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My Coaching Journey By Peter Sleigh


My journey to becoming a qualified coach with The Coaching Academy may be slightly unusual as I am the CEO of an accountancy practice, Sleigh & Story, employing 10 people in the UK and about to double that overseas. I started my business in my back bedroom 12 years ago with no clients. I now have over 400 clients and have an annual turnover of more than half a million pounds with six figure earnings.

For a number of years, I have recognised the power of self-development that could give me the tools to improve my life and to be proactive. My self-development journey moved me into the world of NLP where I qualified as an NLP Practitioner. I also realised that I have an ability to coach and a burning desire to help other people to transform their lives!

The next logical stage was to get a coaching qualification so who better to choose than Europe’s leading coaching training provider? I therefore signed up for the free 2-Day Coaching course with The Coaching Academy, knowing before I went that I would sign up with them to do the Personal Performance Coaching Diploma. This is exactly what I did! 

The Process

I booked the free 2-Day event at Manchester online. This was a fabulous taster event, which gave delegates a feel of what coaching is all about and allowed us to make an educated decision as to whether it was for us. For me it was a ‘no brainer’ as I’d decided at the free event that it was what I wanted to do. So, I signed on the dotted line!

Next, the hard but enjoyable work began!

I thought it was important to start coaching straight away, and so I put it out on my Facebook page that I was looking for ‘clients’ to be coached as part of my training - free of charge. I was inundated with offers and so my coaching journey begun. It really is important, when training, to do as much coaching as you can as soon as you can. It’s also important to practise using the GROW model and make the most of the 30-minute sessions. I found my coaching ability quickly improved to the point where I felt confident enough to book my first practical assessment.

Side by side, I also booked my Accelerator Days. These can be done in any order and I just booked mine in six consecutive months. I met some lovely people on the Accelerator Days and leant so much. These days are very interactive with lots of delegate participation. They are also very demanding and at the end of the day I always felt emotionally drained but happy. The journey back home was always very reflective. 

We are very much supported - as we go along, we have six one-to-one mentoring sessions by telephone. As part of the qualification, we are required to watch six webinars and participate in six group webinars which were both enjoyable and informative. We are also required to complete a 3000-word final paper. I found this very enjoyable as it gave me the opportunity to recap my learning journey. It also allowed me to reflect on how much I had learnt!

The final part of the requirement is to complete a learning journal of all that we have learnt through our coaching, Accelerator Days, webinars and 1-1s. It is important to do this as you are journeying, and not to leave it to the end. Again, I found it useful to allow me to reflect on what I had learnt as I was moving through my journey.   

Top Tips

1. Start coaching as soon as possible. Practise as much as possible. Get as many different clients as possible. Be brave! You will probably be a little nervous to begin with but that’s ok! As you see the effect you are having on people’s lives, your confidence will grow!

2. Do not be afraid to make mistakes. It really is the only way to learn! Asking closed questions was the thing that took me the longest to shake off! Practice is the only way!

3. Explain to your ‘clients’ that you are training. They will still get value from the work you do with them… even if it’s only for the fact that you listened to them!

4. Book your first practical assessment as soon as possible… remembering that the first two do not count towards your grade.

5. Prepare for each practical assessment as well as possible. This includes being in a calm but alert mindset. 

6. When doing practical assessments, only work with clients whom you have a deep rapport with and on a subject where it is easy for your client to set a SMART goal. Subjects such as fitness and career progression I found were good. Relationships may be one to avoid!

The quality of training has been truly excellent and after 9 months, I have now become a qualified Personal Performance coach with a Distinction. I also now have my first paid client! I am very excited about growing my coaching business side by side with my accountancy business and have also signed up to do a Small Business Coaching Diploma with The Coaching Academy.

I have thoroughly enjoyed learning with the Coaching Academy. I have met some wonderful fellow coaches along the way and have learnt so much. Thank you, The Coaching Academy, for giving the opportunity to develop my skills to become a quality coach!

If Peter’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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