Coaching is about change

Sometimes life forces a change. Sometimes a change has grown from within and yearns for self-expression. Sometimes it’s a vision you are ready to actualise.

Coaching gives you perspective, space to explore, encouragement to commit, structure to realise the change. It feels so good to get clarity and move into the new phase of your life.

Taking time to reflect, hearing myself and hearing you witnessing me has been so empowering. I’ve had clarity about an overwhelming project, work-life balance and my next vision. Because what you say is unclouded, I see how I colour my thoughts. A wonderful quality of listening and great being alongside. Our topic reviews kept me on point. I wouldn’t have been able to take things on without you. C, yoga teacher trainer

Ways of working

  • coaching conversations with deep listening, clarifying and reframing, together with a range of tools and techniques
  • setting goals and holding them lightly, or tightly, as needed
  • guided meditation for calming and tuning in
  • option to use yoga nidra and other embodied practices to shift at another level
  • option for bespoke coaching retreat stay here at VG

My perspectives on the peri-menopausal journey shifted as a result of Fiona’s coaching. I learned a lot and the changes I made have ranged from the practical (clearing out my old wardrobe and allowing a new style to emerge) to the mindset changes about my maturing self that were more subtle and at the same time longer lasting.

I loved Fiona’s clear and challenging questions that really engaged well with the way I analyse things, and the way she picked up on terms and phrases I was not aware I was using and that provided huge insights into the underlying reasons for some of my actions. I enjoyed having a week or more between sessions to reflect on our conversations and try to act on some of the goals.

You are an enormously effective coach – I’m not an easy person to coach and you were brilliant. I loved the open space and welcoming atmosphere of your meeting room. S, scientific entrepreneur

Some visions: business idea, vocation, re-location, project, side-hustle, health and fitness, spiritual path, work-life balance, a life aligned with values

Some life changes: menopause, retirement, children leaving home, financial circumstances, new career

Some hard changes: diagnosis, bereavement, job loss, estrangement, divorce/separation

Fiona calmly and intuitively uses a holistic blend of active listening, workshop exercises, relaxation and visualisation techniques during her coaching sessions. Her approach was always uniquely tailored to my personal needs and able to flex at each session to perfectly match the guidance I needed at that time.

I approached Fiona as my work life balance felt out of whack. I wanted to create more time for passion projects and work towards longer term career goals that felt more aligned with my personal interests. She helped to bring clarity to my situation, get clear about what was important to me and set goals and intentions for the next phase of my life.

Through our coaching sessions and practical tasks set in-between, I have been able to move positively towards my vision. Within a couple of months of working with Fiona I secured a new job, that’s brought about a big shift in my work and home-life, setting me firmly on a path to reach my longer-term aspirations. C, senior marketing and a passion for community projects

Coaching is not counselling or therapy, which tend to look back towards formative experiences, deal with trauma, and explore deep personal feelings. Coaching looks forward and sets goals, addressing your current barriers to moving on. It may be relevant to refer a coaching client to counselling or therapy if former issues want addressing.

A good balance between a structured conversation with purpose and letting me freewheel. You were just what I needed at this time of grief and fear. Full of compassion but able to give shape to my experience. You were very positive in helping me reshape my own evaluation of myself. V, yoga teacher
I have been so nourished by this opportunity to talk things through. Coaching was just what I needed:  a dispassionate, disinterested witness, unlike my many friends who want to offer advice. This new stage has been waiting to birth itself. C, retiree

Mentoring vs coaching: you are the expert in your life

In mentoring a person more experienced in your field gives an informed bigger picture, resources and professional advice. My qualification involves mentoring, and fields in which I could mentor include yoga teaching and spiritual vocation. Coaching would inevitably be there too.

However, coaches do not need to be in your area of expertise, and often better if not because you are the expert in your life. Coaching is generally not about advice; you will already know on some level the solution yourself. The coach’s role is to support you to identify and implement it.

I loved the fact that I was heard; that whatever I said was well fed back and with that I felt safe and happy to share. I really enjoyed working with Fiona, who got me off the starting block. Having been procrastinating for some time, I now have no excuse anymore as the next steps for my project are black and white in front of me. R, Yoga teacher

Fiona’s relevant certification and practice

  • Advanced Diploma in Coaching and Mentoring, certified by the Association for Coaching and ILM
  • ILM Award in Workplace Coaching Level 3
  • Regular supervision
  • Ongoing and relevant CPD to develop my skills
  • Professional insurance
  • Member of Association for Coaching
  • Follow the Association for Coaching code of ethics
  • Enhanced check from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) automatic update service
  • Also trained and insured for Yoga Practices – Senior Yoga Teacher Yoga Alliance Professionals

My qualification includes coaching and mentoring for business and my life and other professional experience means not just change but transformation. I enjoy working with people at all stages of life and journey.

