I’m going slightly off beat here, writing about my personal story to becoming a coach but, after several years doing what I love, and enquiries about how to become a coach, I feel a desire to share this with you. I’d be delighted to hear your stories too in comments or directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. The support we can encourage through sharing is powerful.
I always knew as a child that my future would be in helping people. That was a long time ago, the last century in fact, when here in the UK, a coach was more commonly known as someone who was active in the sporting arena, not in life or business.
What I did know was that lawyers help people and businesses and so I became a lawyer, pleasing all those around me, as well as myself, with the prestige this had attached to it. However, whilst I had hoped that this would be the start of a wonderfully enriching and fulfilling life for me, there was very little “helping” in my work, not in the sense that was aligned to who I am.
This, coupled with the most outrageous working hours, left me sad and disappointed. And stuck. People around me were so proud of me and yet I was anxious. I felt stressed and concerned about what others would think.
I was only 26.
At this time, coaching was not something that had entered the sphere of potential opportunities for me but I did find recruitment. Or rather it found me. This was at a time when it was essential to be a lawyer if you wanted to enter legal recruitment. I therefore joined an independent, niche firm as a consultant. I was not a natural salesperson and thankfully that was not a pre-requisite as this firm was more about relationship building and matching people to the firms and opportunities that were right for them.
Over the years, I recognised that my style was different to other recruiters. I believed in long term relationships, not just the numbers on the board. I liked people and people liked me. I was more than their recruitment consultant – I was the person who would look at their career aspirations and navigate with them to achieve them; I guided them, encouraged them, dug deep with them to ensure the next career step they took was one that spring-boarded them into the career they really wanted. I was supporting and coaching them. For others, it was about finding the placement and commission. I worked with international law firms and niche firms and built close relationships with key decision makers, all the while learning what they were strategically seeking in new recruits and for their overall business growth.
My style worked. And people came back to me. After all these years, some are still in touch with me.
A trainee consultant identified that my style of recruitment and relationship building was different to other consultants she had trained with; it was more a collaborative, coaching style she commented.
By now coaching was being talked about more. In 2010, I began my Diploma and, later, I chose to study further to gain International Coach Federation accreditation. This is the leading body that sets the standards and ethics for professional coaches. I have continued to learn and train further over the years in order to be the best coach I can be for clients. I also trained as a trainer and have taught coach trainees and managers/leaders in coaching skills.
During this time, I had experienced indirect challenges with people at work, frustrations in the workplace that affected my own development and also some severe health concerns that humbled me to look at the purpose of my life (that’s a story in itself!). I have also lived with a condition for over 5 years that I manage without the surgery the experts recommended. Mental resilience is something I believe I've always had but now, after a near death experience and then a lung cancer scare, I have it in bucket loads! I have persevered, re-trained, continued studying; I practice mindfulness, affirmations, "journalling" and other techniques that allow me to savour every day. I’m happy and blessed to do what I do.
I’ve had coaching myself as well as mentoring and supervision to keep me on track – just like other highly regarded professionals. I encourage everyone to give it a go – have a coaching session and you could just see a whole new you.
Do I regret anything? Absolutely not. I loved studying law and it has come in very handy. My experience in life and at work has equipped me with experience that no training can buy and it all makes me a better coach.
I come back now to that 14 year old girl who, whilst shy and less visible than other family members, knew she wanted to help people.
That is my purpose. My “why?”
Because I have been through and overcome so much to be the settled, happy, ambitious, grounded person that I am. With this experience, having developed my own tools as well as learnt tools and techniques to support myself, I want everyone on the planet to know that they, too, can be so much more in life and at work.
To be able to motivate people to the life and career they want, and to support them to excel, is my passion.
If you would like to share your “why?” as a coach please do share – it is fascinating and supportive to the whole coaching community.
And, if you are a professional wishing to explore coaching with me, or have a private chat, please connect with me at email@example.com
If you would like my free Goal Setting Infographic, giving you 10 key tips, please connect at firstname.lastname@example.org stating GOAL TIPS.
Have a fabulous day.