Training as a coach in my 50s felt like coming home. Coaching aligned with my life purpose and continues to amaze and delight me daily. I am a relative newbie, having started my business as a Holistic Relationship Coach for LGBT+ women (trans and non-binary inclusive) two years ago, and yet there has been so much growth in my practice, and learning in other parts of my life too.
For twenty years I worked as an inclusion consultant and trainer in a range of organisations. I still do this but focus on the wellness industry as that’s where my coaching sits. I had also been a performer and comedy improviser since my 30s. During my training with Radiant Coaches Academy, I saw how all the skills I had gained over the years could compliment my coaching. I now teach parts of the syllabus, and all students are encouraged to combine their established skills into their coaching. There is a beautiful blend of “multipassionistas” in every class I teach, each moving into specialist areas that sit around a Holistic Coaching model.
What I hadn’t appreciated during my training was the ways in which coaching would influence my personal life too! Here are three things I have learnt from being a certified holistic life coach. Some of these impact my personal life, others the way I run my business.
- How much my clients inspire me
I have some clients who come to me for what I term “Journey Coaching” and others for “Outcome Coaching”, and some clients are a combination of both. I enjoy them all!
Journey Coaching clients tend to have one particular theme that arises in all our sessions, and they love being able to see their own thought processes reflected back and their patterns highlighted. They enjoy deepening their connection with themselves and living their most enriched lives.
Outcome Coaching clients come with a new topic each week, they often email me in advance with the areas they want to cover. They want tangible actions by the end of the hour and crave homework exercises between sessions.
Three clients stick in my mind in terms of how inspired I felt with their achievements while we worked together.
Client A was a Journey Coaching Client. They were new to coaching and arrived with most areas of their life not where they wanted, including their business, wellness practices, and love life. I immediately noticed how ready they were for change, how committed they were and their total belief that asking for help (something they were historically unhappy doing) could be the best decision they would make for their future self. We met weekly for three months and in that time all three areas dramatically changed. Their business took an upturn, they began exercising regularly, and they met the love of their life! I had always believed in the power of coaching (one doesn’t invest time, energy, and money in something that might work!) but to see it come into fruition with my support was phenomenal. My assertion grew, my skills grew, and I was inspired by Client A to up my own wellness practices, having seen the impact on their own life.
Client B was an Outcome Coaching Client. I called them one of my “fast responder” clients, who each week would come with a particular topic and leave with everything they need and more. We worked together weekly for three months, covering radically different topics each week, it was a powerful journey into their romantic, sexual and spiritual life. While we worked together, I remember one particular session where Client B came up with a ritual to help them process complex emotions around a recent heartbreak. Having also experienced heartbreak, I was inspired to create my own ritual so that I could move closer to a resolution with an ex-partner. I discussed the situation with my coach supervisor and received assurance I was maintaining professional boundaries throughout.
Client C was a combination of Journey and Outcome. There was a particular theme that came up at the start and remained throughout our fortnightly sessions over the six months we worked together. On top of this, some weeks they would bring specific topics relating to work, family, and romantic relationships. At the start of our time together I felt their protection walls, although academically they understood the value of coaching, they didn’t believe it could fully work for their stoic personality. As their trust grew in the coaching container, I witnessed an unfurling of vulnerability and growth like never before. The bravery they demonstrated in our sessions was utterly inspiring, as much of it came from a leap of faith.
- How I parent
During my coaching training I immediately saw the value of using coaching skills to parent. Not only does it build trust, it provides a beautiful mix of autonomy and support. I am so much calmer because I feel equipped to help my daughter understand what is going on from her own perspective, instead of imposing my own thoughts and feelings onto her. For example, when she had a difficult dynamic at school with two friends, I asked her what she wanted the outcome to look like. This inspired her creativity and she came up with a couple of things to try out the next day.
I also witnessed her coaching her friend the other day, which was such a beautiful moment! As they both sat on the floor of a stationery shop, puzzling over which notebook to buy, I heard my daughter ask her some questions: Which one feels right, for right now? When you imagine sitting at home, which notebook do you see there?
- How I have improved my own boundary setting and maintaining
Over the course of the two years running my business, there have been several challenges around business boundaries. These are never intentional, and usually arise from the client forgetting or not absorbing the Terms & Conditions, or perhaps being in a stressful situation and experiencing incoherent thoughts. This has related to cancelling or moving sessions, or payment issues. Through working with my coach supervisor, and the individual fortnightly therapy that I have, I know these topics are personal issues in terms of my ingrained attitudes to rules and regulations. This has equipped me to deal with situations where I have had to assert the business boundaries. Practicing setting and maintaining boundaries has impacted my professional and personal life, and I am able to spot challenges in advance, and therefore plan a gentle and fair response.
- Check out the Radiant Coaches Live Sessions podcast where you can hear from all kinds of coaches doing all kinds of things. Find out why they entered coaching, watch a live coaching session, followed by Q&A.
- The Set Boundaries Workbook: Practical Exercises for Understanding Your Needs and Setting Healthy Limits, by Nedra Glover Tawwab