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Claire Brown - Coaching helped me to find myself again


Our Coach in the Spotlight this week is Claire Brown, who after working for 12 years in the not-for-profit sector, made the change to become a professional coach.

For Claire, coaching helped her overcome stress and overwhelm to find a more balanced life. Now, she is using her coaching skills to help other Mums to do the same. We hope you enjoy her story.  

Learning to be authentically me 

As a recovering perfectionist and people-pleaser as well as Mum to 2 young children, I’ve spent years filling the gaps in both my personal and professional life - doing jobs that needed to be done, but not necessarily because it was fulfilling in the way I had hoped. I am deeply passionate about helping others, but I placed too much of my sense of self-worth in my ability to get things done rather than just being authentically me. This turned into developing unhealthy patterns of behaviour resulting in sustained stress and overwhelm. 

This sense of overwhelm all came to a head back in the Spring of 2015. I was holding a very full part-time role and did not know how, in the coming months, I would be able to go on maternity leave. I was working for a small charity fulfilling a role that was ‘ambiguous’ at best during a season that involved a huge amount of change. Although I really did not want to leave, I really needed to. I was totally burnt out, exhausted, overwhelmed. I was trying to balance my home and work life - whilst heavily pregnant. When I did go on maternity leave, it finally gave me the permission I should have offered myself months before to simply hit the pause button

Coaching helped me overcome overwhelm

I knew I needed some extra help to navigate all of this complexity, someone objective, trustworthy, skilled, deeply kind, supportive and who really “got me”. And I found such a person in a talented coach, Joanne, who was my first introduction to coaching. By the end of our sessions, I had designed a recruitment process for my replacement and formulated a clear plan of action that encouraged me to let go, take a break, and focus on me and my growing family for a while. 

Something about this process really clicked for me. It brought together beautifully in one role so much of my learning, experience and passion. This experience was the catalyst that led me to attend The Coaching Academy’s free two-day Introduction to Coaching and subsequently go on to train with them 3 years later to become a qualified coach myself. 

Discovering myself in my training 

Training with The Coaching Academy to become a qualified coach has helped me to rediscover myself. I have tapped into what I am truly passionate about and how I want to use my own story and the learning to help others in a similar position.  Many of the coaching techniques I’ve learned along the way, I have also applied to my own life. These techniques have made such a difference in both the big life decisions as well as in the day-to-day. 

I really believe in the value of Coaching and have spent the past year intentionally working on my goals. Some of the things I’ve achieved in that time include completing my Diploma and achieving a Distinction grade, setting up my business, losing 3 stone in weight and committing to a regular exercise program. Coaching has also grown my confidence hugely. I’m consistently doing things outside of my comfort zone that I previously felt intimidated by such as networking, Public Speaking, Vlogging and writing articles like this! 

A common myth about coaching 

I think there is a myth that coaching is just for business executives & CEOs. There is such great value in coaching and it’s for everyone. I’ve spent over 12 years working in the Non-Profit Sector, as well as working within the NHS whilst undertaking training to become an Occupational Therapist. In my experience, I find that those often drawn to caring professions are those who give of themselves sacrificially to others at great personal cost and within changing evolving contexts where resources are overstretched, resulting in stress, anxiety and overwhelm.  I noticed early on in my Coaching that irrespective of what my clients came to focus on at the start of the program, at some point during the process, they all shared a commonality. One that personally resonated with me; their desire to find a better balance in a busy world, to more effectively manage the stress, anxiety and overwhelm, to avoid burnout and develop greater levels of resilience when times of challenge, transition and stretch inevitably emerged.

I have really valued offering to my clients the same benefits I’ve experienced first-hand and I want to make it much more accessible given the difference it’s made for me.


If you would like to learn more about coaching, join our free two-day Foundation in Life Coaching Course