15 results for Coaching
Hi Francesca! Can you tell us a little about yourself?
Sure, with pleasure. I’m Francesca, a three-year qualified life coach gold-accredited by the Association for Coaching, who in 2017 swapped a successful corporate career spanning 22 years, to explore outside of office walls in search for more purpose and freedom.
I’ve since established Gr8fool! as my coaching practice to support others committed to positive change, reveal their uniqueness and gain clarity and confidence to set themselves free to go after their dreams.
The adventures that followed the transformation of 2017 helped me fall even more in love with life and become a big fan of anything related to positivity, gratitude and foolishness.
As a curious people-person who loves a challenge, I find it rewarding to take people along an adventurous journey of growth.
What led you to the coaching industry?
Gr8fool, as a name and brand, was originally created for fun to brand one of my “foolish” (and fund-raising) adventures in September 2017, when I faced a number of fears, whilst embracing a new passion for riding my motorbike, a cute Harley Davidson 883N Iron, named HeiD. HeiD and I undertook an epic six-day solo ride from my home-base in London to my birth-town in Italy, Asolo (Treviso) – North of Venice. A 1500km-long transformational experience!
Earlier that year I had signed up to a life coaching training course, initially for selfish reasons; to learn the tools to support my journey of discovery and personal development. The course was key to the success of that adventure across Europe.
It was later, during my Camino de Santiago in 2018 (a 930km pilgrimage walk to Santiago de Campostella and beyond) that, on reflection, I realised my desire to share the benefits of coaching with others. This direction supported a newly recovered life purpose: contribute to a happier world, helping people live more authentically, joyful and free.
You mention that you support people with authenticity and living in alignment with their values, can you explain why this is important?
Authenticity is the power to live true to who we are and what is really important to us, aka “our values”. My mission is to help people make life and day-to-day choices that are aligned to those values, and the process starts with the identification of what these values actually are, as they vary from person to person and with time as we evolve.
I believe that a lifestyle-values misalignment causes frustration and dissatisfaction, leading to further consequences.
I chose the title Freedom Coach because my coaching process ultimately aims at releasing any and all layers that stop us from living as ourselves, free. Inside – out.
To me, freedom is a combination of two things: 1. Having choices and 2. Making conscious choices. Living free means living with integrity and making deliberate choices that fulfil our unique desires and values.
What’s beautiful about my job as a coach is that I am continuously witnessing that at the core we all have similar needs and often they are: 1. to do those things we love, and 2. share these in a way that positively contributes to the lives of others.
Be selfishly selfless or be selflessly selfish.
What would you say is the first step someone should take if they’re struggling with confidence?
It’s not easy to pick a step that suits all cases of struggles with confidence, as these can stem from a variety of individual reasons, beliefs and experiences. I love the coaching process because it allows clients, as the best experts in their lives, to identify that first step to best suit their situation.
We generally suffer from confidence-deficiency in those areas that challenge us, where we don’t feel comfortable. To grow confident, we, therefore, need to prepare to get uncomfortable, feel scared and embrace potential defeat. So, I would check the level of commitment to embark on a challenge.
Personally, I fuel my confidence with three ingredients: curiosity, courage and vulnerability. Curiosity pushes me to explore beyond my comfort, where I can grow and learn something new; courage means to go ahead regardless of how fearful I feel. Vulnerability gives me permission to be human, including feeling emotions and making mistakes.
I would, therefore, encourage cultivating these ingredients by exploring opportunities that would expose them, no matter how small.
What should someone expect from a coaching session with you?
I look to create an enjoyable experience with positive connection, powerful questions/tools and non-bias listening; all within a safe and fun space to work in, together.
I use a spontaneous and holistic approach to raise self-belief and awareness, and guide the conversation towards recognising the starting point (A), identifying the ideal outcome (B), and filling the gap in between: e.g. your why, what needs to happen, what can support you and what may hold you back.
I enjoy playing an active part in my client’s journey, sharing key session notes and relevant tools and resources to maintain the momentum.
A successful session is one that leaves you feeling expanded and inspired, through insights and commitment to take action.
What happens during a coaching session can be truly powerful, yet my aim is to allow for the transformation to continue on afterwards and in between sessions. Boosting motivation to step up, take action and achieve sustainable change.
What is one thing you wish more people knew about coaching?
Good question! The simplicity of its process, as well as the benefits of trusting said process. I’m saying simple, not easy.
Coaching can bring value in all areas of life: personal, relationships, education, at work.