The coaching has been more about beginnings. I have begun to clarify different new self. It helped talking to a person I did not know initially. The coaching helped with self inner confidence which had left me. I found you to be compassionate and the coaching effective. S, student
It was very positive to have someone outside my busy working environment to talk to. Starting the sessions with a few minutes of silence so I could centre myself was great.

Fiona is a very good listener, and her reflections made me aware of many things about myself or situations. She was really good at finding positive learning in edgy situations as well as seeing the best in me and reminding of my gifts. She encouraged me to set intentions for the next weeks in order to find answers inside myself and achieve the aims that would help me learn and grow.

I believe all this helped me a lot to manage stress and conflict (inner and outer) in a much better way and find clarity in confusion. I am really grateful to have had Fiona as a coach and really enjoyed our meetings. A, volunteer and spiritual seeker

The Viveka Gardens story

It might seem that VG has always been here. But it was only through coaching, just four seminal sessions, that I saw the vision indeed was ‘a thing’, and that yes indeed, I could do it. There were so many reasons why not, and easily I could still be in my old life.  Coaching, together with yoga nidra for visioning, and I see now, the divine having a plan, as well as the creativity of it all bubbling up all gave me courage. I was at a hinge point in my life and I stepped forward.

The VG vision started as an aspiration to a simple, monastic life in nature and in tune with the seasons of the day, the year, and life. I had an instinct that the service of hospitality would teach me much, and hopefully benefit others. The ‘golden threads’ of my life, all my various experience and training, supported me. I set out, not quite knowing how it would be but having found the place, the organic listening to what was right continued. A lot of nidra, journalling and prayer.

When I decided to book in for some coaching, it was one of the first important steps to putting myself first. It felt alien, but has really helped me on my journey to prioritising myself, and really getting to know what matters to me/what I stand for. For so long, I’ve lived my life for other people and fallen prey to the pandemic of people pleasing. Fiona helped me to listen to my own voice and feelings by reflecting back my thoughts in a way that has helped me have enough confidence to guide me on the rest of my journey in this crazy thing called life. I’m truly excited for what is to come and have already started doing things I’d have never let myself believe I could do before! Don’t think about it too much, just book in! G, NHS to own innovative project

And no sooner had I got to Devon than a new path began to open. Once you step forward, make yourself available, you never quite know what the Divine has in store for you (should you choose to accept the challenge!). There’s always a lot of research and practicalities so there is work on many levels. Angels find you along the way and you develop resilience in the face of set backs. Coaching can aid you with a mindset. If not in the first place, you come to understand more about what the divine has always intended for you.

Fiona has a focused presence and is an adept listener. Her accuracy in reflecting back together with her recollection of statements and conversation points from previous sessions were really effective in keeping me focused. I learnt to set myself smaller to do lists and to develop a keener awareness of my time limitations and what I can commit to. The sessions were interesting, varied and useful, and I always felt I had explored interesting edges for myself as well as achieving great output. J, charity sector

About Fiona

I am a yoga teacher and hold space for transformative rest at my small retreat place in Devon, Viveka Gardens. With long experience in yoga spirituality I came to Christian faith in 2016. Vocation called and I trained to become a priest in the Church of England but with a heavy heart in 2024 I resigned my post, unable to fit well enough to flourish.

The key values I bring to my work at VG are sabbath (deep rest), shalom (flowing peace, and space for grace), and the transforming power of the Holy Spirit. Coaching work tends not to be framed in Christian terms (though it can be); my mission is simply to help people become who they are intended to be. I am on a spiritual path, and maybe I can come alongside you on yours.

I am also very earthy and practical, with the embodied practices of yoga, managing the parcel of land here, delighting in veg and flower growing, and offering vegan soulfood.

Kitchen disco, textiles, jazz, exploring Devon water and land are some other joys. I have two grown up children, and continue to dither about adopting a dog.

How it works

  1. Initial chat for you to explain the gist of the change you want to make and build rapport. Please fix a time here.
  2. An initial package of four sessions within two months, fees on a sliding scale according to household income, including low or no income
  3. A working agreement and terms and conditions document to engage your commitment to your aims, and set out my commitment to you
  4. Evaluation of your journey and next steps
  5. Possibly another set of sessions then or at a time in the future
As a coach
  • I see you with unconditional positive regard
  • I listen wholeheartedly to your experience and inspirations
  • I believe you to be the expert in your own life
  • I ask you the right questions to clarify and to gently challenge
  • I hold your vision when the way forward is hard to see or you get sidetracked
  • I am alongside you, a non-anxious presence and your champion
As a coachee
  • You have changes you want to make
  • You acknowledge that change is rarely straightforward
  • You have a growth mindset
  • You are willing to reflect on your strengths and barriers
  • You commit to making space to work on your goals
  • You celebrate your gifts and your achievements