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I Never Looked Back! My Coaching Journey – by James Banfield


My story began on a train journey a few years ago. I had been studying self-help and development all of my adult life, and because of my friendly curious nature, people tended to open up to me and would like to talk through their problems and concerns. This evening was no different, a friend of mine was having a difficult time at work and was considering handing in his notice. We talked through all of the angles and I reassured him that whatever he decided, it would all work out in the end. Then something unexpected happened - Just as he was getting up to leave he turned and said, "You would be a great life coach." It was like a bolt of lightning had just hit me! I didn't even know exactly what a life coach was, but something told me that this conversation was meant to happen and I had to do something about it.

I had been in a dead-end job for about 8 years, while I tried to make it as a music composer and producer. But it was like I was constantly swimming upstream, nothing ever came easily, and I was ready to give up. So, I started googling life coaching courses. I found the free introductory weekend with the Coaching Academy, and – I never looked back! This career change has brought me back to life and I have been buzzing ever since that night on the train. I have since realised that I have been subconsciously training for this career all my life through reading, studying, and living through some of my own difficult life lessons. I love my work and now I feel like I am swimming with the current in a constant state of flow. Doors and opportunities are opening up effortlessly which is probably because I am so passionate about what I do.

I highly recommend combining the NLP Practitioner Diploma with the Personal Performance programme, as it gives you a greater understanding of how the human mind works, and you can combine powerful NLP techniques with your coaching questions. This will make you more effective with your clients, and benefit them on a much deeper level than just coaching alone. 

I have worked with a broad range of people and helped them achieve all kinds of great results.  Everything from transitioning to a new career, to overcoming performance anxiety. One client was so happy with the service that he built my website for free, for which I am very grateful! It sounds a bit cheesy but seeing people achieve their goals, or overcome something that has been holding them back, lights me up and gives me a sense of purpose in life. Doing this work is a gift, and I couldn’t be happier with my new career.

My favourites clients are the students at a local music college where I coach one day a week. Working with young people and giving them the best possible start in their life and career is what I find most fulfilling. In fact, I have been so inspired by the work I have been doing at the college that I have decided to organise a large TED Talk style charity event in September, which is focusing on helping young people with mental health problems. I am bringing together experts, charities, and role models to educate, inspire and help end the stigma associated with mental health. If someone had told me that I would be doing this 3 years ago I would have laughed in their face!

I am very grateful to The Coaching Academy for their comprehensive training: I found their trainers to be very professional and a pleasure to work with. The courses were well structured and the course materials were well put together and easy to follow. I would highly recommend them to anyone interested in pursuing a career in coaching, and I continue to attend their CPD days as I want to ensure that I am always giving my clients the best possible service.

My top tips for new coaches are:

• Start coaching practice with clients ASAP. Don't wait until you feel ready, you will learn much more from doing it rather than reading about it.

• Be organised and keep on top of your LRS (Learning Record Sheets) and other paper work as you go. 

• Be patient with yourself. It takes time to develop your skills and coaching style. 

• In the beginning, coach as many different types of people as you can, so that you know who you like working with and who you don't want to work with in the future. 

• Always book your next session with a client at the end of the session, while you have their full attention and diary handy. 

• When it comes to talking about money do not use email.  Know what you are going to charge, and try and discuss this face to face or on the phone. You can then answer any questions or concerns a potential client might have in the moment.

• You might want to consider offering a monthly coaching package which they pay for via a direct debit, rather than an hourly rate. This way you only have to talk about money once, and they can just cancel the direct debit when they feel they are ready.

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

Start your own coaching journey today - book your space on our free 2-Day Life Coaching course.

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