My early childhood was safe but lacking love and affection. The focus was on being independent, doing things properly and doing well at school. The reality: I was a very lonely little girl who was severely bullied (even moved schools) and struggling with everything from schoolwork to brownies.
As a teenager I continued to struggle at making and keeping friends. The bullying continued and I often responded with anger and frustration, lashing out. I was really lonely and unhappy. I didn’t apply myself and thought something was wrong with me.
By my 20s I’d started to work out how to make friends by trial and error, but it was very clumsy. It felt like people hung out with me because they felt sorry for me. I tried so hard but never really believed people liked me. Then came boyfriends and the discovery that this was a way to ‘get love’. Then I’d get dumped. I hated who I was, my weight, my body. I felt doomed. Much as I wanted to be with people, I often ended up on my own.
At work, my career was starting to take off with promotions and moving forward. But I was a terrible manager, becoming the bully. I had no idea how to get the best
out of myself, let alone others. 360 feedback was usually critical, and I felt the pain of knowing the impact I’d had on others.
By my early 30s I’d created a way of dealing with life that kind of worked. I’d read How to Win Friends and Influence People. I copied what the people I wanted to be friends with seemed to do. Pleasing and pandering to get attention. Of course, it was totally fake. More boyfriends came and went and each time they went I was left distraught realising ‘nobody loved me’. My career continued to move forward, but it never felt like I was doing well. I yo-yoed between victim and persecutor. Life felt lonely, friends far away, love far away.
The world I’d created looked good and made me feel better on the outside, but the rest of the time I felt wretched.
Then at age 67 my Dad died after a 6 month battle with cancer. I had no idea how to deal with the grief. I desperately wanted support but in reality drove people away. Everything started to fall apart. I concluded, ‘I’m not a nice person’ and no one wants me or loves me.
A colleague suggested going to the doctors. I rejected the anti-depressants but took up the counselling. The first 3 sessions were helpful, allowing me to accept it was OK to grieve. But after that, I was totally underwhelmed. Nothing was really changing. It felt like a complete waste of time and money just recounting how terrible things were.
My chiropractor suggested a coach he knew who could help. I was desperate so made the call. And oh my gosh it was a totally different experience!
The approach was sometimes weird but always made sense to my logical brain. Gentle but also not avoiding the elephant in the room. I went from having no sense of
self love, no confidence, no healthy boundaries and patterns that kept me lonely, bullied and unsuccessful….. to permanently putting bullying behind me,
accepting love, making peace with my parents, believing I am deserving and finding the confidence to have good relationships. All within 6 sessions. This woman had literally changed my life!
Six months later I’d moved to Bristol, got the job of my dreams and had 40 people at my housewarming.
I got curious about the methods she used. Something called NLP*. I read a book, did a half day course, longer courses, Practitioner and then Master Practitioner. It all made so much sense! The revelations were profound. Everything was easier with the tools to manage myself.
When I started this journey of learning and discovery, it was all about better supporting and growing myself. But a curious thing happened. As I learnt and practiced more, I realized that I had some natural talent for this. Perhaps I could help others?
It started with doing some stuff with a few willing friends. It was just good to practice the skills. Amazingly they had great results!
Meanwhile, big shifts were happening at work. Moving away from the technical side of my role and getting more interested in culture, supporting colleagues through the gender network, supporting those around me. My role on projects became much more about facilitating thinking than dishing out tasks on a project plan. I was doing stuff I really enjoyed, playing in my passion and being noticed for all the right reasons.
I became an internal coach, one of 130 leaders selected globally to be trained and accredited by the ICF* to provide coaching in house. This gave me a new frame on coaching in the corporate environment, and a line of coachees who wanted to work with me. I was part of a team who delivered leadership and coaching transformation for 2000 colleagues. Thriving in what I was doing and the results people were getting.
As I broke into this new chapter, a few things started to come up for me personally around my credibility. Of course, I was now a coach so could solve everything myself, right? Well in some ways. In others, not. I read management books about how to develop yourself, your team and your organization. I learned a lot to counter the deep fears I had inside. And it wasn’t quite enough to make them go away. Then the realization. I believe in coaching, why am I not going to a coach myself?
After all, the best heart surgeon wouldn’t operate on themselves.
I tried some local coaches, with a series of disappointing experiences. Surely, there must be people out there who had the skills to effect the deep change work I’d experienced and was starting to experience with my coachees. In the end I went back to that original coach, back in Hampshire. There I had the breakthroughs I needed. A great reminder of the power of this work and how it feels to be in the client chair.
Whilst I’d got the help I needed, it didn’t seem right that in a city the size of Bristol, it was so hard to find someone who’s approach really worked. Who worked at the level of identity and beliefs, cutting through all the surface crap and making lasting unconscious change. You see, that’s when behaviour starts to change all on its own. No trying. No willpower. Just great results.
I feel so strongly that more people deserve to know about and access this coaching approach. It’s so very different to the conventional expectations of life coaching, counselling or CBT*. It was an easy decision for me to leave financial services after a 25-year career and step fully into Change Coaching.
This is now what I do. I wholeheartedly believe in it and the change it can create. Magic is possible. Life doesn’t have to be hard and the path to change doesn’t have to be hard either. I am here to help people shift identity and belief and change their lives, easily, quickly and sustainably.
With 350 hours of coaching experience in both the Corporate and personal environment. I am continually blown away by the results my clients get. Nothing feels more fulfilling than seeing people go from stuck and struggling to living the life they want, with energy and ease.