Helen Barnes

Helen is a skilled and compassionate coach, coach supervisor and occupational therapist. She has a deep curiosity and intuition about people and believes that a client’s narrative is the best way of getting to know them; where they are in the context of their lives and where they might be thinking about going. Clients describe her as reflective, with good analytical skills and a supportive non-directive approach. Her coaching approach is holistic, underpinned by her occupational therapy training, the central tenet of which owes much to the ideas of holism, humanism and pragmatism

For many years Helen’s professional interest has been in exploring what keeps a person well in the workplace, particularly managing mental health and wellbeing; returning to work following burnout or long-term illness/absence and supporting neurodivergent thinkers to work at their best. Her experience has been rich and varied working with a diverse range of clients in the NHS, European Commission, voluntary, social enterprise and corporate sectors. Following a career as a Lloyd’s broker, Helen embarked on a major career change to train in Occupational Therapy. After qualifying she worked for the NHS before leaving the UK to live in Brussels. There she trained as a coach whilst working for the European Commission, first in the Psychosocial Interventions Sector of the Medical Service, assisting staff experiencing difficult life situations, before moving into an HR role responsible for; wellbeing at work; career and personal development coaching and equal opportunities.

Now back in the UK running her own practice offering coaching, supervision and occupational therapy to private clients, she also continues to work with the NHS Leadership Academy, and Genius Within, a social enterprise supporting neurodivergent clients to fulfil their employment potential.

Helen is currently training in Gestalt Psychotherapy at the Metanoia Institute and keeps herself updated with regular supervision and training. Through experience and continuous professional development, Helen has developed specific skills that best support neurodivergent clients to manage frequently cited difficulties such as time management, concentration, memory and organisation, and related issues including anxiety, stress management, depression, and emotional resilience. She has a BSc and MSc in Occupational Therapy and is a registered Occupational Therapist with the UK Health and Care Professions Council and a Certified Coach with the European Mentoring and Coaching Council at Senior Practitioner Level. Helen holds a Certificate in Supervision from The Tavistock Institute of Human Relations and a Certificate in Humanistic Counselling from the Gestalt Centre.

“As a practice manager in a demanding and highly pressured role I had struggled for some time with continuously challenging employee situations. Over time this manifested itself with high levels of stress and working long days sometime 14 hours a day. Helen’s gentle style and support have helped me tremendously. I would not have believed so much positive change was possible before I started my sessions. What amazed me throughout the whole coaching experience is the way Helen has shown me the answers are something I already had and has shown me how to find them. I got real outcomes that I can implement in my day to day working life. The difference to my wellbeing and work life is wonderful.”

GP Practice Manager

“Helen is an excellent and very empathic listener. She was able to communicate in a very immediate and comprehensible way including the use of exercises which constructively framed the issues I was having. She has a very calm presence and a direct but gentle manner which is easy to feel comfortable around. The coaching sessions helped me greatly, both for the specific situation and supported my internal decision-making capacity.”

Senior Policy Advisor, European Commission