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Sophia Coaching

Sophia Coaching

Sophia is the ancient word for Wisdom; how we work in Sophia Coaching is by enabling our clients to uncover their own inner wisdom. A wisdom that is always there for us but which often can be hidden by our thoughts about ourselves or about  our circumstances. Through our work, individuals and teams uncover their own innate positive wellspring of resources that can be relied on no matter what the situation or the circumstances of our lives or our businesses.

John F. Kelly

John F. Kelly

Coach & Facilitator

The coaching model, Performance = Potential minus Interference, developed by Tim Gallwey sums up the coaching approach that I use in helping people and teams and organisations in fully realising their potential.

I believe it holds true that our potential is infinitely greater than we believe.

In my coaching I bring all the experience of over 30 years in business with more than 25 years spent at director level. In addition I bring a wealth of personal experience and study in the field of human potential, spirituality, well-being and understanding our innate health, resilience and brilliance.

An EMCC practitioner with a passion for helping indviduals and organisations realise their full potential; I have also undergone a coaching mentorship with 2 graduates of Michael Neill’s Supercoach academy and am a licenced facilitator of the IHEART (Innate Health Education and Resilience Training) for schools.

In my journey through business life, family life and personal life I have experienced the growth that comes from better understanding of my true nature; assisted in this journey by the many trials including serious anxiety and depression and assisted by fantastic coaches. I can confirm that coaching works.


Life makes much more sense to me ever since I developed an understanding and insight into how it works. In particular how we all make up our own realities through our Thoughts in the Moment.

All of my reading and self-help work and spiritual direction has so much more meaning for me now that I see the truth about how humans really operate. Not how we think we operate, or how others tell us we operate or should operate…NO…I now see for myself how we truly operate. Unfortunately my human condition means I don’t always see it as clearly as I would like or see how it operates as often as I would like. That’s what causes the fun, madness and sometimes sadness in my life. But knowing that I’m innately alright, innately full of Love, Compassion, Resilience, Well-Being, Gratitude, Wisdom, Peace of Mind; always means I can fall back into my innate qualities and strengths whenever my thinking about how life seems to work, quietens down and my insights into how life really works come to the fore…then life has a wonderful, eternal, heavenly quality to it…and in those moments I see I am  Pure Love.

In my coaching I will point you to how life really works and not how it seems to work. When you see it for yourself then whatever the coaching issue you want help with will be transformed, not by my words and experiences, but by your own inner wisdom and well-being.

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Paul J. Barbour

Paul J. Barbour

Executive, Team and Leadership Development Coach

I feel privileged to do what I consider a calling and not work.  I’m a graduate of the leading MSc in Coaching and Behavioural Change at Henley Business School and an experienced Executive, Team and Leadership Development Coach.  Before becoming an Executive Coach, I had the honour of leading great teams and taking on multiple leadership roles, during a successful 20-year career in Kerry Group PLC. 

My love for mixing academic research with the practical application was recently recognised when I was selected as the best newcomer to the field of Personal Construct Psychology (14th Biennial European Personal Construct Association Conference).  In addition, the same studies resulted in an award for ‘Excellence in Research’ at Henley Business School (  I’m truly humbled with both these accolades.  However, the people that really deserve accolades are the individuals and teams that so willingly open their hearts and minds, to engage in what I consider the life-changing work of coaching.  I’m thankful to everyone I’ve had the privilege of coaching over the years.

At present, I’m delighted to be co-authoring a book on team coaching, that will be published by Kogan Page in 2020.  When I’m not coaching, writing, carrying out speaking engagements, buying books and expanding my knowledge on coaching and psychology, I dedicate my time to my family, trying to play football, community involvement, small scale property development and songwriting.


I don’t use this word lightly, but I truly ‘love’ both the work I do and the people I get to work with.  I’m inspired by the work of Carl R. Rodgers on unconditional positive regard (not judging another human no matter what – “easier said than done, I know”), Victor E. Frankl (survivor of Nazi concentration camps, who so beautifully describes the ‘space within’ between a stimulus and our response), Nancy Kline (who talks about the importance of appreciation and listening that goes way beyond our words), Deci and Ryan (with their Self Determination Theory and its focus on the human psychological needs of relatedness, competence and autonomy, that offers so much to what makes a great leader, colleague and parent) and Anthony De Mello (who talks about developing our awareness and awakening to the paradox that despite the messiness of life, all is well).

Before I came across these great thinkers, I’m indebted to my mother and grandmother who have spent their life instilling values about the preciousness of each individual.  I’m indebted to my upbringing, in a faith community, where I heard endlessly about the need to love your enemies.  Growing up during the Northern Ireland troubles, these values were not universal.

I’m convinced more each day, that as humans we need to learn how to be kinder to ourselves (fall back in love with our own unique story), be more compassionate with each other (embrace the paradox of our different truths) and find deeper meaning in everything we do (work out and fulfil our purpose).  I’m convinced that much of our human potential is lost to thoughts that are often unhelpful and, in many cases, simply untrue.  The world, those we serve as leaders and those we love, deserve us to take some ‘time out’ to rethink what it is we are doing.

It’s my genuine joy to work with CEO’s, leaders, managers, fathers, mothers, siblings… to help them stop, breathe, listen to themselves, think afresh and discover from their innate wisdom, truths that will help transform their thinking and true potential.

How can you know if coaching with me is right for you?

Before any coaching engagement, I insist on a 30-minute complimentary zoom video call, to explain what coaching involves (philosophy, process, confidentiality, ethics, my coaching supervision, commercials etc) and what will be required of the coachee, if they are serious about engaging on a journey of discovery and change.  It is vital that a coach and a coachee, even on such a short call, establish an initial and meaningful connection.  After answering any questions, I leave it up to the coachee to decide if coaching is the right thing for them at this stage of their career/life and if so, that I’m the right coach for them to work with.  I’d also be happy to suggest other coaches for you to consider.

If you would like to arrange a zoom call or would just like to say hello, please do not hesitate to reach out.  It would be my pleasure to jointly discover if we are destined to journey with each other.  Thank you for taking the time to read.