When I discovered coaching, I never expected that it would enable me to have greater self-confidence, more honesty about who I am and what I really want and would result in so many other positive changes in my life and career. Here I reflect on three ways in which coaching has helped me in my career so far.
- It helped me to change industries
About six years ago I was feeling quite stuck and unhappy in my career, so I knew that I needed some support to work out what was going on and what to do next. I was lucky to be offered some coaching sessions at work and this was my first formal experience of coaching. A really useful exercise we completed was identifying my core values and the times that I had felt most engaged at work and in my life in general. This enabled me to understand what was truly important to me and helped me to see that I was craving more opportunity to learn and to be in a creative environment where I felt more comfortable to be myself. This increased self-awareness gave me the confidence to a find a new role in a new industry.
- It helped me to have more confidence in my abilities
I enjoyed those first coaching sessions so much that I decided to train to become a coach. The opportunity to work closely with and support someone to develop in such a personalised way really appealed to me and after lots of research I joined a Business and Personal coaching programme with the wonderful Barefoot Coaching (who I highly recommend). During the course I received a lot of coaching from other trainees and one of the biggest shifts for me was a change in how I perceived my strengths. I remember being at school and being told that I needed to believe in myself more and the coaching process helped me to see that all these years later this was still an issue. I learnt that my strengths in connecting with people and putting them at ease, having a high level of empathy and being a good listener were of value and that I needed to change my unhelpful belief that technical skills were the most important. This awareness led to more confidence in my abilities and to finding opportunities that play to my strengths.
- It helped me to relax more
By the time I finished my coaching training, I had enough confidence to leave a job that looked great on paper, but I knew wasn’t right. This definitely felt like the start of a new chapter and more changes in my career. I knew that I wanted to spend more time coaching but didn’t know where to start so I decided to get support from another coach. Over ten months of working together there was a rollercoaster of emotions and so much learning. It is hard to choose one thing here but something key was realising that I didn’t need to try to do everything at once and that it was important to acknowledge and be grateful for where I was at any given time. The sessions helped me to see that whilst I needed goals and a sense of direction, I didn’t have to know every step on the path or be in control of everything. My coach used a lovely analogy of having my idea of the future like a photo that is in soft focus rather than crystal clear and I really like this idea. This approach has enabled me to relax more and be open to new opportunities that I wouldn’t have been able to plan. I am learning to become more patient and it is an ongoing practice to find balance between striving for achievement and being overly attached to outcomes and enjoying what I have right now and being really present in my daily life, but it is worth it!
Overall, coaching really has created fundamental shifts for me in the way I think, feel and behave and I highly recommend it. If you haven’t tried coaching and would like to see how it could help you in your personal life or career or are interested to learn more about how sessions work, then get in touch.
Stacey Heanue is a professionally trained Personal Development Coach with a background in HR. She offers tailored 1-1 coaching sessions that support women to know what they really want, embrace who they are and step out of their comfort zone to achieve more than they thought possible.