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Coach In The Spotlight - Nigel Pacey

The Coaching Academy Blog

Posted: December 2013

I came to coaching at a time of major change in my life. I worked in social housing for over 20 years... In March 2011, I suffered a stroke which left me without feeling on my entire left side and it took me three months to learn to walk unaided again.

I came to coaching at a time of major change in my life. I worked in social housing for over 20 years and had spent around 12 years as a Housing Director in various Housing Associations. In March 2011, I suffered a stroke which left me without feeling on my entire left side and it took me three months to learn to walk unaided again. As is often the case, I re-assessed my priorities in life and decided to take a redundancy package that was on offer due to a merger involving the company where I worked. That was the easy bit, now to decide what to do next with my life.

I had been aware of the Coaching Academy free certificate weekend as I had considered it a couple of years previously. As a manager, I had frequently used a coaching style with people who reported to me and I had always enjoyed the aspects of my work that were about helping people to develop so I took the plunge and the rest is history.

I really enjoyed the training with the Coaching Academy especially the Accelerator Days which I thought were a fantastic way to benefit from the direct experience of people who had been through the training themselves. I think possibly the most rewarding aspect of the training was the journey of self development that was an integral part of becoming a coach. 

The Accelerator Days were also a great time to mix with like minded people and to feel a part of a wider coaching community. I was fortunate that I was able to study without needing to work which made it a lot easier to manage. I admire enormously those who study while working full time, it shows remarkable determination and focus.

Since qualifying, I have attended several of the CPD Days and have found them to be an excellent way to develop my understanding and skills and to improve on what I can offer to clients.

When I applied for the coaching diploma, my intention was to set up a coaching practice working with managers in the social housing sector. That was where I had a network of contacts, it was a business I knew well and I also knew that there was a huge number of managers who were struggling and would really benefit from having regular coaching. But would they or their organisations pay for it?

One year on and I have just sent my first year of accounts to the accountant. Making the breakthrough as a coaching consultant has not been easy but overall it has been a successful year financially.

I have coached a wide range of housing staff from Housing Officers to Directors on issues including career management, communication with colleagues, building confidence and managing people. I have also worked with social housing tenants one to one and in groups, developing their capacity to hold their landlord to account.

I always knew that it would take time to establish a reputation as a coach but it is happening and I am confident about the future. My latest initiative is to collaborate with another coach to offer targeted packages of training and coaching to professionals in the housing and finance sectors who have excellent technical skills and now need to develop the wider range of skills to step up to senior management.

My aim for the next 2 years is to be able to assist as many people as possible to make that step up successfully. My favourite coaching question is simple. When people know what it is they want to do or will make the change they need but are unable to act – asking them ‘What is stopping you’ or ‘What prevents you’ is often all they need to be able to move forward.

What I enjoy most about being a coach is helping people to realise they have options. Having options means they can make choices about what to do with their life and then take action to make it happen. All of this comes from being able to see the options.

My top tip for those who are currently in training or are about to start training is not to rush it. There is a real temptation to do the training as quickly as possible, maybe to do just as many Accelerator Days as necessary to be able to qualify. My advice is to take the fantastic opportunity you have to learn about coaching, to learn from other coaches, to learn about yourself and in doing that to give yourself the chance to be the best coach you can be. After all, this isn’t the end of your coaching journey, it is just the end of the first step of a learning journey that will carry on as long as you allow it.

For anyone who is thinking about being a coach, I would say that it is the most rewarding and satisfying thing I have ever done and my biggest regret is that I didn’t take this step 10 years ago but maybe I wasn’t ready for it then.

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