Dr Sarah Robins-Hobden, CPsychol, MISCP Accred, FHEA

Heashot of Sarah

I help people to close the gap between where they are and where they want to be. I create bespoke personal and professional development training and coaching programmes. 

I am a Chartered Psychologist, Accredited Member of the International Society for Coaching Psychology and Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. I do the research into learning so you don’t have to, and I can show you how to learn (and teach) better yourself.

I meet each of my learners where they are, help them work with what they’ve got, and empower them to take steps towards where they want to go next. My programmes include elements of:

  • evidence-based practice
  • experiential learning
  • action learning
  • psychological principles of learning and development
  • solution-focused practices

Workshops & Training Programmes

I create bespoke workshops and training programmes that are intensive, experiential, and participatory (digital workshops included). Participants choose their own degree of challenge in a safe, confidential, and highly supportive learning environment. I specialise in the way individuals understand themselves and relate to others, supporting people to thrive through change, tackle challenges creatively, and develop their personal and professional selves.


I work with clients who want to create their own path and pave it with opportunities of their own making. I help them uncover their strengths and deploy them to face their challenges and navigate change. And my clients learn about themselves every step of the way. My coaching is driven by a desire to help clients understand more about how we think, feel, and behave, and how we use that understanding to make better choices and further our development, contributing to our sense of identity – in professional and personal domains.

A very short story

After gaining my doctorate as a mature student, I ‘cut my teeth’ in Researcher Development at the University of Sussex (UK) and later at Vitae (UK), before moving into consultancy. I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.

Having dabbled in roles such as groom, horticultural secretary, DJ, telesales, NVQ assessor, and IT technician, I embarked on a formal education in my late twenties. I arrived at the University of Sussex in 2002 as a mature undergraduate, and liked it so much they were unable to get rid of me until 2014, by which time I’d also gained a PhD and a PGCertHE.

Along the way, I came to think of myself as a Researcher Developer – a title that later boxed me in unnecessarily. With the unwavering support and encouragement of a previous line-manager, whose belief in me was greater than my belief in myself, I set about becoming a freelance consultant. That was eight years ago, thus making this the longest period of time I have ever spent in one ‘job’.

I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.

A much longer story

My ‘career path’ has been one of discovery and serendipitous happenstance, propelled by making some good (and some not so good) decisions, often drawing on reserves of courage I didn’t always believe I had.

I left school at 16 with a single GCSE (in Horsemanship) and an unshakable belief that there was no place in the round-hole educational system for a square-peg person like me.

So off I went to agricultural college, where I learned horsemanship, and – two years later and against emphatic advice – typing.

In my late twenties, after discovering I was quite good with computers, I found myself drawn back to learning on my own terms. I started with adult evening classes (HNC in Computing; Maths GCSE) and progressing along a zig-zag path with no clear plan, I gained my PhD in Psychology in 2012.

I learned a lot about myself: I learned that I could learn.

And I loved it.

While writing up my thesis I decided a linear research-career path was not for me. Instead, I pursued the aspects of my HE experiences that I found most rewarding: teaching, training and development.

I taught on undergraduate psychology programmes and International summer schools. I mentored new students. I immersed myself in every aspect of learning and development, spotted gaps in provision for doctoral researchers and designed training programmes and materials that addressed them. I gained a Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (PGCertHE for short).

I learned more about myself: I learned that I could teach.

And I loved it.

Along the way I accumulated 12 years experience in the hallowed halls of learning that we know as HE: as student, researcher, tutor, and researcher developer.

Moving into consultancy, I discovered the power of working with individuals as well as with groups. I learned coaching skills, and how to integrate them into group training. I practiced stepping back and allowing people the space and framework for creating their own learning journey, and to support them while they do this.

I learned even more about myself: I learned I could enable and empower others to learn.

And I love it.

My journey has convinced me that learning and development may happen at any stage in life, providing you are willing to:

  • understand yourself better
  • identify opportunities
  • source support
  • draw on your courage
  • experiment

I am now in a privileged position to act on my passion. Every day I engage and support others in their own development journeys, wherever they may be headed. And it’s an honour.

Would you or your team like some help on your journey? Connect with me and let’s talk.

Other true stories about me:

  • My hair started turning grey in my early twenties. The process was complete by the time I finished my PhD.
  • The first careers advice I ever received was “never learn to type”. I ignored it, and learned shorthand as well.
  • One of my thumb joints is hyper-mobile: I can make weird shapes with my hand.
  • I’m a great cook, with a flair for Spanish food. I make wonderful meals from random ingredients I find in the fridge when we’ve ‘got nothing in’.
  • I love the smell of old books, and get disproportionately excited about unwrapping new stationery.
  • The most challenging talk I’ve yet given was to an audience of 15-year-old pupils at a school.
  • I frequently trip over my own feet for no discernible reason.