Loughborough Alumni

Our alumni

Sabrina Francis

Owner & Psychological Skills Coach: Mind Set Match

Sabrina graduated from Loughborough University in 2004 with a BSc in Sport & Exercise Science. Since then, she has successfully set up her own specialist coaching business.

Why did you choose to study Sports Science at Loughborough University?

I chose to study at Loughborough University for two reasons; it was my local university and because of it’s excellent reputation for sport it seemed crazy to even consider going anywhere else.

It was a great opportunity to be a part of such a highly esteemed establishment. If I’m really honest it was scary at the time - there were certainly times I felt like a bit of an imposter! As I look back I can be immensely proud of my efforts which afforded me my place and helped me to achieve everything that I set out to do. I was very pleased that I chose to stay on to complete my PGCE as, not only did it launch my career, I met my lovely husband Blake!

How has Loughborough University inspired you and helped you to progress in your career?

I came away from Loughborough University not just with the credentials that helped me to get my first teaching post in a local school, where I enjoyed working at for ten great years, but an ongoing opportunity to support my development and the development of others. From the opportunity to be able to go back and teach Kickboxing sessions to new the PE teacher recruits, to delivering evening sessions to support second year students with their leadership skills, and in providing excellent facilities for events to support Y11 students optimise their wellbeing and performance in exams. Loughborough University is an excellent springboard for change when you are able to tap into its network. It’s constantly growing and evolving, which parallels my attitude to life (all be it an inside job for me).

Did you take part in any extra-curricular activities during your studies? If so, how did this impact upon your Loughborough experience?

My one regret from my time at Loughborough is that I didn’t make most of the extra-curricular activities. As a Loughborough ‘towny’ and a student there were other distractions for me at the time. If I could go back, that would be the only thing I would change, because the opportunities are immense and varied.

Can you tell us more about the company which you founded; Mind Set Match?

Mind Set Match® offers specialist coaching to improve people's lives by sharing insights into the human mind and supporting people to develop superhuman skills. By matching their mindset and actions to their dreams and goals they can overcome any challenge. People are amazing, and we all need a little help from time to time!

I founded Mind Set Match® fairly recently, having had the amazing opportunity to train and work with Professor Steve Peters and his fantastic team at Chimp Management. It was there that I gained experience in supporting people in education, business and in sport, working in one-to-one settings and with teams.

Through Mind Set Match® I am able to continue to help people from all walks of life and I specialise in helping people with their relationships. This could be the relationship they have with themselves; as we are often our own biggest critic and prone to get in our own way at times. It could also be their relationships with others; personal or work related. Although I have to admit, I have a special place in my heart for how we relate to the people that matter most in our lives. Namely our partners, our children, our wider family and friends. The impact of these relationships can last a lifetime, they influence the length of your lifespan, and often the ripples go on for generations carried on through behaviour patterns and genetic codes. I think it’s important to invest in these relationships, to make the best of them, and to not get too sidetracked by the many other distractions in life.

How did you find the experience of setting up your own company?

It is still very early days for me and an ongoing process. It is a bigger challenge than I originally envisaged and I am enjoying learning new things and learning more about myself. As a business owner and coach I often remind myself that ‘I am the merchandise’, so looking after my wellbeing and personal development is really important. I am no good to anyone if I am not in the best possible place and of course no one likes a hypocrite!

If I was to go back in time and give myself any advice it would be to be more realistic with my time frames and to network from the very start. It’s all well and good working on websites and social media, after all it is the world we are living in, but there are lots of ways to get exposure and valuable feedback. So I would make the most out of the connections that I already have.

What do you love the most about your job?

People. I love working with people and being able to help them. Whether it is in a big, transformational change-your-life kind of way, or with something small - every little counts. Helping people is what gives me a sense of purpose and therefore the biggest hits of dopamine, serotonin and other feel good neurochemicals. I’m certainly wired that way and wouldn’t change it for the world.

What does the future hold for you?

The future is getting myself out there to help more and more people. Taking my personal development programmes on the road and create a growing community of like-minded people. The dream would be to have a number of associate coaches working for Mind Set Match®.

What has been the proudest moment of your career so far?

So far it has to be taking the leap to work for myself and set up my own company! Of course I was proud to get into Loughborough University (despite being told by someone that it was ‘too hard’ to get in). I was proud when I got my first ever teaching post, and when I was promoted to head of department in my third year of teaching. I was extremely proud to have been selected from a pool of 187 people to work with Professor Steve Peters - someone whose work had already contributed immensely to my personal and professional development. But having the determination and self-belief to give this my best shot is the best way I can honour myself and the people I serve. When I left Loughborough University I never would have imagined that I would be the person I am today and I’m very grateful for every single opportunity along the way.

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