Dr Ceri Sims

Ceri has worked as a Psychologist for over 35 years at universities and research centres and is currently an Associate Professor at Bucks New University (BNU) and Coaching Hub lead for BNU’s Centre for Positive Psychology as well as being a Chartered Coaching Psychology Practitioner. She has worked in a full-time role previously at Durham University, Middlesex University, Northumbria University, Medical Research Council and Fazakerley Hospital. Ceri’s coaching psychology work involves a package of coaching individual clients and groups, peer-reviewed coaching research and the creation, delivery and examination of coaching psychology courses and she has continued developing her coaching expertise since 2011. Her emphasis is on bringing the science of positive psychology and a strengths-based approach to coaching practice. Her unique Appreciative Coaching approach has successfully helped and empowered many clients to create innovative changes in their professional lives. Client feedback and testimonials emphasise Ceri’s very supportive, understanding and encouraging manner along with her expertise in giving people the space and challenge to find their uniqueness in creating meaningful change in their lives and for those of others.

Coaching style

Engaging with clients with an open and appreciative style that provides the space for exploration and professional development along with bringing her coaching psychology expertise and skills to offer a variety of approaches from positive, humanistic and cognitive psychology underpins Ceri’s approach. Attention is given to working with the whole person and meeting a client where they are at in terms of readiness for change. A strengths-based Appreciative Inquiry approach to coaching has been developed and taught by Ceri for a number of years. Creative approaches that encourage a client to tap into their felt sense and their deeper level of experience might be used alongside more conversational approaches in motivating clients towards making more meaningful and sustainable changes in their working lives. Ceri also connects with a person’s overall wellbeing. She works with senior leaders in various roles but is also passionate at building confidence in emergent leaders and people who want to develop in their work in other ways.

Clients and outcomes

Ceri’s inclusive approach means that she has worked with individuals and groups of varied backgrounds and levels of leadership, although most of her recent clients have been in senior leadership positions working in the private or public sector. Self-confidence, leadership development, driving service improvements, building better working relationships, driving or managing important changes in work patterns and in the workplace, overcoming stress and improving job satisfaction are typical of the kinds of outcomes Ceri’s clients achieve through her coaching sessions.

Qualifications and professional memberships

Ceri has a PhD in psychology, is Chartered with the British Psychological Society as a Coaching Psychologist as well as chartered as researcher and academic in higher education, a Fellow of the International Society for Coaching Psychology and a Senior Coach Practitioner with the EMCC. Ceri is also a member and co-leader of the BPS Central London Peer Practice group.

Ceri is trained to advanced diploma level in coaching and has a range of coaching training qualifications. Ceri is also a ‘Strengthscope’ Master Practitioner, a Myers-Briggs (MBTI) Practitioner, a Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) practitioner and a Mental Toughness Coach (MTQ48). Her own coach training and CPD mean that she has skills in humanistic approaches, systemic approaches, embodied coaching, presence-based coaching and cognitive-behavioural approaches.  She has developed her own model of Appreciative Inquiry coaching that integrates Appreciative Coaching with Positive Psychology and Strengths identification and development models.

