- Former naval fighter pilot
- Flew the Royal Navy's Sea Harrier fighter jet across the globe, from the USA to the Far East, as part of the team of navy elite ‘top guns’
- Professionally qualified post-graduate executive coach and founder of coaching company, 7 miles a minute
Matthew Whitfield is a former naval fighter pilot. He flew the Royal Navy‘s Sea Harrier fighter jet across the globe, from the USA to the Far East, as part of the team of navy elite ‘top guns’.
A distinguished pilot who can tell stories of the cutting-edge operations in the Sea Harrier off the deck of the carrier at night, or the tales of the 2012 Olympics counterterrorism operations. Matt is an incredibly driven and motivated team player.
Matthew Whitfield was awarded a Naval Gliding Scholarship and flew solo at the earliest legal age of 17. After Officer Training, he qualified as junior leader of the warship bridge team, and his ship was deployed to the volcano-stricken island of Montserrat in 1995, and onto the Falkland Islands for 7 months.
Matthew Whitfield graduated top of his pilot class in 1997 and went on to fly operationally, the all-weather fighter, the Sea Harrier FA2, a single seat fast jet fighter aircraft, and he gained extensive experience operating from the often perilous deck of all 3 of Her Majesty’s aircraft carriers. This elite team of ‘top guns’ also took part in exercises in the USA, Europe, and the Far East, by land and by sea.
Matthew was then selected to be the Senior Naval Flying Instructor at No1 Flying Training School (RN and RAF). He won the top award as the best new flying instructor both RN and RAF in his year in 2004, and was given the responsibility of leading the team that trained operational pilots to become new flying instructors. This was unprecedented to give a Royal Navy pilot this role. The navy then had him lead the team of examiners and senior flying instructors, the setters of standards across fixed wing instruction in the navy. As the Boss, Matthew achieved his ambition of representing the navy as a vintage jet display pilot, and flew the world’s only flying examples of a first naval carrier born jet the 1952 Sea Hawk, and later the twin-engine supersonic Sea Vixen until 2013.
In 2009, Matt’s suffered a stroke, at just 37 years old. After grafting in rehabilitation, enduring testing, MRI scans, and the most rigorous medical examinations his grit and determination saw Matt’s doctors allow him to return to flying after just 7 months. Matt’s resilience and guts to overcome adversity, his ability to get up and keep going are legendary. He never lost sight of his wish to keep up teaching and enjoying flying as part of the team. One such team won an award for best individual display pilot in 2013 in the mighty Sea Vixen. Operational military flying continued 2010-2016 where Matt served with the Army Air Corps fixed-wing unit. He was deployed on operations as the senior flying instructor in the classified UK special forces counter-terrorism role.
Since leaving the UK Armed forces after an unbroken 26 years’ service, Matt wanted to continue giving back and sharing with others his experiences and compassion as a leader, a mentor and coach and became a professionally qualified post-graduate executive coach. He founded his own very successful coaching company, working with large organisations, small and medium sized enterprises, educational establishments, and fellow entrepreneurs.
Matt Whitfield’s repertoire as a motivational speaker and after dinner speaker captivates audiences. His eloquence and passion for helping people overcome adversity and achieve peak performance are undeniable. He is open and shares personal anecdotes of the triumphs and the lessons and mistakes he has learned from across his incredible career in an out of uniform.
Drawing on twenty five years’ experience in the Royal Navy as a pilot trainer and fighter pilot, and years of live operations with Intelligence Service (MI5), Matthew brings his skills and knowledge of coaching elite teams in public and private organisations (including SMEs, sport and education). He enables organisations worldwide to maximise individual potential and enhance performance, including The Bank of England, large organisations in the US federal government.
As well as a TEDx and worldwide keynote speaker, he is an ICF accredited executive coach on high performance leadership. Being a licensed practitioner of MiRo Psychometrics and The Performance Centre tool allows Matt to uncover teams’ behaviours and motivations and support to improve performance.