The Coaching Program

Coaching sessions are available at no cost to organisations that are eligible to receive services from the Social Sector Transformation Fund. Eligible organisations are small to medium organisations, with annual revenue of under $5 million, in the social services or health services space in NSW. For further information on the SSTF and other services that are provided go to

Coaching can be provided to individuals or to groups of up to 4 people. These 4 people may be from other eligible organisations as well as your own.

If you would like to apply for coaching sessions please read the information about the available coaches below and then click to apply. As part of the application, you will be asked to identify your 3 preferred coaches and a specific work area or issue that you would like to address through coaching.

Completion of this form does not confirm that you will receive the coaching services that you have requested. Applications will be considered in groups as funding is released and will be assessed against eligibility criteria.


Judi Apte

... the professional development of leaders and managers in health and community services.

My early career was working with families in community health and in a family counselling service, specialising in parenting education. Then I took another direction and managed organisational development initiatives and workforce development programs – e.g. national competency standards, interagency professional development plans, competency frameworks, mentoring programs, review of supervision systems, regional planning forums and best practice conferences. I also conduct workshops in the areas of leadership and management, professional supervision, change management and adult learning.

My approach to leadership coaching is based on skills review, reflective processes and appreciative enquiry. Coaching is available for individuals and small groups. It may include:

  • considering the key issues and rationale for development
  • exploring the goal or imagined future
  • identifying the points of leverage for change.

I have qualifications in social work and adult education, and I completed a Doctor of Education (UTS) by researching expertise involved for the facilitation of transformative learning.

Work areas of interest

Leadership and management – especially the transition from practitioner to manager, professional supervision, leadership of teams, managing change, collaboration and partnerships.

Karen Bevan

... and adaptive leadership, reflective learning and strategic action to create change.

Karen has coached and supported CEOs, Boards and leaders across sectors and in organisations of all shapes and sizes. She offers individual and group coaching, mentoring, strategic and business planning and other services.

With more than 28 years’ experience including consultancy, CEO/leadership roles, research, advocacy and campaigning and service delivery in NFP organisations and government, she brings a strong sense of perspective and powerful industry insights into her coaching.

Karen is currently on the Board of Mary’s House Services and Youth Law Australia. She was also President of NCOSS, and a Director of the ACOSS and the Intellectual Disability Rights Service Boards.

Karen is currently studying Leadership Coaching and Mentoring at the University of Queensland and has a Masters in Legal Studies (UNSW) and a Bachelor of Communications (CSU).

Karen facilitates an organisational sustainability group coaching program for NFPs that participants describe as “amazing, so encouraging and supportive” and “a fantastic program ...I highly recommend it, especially for those of us working in small services or programs”.

Work areas of interest

Positive leadership, Organisational sustainability, strategy and implementation, advocacy, Board/CEO relationships, child and family, domestic and family violence, homelessness services.

Spirit Dreaming Logo

Mel Brown

Mel Brown is an Aboriginal Ngunnawal woman who has been providing training, supervision and mentoring to small community organisations, large multi national corporate companies and government agencies.

Mel has an extensive background working within the community welfare area and incorporates this knowledge and experience into her training delivery.

Mel’s company, Spirit Dreaming has been at the forefront of developing training and educational programs for over 15 years. Spirit Dreaming provide training on a wide range of topics which include both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal content for any organisations who work with children and families.

Spirit Dreaming believe that our ability to learn is increased when we are able to understand how our own experiences have impacted on us. Once we recognise the impact of these experiences, we can integrate our learning at a deeper level to create change in our lives, and those of the families we work with.

Spirit Dreaming has a reputation for providing training in a way that is respectful and supportive of each participant, regardless of their views.

Mel has a Master’s in Aboriginal Healing and Trauma, has been recognised as one of NSW’s top Aboriginal Business Women and received an ACT Public Service Award for Most Improved Services to Aboriginal Families.

