It’s time to introduce our Coach of The Month. This is our way of providing a platform for the professional coaches of the PSG coaching community. Here they offer insights about who they are and what they do. By sharing their real life experience they provide a valuable opportunity for learning. Sharing, supporting and learning are the keywords that form the heart of this community’s values.
We have a monthly tradition of announcing a different active coach from the coaching community. At PSG Our Featured Coach in November is Paula Coogan. We asked Paula to answer three questions that are connected to the lessons learnt, fulfillment gained and her approach to the future.
Here is our Coach of the Month – November Coaching Q & A
PSG: Since qualifying, what are the top 3 lessons you have learnt that support your growth as a coach:
Great question and really got me thinking!
I am imperfect and I am enough
When I qualified in 2010, I was so scared of really putting myself out there and saying ‘I am a life coach’- even with the Diploma from PSG and FETAC qualification, I still felt like I wasn’t enough (experienced enough, skilled enough, brave enough, old enough, confident enough- take your pick!). I was stuck between a rock and a hard place- the desire to coach and do, be, have what I wanted and the absolute fear of doing, being, having what I wanted! I knew who I wanted to work with and I was focusing my efforts onto projecting this image of myself to my potential clients as someone who had it all figured out – I thought this would help me feel more secure within myself! I was wrong! It took me a long time to learn that people prefer real. Not only that they prefer it, but they respond to real and engage with real. I gradually embraced the real me, warts and all and realised that I am enough! It takes a lot of work and like everyone, I do forget it every now and then but ensuring that I’m supported for success and work with a coach really does help! Also, the work of Brene Brown has been an absolute godsend!
Continuous learning and support
From my story and my answers to these questions so far, I think it’s probably obvious that I value continuous learning and having a great support system! I love to tap into new knowledge, new strategies and new developments in the areas that excite me. When my class graduated, we were pumped and a lot of us wanted to become practicing coaches but then day to day life took over and for many the momentum was lost. I know personally, that had it not been for a mastermind coaching group I joined upon graduation I would have found it very difficult to keep moving towards my goal of being a practicing coach! The Quality Coaching Circle with PSG didn’t exist in 2010 and I have to say it’s a fantastic resource for established coaches but also I think especially for new graduates. It’s so important to keep yourself immersed in the world of coaching!
This is my business not my hobby
For a long time, I found it incredible difficult to charge people for coaching. I enjoyed it so much, it came easy to me, it felt natural, I had great fun and was always pumped after a session so how could I possibly make a living from something that made me feel so alive? Work was supposed to be hard wasn’t it? I discounted prices all the time, I worked pro-bono for a while and then, when I did charge, I gave too much of my time and energy. I was eating away at my savings while all my money beliefs came up to the surface! I felt that charging clients was like declaring my worth and my prices would change all the time based on how I felt about me at the time! I lost money for the 1st year I was in business but it was a great lesson in what not to do! What was great was that I quickly realised it wasn’t just me who struggled with charging (a lot of newbie coaches I’ve spoken to and worked with have struggled with this so it’s not just you either!) and there are great resources and coaching available to help. I had been ‘playing’ with coaching as if it were a hobby and it took about 12 months for me to shift my mindset to business owner and entrepreneur! I’ve never looked back since.
PSG: To – date, as a coach, what has brought you the most fulfillment?
‘I could no sooner choose a favourite star in the heavens!’ – Drew Barrymore, Ever After
There have been so many times when I have just taken a deep breath and thanked anything and everything for that moment. Times when I thought ‘Wow, I couldn’t feel more alive and vibrant than I do right now’.
The first time I experienced it was when I created the opportunity to head up the Career Clinic for the Jobs Expo in Croke Park. I had to organise the clinic and ensure it was staffed and running smoothly, I had to man my own stand in the main hall, give two seminars to hundreds of people and have a radio interview. I was terrified and excited at the same time! I think I was running on adrenaline for the whole weekend and it was a wonderful success! I had been so nervous about public speaking (I’d even hired a public speaking coach and had been working on my talk for weeks) but after I had given the seminar, members of the audience came up and thanked me. Someone had even driven from another province specifically to see me – it was an incredible feeling. As I was packing up my car at the end of the weekend, absolutely exhausted I thought to myself ‘If I never did anything with my coaching skills ever again, that experience alone would be enough for it to have all been worthwhile’. To have that as my truth then and still, has made everything even the more sweeter! Everything since then has been a bonus!
Another experience which is incredibly fulfilling is when past clients touch base with me. It may have been a few months, a year or more since we had spoken but something would have happened and it made them think of me, possibly a milestone reached, a dream turned into reality or a struggle overcome. I feel incredibly privileged and honoured that for whatever reason, they choose to continue to share their story and successes with me.
PSG: What do you foresee as the main reasons for clients to look for coaching in the last months of 2015?
We’re coming into the dark and coldness of winter now and believe it or not but this time of year is my favourite! The clocks have gone back, it’s getting darker earlier and the hectic pace of summer and the school rush has slowed down. We have more opportunity to be, to think, to reflect and evaluate and often what I hear from clients in October and November is ‘I’ve been meaning to do this for months’. I think that is what is a driver for clients seeking coaching at this time of year, that they have finally slowed down enough to see their surroundings and have realised a course change or course correct is needed! Also, in the last few months of the year, people tend to reflect on what they have accomplished or more accurately for my niche, they tend to panic that the year is almost over and they are still in the same job, house, relationship, financial situation as they were at the beginning of the year despite their promises to themselves- this in itself can give a lot of people the kick in the ass that they want to seek out support to finish off the year on a high!
Website: The Quarter Life Coach
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