I tried life coaching – and this is what it taught me

Life coaching – it’s something most of us have never even considered, unless, perhaps we’ve been faced with a life-changing decision and need some advice on which path to take. I’ve experienced my fair share of mental health support – both during and following my brother’s cancer journey I took CBT and counselling, and even sought support from my osteopath on how to manage stress. I’ve had friends who’ve highly recommended life coaching for finding confidence in the workplace or tackling their self-esteem. Yet I’d never considered it.

I met Kerry Hales at a local networking group and was drawn to her infectious positivity and go-getter attitude. I spoke of my decision to leave my London life and build a career outside of the city, working as a freelance writer on the Kent coast where I grew up. Little did I know then that I’d built myself a glass ceiling, that I spoke incredibly negatively about my experiences and was rocking a classic case of imposter syndrome (with a side of drama queen for good measure).

Fast forward seven months later and I’m the busiest I’ve ever been, turning away clients and earning more than I thought possible. More than I thought I deserved. I never realised how much of an impact a coach would have on my life – until now.

What is a life coach?

The coaching industry is now worth a whopping $2billion globally. We’re faced with more life choices than ever before and whether it’s money, careers, family or relationships – a life coach can help to offer clarity and support to find our way and discover what we really want. (So, they say).

“When you lose the connection to who you are, it shows,” says Kerry. “You may be achieving in lots of areas in your life and wonder why success isn’t feeling how you imagined it would.

“You might even feel demotivated, undervalued – or lacking in confidence. These feelings may have built up over a period of time, potentially going unnoticed, but the energy and effort required to cover them takes its toll.”

Of course, it costs. You’re paying for years of training and qualifications, insight into the mind and life habits – but I found it incredibly useful having an outsider to look into my life.

What I learned

  • Your life experiences don’t define you. Learn from them, take strength from them – but don’t let them make you who you are or stipulate what you deserve.
  • What do you want? So much of what I was doing ws what I thought I should be doing, what I should be grateful to do, or what others thought I should do. I rarely spared a thought for myself – until now.
  • Don’t be scared. Manage and control your fears. Don’t let them decide who you are and what you want to be / do. That’s your choice.
  • Focus on the wins, the positives, the good stuff. So much of our mindset is based on clinging onto the bad. It’s classic anxiety – but it doesn’t have to be this way.

The coronavirus pandemic changed things, too. I’d joked for the last few months that having a life coach is much like having a fairy godmother. It’s having someone in your corner who ‘gets’ you and where your mind travels to when you doubt yourself. Never have I needed that person more than now.

Lockdown has made me feel emotional, lethargic, anxious, terrified for my family, guilty for continuing to work (albeit from home), and stupidly ashamed that I’m still busy.

We’ve all had time to look at our lives and evaluate what’s important to us. So many of us are finding this tough, but I’d be finding lockdown a lot harder had I not absorbed Kerry’s teachings. I know that these feelings are not facts – and I know it’s my pattern of unhelpful thinking that’s leading me. Group sessions have also given me new friends who feel the same and we all support each other on a weekly basis. That’s been priceless.

My wins

  • After a year of procrastinating, I finally launched my website, having the confidence to offer my services as a business model.
  • I held my first ever workshop for local businesses – it was a sell-out.
  • I increased my rates in line with industry averages – and my experience, starting to value my worth.
  • I built a 90-day plan and achieved many of the things (and dreams) I wanted.

My life is in no way perfect. I have a lot going on – like everyone, and I don’t have everything I want. Far from it! Maybe I never will, but, I’ve stopped punishing myself and went after what I wanted – and I don’t feel guilty for that anymore.

What to look for when choosing a life coach

  • Be sure to have a chat with them prior to a booking, get a feel for them and how they work.
  • Be honest with yourself. There may be some areas of your life you don’t want to address or things you don’t want to discuss. Open up – it will help in the long run.
  • Check their credentials – how long have they been changing lives and what are their successes?
  • Understand that change won’t happen overnight. It’s taken you a lifetime to form these thought processes. Trust in the journey and you’ll get there.

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