Recently I was thrilled to be featured in The Coaching Academy’s ‘Coach in the Spotlight’ column:
My name’s Sue and I’m a Glasgow based Life and Business Coach at Life Coaching Solutions.
My story is a real one and I hope that not only do you enjoy reading it but also come away perhaps with a sense of everything that’s possible if you follow your heart, put people at the centre of what you do and see coaching as an inspiring and exciting way forward.
I love coaching! I see and hear about the difference it makes to people’s lives every day. I love being a coach and have certainly found the perfect career for me.
My journey first started when I attended a two day Introduction to Coaching course run by The Coaching Academy in Edinburgh many years ago.
I was hooked. This was powerful stuff with inspiring messages! I signed up for the Diploma in Personal Performance Coaching. At the same time I registered for Introduction to Counselling and Introduction to Psychology qualifications as evening courses at local colleges.
I was working for O2 at the time, managing the team responsible for customer support and care around the launch of the very first iPhone. It was exciting times all round!
As a company, O2 were then at the forefront of business leadership and understanding their people. A London based Coach came to deliver training around the GROW model and setting goals. I was inspired by that too.
My background had been in the corporate sector: Sainsbury’s, NatWest Bank, Abbey National and Santander. I moved from one to the next to find an organisation which valued its people as much as its numbers. That is still to me the very best and in fact only way to run a successful business. Put people first. Always.
By the time I had finished all my training I was ready for a new challenge. I had an extremely successful and top team within O2 and a very good job there. Many people thought I was crazy to voluntarily leave all of that. Not me. Follow your heart. It certainly knows the way!
I resigned and set up my practice. I found an excellent and relevant name and domain for my website, branding and logo, and my business was formed. Whilst I waited for clients to come along, I worked at a Glasgow University and College providing student support for those with mental health or physical difficulties, emotional needs or more practical assistance. It complimented coaching well and I enjoyed every minute of it.
I joined a small ladies only networking group to mix with like minded women and unexpectedly ended up hosting the group for a while. It enabled me to get comfortable talking about coaching as I am quite a shy person and naturally reserved. I find coaching brings out my confidence. It’s about accepting who you are and playing to your strengths.
In the early years I worked many, many hours weekly in my business – planning, preparing, pitching, seeing clients, networking.
I said yes to most things and certainly to anything that inspired me. Be ready to work the hardest you ever will do!
To date, I have worked with many hundreds, if not thousands of clients; corporate and private, third sector and public. I am asked regularly to go into organisations and support training and development. Face to face, one to one coaching however is my favourite and what I feel I am best at.
I am fortunate to be regularly approached by the media: BBC Radio Scotland, The Herald on Sunday, Scottish No1 Magazine and as a Confidence Coach for ITV’s This Time Next Year with Davina McCall. I write coaching articles regularly for The Life Coach Directory and Personal Growth online magazine and undertake interviews frequently. If you love what you do, you want to be talking about it and sharing!
Today my consulting days are Monday to Wednesday and I concentrate on training events, media requests, writing articles, interviews and workshops on a Friday. Thursday is a day for me. This balance is vital – theatre, reading, cinema, dance, yoga, creativity, walking, personal and professional development. Self-care is needed as a coach and to be able to give to others you must firstly give to yourself.
I have a strong, handpicked team supporting me without whom my business would struggle: a highly efficient and professional Business Manager, a talented Web and Graphic Designer and of course an Accountant. This leaves me to concentrate on what I’m good at and what I love. Not numbers and invoices, spreadsheets and paperwork!
I now have a strong and recognised brand in Scotland.
The key to being an effective coach is professionalism, empathy, putting your clients at the start and heart of every conversation, 3D listening skills, being absolutely non-judgemental and open. Coaching is never about you. Your own background experience doesn’t matter in relation to what clients come to you with. No one will ask you and you won’t share.
My practice mainly focuses on confidence, emotional wellbeing and balance as well as a little separately, career, business and interview coaching.
My learning has never stopped. I love learning as much as coaching. It’s important and I have supplemented my own coaching with NLP, Hypnotherapy, CBT, body image and style, mental health and mediation, personality and behavioural profiling amongst many other interesting fields.
If you’d like to find out more about my work, please check out my coaching services.
My advice to those at the start of their coaching journey; find your passion, go with it, always have hope and belief in yourself.