I first met Sarah through a leadership and management training course in the social housing sector.  To say this training stayed with me is an under-statement. Sarah’s training style, which focussed on developing practical and person-centred approaches for each participant, was unlike anything I’ve experienced before, or since. During these sessions, I was able to really develop and hone my leadership and management skills, and think of practical approaches to some of the problems and opportunities I was experiencing at the time.  To this day, I still use the handouts I gained during this training about change, my personality profile, how to communicate well as a leader, how to handle difficult conversations and much more. The fact that five years on this training remains so relevant and timeless speaks volumes about Sarah’s approach, content and style.

Fast-forward to 2017, and I was given the opportunity for the first time in my career to invest in coaching. It was clear to me that Sarah would be the perfect coach, and within a couple of weeks we had our first session. During my coaching, Sarah has used different locations and techniques to provide me with an empowering setting in which to really think through the various challenges and queries I have brought to her in each session. From the very beginning, she has created an environment in which I have been able to speak freely and with confidence about everything that concerns, inspires, motivates and challenges me. Throughout our sessions Sarah has been incredibly astute about the things I am not saying, and teasing these out, in order for me to really get the most out of my sessions. 

Sarah’s sessions have given me the skills with which to bring space and order to the various complexities I have felt within my job, whilst also allowing me to meaningfully articulate my goals and how I will achieve these. She has also supported me to really get to a place where I feel able to back myself and continue my path as a leader.

I am incredibly pleased with the lasting progress I have made as a result of my coaching, and feel very confident that I will be able to embed these fully in to my career going forwards. I also feel that Sarah’s coaching has played a vital role in enabling me to get a new job, which I am really excited about! Thank you, Sarah.

Sufina Ahmed, Corporate Strategy Manager, City of London Corporation

Indigo’s management and leadership programmes have been a key part of our bigger culture and people strategy.  In the first year of working with Sarah, we’ve saved £104.8K in absence costs, staff turnover has decreased by 5%, saving £220K on our recruitment budget and we’ve had an estimated increase of 15% in internal recruitment.  Not bad for the first year of a three-year strategy.

Fiona Deal, Executive Director of Culture and People, Network Homes

Sarah and her team always deliver more than expected.  Their generous approach has made an enormous difference to our managers and leaders.   We’re seeing far more cross functional team work and confidence among our managers with many saying this has been the best leadership and management training they have ever done (100% have rated it either very good or excellent).   Sarah and her team are responsive, thoughtful and creative in their approach and our people value Sarah’s own relaxed yet challenging style.  I am personally grateful to Sarah for helping me make little tweaks to my own style that have a had big impact

Tracey Webb, Head of Organisational Development, Network Homes

Step by step Sarah helped me make relationships work, deal with my well-being and grow in my confidence. She played a vital role in helping me find my voice as a Director. Eighteen months after beginning our work together, I was awarded an OBE.

Rosie Williams, Director of Development, Rugby Football Union

Sarah worked with all my frustrations in the first three years of setting up. In that time our turnover increased from £2.5 million to £19 million and staff increased from 1 to 80. Sarah challenged my thinking and made a real difference to my ability to sustain the pace.

Darren Doherty, CEO, Pioneer Underwriting (subsidiary of Minova)

Since working with Sarah, we have been clearer about our strengths. Our internal communications now appeal to a wider audience and we have recently been asked to take on an important piece of work where we know we will be able to add real value.

Head of Strategy and Planning, The Home Office

The team has become a stronger team who work creatively and collaboratively together. They are now well placed to deal with new challenges and have taken on new responsibilities. Production team have since been nominated for several BAFTAs. Sarah’s approach was relaxed and informal, helping the team decide for itself how to stretch and grow.

Helen Mariner, HR Business Partner, ITV

Right from the first session with Sarah, I had unexpected ‘light bulb’ moments of insight working on different marketing campaigns with the use of different resources such as Dallas SEO Experts and others. Her supportive yet challenging manner is helping me adjust to a new role and I am already feeling more confident and positive about the months ahead.

Ayesha Neunie, Digital Marketing Manager.

