Sarah Holden


Sarah is an experienced Change and Organisation Development Consultant, Executive Coach and Facilitator.

Following 10 years’ experience in various Organisation Development roles, she has worked as an independent consultant and coach for the past 12 years.  Sarah combines her facilitation and coaching practice with Change and HR/Organisation Development consulting and project work.

Her area of interest is in supporting organisations’ to develop exceptional organisational effectiveness through the development of positive cultural environments. Sarah believes this is best achieved when people within organisations build good quality relationships founded on robust, honest and authentic conversations; fostered through exemplary management and leadership.  Her work focuses on helping leaders, teams and organisations develop the mindset and skills to have courageous conversations and to create empowered cultures where this can happen at any level.

Sarah has consulted in the digital and e-commerce, hospitality, beverage, Aerospace and Defence, Financial Services, FMCG, telecommunications, manufacturing, construction, transport, legal, retail, not-for-profit and public sectors in the UK, Europe, Asia and the USA.  She has worked across a range of organisations in terms of size (60,000 to self-employed) and ownership structures (private, public, joint venture, partnerships) and has experience working from Board to Graduate level.

Her expertise includes the following areas:

  • Designing and implementing organisation’s Talent and Performance Management and Learning strategies
  • One-to-one and team coaching
  • Facilitation of a variety of programmes including team development using psychometrics
  • Change Management and communications
  • Competency development (leader and manager frameworks) and developing and embedding organisational values

Sarah began her career as a Journalist and has a BA in English and Journalism from Rhodes University, an MA in Human Resources Development from Middlesex University and an MSc in Organisational Consulting and Change from Ashridge University.  In addition, she holds a Certificate in Coaching from Ashridge, is British Psychological Society verified assessor at Level A and a certified Firo-B, C-Me, Hogan Leadership Assessment and Strengthscope practitioner.  Sarah is also an accredited facilitator of Barry Oshry’s work focused on building collaboration and partnerships in organisations and achieved the Investment Management Certificate (IMC), an FSA regulatory exam for asset managers.

Examples of previous experience include:

Learning Strategy and Culture Development:

  • Built and managed two Learning and Development functions (including Graduate Recruitment) to deliver a more business focused, comprehensive offering.
  • Developed an Organisation Development strategy for a Private Equity firm to support its transition from a small, dynamic start-up to a larger, international organisation. Introduced a range of initiatives – performance management, competency framework with aligned recruitment tools, manager and leadership development and coaching across the UK, Japan and China.
  • Developed and embedded the Purpose and core Values for a leading on-line retailer to support their growth and engagement agenda, including a bespoke 360 Values instrument for leaders and a bottom up team charter approach.
  • Managed a cultural change initiative focused on building a culture based on personal responsibility and accountability for influencing and driving the organisation’s performance, and on creating a stronger, more visible leadership culture.

Performance Management:

  • Redesigned a number of organisations performance management approaches away from annual rated conversations to a quarterly check-ins. Modernised their competency frameworks and developed ‘Quality Conversation’ workshops for reviewers and reviewees.
  • Designed and delivered “Having Quality Pay Conversations” for a digital property services provider.

Talent Management:

  • Designed and implemented a Talent Management strategy in an Investment Bank and a leading telecommunications provider, the latter included implementing a talent management system.
  • Lead a major change initiative to develop and implement a Talent Management strategy for the NHS across London, focused on identifying the future CEOs and Board Directors. This was supported by comprehensive change management and workshops to support behavioural change in assessing and identifying talent.  It also included the implementation of a Talent Management IT system.

Programme Design and Facilitation:

  • An empowered leadership workshops for 500 people on a major London infrastructure project, aimed at embedding an empowered, leader of leader culture.
  • A career Development programme for managers and employees to create a culture of continuous, rigorous development conversations. This also included a train-the-trainer component to facilitate an EMEA-wide roll out.
  • An eight-month team coaching programme across the NHS in NW London.
  • An eight-month change management facilitator programme across the NHS in NW London.
  • A modular management development programme in an Investment Bank over two years.
  • A programme aimed at improving working relationships and managing conflict in a Development Bank as part of a wider cultural change initiative.

Change Management:

  • Lead the change management workstream on a four-year IT Transformation project for a leading engineering and defence company.
  • Lead the change management workstream to support the implementation of a London-wide talent implementation project across the whole of the NHS.

Competency Development:

  • Built a leadership and management competency framework for a Private Equity company.
  • Developed a leadership competency framework for a leading telecommunications client.
  • Modernised two organisation’s technical and behavioural competency frameworks to support their transition to a different way of valuing and recognising performance.

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