Two years ago, I started delivering coaching at schools, as part of their co-curricular programmes, because I believe that educating with coaching can build strong foundations from a very early age. It can empower young people to raise self-awareness, believe in themselves and others more, and generally develop a more positive and healthy approach to life.
Where can our readers find out more about you?
You can get a sense of my vibe from my Instagram page and learn more about me, my coaching and read my blogs (on lifestyle, coaching but also on my above-mentioned bike-ride, the Camino and other travel adventures) on gr8fool.com and my Life Coach Directory profile.
The best way to really connect? Let’s chat. Send me a WhatsApp or call me (07766652561).
The phrase ‘invest in yourself’ gets thrown around a lot, especially around New Year. For many of us, it conjures images of making decadent purchases that promise to change our lives. Marketing teams don’t help matters by latching onto this idea and hoping by phrasing a purchase of their product as an ‘investment in yourself’, you’ll be more likely to buy it.
So before we get into the idea of losing the guilt that can come with investing in ourselves – let’s unpack what investing in yourself really is. Investments can come in various forms. It may be an investment of money, but it may also be an investment of time and energy.
At its heart, I believe investing in yourself is all about investing in your personal growth. This could be dedicating time to listening to a self-help podcast or hiring a coach (and everything in between). In an ideal world, these investments should be internally motivated – i.e. they should come from a deep desire from yourself to change, not as a reaction to targeted marketing or you not feeling ‘enough’. Understandably then, these particular investments can be tricky to navigate emotionally.
Listen to this article:
As Emily Wysock-Wright notes in her article, why you should invest in self-improvement, for many there is a sense of shame when asking for help.
“Many women, and men for that matter, can feel shame in asking for help. Whether the shame comes from a fear of being vulnerable, fear of disconnect or fear that they are being judged for ‘failing’, this deep-rooted feeling of shame is the very breeding ground which we have created within ourselves in order to protect us. What we need to understand is that by fearing judgment and vulnerability, we are blocking our personal path to wholehearted living and inner love and fulfilment.”
Some of us may even believe deep down that we don’t deserve to invest in ourselves. Or perhaps, we let pride block our path as we defiantly say ‘I can do this alone’. It may be that we’ve picked up limiting beliefs around the subject of money and therefore we can’t bring ourselves to spend it on ourselves, even if we can afford it.
How we can move past guilt
Whatever form it comes in, any guilt or shame you feel when it comes to investing in yourself is likely to be holding you back. If there’s an area in your life you’d like to work on, whether it be your confidence, your career or even your spirituality – some sort of investment (whether time, energy, money or all three) is likely to be needed.
Personal growth takes work, and getting support is key. When you know what it is you want to invest in, work your way through these steps to help you move past guilt.
Identify your guilt’s roots – where is it coming from?
Sit down somewhere quiet with a notebook and pen – close your eyes and take some calming breaths. Try to bring these feelings of guilt to the surface and question them, where is this guilt coming from. Try journaling about this and see if you can unpick where your guilt might be stemming from.
For a lot of us, limiting beliefs stem from childhood where perhaps we picked up behaviours and actions from our parents (or other authority figures). For example, if your father drilled into you that your family doesn’t have enough money to get by and can’t buy ‘frivolous’ things, this can seep into your unconscious mind. This could mean that now, even though you’re an adult and earn good money, you still don’t feel comfortable spending it on non-essentials.
Once you’ve identified the roots of your guilt, ask yourself if they’re true now. The chances are, they’re probably not. Once you’ve questioned their validity you might find it helpful to create an affirmation or mantra to help reprogram your thinking.
List the benefits for you
The next step is to really get to grips with why you want to invest in this thing – whether it’s a book, a course, or working with a professional. Make a list of all the ways it might benefit you if you invest. Try to go deep here and think past the obvious answers, what impact will it have both now and in the future?
This list will help you identify your ‘why’ behind the investment and will serve as a reminder that this isn’t frivolous or unnecessary. If it’s important to you, it’s worth your attention.
List the benefits for those around you
Once you have your list of benefits, it’s time to think about the ways this investment will benefit others. A common reason we feel reluctant to spend time/money on ourselves is because it feels ‘selfish’ when in reality, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Life coach Alison Muir explains.
“There is a reason why the safety briefings on an aeroplane instruct you to put your own oxygen mask on before helping others – if you don’t do it you risk not only being unable to help others because you’ve run out of oxygen, but you may become a burden to others too. Investing in yourself is in fact the most responsible and caring thing you can do not only for yourself, but for everyone else in your life you care about.”
