Sankalpa Coaching

Do you know you need to make changes but feel stuck? Or has change been forced on you and you need help to respond? It can be lonely and confusing, a puzzle that goes round and round in your head, and you need a perspective that friends and partner cannot give. Coaching encourages you to envision the changes you want to make and supports you making the steps to get there.

Soon to have its own website, Sankalpa Coaching is one-to-one service to support change and develop your potential. Coaching has been key to Fiona in the vision for Viveka Gardens. So much so, I decided to upgrade my training in this powerful discipline with an Advanced Diploma. Fiona is a Member of the Association for Coaching.

What is coaching?

Coaching takes the form of a series of regularly scheduled conversations either in person, by internet video (eg skype) or phone. Depending on the clarity of the issue(s) at hand, topics are identified, a range of options  is explored and goals set. The goals may have specific outcomes or be seen more in the nature of an experiment. While having an eye on the inspiration we move forward in a realistic and achievable way. The results of the actions or new understandings are examined and further goals may be set.

Making changes towards a happier, more fulfilled life is the essence of coaching. It is about looking from the present forward. It is not counselling or psychoanalysis which study past trauma for current behaviour (in the case of unresolved trauma, a goal may be to find alternative specialised help). Neither is it mentoring in which advice is given in a field of work. In fact, suggested courses of action are avoided. Instead the individual is coached to find their authentic personal solution. Techniques include reflecting what you have said so you can hear it freshly, posing open questions, visioning alternative futures, identifying realistic steps, self-reflection through journaling and much more.

It is important to acknowledge that change involves moving out of the comfort zone. It requires courage to move on from what we know and to grow. This means that the coaching process can be awkward, painful even. The coach is there to help you hold the bigger picture while taking manageable steps. The coach can help you develop a growth mindset in which you come to see potential and not barriers. The coach is there to support and encourage you. As the process unfolds and you gain success, greater faith in your own ability develops. Sometimes, in order to maintain momentum, it may be the appropriate for the coach to challenge you. I will always ask permission to move along the supportive-challenging scale.


Clients bring a range of topics, usually more than one and sub-topics, often barriers to overcome,  emerge in the process. Topics include:

·        career change ·        career development
·        life balance ·        self-care
·        living your purpose ·        confidence
·        developing a spiritual practice ·        stress
·        insomnia ·        being part of a relationship
·         a more meaningful life ·         life-stage change
·         changing negative patterns ·         a creative project

The Work

The work together is non-judgemental, confidential and geared to the client’s best interests. You build on the strengths you already have and develop new resilience. You will have focused support during the coaching sessions but most of the work goes on in between the sessions.  It will be up to you to take action and to put in to practice the areas you are developing.

The Sankalpa Approach

The approach in the area personal development with forays into leadership and management performance related or solution focused tactics as appropriate and desired. Experience shows me that goal oriented models can make barriers or bring about inauthentic results. As a result, I prefer to gauge their use and prefer in any case to see goals as experiments and the work overall as an evolution.

Through my respected trainer, Helen Sieroda, I have been introduced to Psychosynthesis and a transpersonal approach in coaching. Transpersonal development sees a desire to move towards a  higher purpose in what we do, so that career is not just about a wage and status, but about the difference to a kinder, more equitable world, for instance.  This has allowed me to easily marry yoga philosophy, Vedanta, that I have internalised, with the coaching process.

As yogi, that is to say, a person who has integrated yoga practices and philosophy into my life, there are two major aspects that underpin my approach. First, that we are a mind-body-spirit continuum, and so a wholistic approach that looks both at wellbeing (possibly including basics such as nutrition and exercise) and higher longings. I would see that the coaching process is a practical part of our inherent desire to transcend. Second, aspects of yoga philosophy such as non-dualism (we are one) and non-attachment play out in terms of relating and discerning what is real in a situation. It may be, therefore, that yoga exercises, breathing techniques, meditation and yoga nidra can be additionally taught in order to develop the mindfulness to watch emotions and repeated patterns that keep us stuck.


My first aim is to be fully present so the person I coach is wholly heard. A coach is uniquely placed to listen completely without judgement or filters. This is a service that even a very good friend can rarely give. I facilitate a warm and open space where you can range free with your issues and explore nuances without restraint. Drawing on the school of Positive Psychology, we will look forward optimistically but not neglect the darker side of less positive feelings about the self or the situation. In this way, barriers to change, both internal and circumstantial, can be addressed.

You are the expert in your life

The work is co-created but ultimately directed by the client. YOU are the expert in YOUR life and the power to change is within you. Coaching guru John Whitmore, knighted for his service to industry, originally came from a sports coaching background. His business in tennis coaching was so successful he could find no more tennis coaches. So he got the ski-ing coaches to come in. They had even better results, precisely because they knew little about tennis and the players were empowered as experts. You can find the solutions within you; my job as coach is to facilitate that.

Visioning using the subconscious

When you take on coaching you are embarking on a journey. The strength of your vision, the endpoint, is key. For many it’s daunting to see a different future. First, coaching gives you the permission to vision a wilder range of possibilities: what if…? Second, there is a repertoire of tried and tested coaching tools to facilitate experimentation. Also, there is yoga nidra, a guided meditation technique to access the subconscious and your authentic desires for an aligned life. Yoga nidra so greatly helped me to move forward with my vision that I became a trained facilitator of this too. The technique, once you have your vision or sankalpa, a Sanskrit term for intention, heart’s prayer or desire, also allows you to plant it in your heart so you embody it. Your vision is already manifesting.

Fiona’s relevant certification

  • Wise Goose Advanced Diploma in Coaching 2017
  • ILM Award in Workplace Coaching Level 3 2010
  • Regular supervision (please ask for details or references)
  • Ongoing and relevant CPD to develop my skills (please ask for details)
  • Trained and insured for Yoga Practices -Sivananda, Senior Teacher Yoga Alliance Professionals
  • Member of Association for Coaching
  • Follows the Association for Coaching code of ethics
  • Enhanced check from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) and automatic update service
  • NCFE Level 2 Certificate in Equality and Diversity 2013

What I get out of coaching

For me coaching is a discipline and a practice, as such an arena to give service with full attention and non-attachment, or at least to practice that. To be able to offer true listening and be a dispassionate witness is a great gift to give – I know because I have received those things. In addition, I bring a presence of life experience and feel coaching helps me grow as an elder. As a yoga teacher I have long experience facilitating a space where individuals can let go, experience peace and connect with the inner self. I see coaching as a completely natural extension of this work, making a space for individuals to go closer to living the aligned and joyful life that is their right.

What to do next

Focus a little on what the issues are. Get in touch to make an appointment for a free 20-minute chemistry conversation. From there we schedule four or six appointments and co-create a contract from a template that covers the basics.

Working in arcs of four or six sessions allows space to explore your goals and examine the barriers, issues and sub-goals. So whilst reviewing on a session by session basis, the four-session space facilitates overall momentum with celebration of what has been achieved. Next steps towards the next cycle can then be made, if wanted. I make notes and review them after and before each session. I encourage you to make notes too.