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Millie Coleman: 'My Coaching Journey'


Our Coach in the Spotlight this week, Millie Coleman, writes about discovering coaching when she was ready for a change in her career.

Millie shares the challenges and rewards that came with her coaching journey and her top tips for people interested in coaching. We hope you enjoy it.

Coaching was the right fit 

Prior to becoming a coach, I worked as a Primary Teacher, in a socially and economically deprived area of Bristol. As part of my leadership training, I had completed a module on Coaching and Mentoring at Bath Spa University; I quickly discovered that coaching was a great way to support my colleagues and as a tool to support training recently qualified teachers. As I applied my coaching skills it became apparent that this style was a much less threatening approach than sitting at the back with a clipboard and pen. This is because the recently qualified teaches who were being ‘observed’ were much more involved in the process of moving forward - chiefly because they were in the driving seat. By using these skills improvement in teaching, within my department, moved from satisfactory to good in just 4 months.

As Abraham Lincoln once said, “Always bear in mind that your own resolution to success is more important than any other one thing.”

A rewarding and challenging journey 

When I decided that teaching was no longer the profession that I wanted to be part of, I searched for inspiration as to where my future career lay. Last August I attended a free coaching event in Bristol, hosted by The Coaching Academy, I never looked back. I realised that the skills I already had and enjoyed using could be used to benefit many others as well as hopefully providing a future career for myself.

My journey with The Coaching Academy was rewarding but hectic. It was difficult studying and teaching at the same time. Many of my evenings were spent coaching; as well as studying most weekends. My husband often joked that it was like I had two jobs, thank goodness he was happy to help by keeping the wheels of our home turning smoothly!

My favourite part was learning so much new information, skills and techniques, which I could use during my coaching sessions; then sharing their delight when my coachees achieved their goals as well as coaching then to build up their determination and resilience when success eluded them.

Stepping into a new career

Since qualifying, I have begun to establish my own coaching business. It's early days but I’m determined to establish a business which is successful enough for me to give up teaching, permanently. 

After a lot of soul searching I have decided to focus on working with parents. After all, parenting is such an important job and nobody can provide you with a manual on how to be the parent you want to be. Although in coaching you don’t need to know anything about the area you’re coaching in, over 30 years of experience working with parents, instils confidence in my ability to coach in this area, for future clients. In the near future, I hope to be able to complete the Coaching in Education training, and then I can use my existing experiences to work with teachers and young people too.

My top tips

If you’re thinking about becoming a professional coach, sign-up to the free 2-day coaching courses, held by The Coaching Academy. These courses give a really good insight into what coaching is all about. There’s no catch, it really is free! Remember though if you’re someone who likes to give the answers coaching is not for you, a good coach listens, is not afraid of silence and asks the right questions, to help the coachee to find solutions for themselves.

And finally some top tips for those of you training with The Coaching Academy:

  • Book your first practical session as soon as you can - don’t put it off.
  • Make sure you book your practical and mentoring sessions with someone who you feel comfortable with.
  • Plan your webinars over the period of time you’re planning to do your diploma, then you can use the skills taught gradually.
  • The small set mentoring sessions are great, you learn from others and often others will think of questions that are relevant, but hadn’t yet entered your head.

If you're interested in learning more about coaching join our free two-day Foundation in Life Coaching course