With this in mind, make a list of all the ways this investment into your personal development will benefit those around you.
What are the costs of investing?
At this point it can be helpful to get a little practical and honest with yourself. What will it cost you to make this investment? The cost I’m talking about here may be money, but it may also be time and energy. This step may feel counterintuitive if you’re trying to overcome the guilt of investment, but it’s important if you want to get the most out of your investment.
Not all investments are created equal.
If buying a certain course puts you into debt, will it be worth it? If hiring a certain coach will involve hours of time and energy which you’re already low on, will it be worth it? Sometimes the answers to these questions will be ‘yes’. Other times the answer will be ‘no’ and you’ll be saved from making an investment that will ultimately leave you worse off.
Here you can revisit your ‘why’ and see if there’s a different avenue to take to get what you need. Perhaps there’s a self-led course at a lower price point that won’t put you into debt. Perhaps you can find a different coach who is more flexible and can work with your schedule.
What are the costs of not?
If you don’t make this investment, if you stay where you are – what will the cost be then? Think about how it may affect your life, your career, even your relationships if you don’t. Something that often helps me is to consider what my life would look like in five years if nothing changed. The only thing I fear more than change is, apparently, not changing.
Ask yourself the same question. If you never took any steps towards improving this area of your life, if you never invested in support, what would your life look like in five years?
Hopefully the combination of all of these steps will leave you feeling clearer on what investments you want to make and move past any guilt you may be feeling about doing so. I’ll leave you with this beautiful quote from Mary Oliver to muse over, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
Ready to invest in coaching? Use our search tool to find a coach that’s right for you.
This January has been unlike any January before it. We’re starting it in the midst of a pandemic and just a few days into the new year, the country went into its third lockdown. The new year energy that a lot of us usually feel at this time, may therefore be a little lacking.
But don’t worry – we have called in the experts! Teaming up with RED January, an initiative that encourages regular movement for mental health, Happiful is hosting weekly webinars throughout January to help you start 2021 on the right foot. To find the full schedule and register for free, visit Happiful.com.
In our first webinar, we chatted to life coach and running enthusiast Neil Bailey about motivation and getting going, especially when it comes to moving more regularly.
Neil, otherwise known as the FearLess Knight, understands how fear can be a powerful block to us living life but also how it can be a motivator. Pushing himself to do things that scare him such as adventurous running events and coping with challenges including depression and ME, Neil knows what it takes to uncover your motivation and keep going.
In this webinar, we discuss decision making and how we can hold on to the decisions made pre-lockdown without letting extenuating circumstances overshadow our needs. We talk all things timing, including how to tell when is the right time to embark on a period of growth and identifying our individual patterns and rhythms. Finally, we dive deep into the ‘why’, your motivation and reasons for making a change, discussing how to identify your ‘why’ and how we can hold onto it when things get tough.
If you’d prefer to listen to this webinar, you can do so here:
Hi Mark! Can you start by telling us a little about yourself?
I’m married with four teenage children, so that keeps me busy! We live on the south coast of England in a small town called Worthing and it’s lovely living by the sea. Originally, I’m from south London and I still call London my home even though I’ve lived away from there for over 25 years. My parents came to London from Jamaica in the late 50s and I’m very proud of my Caribbean roots.
I’ve been a career coach for adults for 10 years but I’ve also been providing career advice and guidance for young people in schools and colleges for the past 20 years.
I’m heavily involved in a local church where I often play saxophone in the worship band. I love sport, especially football and I’m a huge Manchester United fan, like my dad was when he arrived in the UK.
What led you to the coaching industry?
When I was employed as a careers adviser, I went on a short introduction to coaching course for six days. I loved the principles of coaching and the approaches that I was introduced to. I loved the fact that it focuses on the individual in a holistic way and felt it was the missing skill in my toolbox. This prompted me to sign up for a coaching diploma and the rest, as they say, is history.
You mentioned that you work with young people, can you tell us more about what this involves?
I love working with young people and discussing their hopes and dreams (or lack of!) with them at the beginning of their career journey. I spend three to four days a week going into a range of schools across Sussex but also, in this new world we live in now, some of my work is from home by video call. This means that I’ve had the flexibility to work with schools across London and the south east.
