Extracts of a Life Coach: Starting out

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Life coaching is the latest phenomenon to bridge the gap of accessibility for the ordinary, no longer the indulgent prerogative of wealthy celebrities it is slowly becoming part and parcel of any discerning careerist’s life; in this new series, fledgling life coach Emma Ranson Bellamy steers us through the life coaching waters and shares her ‘on the couch’ experiences.

My journey to life coaching has not been extraordinary, and though I am not aware of anyone who has come to it from my particular background I am sure there will be some to follow. Life coaching attracts a variety of people and each coach takes from the learning a personal style which will naturally direct their particular approach.

My own journey began a few months ago. I had heard a lot about life coaching and my ‘radar’ had tuned me in to many TV shows and articles on the subject. I decided to look into the discipline more carefully. I discovered that there is no such thing as the perfect background for a life coach. On my course I met a full array of individuals from ex army captains to housewives, who had been drawn to the course which would qualify them, within a year, to start helping people to make changes to their lives.

I am an ex-advertising manager. I have nearly 20 years experience, and have worked for some of the most un-glamorous trade and technical journals. I’ve been there from boom to bust during the late 80’s and 90’s working on market leading national newspapers with fat expense accounts, regular bonuses and exotic company conferences to luxury five star destinations. I’ve hired, fired, trained, and motivated my own staff. After a career break, a divorce, and a move to the slower and cheaper way of life in the west country I needed to find something that would allow me the flexibility to look after my young family.

I used my old contacts to secure a couple of freelance training positions. I really enjoy training and I love to see individuals ‘get it’ and run with a new idea or a new attitude which makes a difference to them. However, there is a reality in the training room which is the rarely spoken of ‘downer’ for the trainer. The class room dynamic.

Just as a teacher in a class of 30 school children will aim to spend equal time with all her students it is a basic fact that the naughty kids, the under achieving ones will get more of her time and attention. The more gifted will sail through anyway and those in the middle will just have to do the best they can. I have found the same is true of training adults. A number will have heard it all before, feel they have better things to do with their time and will try and ‘catch the trainer out’ with smart Alec questions.

Some will have no idea what they are doing there in the first place, they are in total awe of the smart Alec’s and they are too scared to speak up in case they look ‘stupid’ and the middle lot, well they will be left to hope the trainer notices them and they can pick up something of use.

This must sound like I am biting the hand that feeds me and that I believe all training is a waste of time. I do not. However, I do feel that training is not a blanket solution for learning, development and motivation and using coaching in conjunction with the class room stuff will allow everyone to grow at their own pace, and will learn what they need to increase their skills. I encourage all my trainees to coach themselves and to coach each other.

I encourage the GROW method so they can find the answers to their own set of problems rather than looking at training to find out how a trainer does it. After all I can really only train from my own personal experience, from text books, (someone else’s personal experience and group discussion (their peers personal experience).

The light bulb moment comes when the trainee gets it based on their own particular set of skills, experience and challenges. That starts a chain reaction which makes a difference immediately to their performance and ultimately their self-confidence. This is why I am embarking on a career as a life coach. I believe that the more light bulb moments I can facilitate with my clients the better they can do their job and I will have earned my money and the right to be called a coach.

As a trainee life coach you will accompany me on my learning journey as I hone the tools and ask the questions within my training journal. I will be looking at the key skills required for the job and sharing with you my thoughts, questions and insights on this profession which I know will enable me to not only live my life with purpose but also help others to do so.

Emma can be contacted at [email protected]


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