This week's Coach in the Spotlight is Jessica Woodsford, who chose to commit to two of her big passions - helping leaders and managers drive change in their lives, as well as, setting up a non-profit foundation to empower students from underrepresented groups to explore and focus on the future that is right for them. Enjoy Jessica's inspiring story!

What brought you to coaching?

I first experienced coaching for the first time when my workplace provided coaching to support staff through a restructure. Through coaching, I was able to identify what was important to me in my job. It was all connected to my team; supporting them, helping them find direction, and find the answers that are right for them.

In my next coaching session, I said: “I think I want to be a coach, how do I do that?”. At the time I was confused about why my coach dodged my questions and wouldn’t tell me their story! Now I understand.

As a coach our experiences are not what matters; it’s for your coachee to shape their journey.

"As well as having a demanding job in the public sector, I am mum of two wonderful but very ‘energetic’ girls, which means life was already pretty packed when I decided to retrain as a coach. The Coaching Academy was a great choice for me as it allowed me to fit my studies around my work and personal commitments. "

Through the restructure at work, my job changed considerably, and my job moved further and further away from what I knew was important to me, so I decided I wanted to make some big changes to my career, and I signed up to do the Personal Performance Diploma and the Corporate and Executive Diploma with The Coaching Academy. 

How did the qualification slot in with your busy life and what was the most rewarding part of your coaching journey?

As well as having a demanding job in the public sector, I am mum of two wonderful but very ‘energetic’ girls, which means life was already pretty packed when I decided to retrain as a coach. The Coaching Academy was a great choice for me as it allowed me to fit my studies around my work and personal commitments. 

I’m sure everyone says it, but one of the most rewarding parts of my coaching academy journey was the personal journey I have been on. I understand myself so much better as a result and feel much better equipped to deal with the challenges that life throws at me.

Another rewarding part of the journey been the people I have met along the way who have given me support, companionship and friendship. Including my fantastic business partner Rose Sellman-Leava who was a fellow TCA student. We met at our local TCA group in Bristol.

"We are currently in discussions with a number of universities and networks, and 2021 is shaping up to be very busy for us! TCA continues to be key for us, as a number of our fellow TCA coaches are now supporting the work we do as Associate Coaches, enabling us to increase our reach and support more student."

Tell us about the work you do! How are you using your coaching skills?

I have now left my previous job in the public sector and my new career looks completely different. I found it hard to pick a niche so instead, I have two, which covers two different areas of interest and expertise.

I enjoy working in the corporate environment with leaders and managers so, in my private practice, I work with purpose-driven individuals and leaders to drive change in their personal and professional lives. My clients have included early-career leaders looking to progress and develop, as well as Directors looking to improve their leadership skills.

I am currently doing my Corporate and Executive Diploma. The tools I am learning have already been really valuable for my work in this area.

But my biggest achievement so far has been co-founding Inclusive Futures CIC, a non-profit community interest company, with my business partner Rose.

I have worked in equality of opportunity to higher education for the past 10 years, and when I started training as a coach, it was clear how powerful coaching could be for those students currently under-represented in higher education. This is an area I have always been incredibly passionate about, so being able to bring my passion for coaching into this work has been highly rewarding.

Inclusive Futures empowers students from underrepresented groups to explore and focus on the future that is right for them. For example, this might include students from low-income households, students with a disability, some ethnic minority groups and those with experience within the care system.

Our targeted coaching programmes give students space and opportunity to identify who they really are, and the future self they want to be. Our programmes support students to develop self-efficacy, resilience, and the confidence to know that anything is possible.

We are currently in discussions with a number of universities and networks, and 2021 is shaping up to be very busy for us! TCA continues to be key for us, as a number of our fellow TCA coaches are now supporting the work we do as Associate Coaches, enabling us to increase our reach and support more student.

What would you say to someone thinking of enrolling with The Coaching Academy?

My advice to anyone thinking of enrolling with The Coaching Academy would be to do it!

Even if you aren’t sure whether a career as a coach is the direction you want right now, the skills you learn, and the journey of self-development will support you in your career regardless of what direction it takes you.

What are your top tips for those currently in training with TCA?

My top tips for those currently training would be to reach out and make the most of your fellow coaches.

The people I have met are such an important part of my community. They have provided me with advice, support, challenge (which I have needed at times!) and safe space to off-load and unwind, and have helped me dig out the learning when things haven’t gone the way I expected.

Empower others with Life Coaching

Take your first step towards a rewarding & fulfilling Coaching career, just like Jessica did, with our Introduction to Life Coaching online training.

If you would like to know more about what Coaching is and how it can benefit you and the lives of others, or if you feel that Coaching could be a potential full or part-time opportunity for you, join us in this live training. Choose from available dates here.

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