I conduct one-to-one guidance sessions with students who are going through a transition, for example taking GCSEs or A levels, helping them to be aware of their options and make good decisions about their future. My work may also involve running small group sessions, attending parents evenings or giving an assembly talk. In addition to having a knowledge of the options available to them, I am able to use my coaching skills to help them move from where they are to where they want to be.
What would you say is the first step someone should take if they’re unhappy in their career?
I think the first step is to talk to someone. This could be a colleague, friend or relative. The main thing is that it needs to be someone who you can be open and honest with. A simple conversation can help you to gain clarity and help you to decide what the next best step is.
It sounds simple, but many people are afraid to express concerns about their career because they’ve invested so much time and money into following a particular path and they may feel they are letting themselves or other people down if they feel it’s not right for them.
What should someone expect from a coaching session with you?
They should expect us to start by taking a step back and delving into what makes them tick. We look at an individual’s values, personality style, skills, experiences and passions because understanding oneself is vital before we start to look at possible options. I ask lots of questions and, at the end of each session, the individual will have devised a clear action plan for their next steps.
There will also be interesting and fun tasks to complete in between sessions, all with the aim of helping an individual to understand who they are, what they want and how to get it.
What is one thing you wish more people knew about coaching?
Coaching results are down to the individual rather than the coach. You see, coaching isn’t about telling people what they should do. Yes, I may have specific knowledge and expertise in careers, but coaching is about asking insightful questions to help an individual to identify their own evaluated solutions. This is far more empowering. Sorry, I think there’s more than one thing there!
Finally, where can our readers find out more about you?
If you’re here, chances are you’ve done a fair bit of personal development work on your own, perhaps with the help of self-help books, podcasts or apps, but now you’re ready to explore a different route. You’re ready to invest and work with a coach, but you’re not sure which approach is right for you.
While there are lots of different styles and approaches coaches can take, we want to take a closer look at group coaching to help you decide if this could be an option for you.
What is group coaching?
One-to-one coaching is where you and your coach meet alone for sessions. These may take place in-person or remotely, but either way, it will just be you and your coach meeting. Group coaching, however, as its name suggests, is where you and a group of fellow coachees meet with a coach. Again, this may take place in person or remotely. Usually, you’ll all have similar goals in mind or you’ll be a team who already work together (some people use ‘team coaching’ as another term for group coaching).
Who does it work well for?
Life coach Amie Crews explains that group coaching can be used in a variety of ways, but there are two fundamental areas where it works well.
“The first is where there are a group of individuals with a shared need – for example, group coaching for people who are thinking about starting a business. Although each person may be at a different stage of their thinking; the power is in the shared exploration and learning from one another’s experiences and challenges. It can also form side benefits such as a longer-term peer support network and even bring collaboration opportunities.
“In a slightly different space, I think group coaching is vital in any team situation; where teams are newly formed, and perhaps unknown to each other, and in established teams or workgroups.
“The power in creating a safe coaching space cannot be underestimated. Group coaching fills the void between team conversations and management conversations and provides that space to create a formidable team ethos moving forward.”
As Amie highlights here, just like one-to-one coaching, group coaching is about creating a safe space. Coaches may even put into place ‘rules’ or ‘expectations’ for the group to ensure the work you do together is safe and judgment-free.
“This space is a neutral zone; where all have equal contribution and any hierarchy is left at the door. This enables deeper conversations, a shared sense of purpose, common ground, and clarity of vision; what they are here to do. Couple this with group coaching conversations to explore individual and team values and navigate newly formed relationships and elicit potential issues before they arise; it’s a winning formula.
“For any team, this is a space where, in time, vulnerabilities can be shared and worked through, creating an environment where the team thrives, as a team, with the individuals all having their part to play.”
Is this approach right for me?
Group coaching can offer many benefits but isn’t the right fit for everyone. For example, if you would prefer to have the coach’s full attention during a session and thrive when you’re given space to work alone, group coaching might not be the right fit.
If you’re considering group coaching, ask yourself the following questions:
- Do I work in a team that would benefit from group coaching?
- Would working alongside a network of others with a shared need support me?
- Am I happy not to have the sole attention of the coach during every session?
- Am I excited to meet others and learn from them?
- Would joining a diverse group with different ways of thinking be beneficial for me?
If you are nodding along, answering yes to these questions then group coaching might just be perfect for you. Try reaching out to a coach who offers group/team coaching to learn more about how they work and how they could support you.
Now and then we all need a gentle push to stay positive and motivated. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with feeling low in energy and uninterested in our goals occasionally but, when this becomes a default state of mind, it’s time to take action.