Work areas of interest

The following is just a small list of the trainings Spirit Dreaming are able to deliver to support your organisations needs:

  • Cultural Supervision for both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Staff and Management
  • Culturally Responsive Management for Team or Organisations wanting to increase their cultural
  • Aboriginal Cultural Competency Training
  • Aboriginal Mental Health
  • Lateral Violence and it’s impact on staff, organisations and communities
  • Impact of Transgenerational Trauma on Aboriginal Peoples
  • Understanding Unconscious bias and it’s effects on Organisational outcomes
  • Trauma Informed Care
  • Family Group Conferencing Supervision
  • Leadership Training – Addressing the Fear of Success
  • Coaching and Mentoring

Eleonora De Michele

... been working in the child and family welfare field for the past 41 years, specialising in all aspects of child protection service delivery. She has worked as a frontline statutory worker; as a manager leading Service Centres in metropolitan and rural, remote Aboriginal community settings; and as a senior policy advisor on state-wide policy and service implementation.

Since 1996 Eleonora has worked as an independent consultant, both nationally and internationally, providing high quality consultancy, advisory, training and coaching services to government and non-government welfare organisations. Eleonora has a deep passion and commitment to bringing best outcomes for vulnerable families, by assisting organisations implement policy and practices that are ethical, evidence based, culturally relevant, family led, collaborative and dignity driven.

Eleonora is a skilled facilitator and leading provider of training, supervision and coaching services to all levels of staff. Her reputation for the development and delivery of evidence based, tailored, responsive training curriculum that reflects the organisation’s needs and practice context is well-established.

Eleonora describes her key values as: integrity, honesty, inclusion, respect, empowerment, commitment and collaboration. Her professional practice is often described as: ethical, committed, passionate and dynamic.

Work areas of interest

  • All aspects of Child Protection service delivery from early intervention to statutory intervention, permanency and all facets of restoration work
  • Interviewing children

Belinda Essex

... the past 20 plus years, and have worked with frontline staff, middle and senior managers during this time. I have also owned my own business, with 30 staff, and was responsible for all elements of the business.

Knowing the parallels between a positive workplace culture and positive outcomes for community sector clients, it is my passion is to inspire and support agencies to develop a healthy organisational culture, with successful, confident teams, in the hope that we can have stronger, more positive outcomes for the community sector clients we are committed to.

I have worked with numerous teams and individual managers to build and improve workplace culture, with a strong focus on developing emotional intelligence in the workplace. I have a solid history of experience managing and leading teams and enjoy the challenge of bringing people together to achieve great things.

I have worked with a range of organisations in the organisational development area, including pre-schools, various agencies that make up the Department of Communities and Justice and a number of non-government organisations. I use a range of methods when working with organisations including individual and team coaching, mentoring, team building days, supervision sessions, group and individual reflection, training and facilitation. All of these methods I have used both face to face and online.

Work areas of interest

  • Providing effective supervision
  • Developing the emotional intelligence of self and teams
  • Managing through change
  • Developing strong, creative and innovative teams
  • Managing people in challenging and high paced environments


Kim Stace is the Sector Engagement Manager, working in early intervention and child protection and facilitating policy and practice workshops and sessions. Kim has a particular focus on linking theory to practice and has taken a lead role in moving the TEI sector towards an outcomes framework and reporting methodology. She supports individuals and organisations in outcomes frameworks and reporting methodology, including program logics. Kim’s interest is in sociology applied in disadvantaged and vulnerable communities, and she encourages and supports evidence-informed development, implementation and evaluation of projects and activities.

Catherine White is the Project Manager at Fams and has worked in the community services sector for over 30 years. Catherine has been a passionate advocate for social justice, gender equality and the elimination of violence against women and children. She has extensive experience in governance in the not-for-profit sector as well as organisational and project management, financial management, direct service delivery and community development. Catherine has expertise in professional supervision, program scoping, project management review, quality assurance, policy development, complaint investigation/management and grant writing.

