Things I’m learning with Martha – Part One

As I look back on my own journey of madness (!), growth and development, I often wish I had captured it down on paper. I’ve just started (because I can’t get enough of coaching school) a new life coach training programme with a woman whose book – Finding Your Own North Star – I first read in my late teens. This woman – Martha Beck – has been calling to me for 16 years! I’ve read various books of hers over the years. And over the last five years or so, have toyed with the idea of doing her training.

One of the central concepts of Martha’s philosophy is that we each have a still place inside that directs us to our ‘right life’. Call it what you will – ‘internal wisdom’ resonates for me. It’s unique for everyone – yours will take you a different place than mine, because we each have a unique path in life. Coaching is never about some expert chiming in on how you should live your life – this would be to disregard that you already have your own answers within. Instead, its about helping you access and follow your own internal wisdom. For a whole host of reasons, this doesn’t come naturally to most of us. For starters, we (in the Western world) have been conditioned out of it – we are primed to listen to our rational minds, favouring so-called logic above all else.

What I love about finally doing this training is that my own internal wisdom has always been directing me this way. There’s a real sense of magic when you find yourself immersed in something that just feels right. I feel exactly where I’m meant to be.

Something Martha said yesterday struck me – which is that as you find more joy in your own life, you will naturally want to share that with others. That is not to imply that I’m a great zen being meditating on a mountain, with a clear and quiet mind and no problems whatsoever (ha! far from it) – but simply that I have had – and continue to have – my own suffering, my own challenges – and have spent many hours, days, weeks, months and years slowly unpicking and overcoming that which is holding me back. I’m slowly but surely becoming more peaceful, more steady, more able to withstand the inevitable storms that arise in life.

And I’m slowly but surely seeing that the way I show up has a great impact on my relationships, my work and my life – and I’m also seeing the impact of taking responsibility for small shifts in my own thoughts, actions and reactions. I love what Martha Beck says. People don’t write self-help stuff because they’re perfect. They write it to help themselves.

Achieving the change we desire in our life mostly involves mindset. We can look to change our external circumstances – continuously pursuing or dreaming about the next promotion, getting married, travelling the world, or having a nicer house. But often we end up chasing our tails. Do you ever find that your problems follow you no matter which of your external circumstances you change?

Wherever you go there you are

Real change comes from working on our inner game. The way we view the world. The perspectives we hold. The stories we carry that influence our every perception, our every action, our every reaction.

So I can’t help but want to share the insights, tools, strategies and processes that have helped me with my own inner game – in the hope of helping others on their journey too. Looking back, since I really devoted myself to this whole self-development thing, I’ve certainly had highs and lows, and a hell of a lot of ‘a ha’ moments. But change has also come slowly, flowing like a little river. By no means has it been a linear journey. Given that I wish I’d documented a lot of it at the time, I’m seeking to rectify that now by starting where I am. And so, my commitment to share some insights as I journey through the wild world of Martha Beck’s coach training. It truly is wild – and far from what you’d expect at life coaching school. Which makes it a hell of a lot of fun!

This week’s big a-ha’s


Rest and play helps you do better in life

What do you mean, rest and play? I thought life was about getting as much done as humanly possible, burning yourself out in the process! Typically, if I am not being productive, I am a) beating myself up for wasting time and b) unable to put thoughts aside about my very long and numerous trello lists of what I need to do and when I’m going to find time to do it because I ONLY HAVE 24 HOURS PER DAY. Even reading books – a typically leisurely actively – can feel more like a productive pursuit. I have a list of hundreds I want to read, and just don’t feel I can rest until I’ve got through them all. Which really means won’t rest until I’m dead – because I’ll never get through them all. The world keeps churning out new books I want to read! Help!

Martha Beck’s life coach training emphasises rest and play as a fundamental ingredient of life. One reason why is that it helps us integrate our learning. I kid you not that the first training video included a 3 minute clip of baby otters being taught to swim (an analogy for learning to life coach…). It’s hilarious, and cute! So I keep going back to watch the video, and what do you know – the messages keep sinking in. Contrast this to the last lot of training I did, where I felt exhausted at the idea of sitting down at the end of a work day to tackle what felt like really heavy, intensive work.

They also encourage us to go at our own pace. It’s easy enough to say this once – but they say it all the time. They even tell us there’s no way to get behind. It’s not like real school – far from it – and we’re not being graded. Somehow, this is starting to have a bit of an impact on me, the recovering perfectionist. For the first time in a long time, I feel more than okay reading bits of the training material here, watching a video there, and leaving the materials part way through where I’d normally feel compelled to complete it all at once. It has the reverse effect on my willingness to ‘study’, and I find myself naturally drawn back to it at all sorts of times of day.

And with that, I’ve noticed how I’ve started to relax a wee bit – giving myself permission not to feel guilty about having a night off to sit on the coast eating fish and chips, watching the Interislander come in and the moon start rising.

