My journey to become a professional coach started in October 2015.
I’ve always loved people - I think this was what attracted me to retail 11 years ago. As a teenager, I took on a part-time job at Tesco, and then worked my way up to Senior Management. It was at this point I began to realise that I wasn’t particularly inspired or motivated by how many tins of Quality Streets we sold over the Christmas weekend. I was, however, inspired about how many people I’d helped develop within the business. Helping my colleagues overcome barriers and then watching them as they went off to reach their full potential, became the most enjoyable part of my job.
After realising that my passion was in coaching, I googled 'Life Coach' whilst sat in my car one lunch break, and signed up for the free 2-day event with The Coaching Academy – one of the best decisions I have ever made.
From day one, TCA helped me realise that I could actually get paid for doing something that I love. The Acceleration Days were a highlight for me. There’s something special about being in a room full of like-minded people, bouncing off each other’s energy, ideas and aspirations – I always left feeling fired up and ready for the next stage of my development.
My first paying client was a colleague from Tesco. After giving him an insight into coaching during our lunch breaks together, he asked if we could do this outside of work and I said “of course, it’ll be £25 per hour”. It did feel strange at first, being paid for something that I would do for free. They do say it’s a beautiful thing when a passion and a career come together!
The more I began to learn throughout my time with TCA, I more I started to see for myself just how powerful coaching can be. The feeling you get as a coach, when you witness one of your clients have a breakthrough moment, and you see what it means for them - it’s just very special. I live for those moments.
I remember at the start of my journey, I snuck into my sister’s university, hi-jacked a lecture room and drew a Wheel of Life on the whiteboard. With my sharpie in hand, I asked my sister to take photos of me, as I coached in an empty room. She thought I was crazy.
However, seeing those photo’s afterwards, of me up there, ‘coaching a room full of people’, inspired me. I made that photo the lock screen on my iPhone. That visualisation gave me so much motivation to get where I am today.
Exactly one year later, I received an email from a local college in Leicester. They were looking for a motivational speaker to do an inspirational talk to 100 students and their parents, and had come across my videos on social media.
Three weeks later, I walked into a tiered seated assembly hall, with a sea of faces looking down at me. Above my head was a big screen that read ‘James Lewis – Life Coach’. I gave the talk of my life, as I danced around with my Sharpie! I had an audience this time! It was a special moment for me. Something that I had visualised from that empty university lecture room. What you believe – you create.
Nothing excites me more than talking to a room full of people, knowing the audience are walking away feeling more able to achieve whatever they desire, from what I delivered to them in the room, that day.
I feel very lucky to have found my passion – my purpose. Coaching makes me feel alive. It’s me at my best. It’s enabled me to be the best version of myself, and with the tools I’ve learnt, I am now inspiring others to pursue their dreams, exceed their potential and reach their ultimate goals – so they can begin to live a life on their terms.
If you have a passion for coaching and are thinking about enrolling with TCA – go for it! If someone had said to me 2 years ago, that I would leave Tesco and that I would be making a living out of coaching, I wouldn’t have believed them. That’s the thing about personal development – we don’t know what we are capable of until we try.
Whilst working in retail, I developed a huge passion for Service & Leadership, and now, combining this with my passion for coaching and with the tools that I have, my mission is to take my vision of great Service & Leadership, and create a Customer Service & Leadership Coaching Programme for organisations to use.
My top tips for new coaches would be:
• Do as much practical coaching as you possibly can – this will make the difference
• Don’t worry too much about finding your ‘niche’ - I believe it will eventually find you (it took almost 2 years to find me!)
• BE YOURSELF. Every coach has their own style - Don’t try and be something you’re not
• BELIEVE IN YOURSELF - When I first began my journey, I must admit that I had a lot of self-doubt. After leaving my Acceleration Days, I would say to myself in the car whilst driving back ‘If they can do it, I can do it’, and now I’m telling you, ‘If I can do it, you can do it!’
If James' words have inspired you and you feel that Coaching could be a potential full or part time opportunity for you, or if you would just like to know a little more about what Coaching is and how it can benefit you and the lives of others, please contact our Specialist Course Advisor, Jamil on 0208 996 4830 or email: Jamil@the-coaching-academy.com
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