Fate, Values, Fun and Purpose

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It’s funny how things work out. 

16 months ago I popped into Jack’s Coffee Shop in Melbourne to find a coffee and space to prepare for a Group supervision session at Barefoot HQ. It was really busy. I shared a table with another woman . We both sat scribbling in our little, bright notebooks, using coloured pens. Must be another coach, I thought, so I asked. We were both headed for the BF offices. It was the start of something special. 

 Emily Jones and I both qualified as coaches with Barefoot in 2016. Something sparked between us that day, so we decided to get together the following week to explore.  That was the first of our coffee table collaborations and marked the start of a business partnership that seems a bit different to other partnerships we hear about.

Emily and I are both accredited coaches with the International Coaching Federation and hold post grad coaching qualifications from the University of Chester. We both have a long track record of successful senior leadership in the public/not for profit sectors. We are both drawn to a strengths based approach to our work. We share a value set which focuses around people, collaboration, support, trust, challenge and fun. We are both motivated to use our skills to help teams understand, operate and thrive in the high performance space.  But, we are different in so many ways. Emily is a skilful presenter and facilitator , technically savy, motivated by last minute deadlines and challenges, sporty and very practical . I’m more of a planner and organiser, love creating materials and resources to embed learning and love the cut and thrust of organisational politics. It’s a brilliant partnership - we challenge each other, learn and grow every time we work together, encouraging each other to stretch our abilities and imaginations.

We decided to work together to develop a Team Coaching offer for senior teams in the public/not for profit sectors, and we have! 

 Structured around proven theory on high performing teams. Organised around a suite of tools, approaches and  exercises which challenge, give insight, stimulate movement. Designed around the specific challenges, needs and culture of each client. Flexible to respond to emerging  business needs. Energising, challenging and supportive to build individual and team awareness, confidence and resilience.

16 months after our first coffee shop moment we’ve just invested time in another coffee shop, Thyme in Market Bosworth,  to review, reflect and plan for the next stage of Whiles and Jones Coaching. We now have a few targets. We now have a development plan.  And, we are now really, really clear on the ingredients of WJC that make this business partnership work.  So what have we learnt that might help others?

  • Shared values are the rocks on which to build
  • Total trust gives the confidence to make things happen
  • Challenge and ambition to make a difference keeps you going 
  • Coffee shops are great places to spend time in 

If you’d like to talk to us about our High Performance Team Coaching work with senior teams, do get in touch. We love chatting to folk and know quite a few great coffee shops where ideas can flow. 


Sandra Whiles

Director, Sandra Whiles Coaching Ltd

I work with people who need a bit of a helping hand to rediscover what makes them shine, be energised and succeed. I love my work as a coach, helping people, organisations, groups, teams and partnerships succeed and supporting small businesses to transform their ideas into reality. All of my work is grounded in a coaching approach and builds on my experience and success in shaping and leading individuals, teams, organisations and partnerships over many years. Before setting up my business in 2016, I worked for 35 years in the public sector. My last job was as Chief Executive for Blaby District Council in Leicestershire, described as "a great council" by the LGA in 2015 with very high levels of public satisfaction and staff engagement. Having trained with Barefoot Coaching Ltd, I am a Professional Certified Coach with the International Coaching Federation, hold a postgraduate certificate in coaching from the University of Chester, have done specialist training in Team Coaching and am a qualified NLP Practitioner. Sustainability is very important to me, so my work is designed and delivered in ways that give clients tools and approaches to use to maintain and build on their successes after their work with me is completed.