My approach to coaching
We work together, you and I, starting from who you are and what’s going on in your life. If you’re stuck, in a muddle or just going nowhere, we will examine what is happening now. We’ll look at your reason for contacting me and what you want out of the sessions with me.
I aim to help you find what you need within yourself to be who you want to be and do what you want to do.
I’m pragmatic and realistic about what we can achieve together. Quick fixes do happen, but not very often. Even when they do, they aren’t always sustainable. Small insights that build incrementally alongside a slower and deeper understanding of yourself are generally more effective, though not as exciting as life-changing flashes of clarity!
My greatest theoretical influence is Gestalt, which gives my coaching direction. However, on it’s own it can be slow so I use tools and techniques from Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Transactional Analysis (TA) and Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) to help you make progress in the shorter term.
I use tools and techniques sparingly, preferring to work from a set of guiding principles, which are:
- We always have a choice of what we do or how we respond to any situation. Our choices make us who we are, and different. The choice is very rarely a free one, because we live within the constraints of society, other people and our own values and view of ourselves. It may not feel like it, but the choice is there. That can sometimes be more of a burden than a blessing. One of my aims as a coach is to help you to see your freedom and make choices that are appropriate for you.
- Everyone is different
- Becoming more of who you are is healthier and more sustainable than trying to change yourself and be different
- Aims and a flexible strategy are more effective in the long term than a fixed goal and a structured plan (which may be fine in the short-term or for a single issue)
- Change is part of life. It happens anyway, and you have a choice: go with it or resist it
- The past is gone and the future doesn’t exist yet. Coming to terms with your present and living now is more important and realistic than trying to control the future (which is usually a way of dealing with anxiety)
- Staying with what’s happening now, experiencing it fully and examining it is, paradoxically, the way to change, develop and grow
- None of these principles are set in stone!
What’s the difference between coaching, counselling and psychotherapy?
Coaching or Counselling?
Coaching and counselling overlap in many areas. A counsellor is a trained listener, asking questions, reflecting back and giving you feedback so that you can work your problems out for yourself. Unfortunately and unfairly, counselling tends to be stigmatised as a remedial measure, only for ‘people with problems’. My own initial training as a coach was similar in length and rigour to a counsellor’s training. I develop my coaching capabilities on an ongoing basis, attending seminars and masterclasses as well as supervision sessions
What’s the difference? Coaching tends to be more interactive than counselling, and more focused on outcomes and action. It’s more of a partnership, more creative and less formal. I join in the conversation, making suggestions, sharing insights and ideas about your situation. We work together as equals.
Coaching or Psychotherapy?
It’s difficult to generalise about this, as psychotherapy varies enormously in focus and in how the sessions are conducted, depending on what kind of therapy it is. It’s generally used to help with mental health and emotional problems and some psychiatric disorders, so is seen as more ‘serious’ than coaching. A psychotherapist has to undergo many years of training and is therefore able to work knowledgably and effectively at a deeper level.
What’s the difference?
Psychotherapy is usually a slower process, focusing on uncovering and understanding more deeply ingrained personal and emotional problems that affect you, dealing with the past and the present rather than the present and future. The relationship tends to be more expert/patient than person-to-person.
How long will it take?
There isn’t a clear answer to this, as it depends on you and your situation. Some of my clients have only needed three or four sessions to get themselves straight and others need more to work out what the issues actually are (not always the most obvious ones!) and to keep the momentum going.
Do I have to have a clear idea of what I want before we meet?
No, but if you do, that’s where we’ll start. For life or career change coaching, if you don’t have a clear goal, we usually start with a muddle. Part of our work together involves examining and exploring what is actually going on for you, now, untangling the knot and identifying the areas to work on.
If I can dream it, can I do it?
Not necessarily! Having a dream and a clear vision of where, who or what you want to be certainly helps, but it’s not enough in itself. The real work is what you do to get there – step by step, and in the present. If you only focus on the far horizon, you run the risk of living in a fantasy world or of falling at the first hurdle – that you haven’t seen because you’re looking up and ahead rather than watching your feet!
Can I change my life in a week?
Yes, in theory, but I make no promises. A completely action-centred approach, where we make a structured plan and follow it, doesn’t suit everyone and every situation. I prefer a more ‘inside out’ approach, looking at your perception and attitude and working towards a change there rather than in just your behavour and actions. That can be more useful and build a more sustainable change. Small insights and shifts of perspective will naturally lead to changing what you do (action) and can have a huge effect on your life. I’ve nothing against plans, and they are very useful in some circumstances, particularly in the shorter term. But I like to keep you – rather than the plan – at the centre of the coaching.
Contact me on (landline) 01943 850437 or (mobile) 07910974986