I find myself at events and people ask me What do you do? As soon as I say “i’m a coach!” there’s a pause. Maybe a wry smile will come across the face of the questioner. After all as I heard in a networking meeting recently the title life coach has become synonymous with ‘without a job’

It does seem that any Tom, Dick and Harriet can set themselves up in business as a life coach and start charging straight away. The training  available ranges from brilliant to rubbish and everything in between. The cost of the training is also from several thousand to buck free!

To me Life Coaching, coaching, development coaching, organisational coaching (the list goes on forever so i’ll stop there) is a dynamic conversation between the coach and the client with the primary focus to move the client forward in which ever area of their life chosen, be it life or work. (in my experience they are always connected) But somehow the phrase Life Coach has been hijacked by people who don’t understand, don’t want to change  and who aren’t listening. They don’t want the service and are determined to undermine it’s credibility. In truth these are, probably, the people in most need.

If I had my time again, knowing what I know now. Would I have become a coach? Sometimes I think not.  It’s been really hard to build a business, sustain a business and work independently. I feel that way until I coach the next client and see the terrific changes that can and does happen in practically every session. I have never been priveledge to that kind of job satisfaction in any other role.

I came to coaching from a 20 year career in newspaper advertising. I worked on some huge and established titles and had a whale of a time, wining and dining and travelling my way through the 80′s and 90′s. An older face in the mirror and babies meant that I became ‘sidelined’ in training. I ran the graduate recruitment and training programme for the company and stopped the leak of good talent and the cost of outside recruitment firms. I became the one who solved internal staffing, training and project issues and the safe pair of hands.  A career break and a stint as corporate wife bought me to freelance training at the turn of the new millenium.

Freelance training was a great way to make a living. A hired gun, going into companies shooting them with information and leaving without having to deal with the every day politicallness of the firm. I however found it exhausting. Other trainers would meet in the hotel bar afterwards looking fresh from a days training and I was run ragged.

My approach was totally coaching oriented, working with learning styles and ensuring learning objectives met. That’s pretty difficult in a room of 20 people all differing skill levels. It was feedback on a delegate feedback sheet which provided the lightbulb moment. ” Thanks for the brilliant coaching, I feel totally inspired to full-fill my potential as a xxxxx employee”

Yes I was coaching not purely training (i have an anology of this which is another blog post).

So I researched, deliberated and counted my pennies and paid around £4,000 on coach training with the now unfortunately defunct UK College of Life Coaching. It was certainly a tough job. I did the entire 12 month programme in 6 months and qualified in December 2005.

In the 5 years that have passed I have learnt some serious lessons and made some big mistakes. However I have coached and continue to coach some fabulous people and the coaching model means I can be at the side of the rugby field or in the audience for the school play more times than I am not. It’s flexible working with high financial and emotional rewards.

I do however wish I had the resource that I am about to launch to the world. “Focus on the ‘what’s’ and allow the ‘how’s to happen” is an e-book I have written which will help the reader propel themselves towards their goals in just 7 days. But more on that in another post.

Hopefully this has given you an insight into who I am, why i’m here. Please get in contact if you want to know more about me or how I can help you or your organisation reach it’s potential.