We have been delighted….Our managers are now experiencing greater confidence in their ability to have powerful conversations, support people through change and have grown in confidence in their dealings with others.

Anne-Marie Hutt, Director of HR, Grand Union Housing

Sarah has worked with Faraday since 2000.  Our clients include DfT, Defra, Home Office, CLG, BIS, and all of their agencies, Government Offices in the English Regions, and Ofgem.  Sarah’s levels of professionalism, integrity and commitment are of the very highest and our clients respond most positively to her. Feedback from clients (and repeat business) couldn’t be better. As well as her great range of skills in the field, she is a great person to work with, creative, resilient, positive and dynamic.

Christine Archer, CEO, The Faraday Partnership

I have come a long way in the past year and I do remember one of the things you said to me regularly – that I should make a decision as to whether I should be in the role or not. That really helps constantly. Wanted to say – ‘Thank you’. It’s been a difficult year but the team really got behind me and together we have made it work.

Christine Baby, Director, First Fruit

There is no doubt that the programme has been a positive experience for managers in the business.

 Review of management development programme

I enjoyed the training so much and the feel as if there is so much that I have learnt and can use on a daily basis. Your feedback was inspirational and thought provoking. Your style of delivery was excellent, you made us feel so relaxed and made us all contribute in a positive manner.

Darren Johnson, YMCA

Your help has been critical to my development – I genuinely wouldn’t be the man I am today without you

Stephen Doherty, Director of PR, Diageo after a programme of leadership coaching

People have stories in their head about why something cannot be done or how someone else is thinking.  Sarah helped me to think in a different way by making you think about what I could achieve if those perceived impediments were not there.

Andy Dimbleby, Head of Production at Barclays during a series of leadership coaching sessions

I want to thank you for an incredible experience – and one that is still reverberating in me. Time to reflect and share in that way is rare in my life, it really was a wonderful gift. Thank you so much for creating the space and safety that put us all at ease.

 Lara Caragh, Cancer Research, after attending a leadership programme

Sarah Smith’s programme was one of the best received programmes we delivered in-house. Managers found the content and style of the programme refreshing, practical and challenging.
As a result we have seen a significant difference in the way in which managers approach issues and an increase of their awareness and clarify of their responsibility and influence. For instance, one of our care-taking managers took a radical look at his assertive “tell” style and is developing a more inclusive, inter-active approach. On a practical level he has abandoned monthly team meetings and is holding regular once a week 15 minute catch-ups so that he can manage performance and make sure that communication is flowing. This is paying dividends with caretakers updating him early about issues, and the team finding creative ways of dealing with problems. Feedback sheets consistently rated the workshops ‘excellent’ and ‘challenging’. Our managers are tough critics; so I was surprised and pleased with the impact of the programme. I would highly recommend Sarah for her professionalism, her method and approach. I will definitely consider Sarah to deliver any further learning and development events for the organisation.

Judith Bousquet, Phoenix Community Housing

Sarah’s work with us has been very beneficial, with managers’ having a chance to reflect on their current practice, refine and review their skills.  In particular, they have become more collegiate as a result and are better able to problem solve and work together. This is particularly important to us to facilitate a one-team approach and to enable a can-do focus to support two of our core values. My own coaching has been particularly useful.  Sarah’s supportive but honest and challenging style has helped me step from an operational role into a far more strategic role. I’ve been better able to delegate work, get more from my team and play a more powerful role as a Head of Service.  In particular, she helped me think through a difficult issue with an under performer and the ramifications this had for the business. I highly recommend the Four Day Managers Programme and the coaching service provided by Sarah and Barry Smith to others in the Housing sector.

Julie Breed, Head of Human Resources, Greenfields Community Housing Association

I have had a huge rise in confidence.  I now have a positive “can do” attitude instead of being shy, quiet and thinking “I can’t do this”.  I have brought my learning back to the workplace and have had unprompted feedback from senior managers about my new positive outlook.  I am now trusted to lead on major projects, lead meetings and deliver.  This course has been life changing

 Programme participant

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