This week our Coaches in the Spotlight are Fiona Stimson and Aga Kehinde, who found success and support in their partnership after completing their diplomas and now work together to support those impacted by cancer and chronic illness.
Fiona and Aga have both made it their mission to empower people in one of the most vulnerable stages of life one can be in. Fiona works across two hospitals, Aga is a former cancer nurse and they both work for the Fountain Centre in Surrey, in St. Luke’s Cancer Centre, among other projects.
Read our interview to discover what inspired them to start coaching in this challenging field and how exactly different techniques help those impacted by cancer and chronic illness.
1. How did you first discover coaching?
We have experienced and seen the benefits of coaching in our personal and professional lives throughout our careers to date. We came to our careers in coaching at a time of dramatic personal change in our lives and wanted to do things differently. Coaching enabled us to do the work and provided a new career path that fulfilled our purpose, as well as providing us with so many opportunities for learning & growth.
2. What inspired you to enrol with The Coaching Academy?
Aga: For me, it was the work that we did on the free two-day Foundation course and how it made me feel. I was inspired, gained more confidence and it confirmed my need for change. I felt grounded in that decision to make the necessary changes. The flexibility and support during my application process from TCA was only a confirmation of this good choice. The bursary pathway allowed me to apply for both the Personal Performance Diploma as well as the NLP.
Fiona: I clearly remember the day I went to the free two-day Foundation course run by TCA in London and it marks the start of an amazing journey for me. I experienced inspiring trainers, great content and motivated attendees and it enabled me to understand how being part of The Coaching Academy family could benefit my life and others around me. I signed up to the full Protégé Programme and was coached by Pam Lidford which enabled me to learn much more about myself and what I wanted, commit to the changes and focus on my intention, purpose and taking action for change. I have completed 3 of the modules, resonated most with NLP and have gone onto doing a Master’s degree in it.
3. Where are you now? How do you define your niche?
We have both made huge progress in the last 2 years and a huge part of that was due to finding each other, purely through our shared passion and determination to succeed.
We are based in Surrey and our niche is in coaching those impacted by cancer and chronic illness, supporting them to develop skills to acknowledge and accept their situation now, build resources and resilience and self-manage. We help move our clients from function to thrive.
We both have our own coaching businesses, focusing on a compassionate, energetic, healing approach integrating our client’s health and wellness.
Fiona specialises in transformational work, using a unique combination of coaching, clinical hypnotherapy, NLP, mindfulness for health breathwork, timeline therapy and EFT to effect change.Aga uses a combination of behavioural, energetic and humanistic approaches, using NLP, EFT and mentoring tools to effect the change in clients.
We have both aligned our career portfolio around the specialist area of cancer and chronic illness. Fiona works across two hospitals, as an Associate for Working with Cancer and also runs her private practice. Aga is a former cancer nurse and works as a Cancer Educator and coach for the Cancer Centre, she runs her own practice and has recently founded iTapme, which focuses on EFT Tapping technique.
4. Can you tell us more about your work at The Fountain Centre?
The Fountain Centre sits within The Royal Surrey County Hospital in St Luke’s Cancer Centre. Our work at the centre is part of the overall emotional support service, helping those impacted by cancer: patients, their close family and hospital staff.
We currently both volunteer our coaching time at The Fountain Centre and are developing guidelines and professional standards in collaboration with Portsmouth University with the purpose of them being used nationally and internationally as a gold standard for coaching people with medical conditions, including cancer.
We are part of a team of 8 coaches at the centre, which is a well-known charity within the south-east.
We see our clients at any stage of the cancer journey, including diagnosis, treatment as well as on completion of treatment and living with and beyond cancer i.e. secondary or metastatic disease or during palliative and end of life care.
Being diagnosed with cancer can be a stressful and challenging time for all involved. It can affect every aspect of your life. The Fountain Centre offers care and support for the physical, emotional, social and spiritual needs of those affected by cancer in Surrey and the surrounding areas.
We often see clients in the most traumatic and difficult circumstances in their life. We provide them with a safe space to have those difficult conversations, help to remove unwanted emotions, fears, overcome their sense of loss, alleviate their pain or discomfort and move towards acceptance, adaptation, developing flexibility, possibility, choice and creating the resources for change. They are able to revisit their purpose and create a new vision for their life through coaching.
Our person-centred, integrated health and wellbeing approach focuses on what the person needs to feel better, empowering them to take back control of their lives. We want to focus attention on the benefits of our work and change the current way of thinking in the NHS, enabling coaching to become a mainstream supported service.
5. How are you using NLP and coaching to assist people struggling with chronic illnesses and cancer?
We use NLP and coaching in several ways to help our clients. For example, shifts in their thinking from memory to more positive visualisation of how they want to be now. We work on changing perception, a good example is survivorship guilt, some of our patients feel guilty that they have lived and others they have become close to along their journey did not make it through. We use techniques to enable them to focus their awareness, change behaviours, identify their purpose now, change their perception and create a new belief system through techniques such as timeline, re-framing, swish, quantum linguistics and language patterns as well as using GROW as the basis for coaching and moving towards taking action to change.
We use sub-modalities to change unwanted behaviours and replace them with what our client would like. For example, we had a client that had developed an aversion to sugar and various other foods after her surgery & chemotherapy treatment. She wanted to be able to bake a cake with her grandson, so we worked on her triggers and strategies to swop out the sugary cake association and replaced it as cheese rounds, so she was able to then bake without the nausea associated with the sugar.
6. What kind of feedback are you getting from your clients?
The feedback is overwhelmingly positive! Our clients are always so grateful for our help and support and share our vision for the service to be freely available in the NHS. They say that our work enables them to come to terms with what is happening to them, enables them to work on their sense of self, creating a more positive mindset which in turn gives them more energy and resilience to make fundamental decisions about themselves and manage their treatment.
They say that it gives them the courage to face what is going on for them now, as well as helping them to move on with their lives.
“You have helped me so much, removing my fears about my ongoing treatment, helping to control my anxieties. It’s given me the courage to face what is happening, make sense of it and increase my self-awareness to be more in control and believe I CAN DO THIS!”
Carers also feel the benefits, as it gives them the space to talk about what they are feeling and experiencing as a direct result of being the main support for a loved one. They have said that it helps them look after themselves more and be a better source of support for the person they are caring for.
7. Could you share one client success story?
In one situation, a client’s partner came with the goal of persuading her partner not to pursue conventional treatment as they felt very strongly that this went against their personal belief. The fact that this belief was not being heard was having a huge impact on her physically- she felt sick and very angry and upset. We spent time discovering the root of her beliefs and found the memories that had created this for her and were now a major trigger. To alleviate the emotions around this, EFT was used along with reframing and other NLP techniques.
She was able to reconcile the memory and started accepting the situation as well as looking at what possibilities and options she had to adjust her reaction to them. By focusing more on the mind-body connection she was able to move forward and become the support to her partner that she wished for.
If you're interested in finding out more about coaching, just like Fiona and Aga did, start by joining our free two-day Foundation in Life Coaching course. Dates here.
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