I booked onto the free 2-day course at the end of February and went along to day 1 slightly uncertain of what I was going to encounter, but very definite in the knowledge that I wanted to learn as much as possible about myself and others. I’m pleased to say that I enjoyed it immensely and found it an inspiring 2 days, and knew I wanted to pursue coaching.
My coaching journey first began in early 2007 while I was working on a radio show in North Yorkshire. A colleague told me about a book she’d been reading by Fiona Harrold and reckoned that I’d love it. My clever friend was absolutely right! It seemed to unlock something in my mind and I began to consider coaching as a viable career option, but, as ever, life seemed to get in the way!
Having enjoyed a successful media career for over 20 years, I decided to relocate to London for both personal and professional reasons. My “Big 4-0” was approaching and I thought it would be a perfect time to do something a little bit different with my life. After much self-analysis and weighing up of options, I decided my strengths were my communication skills, ease of building rapport with people and wanting to make some kind of contribution to the world as a whole…and that’s when coaching came back into my thoughts!
I booked onto the free 2-day course at the end of February and went along to day 1 slightly uncertain of what I was going to encounter, but very definite in the knowledge that I wanted to learn as much as possible about myself and others. I’m pleased to say that I enjoyed it immensely and found it an inspiring 2 days, and knew I wanted to pursue coaching. By chance I read about and then met up with a Protégé student. Over coffee we chatted about how coaching had changed her life for the better, and she unknowingly convinced me that the time and money I was initially hesitant about committing to would be a fantastic investment for my future and as a person.
I’d given up a secure, comfortable and fun career to relocate to London, so knew that if I were to make that investment, I would have to be serious about doing it properly. I set myself the goal of qualifying as a Performance Coach by the time that Big 4-0 happened in July, which seemed plausible despite it only being 5 months away at the time. I was, and still am, in the fortunate position of being a Voiceover Artist and that means mostly working from home, so the hours of studying and coaching could fit very nicely into my life. Contrary to popular belief, those of us who work from home don’t spend hours watching trashy daytime TV (I hope!), but it definitely is a change of mindset as you have to motivate yourself to open those files and not get sidetracked by the likes of Jeremy Kyle!
Being a former Radio Presenter at various stations in England, communication was obviously an essential part of my life. I’d been lucky enough to meet and interview hundreds of people over the years from Lady Gaga to Adele (who couldn’t be more different!) so was very comfortable with asking “open questions”, but realised I’d taken the skill of listening for granted, and would often have my next question ready to be asked! During my initial practice sessions I focused on this and discovered that the “next question” would naturally happen. Part of the beauty of coaching for me is that you can never be sure of what the client will want to talk about.
They may throw you a curved ball during the session, and the unpredictability of each and every session means the chances of getting bored are zero! Each of my clients during my training period was very different from the other, which meant that I had to use different approaches and techniques I’d learned with each. Seeing or hearing the “oh of course” breakthrough moments always made me smile on the inside!
Having achieved my goal of qualifying in July, I’m currently juggling the Corporate & Executive and the NLP diplomas, both of which I’m hugely enjoying. I really look forward to the live Accelerator Days, and am thankful to have met so many wonderful new friends on these. Despite initially wanting to do something completely different, I came to realise that I would be daft to let my years of experience in the media go to waste, so am currently developing and marketing my coaching business to people working in the media, those wanting to make their first step on that career path, and people wanting to develop their voice and presentation performance.
I’m already looking forward to working with students on the Media course at a top London university next month, and hope to help them get on the road to success too! I’m hoping to combine my love of radio (and the other media) and helping talented people get even better. I always liken it to top Premier League football clubs…even Manchester United’s fantastically talented superstar footballers still need a Coach to help them develop further!
It’s hard to pinpoint my absolute favourite coaching question, but I do love the Cartesian questions (“what would happen if you do / don’t etc”) and relish the look on my client’s face when they’re trying to figure out the final one! That’s the moment you know they really are looking deep inside for the answers!
I would wholeheartedly recommend to anyone serious about coaching to take a couple of days out of their life to attend The Coaching Academy’s free 2-day course. Even if you don’t take it any further straightaway, you will definitely discover something about yourself for the better. For those currently studying my simple piece of advice is “stick with it”! It’s natural to feel overwhelmed after a while, but develop a plan, definitely stay on top of your paperwork and enjoy it – make it your “me time”! Book onto the Accelerator Days too when you can, as there’s something incredibly special about being surrounded by people who know exactly where you’re coming from.
If you’re feeling apprehensive about your first one, don’t worry; I can assure you I did too! Within minutes I was made to feel very welcome and now cannot remember what I was nervous about!
The GROW (Goal, Reality, Options, Will) model is the most common and widely used coaching tool. It empowers the coach to structure a coaching conversation and deliver a meaningful result. The GROW acronym suggests that a coach using the GROW model is likely to start by asking the client to set goals, both for what they want to get out of the coaching sessions as a whole and for each individual session.