Happy place all round. I’m starting to approach the earth-shattering realisation that life might actually be enhanced if I stop putting pressure on myself to DO all of the time.

If all else fails, breathe

Breathing is a tool we can take anywhere. Yet sometimes, its the first thing we forget to do. Take a minute to check in with yourself right now – are you breathing (at all?) Are you breathing shallowly – into your chest? Or deeply – into your stomach? Notice what impact it has when you take a few seconds to consciously slow your breathing. Breathing deeply tells your body and mind that everything is okay. It calms your nervous system down.

I had a tricky situation at work this week where I knew I needed to take a break in order to get some clarity. Normally such a situation would be an opportunity to enter into all sorts of stories in my head about who did what wrong, how to fix it, and what others were thinking about me. Unhelpful mental stories, thoughts whirring around in my brain. I simply took myself outside and sat down for ten minutes, focusing on nothing other than my breathing. I refused to enter into a debate with my thoughts. And that was absolutely the most helpful thing I could have done for myself in that moment (probably in any moment).

I’ve also had one too many bumpy landings into Wellington lately, which has made me a lot more on edge whilst flying. Yesterday I found myself getting particularly anxious and uptight as we made our approach to the world’s windiest city. My whole body was tense, and in that situation, my thoughts are running a mile a minute. The only thing I can do in that moment is return to my breath. Consciously focus on breathing in and out — in and out — repeat. Scary thought rears its head. Breathe. Repeat. It certainly doesn’t instantaneously drape me in a blanket of zen, but it’s amazing how much more peaceful I can become in an environment that normally sets my adrenaline on fire.

So if all else fails (and even before it gets that bad), remember to breathe. Its a tool we can take anywhere.

Things I’m learning with Martha – Part One

An ode to mentors

After talking about my coaching plans with a colleague recently he took it upon himself to take an interest, and told me he had some ideas he’d like to share – so we arranged a coffee.

My colleague offered some observations about my facilitation skills, shared some hard-won lessons about the importance of discipline when working from home, and then he shared an insight.

“Empathy, Vicki. It’s your brand”. (I love this, by the way).

This conversation of ours not only sparked new ideas to take into my coaching business, but strengthened my self-belief and gave affirmation at a time it was needed. The most precious gift of all though, was feeling truly seen by another person.

It got me thinking how precious it is when someone a little bit older and that much wiser, who has the benefit of more life and career experience, takes an interest in the dreams and aspirations of someone ‘down the ladder’.

I can’t write on this topic without an ode to another ‘informal mentor’ of mine – a senior finance manager who rather unusually inherited me (a public health person) as a direct report, along with my team some years ago. I was fortunate enough to work alongside him in a subsequent workplace too. Since day one this person has, with gentleness and honesty, provided guidance, support, encouragement and much needed humour as I’ve navigated my career. He has given me feedback on my skills and on-the-job performance – something we all need but so rarely receive. It has been immensely reassuring and a great source of strength to know that someone as competent and intelligent as he would back me in my own career. Most recently, his encouragement to think beyond my own horizons about my career led me to ask for (and receive) the role I’m currently in.

In our modern world we build structures, programmes and services to fulfil functions that traditionally would have been provided via families and communities (think elderly visiting programmes and mentoring services). Recently I was a mentor on such a programme for a Women in Business undergrad at the University of Auckland. We formed a close and what I hope is lifelong connection with each other, and in fact I’m sure my mentee taught me more than I did her! 

But the value of informal mentoring can’t be understated. The moments, like that with my colleague; or the enduring connections like that with my ex-manager, where an interest is taken an in another’s growth and development.

My own informal mentors are as humble as each other, and likely underestimate the impact of their investment. But taking time out of your busy life to see another person – to offer your observations, insights and encouragement – can have a profound effect. 

Who can you thank for the investment, small or large, that they’ve made into your development? And how can you take a moment to pass that down the ladder to someone else?

Arohanui to the wise mentors of our world. x

An ode to mentors

Find your freakin’ JOY!

Every second Wednesday I show up to a community hall where 99% of people are strangers. The lights go off, and I dance like a crazy woman for an hour. 

It has been a tough winter away from home and I’ve clung to moments of joy as I’ve found them. This little community hall is the one place where I get completely out of my head and wrapped up in the moment. A rapturous smile spreads across my face as soon as the first tune comes on. It lights up my entire body and soul. I remind myself to go as absolutely crazy as I like, to bust out as many wild moves as I can… nobody cares. Nobody is watching.

There is definitely no talent here* and I absolutely couldn’t care less. Everyone around me is immersed in their own little dancing in the dark world too. 

This is liberating. It feels fucking amazing. On the occasion I start thinking again, or getting hung up on my day, I close my eyes, connect with the beat once more, and go even deeper into my all-consuming dancing world. The one train of thought I allow is about the blog post I’ll write – because JOY is so damn important. Our wellbeing is the foundation of our lives. And it’s so easy to deprioritise when we get wrapped up in thinking, doing, pushing and striving every day. 

