I work with people to re-fashion their old, constraining stories into new and affirming ways of seeing themselves and the world. I offer a collaborative, grounded and person centred approach.
My journey to becoming a life coach began over 30 years ago when I started my training to become a psychiatric nurse. I embarked on a career in nursing motivated by a desire to learn more about myself and others. I was fascinated by questions like ‘What makes people tick?’; ‘How do people come unstuck in their lives?’; ‘How do people get back on track?’; ‘What is it that maintains well-being?’ (‘What is well-being?) and ‘What’s the best way of supporting people?’. For me, these are questions that go to the heart of what it means to live a fulfilled life. They eventually led me out of nursing, but I continued to explore them through meditation practice, environmental work, forest school teaching and men’s work. They are questions which over the years I have continued to ask of myself and they have become central to my work as a coach.
I have explored these questions from a variety of standpoints throughout my life: as a professional ‘helper’, as a leader of groups, as the member of a family and as a partner. I find that when people answer these questions their answers touch on almost universal themes: the need for love and connection; having a belief in one’s own potential and the ability to overcome obstacles; knowing how and when to ask for help; trusting others and having the capacity to be vulnerable.
My work as a coach is all about exploring these questions and themes with people and helping them to find a greater sense of ease, clarity, fulfilment and joy in their lives.
I fundamentally believe that everyone possesses within them the answers to their own questions and dilemmas and that my role as a coach is to facilitate and nurture this innate self-understanding and wisdom:
“People are just as wonderful as sunsets if you let them be. When I look at a sunset, I don’t find myself saying, “Soften the orange a bit on the right-hand corner”. I don’t try to control a sunset. I watch with awe as it unfolds.” Carl Rogers
Training, qualifications & experience
• BA (Hons) Health & Community Studies
• Qualified Mental Health Nurse
• Certificate in Counselling Skills
• Qualified Play Therapist
• Meditation Centre Co Manager (Gaia House)
• Volunteer Coordinator at a Land Based Sustainability Project (Embercombe)
• Diploma in Transformational Coaching (Animas Centre for Coaching)
Along my way I’ve taken to heart a number of life lessons that inform my work with people:
From my time as a mental health nurse I learned that whatever a person’s ‘diagnosis’ or set of ‘symptoms’, what most people want is to be listened to with compassion and respect, and for their stories to be taken seriously. As part of this I learned how to be present to people in distress and not be fazed by it. I came to see the commonality in the human experience, beyond the labels that people had been given.
From my time as a manager at Gaia House I learned an ‘applied mindfulness’- seeing the value of slowing down and doing one thing at a time with the intention of doing it wholeheartedly. I learned how to get curious about even the most seemingly insignificant moments of experience.
Living in community and working on the land at Embercombe confirmed to me what’s really important in life: people, time and space, nature and a sense of belonging.
In recent years a significant part of my personal development has come through my involvement with the ManKind Project (MKP), an organisation committed to helping men discover their true selves. I’m learning that masculinity is not a ‘one size fits all’ phenomenon, but that there are a multitude of identities that men can adopt. As a result of my own personal work in this area I feel much more ‘in my own skin’ as a man, and simply more at ease with who I am as a person. I very much bring this understanding to my coaching and love working with men around issues of identity.