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No Regrets Looking Back – By Darren Lawrence


Posted: 1128 days ago

In early 2016, I was facing an uncertain future in my role at The Football Association, following a restructure when my role was put 'at risk’. I had been at the organisation for 11 years and whilst I had loved working there, in football (my thing) with some great people, I didn’t feel that I was fulfilling my potential or able to use the skills I have in the best way.

What brought you to coaching?

Considering what I wanted from the next phase of my career, I had always enjoyed supporting staff and colleagues and, on a recommendation I attended The Coaching Academy’s Free 2-Day Foundation in Life Coaching course in May 2016.

Could you summarise your coaching experience with TCA?

Looking back now, it was absolutely the right thing to do! I have learnt so much over the last 18 months. There is an entire self and personal development world that I had previously scratched the surface of, but did not fully appreciate, and it fascinates me! 

It’s a blend of learning which works very well. I found all elements of the course very good, but the live training (Accelerator) days were my favourite part, as they bring to life all of the other content in an interactive and supportive environment, and you also get to meet some great people on the course with you. The presenters/trainers are all experienced experts and deliver the content in an interactive, engaging and fun way.

Tell us about your journey whilst you were working hard to qualify

In all honesty, it was a challenge to fit in the study alongside other responsibilities and commitments. However, I developed a coping strategy by being creative in the way I organised my time (weekends, evenings, on train journeys, listening to webinars in the car etc), staying committed and taking things step-by-step. Towards the end of my studies, it felt as though something clicked, my coaching was getting so much better, and I was applying all the things I’d picked up along the way. I also had some great practice clients who were a pleasure to work with.

Which bits did you enjoy the most?

The most interesting thing for me has been the DISC psychometric profiling – this enabled me to learn a lot about myself, other people, and how to relate to different types of people. As I found this so helpful, I signed up to the additional DISC Accreditation Day which now allows me to take clients through their profiles, analysing and understanding what the graphs are showing.

What was the most rewarding part of the journey?

The most rewarding part of the course came after my final Practical Assessment and realising the progress I had made from my first assessment – and the proof and confidence that I can coach. Also, following 18 months of hard work, receiving the Certificate was a great moment!

Where are you now? How are you using your coaching skills?

Now I am qualified, for the past couple of months I have been working on developing my coaching client base in my chosen niche of sport. I am having lots of conversations about what people need help with, in terms of challenges they face, rather than coaching per se – but I am confident that in most cases coaching can help! Sport, and football in particular, has been my professional background for 20 years and I feel there is a lot of potential to help the significant number of people working in sport, or those competing/performing and not sure what to do with their lives when they retire, for example.

I am finding that the benefits of coaching are still not very well known, and some blurred lines exist between coaching and other interventions such as mentoring and counselling. Having coached and been coached, I can really vouch for the benefits. 

The thing I enjoy most about being a coach is helping people break through their limiting beliefs or barriers, and seeing them take positive action to move forward and get to where they want to be. I am genuinely interested in people, enjoy talking with them, spending time looking at their issues and knowing that I can help them.

On the flip side, as a coachee, I find the benefits from being coached range from simply talking about things, saying the words out loud can bring self-awareness and clarity – also a powerful question can change my perspective, not to mention feeling accountable to someone for the actions I commit to. 

What would you say to:

Someone thinking of enrolling with The Coaching Academy

For anyone considering becoming qualified as a professional coach, there are many training providers out there and you should explore and find the one that most closely meets your needs. However I would definitely recommend the Coaching Academy courses, and if nothing else – try out TCA’s Free 2-Days

Current students/New coaches

For those in training, my tips would be to continue to be yourself, and set out to be a brave coach - no one wants a robot! By taking risks and pushing yourself out of your comfort zone you will learn so much more. On a more practical side, have a structure, set a target for when you would like to qualify, and make a plan for the steps you need to take. 

For coaches about to qualify, I would strongly recommend really starting to think through and plan how you will use the qualification – be it in your coaching business if you have one, or in your employed role, or day-to-day life. Also, make sure you celebrate your achievement and tell EVERYONE about it. Be proud about what you have achieved!

In Summary

I have learnt an awful lot during my studies on the Diploma with TCA. It has changed the way I think, in terms of how I view myself, raising my self-awareness, but also helping me to understand others. DISC has been a revelation to me personally and really resonates. 

I feel that I am now a competent coach and comfortable talking about what coaching is, the benefits, and could hold a coaching session or conversation with anybody at any level. Coaching has opened the door to a deep world of self and personal development I was previously unaware of. Life changing!

If Darren'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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