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Carol Harrison: It's never too late to reach your potential


Posted: 24-05-2019

It was a heart-to-heart chat with a dear friend that inspired me to act; to begin a major shift in the direction of my professional and working life - after spending 15 years in education. I had already trained as a teacher, a counsellor and I now decided to enrol with The Coaching Academy. That was the start of my coaching journey.

The first stage was when I participated in TCA’s Free 2-Days in Birmingham. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience; feeling uplifted by the energy and enthusiasm of the presenters and most importantly noticed the positive impact they had on the attendees, particularly myself. There was no doubt that coaching was the direction I wanted to take. I needed to make some changes to my life after spending fifteen years in education as an English teacher; five of those in management, resulting in my near exhaustion. So, after consultation with family and friends, I took a risk and handed in my resignation. I won’t pretend it was an easy decision. I did not have a job to go to and, for a short time, I honestly thought that I would never work again. However, as my energy levels returned, I began the process of recovery and hope.  

The most rewarding part of my journey has been the journey itself. Yes, I know that sounds like a cliché. However, the positive experience and feeling of being with like-minded people on Accelerator Days really boosted my motivation to continue with my studies and enjoy the experience. People came from many different backgrounds. They were individuals on the same journey as me, some are now friends.

The coaching course itself was exceptionally well organised, with everything available that I needed to develop my skills as a coach. The One-to-One Mentoring system I found particularly rewarding, as the continuous, supportive and detailed feedback helped me steadily improve in my knowledge, skills and confidence. Whilst qualifying as a coach I worked as a private English tutor. The hours are when people need my help; unsociable, but the work very rewarding.  It was difficult to keep all the plates spinning however, the more I studied and understood how I could reach goals and challenge my own limiting beliefs, the more I managed to get done.  I wished I’d developed positive mind-set years ago, but, remember, it’s never too late to change and to seek to reach your potential!

I am currently setting up my own private tutoring and coaching business working with young people from 11 to 16 years old. What I have noticed while tutoring – as I did when teaching full time - was the negative mind-set some students have about their ability in English and their often-debilitating anxiety around exams. 

So, I am currently working in the niche of coaching in education. This is a growing area, and I’ve noticed how pleased parents are when I tell them that I’m not only an experienced and qualified teacher but also a professionally qualified coach. I also offer schools my services coaching teachers and parents. I chose work as a tutor-coach in education because it is a sector that I am familiar with; there is a real need for school leaders, educators and students to enhance their ability to access their untapped potential, especially at a time when, as a society, we seem to be so worried about their wellbeing.  

My top tips for people who are looking to become qualified as a professional coach: 

First, think about your purpose: what is it that you are seeking to achieve? Do your research, keep a weather eye out for recommendations and ideas, and listen to other people’s experience before you part with your money. Word of mouth is a good starting point. 

Secondly, for those people who are currently in training with TCA, I would strongly suggest that you keep on top of your reflective practice and keep your client record sheet up to date.  

Moreover, if you can, find yourself a fully qualified coach, which helps you to see what the job is really like.  

A fourth tip is that after each coaching session up-date your paperwork as soon as you can and really think of what you have done well and what you need to improve. Moreover, listen to the feedback from the assessor it really helps you to develop your skills as a coach. 

Finally, my tips for coaches, who are about to qualify: You’re nearly there. Once you’ve qualified celebrate it. Then keep going. Finding a niche, it isn’t easy but don’t get distracted from your goal. It’s certainly worth the effort and it will improve your life and the lives of those around you. Go for it! Good luck!


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