Here we’re sharing 10 powerful questions used by coaches to encourage their clients to feel more positive, more motivated and excited about their goals again. So, dig out your favourite notebook and pen, stick the kettle on and note down your answers to these:
1. When do you feel happiest in your daily routine?
It’s easy to think happiness only arrives during big life events or special occasions but, in reality, it’s peppered throughout our days in small doses. It takes a keen eye to recognise it but, when you do, you can savour the moment and truly enjoy it.
Think about your current daily routine and when you feel happiest. Is it during your morning coffee? At lunch when you get out for a walk in nature? Or perhaps it’s in the evening when you cosy up with a loved one. Whenever it is, consider how you can savour this moment more or introduce more moments like this into your day.
2. What were your three most positive moments in the past week/month/year?
Our brains have a negativity bias which means they hold on to negative experiences more easily than positive ones. This means we need to be really intentional about remembering the lighter moments in life.
Take some time to think about three positive things that happened in the last week, month and year. Reflecting on this offers a new perspective and can shift you into a more optimistic mindset.
3. Why is it important for you to accomplish your goal?
If you have a goal you’re struggling with right now, come back to basics and ask yourself why it’s important to you. What will change if you accomplish it? What won’t change if you don’t? Reiterating the importance can give you a renewed energy around the goal and inspire you to keep going.
4. How will achieving your goal support others around you?
If you’re still struggling, look at your goal in a different way. We often think about the ways our goals will change our lives but have you ever thought about how they will change other people’s lives? For example, if your goal is to meditate more to help manage stress, think about how those around you will benefit from you being less stressed. Sometimes taking the focus off ourselves in this way can help us feel more committed to our goals.
5. How do you feel you could best motivate yourself?
Motivation is an inside job. Consider how you are motivated and what you could do to motivate yourself right now. In need of some inspiration? Take a look at our article on where to find motivation and accountability.
6. What are some steps you can take towards your goal? What will you do first?
Taking action is what makes a goal a reality. Hopefully, by now you’re feeling more positive and more committed to your goal, so now is the time to think about how you’ll achieve it. What small steps will help you get there? What is one thing you can do today to bring you closer to achieving your goal? Remember, small steps lead to big changes.
7. What potential barriers are there to you achieving your goal and what will you do if these barriers come up?
It’s important to be realistic when it comes to goals. As much as we would love to believe everything in your life will line up perfectly and you’ll have no problem at all achieving your goals, sometimes… life happens. A bump in the road might come up, something unexpected might derail you.
While you can’t prepare for all eventualities, taking some time to think about potential barriers and, crucially, how you’ll handle them if they do appear can help.
8. Who can you ask to help you along the way?
Remember, it is OK to ask for help. In fact, having the right support system around you can be crucial to your happiness – we were never meant to do this alone. Think about who you have in your life that could support you and consider whether or not you would benefit from hiring a professional, such as a coach.
9. How can you best support yourself right now?
As well as considering your external support, it’s helpful to think about how you can support yourself. Take a holistic approach here and think about how you’re looking after yourself physically, mentally and spiritually. Self-care, while you work on your goal, is essential for avoiding burnout.
10. What past experiences can you draw on to help?
Reflecting on past experiences and successes is an easy technique that can help you build confidence. Think about the times in your life where you’ve been challenged and how you came through the other side. Remind yourself of your resilience and move forward knowing you have the strength to pick yourself back up should you need to.
Many of us come to the self-development world because we recognise this need for something within us or our lives to change. We may know exactly what that is (a more fulfilling career perhaps?) or we might simply be feeling lost and not want to feel like this anymore.
Either way, the only way for things to move forward is for change to happen. Sounds simple enough, but taking these steps, in reality, doesn’t come without its obstacles.
Here we asked career coach and author of Change Your Life in 5, Sue Belton to share her wisdom on the subject including why we fear change and why ultimately, real change is always an inside job.
In your experience, what challenges come up the most for those wanting to make a change?
In my experience over 12 years of working with ambitious professionals ready for their next step, there are always two main challenges: fear and self-belief.
Fear that they won’t get it right or that they’ll make the wrong decision, and linked to that, fear that they’re not ‘good enough’, a fake, a fraud. When I challenge and shift these mindsets with my clients, they absolutely blossom and anything really does become possible for them – in their career, their leadership, their lives.
So many of us know we need to make a change in our lives but can feel stuck before we begin. What first steps would you recommend for people to start taking action?
