One of the biggest blocks I’ve come across in my career is trying to go it alone – sometimes from choice and sometimes from a fear of asking for help.

Books, courses, podcasts and the like are all fantastic ways to develop our knowledge. They can also be a great way to avoid acting upon your learning. Similarly, pushing through and acting without considering our emotional and mental states can lead to frustration, overwhelm and burnout.

Starting a fresh supported by a dear friend or loved one, maybe your boss or mentor, is something I’ve advocated for before – connection is key to making sustainable change, however I don’t think it is enough on it’s own to avoid disappointment and failure.

Yet, and you might say “oh come on Sarae, you’re biased on this one”, I believe being supported by a coach when transforming your life is also essential. Let me explain how a coach can help you create the sustainable transformation you seek plus how to spot a good one!

Two women in conversation.

What is coaching and how does it help? Eric Parsloe, co-founder of my first training school, Oxford Coaching & Mentoring says,

“Coaching is a process that enables learning and development to occur and thus performance to improve.”

For me, it is more than a conversation you can have with anyone. It is an opportunity to have your thinking and feelings heard, gentle held and carefully explored. Each session bringing you a piece of insight into who you are, clarity on what you want from life and work, as well as identifying what you need to resolve, find or grow to move forward with greater ease. You get a compassionate confidente who is independent of your world and sees you without judgement.

As a coach, I am often able to help you draw out the causes below the surface of your experiences, share my observations of what’s not being spoken aloud and help you safely remedy things that no longer serve you or grow those that do. 

At times, it can be emotional and difficult to look where the spotlight lands. As coachees, we might cry, rage and laugh in the space of an hour – the permission to feel equips us with life skills and the opportunity to learn more about ourselves.

My clients have compared coaching as having a kind mirror held up to their behaviours and decisions, a cheerleader willing them on to a bolder, authentic life and like coming home to their true selves. They develop their sense of trust and faith in themselves to decide and act to change their lives, their personal and professional relationships, and their career paths, whilst kicking doubts, blockers and limits to the kerb. They realise the abundant joy they’ve craved.

Want some of that for yourself? Cool. Keep reading.

A black lady with headscarf waving hello to her zoom caller, sat at her desk with her coffee cup and books on hand

Next, how do you find a good professional coach?

A good coach recognises their limits and also their talents. For example, I don’t offer relationship coaching to couples or bereavement coaching. I have neither the tools, temperament nor the knowledge to be of value. Rather I coach women who feel like square pegs in round holes, who want to bring their full selves to their work, life and loves without fear of judgement or rejection. Why? I’m part of that group, I’ve walked that painful walk and know how coaching makes a difference.

Anyone can, and plenty of people do, call themselves coaches. There are 3 recognised professional bodies in the UK: the Association of Coaching, UK (AC), European Mentoring and Coaching Council (EMCC) and finally, the International Coaching Federation (ICF). Coaches can complete accredited qualifications as well as upgrade their membership levels with each of them. Others prefer the “School of Life” approach and leverage their personal experience to shape yours – personally, I think this is more akin to mentoring than coaching.

I’m waiting on my ICF Professional Certified Coach (PCC) results right now, which means I’ve completed 125+ accredited training hours, 500+ paid coaching hours and passed 3 stiff assessments – ironically, I’d exceeded both figures by some way before my coach got me over the line to being assessed again. (Gulp. Who really likes being tested anyway? 🤔 )

Every coach has a different style – however, our commonality lies in a belief that every person is resourceful with the potential to move forward. Some adopt a more advisory style and others are more non-directive, following the client’s lead. Some are more formal and conservative, others informal and open to sharing.

Every good coach will want to meet you before agreeing to work with you. Why? Chemistry counts. We all know within a short time of meeting someone for the first time whether we feel safe, comfortable and able to be transparent with a new person. Trust, transparency and authenticity make the magic happen.

Do ask about fees or payment plans – be honest with them. An experienced, professional coach will welcome this – we know coaching is expensive and investing money in ourselves can be a barrier. Many coaches do offer flexibility in payment schedules, as well as special circumstances options or pro bono offers. You’re paying for their expertise, education, and years of experience plus a portion of their business and continuing education costs. My suggestion would be to think about the difference and value your desired transformation offers you living in your true self, rather than comparing the hour rates of other service providers.

I’ve alluded to my own new beginning in recent blogs – a beta coaching programme I’m about to test run. As I’m trying new approach, I’m cutting my fees to less than half for beta participants. 

For just £1,000 and sharing your feedback to help me refine the approach, you get 8 weekly sessions, free access to tools and the opportunity to step into your whole self in any aspect of your life or career at incredible value. You need to be able to start in the next 3 weeks – so I can wrap up our time together, amend the programme and launch in the autumn.

If you are sick and tired of feeling uncomfortable in your own skin, the outsider on the inside of the group and ready to stop hiding parts of you to be acceptable in your world, give me a shout on email and we can book a call in asap.