This week's Coach in the Spotlight is Emma Wright, an ex-teacher turned coach. Having qualified at the end of the year, Emma faced the 'dreaded' question all students face with stride. Read more about her story of fearless action and get ready to be inspired!

Emma is taking on the journey of business – (self) discovery, testing niches that she is drawn to and improving any particular skills as she goes. 

What inspired you to enrol with The Coaching Academy? 

Having been a teacher for 18 years and then running my own small business I decided I wanted a new challenge and a way of making a living going into retirement. I looked into retraining as a nutritionist and acupuncturist amongst other things. 

Nothing seemed to fit the bill. 

After undertaking some personality tests, I came up with a list of suitable career options for my profile. 

The top of which was to become a teacher – been there, done that! Also, on the list was a coach.

It was not something I knew much about. I did a lot more research and felt it might be something that would suit me. I knew I wouldn’t be happy unless I completed a recognised qualification.

I looked into training options and narrowed it down to The Coaching Academy and the Institute of Continuing Education at Cambridge University. Although Cambridge is just down the road, I felt the Coaching Academy course would be more practical and give me a better insight into the nuts and bolts of coaching.

I signed up for the foundation course in August 2018 and went along not knowing what to expect. I was sold. 

I love the positive nature of coaching. It enables me to assist people, whilst empowering them to take control.

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

I enjoyed the balance of home learning and accelerator days. Knowing myself and my track record of self-paced and self-motivated study - 10 years to complete my MA - it was great to have the learning journey mapped out. 

I completed two accelerator days fairly quickly and when I went to try to book a third, was told I needed to complete an assessment first. This was perfect for me. I would have happily left the assessments until the end – when I had become an expert! 

The assessments were such a fundamental part of my learning that I am glad I ended up spacing them out properly. 

The other part of the journey I found rewarding was working with other trainee coaches. I came across some great people and coaches, from all walks of life, some of whom taught me a huge amount and others who will remain friends far into the future.

How did you fit coach training into your busy life?

I work full-time, Tuesday to Saturday. 

Fortunately, working for myself meant I could take days off when I needed to. I was lucky to have the full support of my husband who stepped up and took the strain at work and home giving me time to study and complete my coaching sessions. I managed to pack an awful lot of coaching into my Mondays each week.

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

I think I use my coaching skills all the time.

I’m not sure anyone gets a straight answer from me anymore! “What do you think?” “What would you prefer?” “How do you feel about that?” However, it has been a challenge to keep the momentum going where formal coaching sessions are concerned. I don’t have a large network of people in an industry where coaching is known.

I have been working hard to decide where to focus my efforts and how to build a business, whilst finding a balance where I can coach and carry on working. Sometimes it feels as if I am holding myself back – just in case – who knows where success might lead.

I am working hard to set up my coaching business, ELW Coaching. I still work with people I met through the Coaching Academy and have joined the Association for Coaches and attend their co-coaching meetings. I also joined the Life Coach Directory and BARK.

Now in the times of Covid-19, I am using my newly found time to create some structure around my stress management coaching, so I can hit the ground running when the world begins to return to normal. I am a volunteer coach on the Women Leading Education Coaching Programme run by the Teaching Schools Council and have volunteered for Project5.

What is your coaching niche and why did you choose it?

As my training progressed, I needed a niche. 

Any niche. Something to hang my hat on. Something to market. I attended the Resilience Coaching CPD with John Perry towards the end of my training and decided resilience and stress management coaching would be a good starting point. I then gained a Primary Certificate in Stress Management from The Centre for Stress Management to help me achieve that goal. Between the two courses, I am feeling confident this is an area I can take forward. 

Having qualified at the end of 2019 with the new year looming I also decided to brand myself as a Resolution Coach – you make a resolution and I can help you achieve that goal!

In March, just before the lockdown occurred, I had the pleasure of attending the Reinvention CPD day with Simon Drury.

This also gave me food for thought and with the number of people looking to reinvent themselves after this current crisis, may provide another string to my bow. I know things will change as I develop as a coach and times change. There is still plenty of learning to be done, but now I need to put into practice everything I have learnt and see where it all takes me.

What are your top tips for:
People who are looking to become qualified as a professional coach?

If you want to become a professional coach choose a professional course that will give you practical as well as theoretical learning. 

It is an amazing journey of self-discovery. Not only have I learnt so much about coaching, but also about myself and am still learning. The foundation event is a worthwhile way of getting a feel for coaching. 

I would also recommend giving some thought to why you want to become a professional coach. It is an exceptionally worthwhile profession, but it is really a soft skill and works well alongside other skills.

Believing you can complete a diploma and a thriving coaching business will fall in your lap may be slightly misguided. There is a lot of hard work and selling yourself involves turning your new-found skills into a business. Build your network as you go along and don’t waste any opportunities on the way to getting your qualification.

Those currently in training with TCA?

Make full use of the fantastic resources available, including the Facebook page. Embrace your assessments and keep your paperwork up to date. Practise, practise, practise. Coach and be coached.

If you're interested in finding out more about life coaching, just like Emma did, start by joining us in our interactive live online training. Choose from available dates here.

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