Firstly know that change is scary – that’s the first cause of getting stuck. Our brains are hard-wired to keep us ‘safe’ which also means comfortable and doing the same thing, whether it makes us happy and fulfilled or not! Neuroscience shows that the part of our brains that are designed to keep us safe from danger will (unconsciously) keep us in a job/career/relationship that is making us miserable or not honouring our values or living our purpose. So know that in order to make any changes you’ve got to get your brave on!
Secondly, we have all been conditioned to do certain things or believe certain things are not possible for us. Many of us have even chosen careers that other people (namely our parents or teachers) wanted us to do, so most of us don’t actually know what we do want!
So the first step towards making a change in your life is to absolutely clarify the kind of life or career that you do want. To do this effectively you’ll need to go to your absolute ‘fantasy’ version in order to bypass those opinions and limiting beliefs of others.
When I do this with clients I get them to stand up (physically moving has been shown to help you think in different and more expansive ways). Go into detail – location/what you’ll be doing, who with, the skills you’ll be using – then reverse engineer targets and goals along the way in order for you to reach that.
Once you have your clear vision start digging into and identifying your values – what’s truly important to you.
If you really can’t do this (and it often takes a lot of holding and pulling back to the vision from me with clients), then get straight onto identifying the conditioning, the limiting beliefs and where they come from. This is crucial inner work that creates the biggest impact and change with my clients.
I have seen people who don’t do this work, and have worked with clients who have already gone out there and made some very expensive ‘sticking plaster’ decisions and mistakes i.e. completely retraining and spending their savings in the process only to discover it wasn’t the right new career route for them, moving house, moving country, splitting up with husbands and wives – all because they thought an ‘external’ solution was the answer – it never is.
Real change is always an inside job.
Are there any techniques/exercises you recommend people try to help them commit to the changes they want to make?
To help you commit to the changes you want to make I advocate setting yourself up with a solid early morning routine. I am a huge advocate of this and have been doing it myself for the past four years (it’s how I wrote most of my book), and encourage most of my clients to do the same.
I’m talking a routine of structured journaling, meditation, exercise and reading. Doing this consistently will set you up for a day of clarity, calm, focus and motivation. It’s also a great time to do your stuff – whether that’s researching next steps, retraining, up-skilling etc. Don’t leave your ‘stuff’ until the end of the day – by then you have no brain power left (aka cognitive function) – that’s why it just doesn’t happen.
Finally, can you tell us a little about your book, Change Your Life in 5, and who you think would benefit from reading it?
My book CYLI5 is for ambitious professionals who are ready to take the next step in their careers and lives. They probably don’t know what that looks like yet, they just know they can’t continue doing what they’re doing for much longer – they feel dissatisfied and unfulfilled in their work and have for some time (usually two years!).
The book takes you through five clear steps in order to significantly change the things in your life you’re unhappy with and is packed full of proven tools, visualisations and journaling techniques to help you do that.
Clarify: what’s really important to you, how you feel right now, your values and your purpose.
Conquer: self-sabotaging voices, fears and doubts and meet your future self.
Choose: fresh new ways of looking at life and how to change anything you are not happy with.
Celebrate: your achievements, be kinder to yourself and learn how to beat imposter syndrome.
Commit: to putting yourself first, reducing stress and making changes every day.
You can learn more about Sue’s work and download the first chapter of Change Your Life in 5 on her website, SueBelton.com.
You know something’s got to change. Perhaps you feel stuck, lost or you simply know you have more to offer. You’ve listened to podcasts, read self-help books and even taken a course or two. And while they’ve certainly helped, there’s something missing. Maybe it’s a sense of accountability or just that non-judgmental and unbiased support from someone truly rooting for you.
Either way, you’ve found yourself here. You know hiring a coach could be exactly what you need to develop and grow, but you’re unsure where to start. Here we outline three super simple steps for you to take right now to start your coaching journey.
1. Identify what your ideal outcome is
There are many reasons people come to coaching, whether it’s work, health or life-related. If you’re here, you likely already know which area of your life you need support with, or how a coach could help you.
Before you start your search for a coach, understanding your ideal outcome can be helpful. What is it you want to get out of your coaching sessions? Is it to feel more confident in launching your new business? Is it to achieve certain health or fitness goals? Or is it to simply have more clarity in the direction you want to take your life?
Whatever it is, try writing it down. Having this clear intention for your coaching sessions can not only help you find the right coach for you, it will ensure sessions are focused with this overarching outcome in mind.
