Jump to content

Sarah Halley


Sarah has been working with Presence Based Coaching for over 10 years, and as a senior faculty member, she has been teaching our ICF certified coach training program with Doug and Bebe since 2011. She worked with Bebe and Doug to create PBC’s core competency model and is part of the first cohort of certified Presence Based Coaches.

Her coaching practice compliments her consulting work, though she also has a stand-alone coaching practice with coaching clients from corporate, non-profit and higher education sectors. She is also a coach with Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine (ELAM) and has presented on Cultivating Resilience and Avoiding Burnout for the Society of Gynecologic Oncology’s national conference in 2016.

Sarah’s keen understanding of organizations and people derive from a wide variety of work experiences in both the public and private sectors. An organizational consultant and facilitator for the past 18 years, Sarah’s areas of expertise include: leadership development, meeting design and facilitation, diversity and cultural competence, conflict management, team building, strategic planning and change management. She is known for her clear-sightedness and effortless ability to teach complex ideas and for bringing creativity and presence to her work with clients. Formerly a senior consultant with The Napier Group, Sarah is a consultant with Bracken Leadership, a consulting firm that supports leaders to build conscious organizations.

Sarah also works in the field of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and has worked with The Kaleel Jamison Consulting Group, InterAction Consulting, The PRIME Institute (Partners Reaching to Improve Multicultural Education), and Training for Change. She is the lead facilitator of the Whites Confronting Racism workshop series at Training for Change in Philadelphia and is a co-founder and facilitator of The Race Institute for K12 Educators.

Sarah is also the co-founder and co-director of Playback for Change, a theater troupe that uses Playback Theatre as a vehicle for social change. Playback Theatre is an internationally practiced form of improvisational theatre that turns real life stories from the audience into a theater performance on the spot. In addition, she is a core faculty member of the Center for Playback Theatre. Traveling internationally to train people in Playback Theatre, she has taught in Hong Kong, Japan, Brazil, Guatemala, Serbia, Bosnia, Germany, Italy, England and Canada. She is the former president of the Board of the International Playback Theatre Network and was an artist-in-residence with the Pennsylvania Council of the Arts for over 10 years.

Sarah uses the theatre to create organizational change in a variety of powerful ways: to surface organizational dynamics, to celebrate successes, to strengthen and clarify vision, to problem solve, and to practice new skills. She has published a chapter on using Playback Theatre in organizational change in The Change Handbook: The Definitive Resource on Today’s Best Methods for Engaging Whole Systems (Second Edition, Revised and Expanded, by Peggy Holman, Tom Devane, and Steven Cady, Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2007).

As a graduate of Lehigh University, Sarah’s first career was as a structural engineer in New York City. She no longer practices engineering, but she incorporates problem solving and systems thinking into everything she does. She still thinks of herself as a “bridge builder,” though the bridges are more metaphoric and people centered these days.  Her engineering background, along with professional training in group theory, culturally competent human services, diversity competence, experiential and adult education, mediation, intentional leadership, meeting design and facilitation, improvisational theater and presence based coaching make her uniquely trained and able to integrate creative methods with more data driven and logical processes.

When she is not encouraging others to stretch, she is stretching herself through the practice of yoga, hiking and parenting her year old son.