Meet 4 of Kent’s inspirational life coaches
PUBLISHED: 09:51 15 January 2019
Manu Palomeque 07977074797
Whether it’s in our professional or personal lives, sometimes we could all do with a little direction and clarity. Meet four inspirational life coaches
• Lucy Stanyer, Faversham
I typically work with professionals who are at at a crossroads in their careers, mums who are returning to work or want to start a new career, and small business owners, to help them grow their business while getting the right work/life/family balance.
I actually made a career change myself. I used to work in PR and communications for national charities. I’d been talking about doing something different for quite a while then, following a health scare, I decided to stop the talking and take action to start my own coaching business.
Clients come to me because they feel stuck, overwhelmed or full of self-doubt. In the coaching sessions I use different techniques to help them explore and articulate the ‘what, how and why’ of these feelings, discuss how they would like their lives to be and build an action plan of steps to get them there.
We work through the negative beliefs that might be holding them back and design new, positive habits to help build their confidence back up.
Other times clients come to coaching because they feel stressed or undervalued at work or have reached a plateau in their career and don’t know how to move forward.
It’s so easy to compare yourself to others and measure your own success in relation to theirs, especially with the prevalence of social media. The truth is, we are all at different stages of our life journeys and have our own set of values and motivations. There’s no right or wrong.
The ability to build rapport with people so that they feel comfortable sharing this time and space with me is key. Coaches hold a space for clients to explore ideas, options and feelings they otherwise may not talk to their friends or family about.
The best thing for me is when I see my clients getting the results they want. When they have those lightbulb moments of clarity and realise they can take the steps to make things happen, that’s the best. Even the smallest of steps forward for a client is really rewarding and reminds me of why I changed career to become a life coach.
• Caroline Hart, Tunbridge Wells
I class myself as an emotional coach because I believe that when we feel the way we want to feel, we’re able to do the things we want to do.
When people feel motivated, confident and driven, we find a way to overcome whatever it is that’s stopping us from living the life we want to lead.
For many people who come to me, life has just lost its lustre. A lot of people have all the boxes ticked in life but just feel less happy than they want to. Coaching is an easy thing for everybody to grab hold of.
And many people feel they might need counselling, but not everybody is comfortable with that. For them it’s much easier to go to a life coach.
My route into this work has been a personal journey. I used to work in retail and did management qualifications which then linked into coaching qualifications. But the main reason was that I started reading self-help books.
I used to be riddled with self doubt and I’ve gone on quite a growth journey myself – which is quite often the case with people who go into this type of work.
So I’d decided to become a life coach, but had no idea how to do it. In the end I found a distance-learning course and started off that way. I’m still learning things now; every year I take on a new skill and learn something that layers in with what I’m already doing. One of the other things I do now is I’m a laughter yoga leader and trainer.
That came about because I became aware that I was laughing a lot more because I felt happier. I went on holiday to Australia and joined in with a laughter yoga class on the beach one day. Part of me loved it, despite the cynical part of me that thought it was really weird.
Still, I came back and booked my training. The surprising thing is that it’s given me so much confidence and it can be a useful tool in coaching.
First and foremost you need that human connection. The ability to really listen is the key skill of any coach. And you just have to care and want the best for your clients.
Whatever it is they’re dealing with, they’re not broken – they’re just being human.
• Graham Landi, Maidstone
I’m a life coach, psychotherapeutic counsellor and a clinical hypnotherapist, and I work with people who want to make changes in their lives. That might be freeing themselves from negative beliefs which hold them back; recovering from trauma or emotional crisis; or they might be finding a way to make the best use of their skills and abilities.
I worked in the corporate world for nearly 25 years before retraining. In my early forties I had a disappointingly stereotypical life crisis.
After six weeks in a psychiatric hospital one of the therapists, on my discharge, gave me a piece of paper. The web address he had given me was information about psychotherapy training – he’d seen something in me I hadn’t yet seen in myself. Over the following four years I trained while still working full time. I loved it; it felt as if I’d finally found my calling.
I had a very senior, well-paid position in a global blue-chip company so when I said I was leaving they thought I was joking. I’ve never looked back and never regretted the move for a moment.
There is a natural crossover between counselling and coaching. The skills required for each are similar; empathy, effective listening, non-judgmental, challenging, and supportive, but they might be used in different ways.
The coaching relationship tends to be more objective and results driven. There is more need for the coach to hold a client to account, in order to keep things moving.
Some of the issues related to what one might think of as ‘traditional’ life coaching are dealing with procrastination or other forms of self-sabotage, trying to find direction when life has reached some sort of junction and trying to understand yourself, your decisions and actions. Coaching offers clients the opportunity to have someone completely on their side, fighting their corner but, at the same time, really challenging them to be true to themselves.
A coach will ‘call out’ a client who is holding themselves up, but at the same time support and nurture a client who is negotiating their way through a challenging period.
Sometimes people send me the most wonderful notes or cards about the changes they’ve made. That’s fantastic and truly humbling.
It’s an absolute honour that people come and share their lives with me.
• Claire Foy, Ashford
In 2012, just before I was due to return to work after having my second son, I was diagnosed with breast cancer and it kind of woke me up to the fact that, cliché as it sounds, life really is too short.
Operations, chemo and radiotherapy later, and I was back to work. I now do life coaching in my spare time – although the dream is to go full time.
It all started for me when I read a novel where the lead character was a life coach. I loved the job she had, so I studied to attain my diploma in life coaching.
A large focus for me has been working with teenagers choosing GCSE subjects. I saw children were opting for subjects based on friends, attendance or parental pressure, and not following their heart.
I coached a number of children and in most cases they knew what career they wanted to pursue, they simply didn’t have the confidence or belief they could do it.
I have worked in schools, giving talks on career choice, and worked with SEN children building their confidence. I’ve also held talks in firms on being a working mum, and releasing the guilt this can bring. I love helping people make change, and I’m lucky enough to be able to witness their successes.
I work with clients to find their desires, uncover their dreams and set goals, finding their end point and working backwards with them to get there.
Setting little goals and achievements, tasks and tweaks to their life to get them where they want to be. People usually reach out to me from referrals or through Facebook or my website. While I love face-to-face meetings, times have changed and people are busy, so Skype and phone calls work just as well if not better. As a result, my clients can be anywhere in the world.
I thoroughly love this job. Helping people make little changes in their lives which create massive impacts is a joy to watch.
The answer is often in front of their nose but they are too emotionally involved to see. I just help clear the fog and offer a little direction and encouragement.