my bio...

Hello! My name is Sandra Illsley, I'm a married mum of two young children and I’ve retrained to follow my passion in coaching and developing others. Prior to my career break, I worked in global organisations for over 20 years, focussing on the food, pharmaceutical and medical device industries. A microbiologist by first degree, I’m also a QP within the pharmaceutical industry and have many years of leading and developing teams of different skills and experience within the field of quality management. A love of helping people resolve their issues, develop their confidence and an ability to reframe pretty much anything, prompted me to train again with the goal of establishing a coaching and consultancy practice to allow me to balance my work passion and home life. I completed the other half of my goal in September, 2019 when I finished my MA in Coaching and Mentoring Practice.

about me

my biography...

There is so much potential waiting to be uncovered within every one of us, that being able to help others realise theirs is an absolute joy. Seeing an inner positivity and motivation emerge as we start to make progress is an amazing feeling. I feel very privileged to be able to do something I’m passionate about every day.

Before I took a career break, I was lucky enough to have worked in the global, corporate environment for 20 years. After both maternity leaves, I had gone back to full-time quality manager positions and was really fortunate to work with some very talented and experienced people. GSK was a stimulating, challenging and fulfilling environment and I feel very lucky to have had the opportunities I did. However, my family life wasn’t working and something significant had to change, so it did…

I decided to give up full-time paid work and become a full-time Mum to our two young kids. Suffice to say, making that change was pretty stressful. However, we all survived the first year and at some point, I allowed myself to wonder ‘what next?’ This sounds fantastic and it is, but if you’ve ever tried to start again from scratch, you’ll know it is also really hard: you want to make the right decision for everyone. Unfortunately, working that out on my own took me a lonely and difficult, 18 months.

It was really important to me that if I was going to step away from my previous career, I had to do something I was passionate about: I had loved my 20 years in the corporate world, leading and developing teams, driving change and solving problems so I didn’t want to settle for something less. However, I didn’t know what I was passionate about and had no idea how I would begin working it out. As such, this stage went around and around so many times that in the end, I stopped talking about it: I was so bored of hearing myself share the next hair-brained scheme and I felt I could no longer ask the same lovely people about the same first-world problem. Progress ground to a halt. Then, after what felt like an eternity, a breakthrough: a chance conversation resulted in the suggestion I’d make a good coach. I laughed at this at the time, but on reflection, I realised it was the final piece in the jigsaw; the fog cleared and the next exciting phase began.

To build on my existing coaching and development experience, broaden my skill base and gain access to leading-edge research, I decided to do a Masters in Coaching and Mentoring Practice through Oxford Brookes University. I could have taken an easier route as coaching is currently an unregulated profession so anyone can call themselves a coach with or without a coaching qualification. However, I wanted to become the best coach I could be and completed my dissertation having researched managerial coaching in September, 2019. 


​tel: +44 (0) 7938 826610

​skype: Live Without Limits Ltd.



18 The Lagger,

Chalfont St Giles,



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