Introducing Kadenza Group: People Specialists

The Kadenza Group are People Specialists who work with individuals and organisations in the areas of Mental Toughness, Family Business, Managing Work Relationships, Navigating Transitions and Developing Organisations. 

The thinking behind the Kadenza Group is simple. It's based on musical principles. To get a melodic, flowing piece of music, you need to choose the right notes and put them in the right order. Same with the solutions to the problems you are facing. Finding the right solution for you is about using the right tools and working to the right plan.

Sometimes, Karl works with you as a soloist. Other times, he brings in experienced colleagues to help him compose and perform the best solution for you.

About Karl Hyden, Principal


In his own words

I used to drive a van for my Dad’s business, back when I was in high school and college. He sold and repaired surveying instruments in South Texas. Things were good when the business started.

But by the time I was running errands and deliveries in the van, the economy had gotten bad and the company was struggling. It didn’t last much longer and Dad was the partner who took the biggest hit. We almost lost our house. Dad was out of work for a while. It was tough. Mom and Dad haven't had the time or money to live the lives they want since.

When I was studying music (at Del Mar College), I was known as ‘Papa Hyden’ by the other students. I was a little older than them. Music meant everything to me and I was teaching classical and jazz guitar in my spare time. I was a good listener, even back then. People confided in me and trusted me with their troubles. I guess that also made me ‘Papa’ back then.

But then I went to do my Masters at the University of Wisconsin. At the time I had a young family (twin infants) and I owed tens of thousands in student loans. I was working fulltime in a music publishing company on top of going to university full time. Trying to make two things fit that didn’t fit. I overloaded myself. I even worked as a choir director at the weekend.

On top of all that I took a teaching gig to try to make ends meet. That left too little room for practice. I had trained and practiced for 10 years and yet my graduate recital was the worst performance I’d ever given. I crashed and thought my professional life was over. I nearly lost my family, too.

When you think there is no coming back, remember, there is always a way.

Weight has always been a problem I’ve carried with me. Literally. I was very big at one point in my life. I mean, US, American sized BIG. I weighed over 320 pounds (146 kg or 23 stone - it’s a big number however you put it). That was bad for my health and bad for my mind. So, I worked hard to change that.

After eventually losing over 150 pounds, I've kept most of it off. While I'm not at most lightest weight ever, I’m much trimmer now. Almost half the man I used to be! Keeping it off is a challenge. But I've learned how to manage my thoughts, emotions, actions, and how I reacted to stress in order to sustain the change.

I tell these stories so you can see that I’ve seen other people struggle and faced tough times myself. It’s way of saying, “I’ve experienced life”.  I’ve known business and personal challenges—first hand and at a distance. I know what happens when people can’t express or fulfil their needs, at work or in life.

I’ve also learned that no matter how difficult things seem, you can find a way to change them for the better. Always. And one of the biggest lessons I learned was that I didn't have to do it all by myself.  My own experience has shown me that the support of others can be very powerful in making change.

I think that’s what drives me today. I have a strong desire to help people overcome the challenges they are facing. I listen. I help them understand. I give them the tools they need—tools they can continue to use throughout their life.  I've got a lifetime of experience doing just that with people.

Today, my wife and I live in a rural part of Co. Cork Ireland. Our kids are all grown up. I still play guitar.

And I spend my working days helping people make positive changes in their lives.

What his resumé says

Karl has 30 years’ experience in management, supervision, training, education and development disciplines. He works as a trainer, mentor, consultant and coach.

To date, Karl has supported over thousands of business owners, management, staff, and professionals from 30 countries

He is a professional accredited coach at master level and an experienced trainer and group facilitator.

Karl is Principal of Hyden & Associates which trades as Kadenza Group.

He is co-director of The Family Business Unit, Ireland (FBU) and partner of AQR Coaching & Mentoring, specialising in mental toughness and resilience development for leaders and organisations.

Karl has an MSc in Human Resource Management (specialising in coaching and mentoring) an MA in Performance, a primary degree including performance and interpersonal communications (psychology).

He has taken post-graduate training in Organizational Transactional Analysis (psychology), Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT psychology), and change and group dynamics with Tavistock Consulting.

Karl also has qualifications in training, coaching, mediation, mindfulness and business coaching, and bereavement/grief counselling.

He has worked and studied with some of Europe's top coaches, including Prof. David Clutterbuck and Dr. David Megginson in the UK.

Karl is on the executive coaching panels of Unversity College Cork (UCC) and GlaxoSmithKline. He is a guest lecturer in Family Business at the UCC University Business School and in the Coaching Diploma programme with Ibec/DIT. Karl has also worked and delivered training for the education, voluntary sector, private and corporate sectors in the US.

Karl and his FBU Ireland business partner Paddy Ryan have prepped clients for the Dragon's Den TV shows in the UK and Ireland.

Areas of Expertise

Family business, mental toughness, management, leadership, communications, conflict management, interpersonal skills, career transition and business start up.

Industry Expertise

Karl has worked with public, corporate, SME, and micro enterprises.

The sectors he has worked in include local government, statutory, manufacturing, financial services, transport, local development, education, non profit and the voluntary sector.

Client Summary

Karl has coached & trained staff and consulted for organisations in the UK and Ireland, including:

Kellogg’s, Apple, Blizzard, Carphone Warehouse, Diageo Ireland, Tyco Sensormatic, Permanent TSB, Ulster Bank, Ibec, Vhi, Dell EMC, Hickey's Pharmacies, Enterprise Ireland, Zara, Aer Lingus, Easons, Herlihy's Centra (Cork), University College Cork, University of Limerick, Irish Examiner news & media, McCarthy Insurances, Skillnets, the Department of Social Protection, Solus (national training board), Department of Education & Science, regional Education & Training Boards and Local Enterprise Offices across Ireland.  

Professional Memberships

  • Chartered Fellow, Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD)
  • Fellow, Irish Institute of Training and Development (IITD)
  • Member, Institute of Directors (IoD)
  • Member, International Coach Federation (ICF)