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Coach in the Spotlight - Rachael McNidder


Wednesday 12th January 2016 was a grey, cloudy, cold and damp day. As I entered the Copthorne Hotel in Birmingham, about to embark on The Coaching Academy’s free 2-Day Foundation in Life Coaching event, my heart was pounding with both nerves and excitement. As I approached the building, I reminded myself of all the good reasons why I came to be here, remembering the many times when I had considered becoming a coach, only to talk myself out of it.

I first came across coaching around 10 years before, whilst working for one of the world’s leading professional firms. I had a senior management role, leading my own team within a very challenging and high-pressure environment.  I found that coaching my team was a very effective way of improving people’s performance, resilience and motivation. It was amazing to hear their thought processes develop as they responded to my questions, and find they had their own solutions to their issues, enabling them to take the initiative and feel more empowered.  I often daydreamed about moving into coaching full time. But every time I considered it, I just talked myself out of it… I felt that I wasn’t good enough - I’d never be as good as others and it would simply be embarrassing.

It was only when I left work to spend more time with my family that, at last, I had time to take stock on my career and figure out what to do next. I knew I didn’t want a high-pressure job again; I wanted to work more flexibly and have more time with my children and husband.  But I also knew I wanted to do something fulfilling, something that allowed me to use my natural strengths and something that seemed like I was ‘meant’ to do it. The idea of becoming a coach just kept coming back to me; I had to find out about coaching once and for all, and after a quick google search I found The Coaching Academy’s free 2-Day Foundation in Life Coaching course. A month or so later, I found myself at The Copthorne Hotel on a cold and rainy day in the middle of January, feeling as though something momentous might happen. It did!

It was on the second day of the course when I first heard about the concept of self-limiting beliefs. These are things we believe about ourselves that in reality we have no evidence for, but have spent years acting as though they are true. Hearing about this from trainer hit me like a sledge hammer.  Suddenly it became so clear to me that these limiting beliefs about my ability to coach had been holding me back all those years – things I had been telling myself with no evidence to back them up. I sat there in the room with all other delegates, and started dealing with my many limiting beliefs that had been holding me back for far too long.

It was on that same course when I realised how much I didn’t know about coaching, and how much more there was to learn.  But I also felt very strongly that training to be a personal performance coach would give me the skills and knowledge I needed, and from hearing the trainers tell their stories and share their experiences, I knew I was in good hands. So I took the plunge and enrolled to become a qualified coach. After all that time putting it off, it was a very easy decision.

I met some amazing people during my training, including people who will no doubt be friends for life.  I also met people who were generous enough to allow me to walk into their lives to coach them, which was a very humbling experience. I also continued to deal with those self-limiting beliefs which were still tripping me up and causing me to doubt myself.  Receiving coaching enabled me to work through those issues, and to understand more about who I am, what my strengths are, and ways I can deal with the inner voice that pops up every now and then. I would encourage anyone struggling with similar issues to reach out and be coached. The biggest thing I learned was to allow myself to learn when things didn't go to plan.  I still need reminders of it from time to time, but my inner voice has become a lot more positive and now I tell myself “it’s all about learning!”

After a lot of studying and a lot of laughs, I qualified this year with a Distinction in the Personal Performance Diploma. I’m now a Career’s Coach, helping people to find fulfilment and purpose in their work. After all, this was what drove me to becoming a coach - the idea that you can reach fulfilment in what you do, no matter what your life circumstances are. I’ve now set up my business “Pursuit Coaching & Development” and I’m working with people at all levels within organisations.  So far, I’ve found that no one is immune to self-limiting beliefs, so it’s an absolute privilege to be able to help people deal with their inner voices, to discover their purpose and achieve their potential.

When I look back on my journey from January 2016 to now, I’m amazed at how much has happened. I’ve qualified as an NLP Practitioner, and achieved my goals of completing the Personal Performance Diploma and setting up my business. For anyone about to embark on a similar journey, my top tips would be:

  1. Find someone to coach you, in addition to practising on others;
  2. Get organized - there’s a lot to do and to learn, so being organised will really help you stay on top; and
  3. Remind yourself every day of the reasons why you’re becoming a coach, and hold that as your motivation to succeed.  Good Luck!

If Rachael's 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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