Work areas of interest

Fams coach individuals and teams to reflect the specific work they do within the context of place and community identified needs. We can help you to tell the story of what works in your community and show you how to report your impact.

Fams are able to tailor sessions to suit the individual needs of your organisation and workforce. Specifically, we can support individuals or groups in measuring and analysing client and community outcomes and in developing tools and resources to support measurement. This includes:

  • Analysing Data
  • Community/ies of Practice (telepractice)
  • Development, implementation, evaluation and reflection of programs and activities
  • Data Exchange (DEX) set up and reporting for TEI
  • Governance
  • Impact Measurement
  • Planning
  • Program Logics
  • Reporting/accountability
  • RBA (Results Based Accountability)
  • Theories of Change

Grace Leotta

Grace Leotta is an organisational development and training consultant. She provides management coaching and professional supervision, develops and facilitates training programs, facilitates planning, change management, organisational, practice development, and community engagement processes, conducts reviews, evaluations and research.

She is a Harvard University trained adaptive leadership (leading change) consultant, an internationally certified facilitator and community engagement practitioner, a nationally accredited trainer and assessor, an Australasia licensed community engagement trainer, and an accredited social worker.

She has a background in senior management and community development. She also has experience in teaching at a tertiary level in community consultation, community management and social science.

Grace uses a person centred, goal oriented approach to coaching which involves supporting people set goals for their organisation/service and for their professional development, and providing strength based support and resources such as information and skill development, to take action to achieve those goals. She is committed to supporting people exercise positive and confident leadership and influence in their organisation, partnerships, networks, and community.

Work areas of interest

Grace is particularly experienced in supporting managers and leaders who are bringing about change in their organisation/service, thinking about how to innovate and enhance quality, those with specific projects such as strategic planning, evaluating a program, developing or managing a partnership, engaging/reaching out to a particular community or ‘client’ group, new managers, and staff wanting to positively influence their organisation/service and it's practice.

Robert Lumsden

... improve business efficiency. This can be achieved by developing highly efficient teams and streamlining processes to meet their strategic objectives, direction, client and funding priorities.

Each business is different, but all have people, process and technology.

People make things happen in business, so development of highly efficient teams is an important leadership skill. A skilled leader learns to work with their team to gain their collaboration and commitment to the vision and to know where their team members fit for the best return on investment.

As a leader imagine a bus, it is important to know:

  • Who is on the bus?
  • Where are they sitting?
  • Who are they sitting next to?
  • Do they need to change seats?
  • Who needs to get off the bus and who needs to get on?

My coaching will focus on what you need to achieve, what can be put in place to support that operationally, who in your team can achieve that and where should they sit to increase efficiencies.

Good leadership is a developed skill. Together we can develop your leadership skills, your teams and your efficiencies as I have done with many others including Qantas, large corporates and small to medium enterprises.

Linda Manaena

... confident, assertive, and effective leadership style.

If you’re a leader who wants to create a highly productive and psychologically safe work environment where constructive and positive teams can thrive, then you’ll appreciate having access to a great range of evidence-based models and tools that are simple to apply and give you fast results. I can coach you on the codes and patterns of human behaviour (why the heck people do the things they do), how to influence and motivate people to develop superstar employees, what to do when there’s conflict, how to have a tough conversation, and how to manage upwards. If you want to amplify humanity in your leadership, then now is the time to say yes to committing to your very own journey.

Over the last 25 years I have worked across different levels of leadership up to executive level and led multi-functional teams. I take a no BS approach to leadership coaching, so you get the results you really want for yourself and your teams.

Work areas of interest

  • DISC Human Behaviour
  • Resilience@Work
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Compassionate Candour
  • Personal Boundaries
  • Conflict
  • Being Courageous
  • Psychological Safety

Horatio O’Shea

My specialisation in this field has developed over my 22-year career in the For-Purpose sector. During this time, I have worked with homeless youth, people seeking asylum, and child protection, both at the frontline and in management roles.

