Alan Ashley a.k.a Jnanagarbha

Alan Ashley

I have been a trainer and coach for over 20 years, an ordained Buddhist since 1998, and an organisational consultant and leadership coach for 4 years. I have a Post-Graduate Diploma in Change Agent Skills and Strategies (CASS) from the University of Surrey’s School of Management, as well as extensive training in meditation and Buddhist philosophy and practice.


I grew up in Liverpool, on the street where Paul McCartney and John Lennon met and first performed together as The Quarrymen. I went to the Liverpool Blue Coat School, and studied Geography at the University of Liverpool. After graduation I got involved in environmental conservation work with the BTCV, and soon moved down to Bath to work in this field. Moving to Bristol, I began working for the training arm of the local Wildlife Trust, while also singing in a rock band, and doing a number of curious part-time jobs, such as delivering rental sunbeds!

In the early 1990s I decided to learn to meditate, to help me to be clearer about the decisions I was making in my life. I was surprised to discover that Buddhism wasn’t a religion as I had previously understood the term, but more a set of tools for personal development, and soon plunged into exploring its ideas and putting the tools into practice. As part of my training for ordination, I moved into a Buddhist residential community, and became the manager of the Bristol Buddhist Centre.

After I was ordained, I moved to the lovely Rivendell Retreat Centre in Sussex, where I became the manager and spent three enjoyable and rewarding years. I was invited to become the Director of the charity that ran Rivendell and the Croydon Buddhist Centre, and moved to south London in 2001.

In 2005 I began to work in organisational consultancy with Relume, who subsequently took me on as a kind of apprentice and introduced me to the excellent CASS programme mentioned above. Since 2006, I have been a freelance consultant, working mainly as a leadership and personal development coach for a range of organisations, and providing training to other consultants and coaches. I live in London, near Greenwich, with my partner (who is also a Buddhist), our beautiful daughter, lots of books and my excessively large CD collection.

Models, Theories and Influences

My approach to coaching is quite simple and intuitive: I pay careful attention, and listen without judgement, I ask questions that support my client to reflect and learn, and I use all of the things I’ve learned to help.

I am familiar with a range of coaching stage models and occasionally use them explicitly, although in practice I find the key issue is for me to be fully present to the person I’m working with. I’ve also had training in a wide range of techniques, approaches and theories, and I’m likely to draw on Clean Language and other techniques from NLP, myths and archetypal psychology, mindfulness practices, and psychosynthesis.

There is more information about the theory underlying my coaching work at, which is the website for the consultancy and coaching work that I do with organisations. You can give me a call on +44 (0) 7986 451498 or send me an email if you have any questions.