Recent research on Coaching and Positive Psychology Intervention outcomes

Journal articles

  • Saunders, B., & Sims, C. (2023) Moving beyond fear in a post-Covid world within Existential Positive Psychology. Journal of Existential Positive Psychology, 12, 1. (also Feb 2023 Joshua Wong scholarship award).
  • McAllister, K & Sims, C (July, 2023) Can Positive Psychology strengths-based interventions evidence and support strengths-based practice in Adult Social care (WHITE PAPER – published on university website)
  • Gentles, M & Sims, C (submitted) Exploring the experiences of Hope in Young Black adult racial justice activists. Journal of Applied Positive Psychology
  • Jones, L….Sims, C (and other authors) Positive Connections and Solitude: Contribution to Loneliness Interventions and Policy Development (publication of WHITE paper to journal article – Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology)
  • Wason, S & Sims, C (submitted) The Experience of self-compassion training among NHS healthcare professionals. Journal of Health Psychology.
  • Duffy, R & Sims, C (in preparation – aim to submit end 2023) Self-Compassion Training for Primary School Children in Ireland and its effects on their Wellbeing and Awareness of Self-Compassion. European Journal of Applied Positive Psychology (submitted)
  • Dunn, H., & Sims, C. (2022) An exploration of the awareness, use and impact of self-compassion practices amongst UK teachers of adolescent students. European Journal of Applied Positive Psychology, 6, 13,1-14.
  • Sims, C. M., & Thompson, P. (2020). The effect of student leadership roles and behaviours on motivation and well-being. Journal of the Institute of Teaching and Learning, 42-43.
  • Sims, C. M., & Thompson, P. (2021). Pupils as leaders – It is not all about wearing a badge. Independent Schools Magazine, The professional Journal for Management and Staff, 33-33.
  • Moss G A, Sims C, McDuff N, Tatam J (2018) The impact of academic leadership behaviours on BME student attainment. Leadership Insights: Leadership Foundation for Higher Education.
  • Sims, C. M. (2017). Second wave positive psychology coaching difficult emotions: Introducing the mnemonic of ‘TEARS HOPE’., The Coaching Psychologist, 13(2), 66-79.
  • Sims C (2017) What do positive psychology postgraduate students have to say about attending a coaching psychology congress? European Journal of Applied Positive Psychology, 1(5), 1-4.
  • Sims, C. M. (2017). Do the big-five personality traits predict empathic listening and assertive communication? International Journal of Listening, 31(3), 163-188.
  • Sims C (2014) Self regulation coaching to alleviate student procrastination: Addressing the likeability of studying behaviours, International Coaching Psychology Review, 9 (2), 148-164

Selection of Ceri’s Coaching and Positive Psychology Conference presentations

  • Sims, C (Nov 2022) Appreciative Coaching with a focus on applying Strengths and Hope in your Coaching Practice: (2022) ISCP 12th International Congress of Coaching Psychology.
  • Sims, C, Proctor, C & Kumar, A (2024) A qualitative investigation of the needs and gaps for developing an inclusive positive psychology training course for mental health practitioners, Asia Plat Conference, India, August, 2024.
  • Sims, C & Ayles, N (2024) An Experiential workshop: Coaching and being coached outdoors and in nature. European Congress Positive Psychology, Austria, July 2024
  • Sims, C (2022) It’s not all about wearing a badge: How leadership identity in a secondary school is associated with motivation, hope and wellbeing. The 10th European Congress of Positive Psychology, Iceland, 2022
  • Sims, C (2022) Pupil Leadership in a Secondary School, MAPP 10th Anniversary Symposium, Aylesbury, July 2022.
  • Sims, C (Oct. 2019) Keynote conference presentation: Coaching Psychology from a Second Wave Positive Psychology Perspective with Strengths-based Appreciative Coaching for Leaders. 9th, International Congress of Coaching Psychology, 2019.
  • Sims, C (11th October, 2018) Appreciative Coaching as a Positive and Coaching Psychologist; International. Society for Coaching Psychology 8th International Congress of Coaching Psychology, London, UK.
  • Sims, C (2018) Positive Psychology in the workplace. Bucks New University, Breakfast Briefings. Aylesbury campus.
  • Sims C (2017) Embracing the ‘Bright’ and ‘Dark’ sides of people – bringing the second wave of positive psychology into coaching practice, International Society for Coaching Psychology. 7th International Congress of Coaching Psychology, London, UK. 18 October 2017.
  • Sims, C (June, 2017) Embracing the ‘Bad’ with the ‘Good’ as part of a positive psychology coaching dialogue. 9th European Conference on Positive Psychology, Budapest, Hungary.
  • Moss G A, Sims C (2016) Inclusive leadership: driving performance through diversity, ENEI Annual Conference, 9 March 2016, London.
  • Sims C (2016) Can inclusive leadership bring benefits to organisations? Poster presentation, ECCP 2016: 8th European Conference on Positive Psychology, 28 June – 1 July 2016, Angers, France.
  • Sims, C and Moss, G (April, 2016) What does it mean to be an Inclusive Leader? Bucks New University, Applied Social Sciences Research seminar.
  • Sims, C (April, 2016) What does it mean to be an Inclusive Leader and other research? Bucks New University, Applied Social Sciences Bucks New University. Awayday.

Ceri is based in Hertfordshire.

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