“A ship in a harbour is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.”

~ William Shedd

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. My methods draw on evidence-based practices, primarily structured around cognitive-behavioural, solution-focused, and positive-psychology frameworks.

Coaching programme design and delivery for individuals, groups, and institutional cohorts. For example:

  • Career and professional development
  • Developing your authentic researcher identity
  • Executive coaching for research leaders
  • Support for staff in restructured working groups
  • 360° feedback

The premise of coaching

You might not be able to change the world, but if you change how you operate in your world, your world will change around you. You might not be able to change other people, but if you change the way you connect with them, they may respond differently, and you can transform your relationships. You can do it on your own. But you might do it faster, with less stress, and with more impact if you have the right support.

That’s where I come in.

Coaching is a conversation, or series of conversations that support you in exploring, defining and progressing your development goals. I provide the space and frameworks for you to examine the topics you bring to the sessions; to challenge and encourage you to set objectives and take action towards them. Coaching conversations occur in a confidential, safe space.

Because coaching is non-directive,  I  actively support you to discover your own solutions, and set your own goals. I do this by listening, clarifying, reflecting back, asking questions and challenging you to experiment, all in service of supporting your progress towards your goals.

The responsibility for making decisions and taking actions (and equally valid, in choosing not to take action) lies with you. I provide you with the tools, support and structure to do this in the way that works best for you. By the end of your coaching programme with me, you will have learned how to use and adapt those tools, and take the lead in your own self-coaching in the future.

I am your thinking-partner

  • Heashot of SarahI  believe in you, even especially when you don’t believe in yourself.
  • I am impartial, yet I’m always on your team. I have no vested interest in what you choose to do or how, but I celebrate alongside you when you succeed.
  • I remind you to explore the terrain off the beaten track, rather than charge ahead on the path well-trodden by others.
  • I spot the stories you tell yourself that might be limiting your progress, and help you re-write them into beliefs that power your development.
  • I listen to you deeply and with full presence. I offer you alternative perspectives on your situation, challenges, and options.
  • I won’t lie to you, directly or by omission. This means I may sometimes say things you don’t want to hear.
  • I point out out patterns in your thinking and behaviour that might be holding you back.
  • Nothing great happens inside comfort zones, and challenge without support is stressful. So I will challenge you, and support you in challenging yourself.
  • I enable you to realise that your thoughts, behaviours and feelings are selective, and empower you to make different choices when you want to.
  • I remind you that your courage bucket is full, when you are searching for droplets at the bottom of your confidence bucket.
  • I am your companion on your development journey: we are shoulder-to-shoulder.

And you?

  • You want to create your own opportunities, rather than wait for them to show up.
  • You are ready to be candid about your strengths, perspectives, and challenges.
  • You are open to discovering new directions
  • You are prepared to challenge your habitual thinking patterns.
  • You might be at a crossroads in your professional life, and are unsure how to make your decision.
  • You suspect  you may have more personal resources than you thought, and are prepared to experiment with tapping into them.
  • Your circumstances might be changing around you, and you want to take more control over what happens next.
  • You may be harbouring a secret dream or ambition, and you’ve run out of excuses for keeping it hostage on your someday/maybe list.
  • You are committed to taking ownership of your development.

If you’re ready to engage in a coaching partnership, connect with me and let’s explore whether we might be a good fit.

What is not covered?

Coaching is not a substitute for counselling, therapy, mental health care, nor for advice that may be construed as medical, clinical, or legal.
In the event of a topic of discussion being beyond the boundaries of either the coach’s expertise or the coaching relationship framework, your coach will suggest a referral, and/or support you in seeking a more appropriate avenue of professional support.

Ethical considerations

I adhere to the following codes of ethics:

Above all I found the courage…

I have a concrete action plan, with guidance to help adapt my strongly academic portfolio to something attractive to an industrial employer. Talking through my ideas without fear of retribution or difficulties. Above all I found the courage to actually do what I had been debating for much too long.

University of Portsmouth

Most valuable personal development activity I’ve ever done at work

This was the most valuable personal development activity I’ve ever done at work! Sarah is a brilliant coach. I really liked the flexibility of her approach – while we set out the overarching parameters of our discussions at the beginning of the process, we also used the sessions to respond to/ reflect on issues that emerged subsequently. For many reasons, this academic year has been one of the most stressful of my career, but I always felt more positive after my sessions with Sarah… equipped with strategies to make the situation more manageable!

Coachee on research leadership programme

Truly transformative

Sarah’s [coaching] has been truly transformative for me. The sessions have provided me with the ability to analyse and understand the totality of my working identity, identifying the elements that have caused me difficulties for so many years. I am now working through the process of trialling practical approaches to address these.

Coachee on Strategic Fellowship programme

Great at tailoring things to your individual needs

Sarah is a wonderful, kind person, easy to talk to and able to give good, solid and constructive suggestions. She is great at tailoring things to your individual needs and abilities and doesn’t expect one size to fit all. She is easy to speak to and offers wise words that will help you to find the path you require.

Private coaching client

Enabled me to learn to trust my natural instincts

The coaching has enabled me to learn to trust my natural instincts and work positively with my tendency to over analyse my actions. I am far kinder to myself and am getting better at putting less pressure on myself and keeping expectations in check. In situations where I had no control, I would still put the emphasis on myself, now I realise that I still have power over my actions even if I don’t over the outcomes.

Coachee on Strategic Fellowship programme

Being able to realise, pause and assess

I have become a lot more self-aware and now recognise when my inner critic is taking over- just being able to realise, pause and assess whether I can control the critic and get in a more positive frame of mind for completing a task has been very useful!

Coachee on Strategic Fellowship programme

Meant the world to me to feel so heard and seen

Sarah has been brilliant. She’s encouraged us, and challenged our negative thought patterns to help us engage in a way to build on what is working, and enhance these aspects and identify areas we want to work on in future like self-belief and making time to recognise our successes. One of the workshops brought to light some of the things I am struggling with, and in a conversation with Sarah, she helped me with insight into the heart of this challenge for me by asking gentle questions. She was really compassionate and understanding of my experience and it meant the world to me to feel so heard and seen.

Staff member
University of Portsmouth

You helped me remove the forest

Although the answers were in front of me, I guess, talking with you helped to ‘un-ravel’ the various ideas in my head. You helped me remove the forest – to see the trees!

University of Portsmouth