This week's Coach in the Spotlight is Lynsey Kitching, whose passion for personal development led her to become a full-time Career and Leadership coach. Enjoy her inspiring story!

‘You either really believe in this personal development stuff or you just haven’t got enough work to do Lynsey’. I was in my early twenties, passionate about doing a great job at work and keen to take on more responsibility… I was focused, goal orientated and I worked long hours to invest time in my personal development. My manager at the time just didn’t get it.

"I was involved in some exciting and technically complex projects over the 18 years in corporate life, but it was always the coaching and mentoring of others that left me feeling my most fulfilled."

The beginning 

I initially trained as a chartered surveyor, working in corporate property. Most of my professional training was based on developing technical skills, but I was always fascinated with what was often perceived as the ‘softer’ skills. I loved learning, developing my self-awareness and how to work more effectively with people.

Swiftly I moved into leading teams, managing contracts, developing strategy, improving engagement, and facilitating change. My management style always took a people-centred approach – listening, supporting, challenging, and empowering. Encouraging people not to just focus on what they did, but how they did it.

You could say I was coaching people before I really knew what coaching was. I was involved in some exciting and technically complex projects over the 18 years in corporate life, but it was always the coaching and mentoring of others that left me feeling my most fulfilled. 

The voluntary redundancy

In 2018 I had an opportunity to take voluntary redundancy. I had completed a Post Graduate Diploma in Organisational Leadership at Oxford the previous year which had triggered a desire to widen my work spectrum. I wanted to help more people do well and be fulfilled at work.

To make personal growth, leadership development and coaching accessible to more people. I wanted to empower managers to invest in their personal development and their teams.

I took VR and set out to learn how to be a truly effective coach. A friend recommended The Coaching Academy, so I signed up for the Introduction to Life Coaching workshop.

Initially, I was sceptical – why would they run a two-day course for free? Would it be 90% sales…. I was wrong! By the end of the first morning, I was ready to sign up for the Personal Performance Diploma. I learnt some great new tools, unpicked a couple of unhelpful habits, and met some lovely people. 

"In the Summer of 2020 (mid pandemic!) I left my Director role and set up as a Career and Leadership Coach full time. My niche was clear for me, but I was nervous about being able to earn the income I needed slap bang in an economic crisis."

The coaching journey

I completed the diploma in 12 months immersing myself in the accelerator days and practising coaching with as many people as I could from day one. I’d taken on a Director role in a communications consultancy whilst I qualified as a coach as well as being mum to my two young daughters… It was all a bit of a juggle, but I knew this was the gateway to me working in alignment with my driving values and purpose. 

In the Summer of 2020 (mid pandemic!) I left my Director role and set up as a Career and Leadership Coach full time. My niche was clear for me, but I was nervous about being able to earn the income I needed slap bang in an economic crisis.

I also faced some unhelpful comments - ‘What you’re giving up being a Chartered Surveyor to be a coach?’ I was committed to following my plan and turned down a couple of property roles – scary decisions at the time.

I reached out to my corporate networks, fine-tuned my personal brand, got a website and set up social media channels. Fast forward five months and I’ve fully established myself as a coach, already helping lots of people across a wide spectrum be more fulfilled at work.

I’ve helped over sixty people through restructure/redundancy working as an associate with Right Management. I’m an associate with Inspired Partners working on organisational change programmes. I’ve coached 22 private clients on career and leadership development helping people find clarity, confidence and make successful changes in their careers.

I’m accredited to deliver DISC and am working with a growing portfolio of companies to help improve team performance and communication. I’m also a volunteer coach for the Shaw Trust coaching people in long term unemployment.

Looking ahead to this new year will see the launch of a research report and coaching programme for first-time people managers that I’ve been developing with a fellow leadership coach. We will focus on helping create self-belief and enable, equip, and empower them to be fulfilled managers.

 

So, to that former manager, I’d like to say - yes. Yes, I really do believe in all this personal development stuff…. I’m proud of what it’s helped me to achieve but most of all I’m proud of what I’ve helped others to achieve.

 

My top tips for completing the PPD:

  • Don’t panic about not having a niche. Let your own experience and passion guide you.
  • Get a coach! Set clear goals and action plans and stick to it.
  • Spend time setting up your business. I reframed my language to call it a business rather than a practice to get in the right mindset.
  • Start charging for coaching asap – get past that first barrier quickly and value what you do.
  • You are not ‘giving up’ your past career to be a coach – everything you have done so far has led you to this point. Have courage to follow your purpose.


2021: A time for reflection but also a time for projection

Would you like to make a positive and lasting difference to others, just like Lynsey does? Would you like to have a coaching business you can run from the comfort of your own home?

We've launched our free 2021 Introduction to Life Coaching webinars. They are interactive, informative and designed to help you understand if training to be a life coach is for you. 

Take positive action, project forward and plan for a year to remember for all the right reasons. Choose from available dates here.

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