This week our accomplished and talented coach, Barbara Guignard who speaks 5 languages fluently, shared with us her inspiring journey and how coaching truly enhanced her career. Within 10 months of studying alongside her busy full-time business consulting job, Barbara completed TCA Personal Performance Diploma and set up her own coaching business within 4 months after qualifying. Coaching has become a big part of her life and remarkably empowered her self-discovery and belief. Barbara believes motivation is the key to success and for her, having a full-time job should not be a barrier to one’s entrepreneurial aspirations.

We hope you enjoy reading Barbara's inspiring journey.

What was your profession before becoming a coach?

I have worked in business consulting for over ten years now. My job is very international – this means that I am in different parts of Europe every week and because I speak five languages fluently, I have the chance to be able to interact with a wide variety of people on a daily basis.

What convinced me to get a coaching qualification? As I became more senior in my company, my focus turned more towards people management: In my job my role to ensure that our clients are satisfied with the service they get and that the teams on the ground are motivated and perform to their best. I am also involved in training and recruitment. So naturally, my interest has moved towards people’s personal and professional growth. Additionally, hiring a coach for my own development four years ago really opened my eyes on the power of self-belief and how much you can achieve, if only you believe you can! 

What was the most rewarding part of your training/journey?

Aside from the additional qualification that I gained, studying to become a coach has been much more personal development than I imagined. I now feel more resourceful to deal with life’s events than I ever was before. I am now even more eager to further my education in personal development, and as a result I have started the programme to become an NLP Practitioner with The Coaching Academy.

The way The Coaching Academy programme is structured is very flexible, allowing me to complete my Personal Performance Diploma in less than a year, even with a full-time job: I signed up in November and qualified in September the following year.

Aside from the fun of learning, I have made true friendships with other students at The Coaching Academy. It makes such a difference to be able to share your thoughts, worries and successes with people who are on the same journey as you.

How did you fit coach training into your busy life?

Fitting in the hours of coaching practice with my busy life was a bit of a challenge: My very first coaching session happened while I was on a business trip in China, at 8pm on a Saturday through a Skype call! But like everything in life, if you have the motivation for it, you find the time to get things done.

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

I obtained the Personal Performance Diploma with the Coaching Academy in September 2018. Since then, I have launched my coaching business helping women entrepreneurs. I also get involved in various charity initiatives and run the Central London Coaching Community meetup monthly alongside my full-time job. 

Now, four months after qualifying, I have set up my coaching practice. I particularly enjoy coaching women who want to set up their own business either full-time or on the side. This interest in entrepreneurship came during my coaching training, as I felt particularly inspired by those creative people who want to step out of their comfort zone and create their own business.

I am still doing my full-time business consultant job, which I enjoy and I feel that my consulting and my coaching world complement each other very nicely: my coaching skills benefit how I deal with people at work, and my business mindset benefits how I approach my coaching practice. That’s also part of my mission as a coach: I want women to realise that it’s all possible if they want it to – having a full-time job should not be a barrier to their entrepreneurial aspirations. 

In order to get in touch with people, I organise monthly networking events through which my aim is to connect like-minded women and give them some inspiration to make one step ahead in their business venture. Aside from these events, I organise also regular confidence workshops, one-to-one coaching sessions and I write articles regularly that I publish on my blog page.

Coaching has become a big part of my life, and I do feel I am becoming a better person as I have definitely improved my listening skills, naturally increased my empathy and become more aware of my own feelings.

I truly believe that coaching should be taught to everyone as it’s such a useful skill. It can help people with their family, their colleagues, their partners and their friends. We say that you cannot coach your loved ones, however developing listening skills and empathy through coaching studies can greatly enhance our experience of the world and improve relationships with others around us.

What are your top tips?

For people embarking on a learning programme with The Coaching Academy, I would highly recommend to get organised early on and not to leave things to the last minute, as homework as well as qualification requirements can quickly pile up and become overwhelming. Creating a network of supportive coaches is also important as when your motivation goes down you can easily be picked up by encouraging friends who understand what you are going through.

You can catch up with Barbara with her events and London Community Meetup here:


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