How I Work

I work with people who want to reimagine the future. For themselves, their organisations and the world.

My approach to coaching is explicitly transformative: More than just a facilitator, I think of myself as a ruthlessly compassionate thinking partner, and the coaching relationship as a synergistic meeting of minds. I recognise that as part of the client’s system I cannot stand on the outside and so I bring my whole self into the dialogue. My work is informed by Vertical Development theory (see below). It reaches beyond the focus on goals, performance metrics, inter-personal understanding and self-regulation common to many coaching approaches by integrating the rational and emotional with the wisdom of heart and soul. I draw on research into developmental psychology, neuroscience, personal development philosophies and reflective practices.

Whilst every assignment is unique, there are 3 core elements in all of my work:

  • Setting aspirational intent; exploring ‘what you are becoming’ and sense of purpose – Embodying Spirit.
  • Developing practices and strategies to thrive and flourish in your current situation – Cultivating Self.
  • Exploring and releasing the psychodynamics of the repeating reactive patterns that keep you stuck - Healing Shadow.
I work in the UK and globally, online and in person, from my base in Durham. For bigger projects, I have a network of global partners. I am certified to use a number of different diagnostic / psychomteric tools including MBTI®, the Hogan suite, and the StageSHIFT VHLP.

Vertical Development

A life-long journey of expanding consciousness

Vertical Development is the expansion of our psychological, cognitive, emotional, and spiritual capacity. Researchers studying this development in adults have shown that our mindsets evolve through predictable stages. The shift to each new stage is like an upgrade to our inner operating system; a quantum shift in our capacity to deal with complexity.  This is distinctly different from horizontal development - the broadening of our knowledge and capabilities at our current level - like adding new apps. Research also suggests that the majority of the population are stalled at early stages of development characterised by striving for more, stress and burnout. Our world desperately needs calm, purposeful mature adult leaders and visionary elders to lead transformative change.  The Brightspace approach to coaching is explicitly vertical. In our world of volatility, complexity and uncertainty, I'm on a mission to unlock the evolutionary potential of mind, heart and soul. I support individuals on their journeys of 'becoming,’ and develop leaders capable of transcending turmoil, navigating complexity and leading transformation. For more about Vertical Development get in touch to request a copy of my recent white paper.  

Nature as Partner

Transforming ourselves and our relationship to the Earth

I’ve spent a large part of my life in the outdoors- it’s where I feel most alive and it’s where I do my best thinking. Nature is, after all, our place of origin. The current ecological crisis is a stark reminder of how we have commoditised and severed our relationship to nature. But we can return to our native state of inter-being – with both the human and non-human world. For many, nature, is where we feel most at ease. And a growing body of research is highlighting the benefits of being in nature for our psychological, emotional and physical wellbeing. I bring nature as a partner into the coaching relationship – both as a stakeholder in the coaching system AND as a holding space.  Many clients choose to walk or sit in nature for our sessions, either together in person or via telephone / online connection. As we slow down and settle into what’s around us and re-connect to our sense of belonging to an interconnected web of something much bigger, a new field of possibility opens up and incredible insights emerge.

Gift Based Coaching

A deliberately different way of doing business

Brightspace is all about transformative change and reimagining the future. And I wouldn’t be walking my talk if I wasn’t challenging the status quo and seeking to transform myself. I believe that the mindset that lies at the core of our current social and ecological crises – the linear, reductionist thinking of early stages of vertical development  - also underpins our economic system. So what would an alternative system based on a later stage perspective and the principles of inter-being look like? One possibility – known as the Gift Economy – is based on the understanding that in nature, resources flow to where they are needed. Indigenous society has thrived on these principles throughout human history. Gift Based Coaching is a sister business to Brightspace – it is a disruptive experiment in shifting perspective. There are no fixed coaching fees and we invite clients to decide how they wish to contribute to the field of inter-being. Contact me to find out more or visit the Gift Based Coaching Website.

Who I Am

Heather Monro

Founder & Lead Coach

I had been helping people and organisations to think, grow and thrive for more than 10 years. Then, about 5 years ago I woke up to the realisation that most coaching and leadership development was really only helping people to survive in broken systems. Now, as humanity faces unprecedented social, ecological and economic crises, I’m on a mission to enable the transformation of those systems!

I’ve been inspired by bright minds all my life. The daughter of a professsor with an insatiable entrepreneurial streak, I studied Natural Sciences at Cambridge University and then pursued a deepening interest in human learning and psychology through a teaching degree studied in Norway. I then spent the first 15 years  of my ‘working life’ as a full-time athlete, winning multiple world medals in extreme wilderness running and orienteering. Drawing on this, and subsequent experience in corporate leadership roles, I believe I bring a unique personal insight into what it takes to both succeed, thrive and ultimately transcend beyond the ‘Achievist’ worldview.

My clients come from many different walks of life; Executives with complex stakeholder responsibilities seeking to lead transformative change; retiring Olympic athletes wondering what to do next; high achieving professionals seeking more meaning through career change; parents returning to the workplace; academics; leaders in global multinationals, public and 3rd sector organisations and volunteers. I am constantly inspired by their brilliant minds, honoured to walk alongside them on their journeys of  becoming and thrilled to see them transforming their worlds.

I live in Durham with my family and am most at home in the hills and woods, coaching outdoors or rolling my sleeves up in whole-hearted action for a more healthy, sustainable and joyful world.


Qualifications: BA, MA Cantab (1st Class Hons,)  BEd,  PG  Dip Executive Coaching, StageSHIFT Vertical Coaching Certificate, Vertical Holistic Leadership Profile, MBTI® Step I & II, Hogan, Mindfulness Association, Thinking Environment.

Clients have described me as...



wanting to reimagine their future


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wanting to reimagine the possibilities for exceptional leadership and transformative change


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wanting to reimagine their practice

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