They help people move from one career stage to the next, and getting people ready for leadership secures the future of the firm. That’s return on your investment.”

Richard Dade

Director at Hazlewoods LLP - DLiP delegate

Richard Dade 

Why did you decide to go on DLiP?
The content was really relevant to my role and situation and it is totally focussed on the role of a partner. Because of this, making a case to the associate was straight forward as they could see the potential benefit.

How has it helped you in your role?
What struck me the most is that it is as much about understanding yourself as it is about being a successful partner and good leader. It focusses on playing to your strengths rather than trying to be good at something you’re not.

How did you find the coaching?
The 1:2:1 time is very valuable. It is useful to reflect on the programme and allows you to talk about other aspects of your role you might not feel comfortable sharing in the group. It gave me real encouragement to achieve what I was aiming for and the independent view gave me a different perspective on things.

What have you taken away?
The main benefits for me have been:
  • Clarity of vision and strategy
  • Greater level of confidence
  • Resilience

Would you recommend it to others?
Definitely. DLiP is now part of Hazlewoods' career pathway.

Kevin Hoult

New Partner at Sagars - DLiP delegate

Kevin Hoult

Kevin works at Sagars with over nineteen years’ experience in practice. Now a partner, he talks to ICAEW on the benefits of a training programme that helped him find out what kind of partner he could be.

“DLiP™ was brilliant for me. I loved it. I thought it was very good for the people it was aimed at, like senior managers wanting to progress and move into partnership.” 

“Everyone will get something different out of it, but for me, the main benefit was increasing confidence in who I am. It was a real journey because it changed my outlook on how I saw myself. It took the course for me to realise that I should focus on developing my own style as a leader, and not on emulating other partners.”

“I did get promoted as a partner after the course. DLiP™ helped me prepare for the change in role but mostly helped me in wanting it. I learnt to embrace the role as a way to help others progress, to manage and develop a team.” 

“Personally, and as a firm, we are very grateful for the support of the trainer and team at ICAEW in our bespoke manager development programme. The feedback process, which we have implemented since, has really made positive changes to how we work with our clients – and each other. The way the trainer delivered it, the way she challenged us, and the way she supported us was fantastic. We were involved all the way through. I was a bit doubtful beforehand when it came to soft skills, but I have been converted into the positives it can bring.”

Graeme Bursack

Partner, Goodman Jones LLP - DLiP sponsor

In order for our practice to grow and thrive, we need to do all we can to identify and nurture our next generation of potential partners. Our CPD timetable ensures we are all up to date from a technical point of view. However, being a partner is also about developing leadership, commerciality and selling and negotiating skills necessary to drive our practice forward. We wanted a course that would provide our top talent with additional training and nurturing to complement and enhance our in-house processes in these areas.

The practice has seen several benefits as a result of attending DLiP. They are more aware of the need to market and promote themselves with both partners and clients. Their awareness has broadened out to more fully encompass the business aspects of running a practice. They are more prepared to ‘put their heads above the parapet’ in contributing their views.

I have been on a number of leadership courses over the years, but they were often too generic, and, in consequence, of less value. The DLiP course facilitators have extensive on-the-ground experience of our profession, and the issues we face in the real world. The course is therefore tailored to our needs.

Andrew Mosby

Partner, Menzies LLP - DLiP participant

Andrew Mosby, DLiP participant

How does DLiP differ from other leadership/training programmes you have attended?
DLiP examines situations very real to the role I perform as a new Partner in a mid-tier firm. It then goes beyond this, and evolves to respond to the individual needs of the participant.

What do you consider to be the most valuable part of the programme?
The programme examines in depth how you interact with both clients and colleagues, and how people operate differently. Understanding these dynamics better means I can adapt my approach to be a more effective leader.

How is the programme developing you as a leader?
Participating in the programme has really helped me understand how to improve in my role as Partner. I took away a personal development plan to help me progress further. I am utilising several of the management tools and I am more receptive to other ways of doing things.

Paul Hinchliffe

Partner, Harris+Co - DLiP sponsor

We had been searching for some time for a suitable leadership development programme for new/potential partners – the type of course that large firms typically offer in-house. The new DLiP programme offered by the ICAEW ticked all the boxes. DLiP is specifically tailored to leadership development for new partners in practice and its practical case-study model, coupled with sharing of experiences and dedicated support between modules is ideally suited to independent firms. This is exactly the type of practical support in softer skills development that the ICAEW should be rolling out to supplement its technical support offering and we will use the programme again, without hesitation.

Steve Watson

Partner, Harris+Co - DLiP delegate

The DLiP programme provides you with a real understanding of what is required to make the successful transition from senior employee to partner. All of the delegates on the programme were at similar stages in their careers and it was quite reassuring to know that there are others out there facing the same challenges associated with progression. The real value with the course was sharing thoughts with others, to hear of their experiences and the challenges that they had faced. I feel that I got a lot out of the course as it has provided me with the tools to develop further in the partner role.

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