2. Consider what style of coach would suit you
While there are some fundamental principles underlying coaching, there are many different styles and approaches. These will depend on the beliefs and values of the coach themselves, the training they’ve received and the way they prefer to work with clients.
Thinking about the style of coach you’d likely resonate with can be helpful before starting your search. You don’t necessarily need to understand every style of coaching out there, but give some thought to what’s important to you. For example, is it important that your coach has a spiritual approach? Or maybe you know you need firm accountability and tough-love. Perhaps all you need is a feeling of safety and trust when speaking with them.
Make a quick list of what’s important for you. This will help you narrow down your search and choose coaches that resonate with you and your values.
3. Start your search
Now it’s time to find the right coach for you. You can use our tool, narrowing down your search according to your preferences. You’ll then be able to read through coaches profiles to learn more about them and the way they work. Having your ideal outcome and your list of what’s important to you will help you sift through profiles until you hit gold.
When you’ve found a coach (or a couple of coaches) that feel right for you, reach out to arrange an initial chat. Most coaches will offer a free consultation so you can get a feel for what it will be like working with them. Performance psychologist and coach Paul Berry has outlined five questions to ask prospective coaches to help you decide if they’re right for you.
Hopefully after working through this process you will have found the right coach for you and be ready to start sessions. Once you’ve started your sessions, you may find these tips helpful to ensure you’re making the most of your coaching experience.
Here’s to the start of an incredible journey.
Take a minute to think back to some of the happiest moments in your life. Now, tell me – how many of them were you on your own for? Chances are, there weren’t many.
As lovely (and welcome) as solitude can be at times, especially for those of us who are more introverted, there’s no denying how important relationships are. It’s not just the big relationships either, like your partner or immediate family, smaller relationships with acquaintances, professionals and even strangers have an impact.
The role of social support in our happiness and well-being has been researched widely and you may be surprised to learn just how integral it is.
The importance of social support
Loneliness is a topic that’s talked about more and more, perhaps because we’ve learnt that it can be as bad for our health as smoking or obesity. It therefore makes sense that having a strong support network counters this effect.
There’s no question that social relationships are important for health. If you stack having few social relationships against other risk factors – like smoking and obesity – not being socially connected is as strong a risk factor for death.
Being connected with others has also been found to improve our resilience to stress. When studied by psychologists, social support is defined as: “acts that communicate caring; that validate the other’s words, feelings or actions; or that facilitate adaptive coping with problems through the provision of information, assistance, or tangible resources”.
To drill down deeper, here are some different types of social support:
Emotional social support – This is when someone listens to us, affirms our worth, validates our feelings and is there for us emotionally.
Informational social support – This is when someone shares advice with us or ideas of how to handle a certain challenge. This may include sharing experiences or signposting someone to professional support.
Tangible social support – This is when someone shares resources, which may be material or financial. This can include a loan of money, baby-sitting or helping us move house.
Belonging social support – This is when someone spends time with us, maybe within a group of friends, as social leisure.
Cultivating a strong support system
We’ve already highlighted how impactful our social connections can be, but how can we ensure our social support system is strong?
To start with, it’s important to recognise that you’re unlikely to get all of your social support needs met from one or two people alone. Re-read the different types of social support above, see where the gaps are in your system and consider how you can fill them.
You may want to start small by reaching out online. There are many online communities designed to connect you with like-minded people and share your experiences. You could also outsource your support and hire a professional. For example, if you’re lacking in the informational social support department, you may find it helpful to explore coaching and mentoring. Or, if it’s emotional social support you need right now, counselling may be an option.
The important thing to remember is that you do have these options. We were never meant to do it alone, and we don’t have to.
No matter how well you perform at work, everyone experiences receiving negative feedback once in a while. Technically, feedback is feedback, we are the ones who judge it as being positive or negative. Feedback is about improving ourselves, even if that means continuing to do the good things we do.
But negative feedback can hurt. Our ego can be sensitive. It can go further and trigger feelings of shame or not being good enough. If negative feedback affects you in that way, then pay close attention to the tips below to better prepare yourself (and consider working with a coach, or even therapist, to get to the root of the issue). Here are things you can do before, during and after receiving feedback.
Before getting any feedback
Change your mindset about negative feedback
Think of it as constructive or developmental; meant to help you improve or be more effective (even if it’s delivered to you in a clumsy, less-than-ideal manner). Yes, this requires a bit of mental gymnastics. Often, it’s said that feedback is a gift (imagine a beautifully wrapped box). Think of it that way, so when it comes you have that visual to ground you in the positive.