As part of my Masters research, I devoted my thesis to how For-Purpose organisations can successfully address the effects of vicarious trauma in their staff.

I have designed and presented workshops for CCWT, on how to manage vicarious trauma and increase adoption of intentional self-care.

Leveraging my current study in Gestalt Therapy, and decade-long research into vicarious trauma and compassion fatigue, I am developing new approaches to support people in trauma work. This includes a new approach to trauma-informed supervision.

Work areas of interest

  • Vicarious trauma
  • Compassion fatigue
  • Burnout
  • Intentional self-care
  • Trauma informed management
  • Trauma informed supervision
  • Wellbeing
  • Organisational operations in lockdown
  • Organisational operations in trauma work
  • Self-care supervision

Lincoln Poole

... strengths, skills, and abilities as a leader to enhance your own performance and that of their team. You will discover how to be intentional about the system that you create within your organisation to enhance your service delivery, build your teams abilities and create a learning environment so that your organisation will continue to grow and evolve.

Alison Schiena

... some areas of leadership come easily to you, but others are an uphill battle? Are you looking for a solution specific to who you are that utilises your strengths?

As an experienced, Certified Gallup Strength’s Coach, I help draw out your personal genius with tailored leadership development based on your unique strengths profile. My passion is working with executives, senior and emerging leaders to equip them to engage and empower those they lead.

With 27 years’ experience in the not-for-profit and government sectors, I understand the unique pressures and needs of these leaders.

Prior to our first session, you will complete the Clifton Strengths Finder. This will reveal your individual Gallup Profile. In our four coaching sessions, I’ll use this profile to develop customized leadership strategies based on your strengths and coaching goal. We’ll work together to draw out your personal opportunities for genius from a leadership lens.

Our coaching sessions will help you use your strengths to:

  • Set leadership direction and strategies based on your strengths profile
  • Increase your personal performance through understanding of self
  • Use your strengths to build motivation and employee engagement
  • Develop strategies to increase business and client outcomes

Nicole Stafford

... people see the invisible codes and patterns that explain why we do what we do and why we don’t do what we should. Ultimately, my coaching style is about challenging those beliefs and ‘reasons’ so that you get the opportunity to experience being all of you (at work or anywhere), in a way that brings more certainty, health and success.

I help teams and individuals improve their communication, connection and confidence amongst other things that are critical in business and in life. Often, creating change is about perspective and being invited to think differently.

I’m a massive fan of coaching as an approach having studied coaching for the past 7+ years. I’ll share evidence-based models and frameworks with you, so you have access to the resources you need.

Work areas of interest

  • Confidence
  • Self-esteem and self-awareness
  • Leadership
  • Candid and compassionate communication
  • Resilience
  • Personal brand
  • Psychological safety
  • Emotional intelligence
  • eDISC practitioner | HBDI practitioner | EI practitioner | Coach

Caryn Walsh

I coach individuals, leaders and teams on different levels, and have for many years.

Besides being an active life Coach, I am well renowned as an executive Coach both within Australia and internationally in Fiji and Africa, helping executives and senior leaders create highly performing resilient teams and Organisations across all industries.

Being focussed on the client I am working with, I use a range of skills, strategies and techniques in my coaching process and I work in a really interactive and informed way to help the coachee get to where they want to go – which is why I love being a coach.

Seeing people’s lives transforms at various levels, so they are more successful in their lives, relationships and careers overall.

As an accredited Executive and Life Coach with AIPC and ICF, I am the recipient of 8 international and national awards in this space.

Work areas of interest

As I work in life and executive coaching, I am agile in my ability to work with whatever clients needs my guidance.

Peter Watson

... Team Leadership, Emotional Intelligence and Communication.

I provide a pragmatic coaching style where I work with you to identify your key issue and help you develop an evidence-based action plan to achieve the outcomes that are most important to you.

Work areas of interest

  • Team Leadership
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Communication