Meet the

Wise Monkey Training Team


Our market leading courses in financial coaching and personal finance are run a small team of experts from varying backgrounds, led by Simonne Gnessen.

Simonne Gnessen - Wise Monkey Trainer

Simonne Gnessen - Trainer


Simonne Gnessen is founder of Wise Monkey Financial Coaching and co-author of Sheconomics.

She has worked in the field of personal finance for over 30 years. Prior to launching Wise Monkey Financial Coaching in 2002, she worked as a fee-based independent financial adviser at William M Mercer Limited and Fiona Price & Partners. The early part of her career was spent training to be an actuary.

A pioneer, Simonne was the first person to develop financial coaching in the UK. In launching Wise Monkey, she created her own interpretation of this field – to meet a need she saw wasn’t being met by traditional financial services. Offering a unique blend of practical and emotional support, helping clients navigate the financial side of their lives.

Simonne then went on to develop Wise Monkey as a training organisation – because she saw there was a bigger need for financial coaches than she alone could ever serve. As with her coaching practice, the training part of Wise Monkey has grown organically. The immersive Wise Monkey training programme today sets a high standard for financial coaches in the UK.

And the training also leads to membership in the unique, ongoing Wise Monkey community of financial coaches.

Simonne holds a BSc (Hons) in Statistics and is an Associate of the Chartered Insurance Institute (life & pensions). She gained a City & Guilds Certificate in Adult Education in 2004, became a Certified Life Coach in 2006, and a Master Practitioner of Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) in 2007. Simonne later trained with the Kinder Institute and completed the training and mentorship programme in July 2011 to become a Registered Life Planner. 

Simonne's a member of the International Coaching Federation (ICF) and is on her way to completing her ICF Professional Certified Coach (PCC) credential. In 2024, she earned an ILM Level 7 Coaching and Mentoring qualification.

Simonne’s work has been featured on several podcasts, BBC radio and TV and regularly in national newspapers and magazines.

More can be found on Simonne’s LinkedIn page.

Simonne Gnessen - Wise Monkey Trainer

Graham Wells - Trainer


Graham is a Chartered Financial Planner and Fellow of the Personal Finance Society, bringing over 30 years’ of experience in financial services to the Wise Monkey training team. His early career began in banking, when he gained the Diploma in Financial Services with the Chartered Banker Institute. Those early years provided broad experience and sometimes difficult insight into the complex financial challenges facing individuals and business owners.

In 2001, Graham moved into the regulated environment of financial planning and advice. This built a deep understanding of personal and business finance, in various roles as a financial adviser, training consultant and supervisor. He now focusses on financial coaching having completed the Financial Coach Practitioner Certificate Training with Wise Monkey in 2015.

Lifelong learning is important to Graham and he has recently become a member of the International Coaching Federation (ICF), having completed the Certificate in Professional Coaching Practice with Full Circle Global.

Graham operates his own practice where his mission is to empower individuals and couples to achieve financial wellbeing through coaching, education and non-product related planning and guidance.

More can be found on Graham’s LinkedIn page.

Prof George Callaghan - Wise Monkey Trainer

Professor George Callaghan - Trainer


George joins the Wise Monkey team providing training and teaching in core areas of personal finance. George is an expert in the area of Economics and Personal Finance and a Senior Lecturer at The Open University teaching Economics and Personal Finance. In 2018 he gained Principal Fellow status with the Higher Education Academy.

After graduating with Honours in Economics from the University of Strathclyde, George went on to complete a PhD in Economics at the University of the West of England. He has edited and contributed to a popular undergraduate textbook 'Personal Finance' and, in addition to his academic work, George has himself completed this Financial Coach Practitioner Certificate Training. He also has an ILM Level 7 Coaching and Mentoring qualification and earned an Associate Certified Coach (ACC) credential with the International Coaching Federation (ICF).

George’s vision is to empower clients to better understand the practical and emotional issues associated with money. He believes that by combining education around money with an understanding of the energy associated with money clients can build financial resilience. In an economy and society where individuals are required to take ever greater financial responsibility, the capacity to make informed decisions is a crucial life skill. George is committed to helping develop and sustain the standards associated with the growing profession of financial coaching. 

More can be found on George’s LinkedIn page.

Sara Maxwell - Wise Monkey Trainer

Sara Maxwell - Trainer


Sara is a qualified Financial Planner and has worked as a financial planner, mortgage and protection adviser and looked after sales and relationships for a financial platform and group pension provider.

After 20 years working in financial services, she decided to retrain as a Financial Coach. She completed her Financial Coach Practitioner Certificate and launched her company, Wealth Coach. Her passion is to empower individuals, couples, groups and businesses to find the joy in connecting to their money and future, injecting colour and energy into the grey of finances.

Her ongoing professional training led to her being an awarded a Professional Coach Diploma and earning a Professional Certified Coach (PCC) credential with the International Coaching Federation (ICF).

Sara works with individuals, couples, groups and businesses and is a speaker on the topics of Money Mindset, Wealth Management and Financial Wellbeing. She also runs group coaching programmes, as well as specifically for couples alongside a couples therapist, within 'Couples Talk Money'.

More can be found on Sara's website.

Sara Maxwell - Wise Monkey Trainer

Jo MacNaughten - Trainee Support


Jo joined Wise Monkey Financial Coaching in 2018 as our Client Relationship Manager. She brings considerable experience in building and maintaining professional relationships, having worked as a Team Leader and Senior Recruitment Consultant for the UK’s leading Occupational Health Recruitment agency for 15 years.

Jo’s also a qualified psychotherapist, having trained in integrative psychotherapy at the Centre for Counselling and Psychotherapy Education. She spent several years volunteering at a counselling centre in London. She's also a trained actor and plays client in case study practise in the live training sessions. She's also available to participants on a one-to-one basis for additional practice sessions in each of the self study weeks.

Jo will be your first port of call if you have admin questions about the course. She also provides additional support to participants if any elements of the training feel emotionally challenging.

More can be found on Jo’s Linkedin page.

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Wise Monkey Financial Coaching Ltd is registered as a company in England and Wales.
Registration number: 06943759. Registered office: Preston Park House, South Road, Brighton, East Sussex, BN1 6SB.
VAT Number: 340 5483 16