Identify what feedback you would give yourself
Proactively think about the areas you could improve to increase your effectiveness right now. Chances are, you know the feedback others would probably give you (and sometimes we’re tougher on ourselves than others would be). What would you advise yourself to do differently to improve? How could some of your strengths help you make those improvements?
Reflect on your past experiences of receiving feedback
What did you think and how did you feel? What was it about that feedback that caused you to feel that way? What did it remind you of in your past? What did you tell yourself about that feedback? Put yourself in the other person’s shoes and consider their perspective in giving you that feedback. It can often be what we imagine or assume about the feedback that threatens us, more than the feedback itself.
Listen to understand, not to respond or defend. Breathe while you are listening to stay present and not become reactive. Try to understand what the other person is saying.
During the feedback process
Listen, breathe, listen
Listen to understand, not to respond or defend. Breathe while you are listening to stay present and not become reactive. Try to understand what the other person is saying. My executive coaching clients find simply nodding signals listening and buys them time to compose themselves and put their attention on what’s being said rather than the icky feeling inside.
Ask questions to understand better
As Stephen Covey said decades ago, “seek first to understand before being understood”. Ask them to repeat it again (in case you didn’t hear it the first time because you were listening to the little voices in your head defending yourself). Ask for specific examples to help you understand. Ask, in a curious tone, questions about what they see or hear you doing that’s impeding your performance such as:
- Are there any behaviours that aren’t effective?
- What am I saying that has that impact?
- What specifically would you suggest I do or say?
- How should I do or say it differently to improve?
These types of questions can even help people that are poor at giving feedback to be better.
Acknowledge having heard the feedback
Restate what you have heard so you can confirm you’ve received it as intended. Tell the other person that you will go away and consider how to act on their feedback. Depending on the feedback, the situation and the individual who said it to you, you might want to say you will come back to them to talk it through further or share your improvements. Say thank you (even if it’s thanking them for just caring about your performance!).
After receiving feedback
Consciously decide where to ‘take’ the feedback
This tip relates back to the idea of feeling bad about ourselves when we receive negative feedback. There are different ‘lens’ through which you can ‘see’ the feedback. You can see it at a behavioural level (hence, why you ask them what they see or hear you doing, to focus them on giving you feedback about behaviours). At the other end, you can see it at an identity level, that you are a bad person or are not good enough for the role.
Decide what you will take on board
As with any gift, you can decide whether to receive it or not. Firstly, find the 2% truth in the feedback. You might not agree with anything the person is saying, and often there is 2% truth in there somewhere. You had an impact, and in the case of negative feedback, it was an ineffective impact. How that impact has been interpreted by the ‘giver of the feedback’ may not be entirely inaccurate. Putting your ego and self-doubt aside, what truth is in the feedback they are proposing? Secondly, decide if you will do anything with the feedback.
Depending on the feedback, the situation and the giver of the feedback you need to consciously decide what’s best for you personally, for your performance and potentially your career. Lastly, if you decide all or some of it is relevant, then develop a plan of action to improve it. You already have ideas from them when you asked what you could do differently to be more effective.
Follow up as necessary
You might want to follow up with the person that gave you the feedback to get more clarity by asking more questions. There is no harm in re-visiting it to understand more or to get suggestions on what to do better. You could also let them know what you are doing with the feedback, if anything.
Once again, this very much depends on the situation, the feedback and who gave it. Some of the positives of doing this are: positively reinforcing that person to continue to give feedback, creating a feedback culture, showing you value them and their observations, and potentially having them think more highly of you as you take your impact seriously.
Remember, just as you might have struggled with receiving negative feedback, others might too. Take that into consideration when you are giving feedback to others. Keep it focused on things they can change, such as behaviour, skills and capabilities. Don’t get personal, don’t give feedback at an identity level. Frame it as developmental and express your intention to help them improve their effectiveness.
Learn more about Anne on her website, Directions Coaching.
For more information on how to give feedback well, read her article, How to give constructive feedback to empower people. Anne’s book, Soft Skills, Hard Results: A Practical Guide to People Skills for Analytical Leaders, is available now.
Feeling confident giving and receiving feedback in a constructive way takes time and experience. You may well make mistakes, and that’s OK. If you’d like to develop your skills in giving and receiving feedback, consider working with a career coach. They can work with you to not only develop your self, helping you understand your goals and how to achieve them, but also develop your skills as an employee and manager.