The lights come on, and I go home. I leave feeling alive, liberated and laughing. If this was a compulsory activity in every community I swear to you that our collective wellbeing would jump up a notch. 

So please, get amongst something that lights you up from the inside out this week. Even it’s just for 60 seconds. Embrace that you are seeking joy simply for joy’s sake. There needs to be no other purpose. 

* except when Hammer time comes on, signature move…

Find your freakin’ JOY!

Seeing our stories


I’ve long intellectually understood the difference between listening to your head versus listening to your heart but I heard an interesting way of feeling the difference recently. When you are trying to listen to your heart, or truth, or your wisdom or intuition – whatever you may call it – you’re listening for something that arises below your neck.

Everything above it is your head talking. Your thinking brain, your monkey mind… the incessant stream of noise and thoughts that we (particularly Westerners) are overly identified with. We think we are our thoughts. We think our thoughts are reality.

Our heads, our thinking brains, provide an immensely useful tool when used quite deliberately. But they are also responsible for:

  • overthinking
  • analysing
  • worrying
  • projecting
  • dwelling in the past or the future
  • repeating our default stories about ourselves and our lives
  • keeping us small, limited or stuck.

I’ve been practicing tuning into the space ‘below my neck’ recently as part of a new course I’m doing – this has shown me exactly how ridiculously noisy and controlling my head actually is. Somehow for the really big decisions (buying a house, moving cities, countries or even relationships), my intuition bubbles up and I trust it enough to lead the way. But day to day I find my brain a lot more convincing.

One of the biggest insights I’ve had is about the default stories we carry around about ourselves, and the huge role these play in keeping us small, limited, or stuck. These are the stories we all have, that we probably formed about ourselves when we were very young, that have over time become our ‘truth’. They are firmly stored in the recesses of our minds, but have a huge impact on our current beliefs, mindset and behaviour.

Here’s a really common one. Think about those group situations where everyone is asked to draw something. Guaranteed at least half the room will start expressing how they can’t draw, how they’ve ‘never been artistic’. I know this because I used to say it about myself. Now I’m really fascinated noticing all the people around me with the same story. It feels a lot different to let go of that story about yourself and just get on with drawing a picture. This is a pretty harmless story in the scheme of things, but it illustrates the point.

Here are some other examples:

  • I’m useless with money
  • Relationships are always so painful
  • I struggle to make new friends
  • I’m not manager material
  • I never have good luck with x/y/z

Stories can be positive, too. Think about those things that seem to come effortlessly to you. Some have struggle after struggle with money but sail through other parts of their lives. Others experience golden success in their careers but have limiting stories about relationships.

The point about our stories is that whether positive or negative, we’ll keep attracting things that reinforce them. Think about a little kid who believes he’s terrible at rugby. What would his mindset be like going into a game? What about his actions? How would that contrast with a kid who believes he plays pretty well?

And fast forward a few (or more) decades – why would it be any different for you, with the unconscious stories that drive your deep beliefs, mindset, and behaviour?

Can you identify at least one of yours?  Your stories are more than likely things you actually believe about yourself, and would have a hard time being unconvinced of. That’s the whole point – you take these stories as truths. You’ve carried them for a very long time.

Recognising our default stories is half the battle. Then comes the hard work of choosing to reframe them. Coaching can really help with this. It’s not enough to simply keep reacting to or trying to change our external environment. If we want sustainable change, we also need to address what lies underneath our experiences in the external world: changing our internal world is the big game.  

Seeing our stories

What are your building blocks?

New Picture (5)

In my health promotion days, I worked with student health teams, using Te Whare Tapa Whā to explore the four dimensions of health. We considered how, when one or more walls were out of order, our house (i.e. our health) was less strong. It couldn’t hold us up so well.

In a similar way, I’ve been pondering the idea that we each have a pyramid of wellbeing. It’s made up of building blocks: individual actions, practices and beliefs that combined, give us our own unique foundation of wellbeing.

Wellbeing: the state of being comfortable, healthy, or happy.

Feeling out of kilter is a trigger to check in with ourselves: which of the building blocks have fallen by the wayside? What do we need to attend to, to return to balance?

Having a sense of wellbeing – feeling good from the inside out – is more in our control than we realise. You just need to know what your building blocks are. This might sound incredibly simple, and obvious. But when is the last time you really checked in with yourself? When is the last time you made a conscious decision to prioritise your own wellbeing?

Shortly after I had a car accident (aka wakeup call) a few years back, I realised I couldn’t hold onto my sanity at the pace I was going. Work trumped all: time with friends and family, my health, relationships, exercise… I was running on coffee and adrenalin, and the relentless pursuit of getting on top of my emails. I’d stay up late often, tackling projects I perceived as more important than rest. And every day, repeat. In truth, ‘chasing busy’ all the time was a distraction. It meant I could avoid the spaces in my life I didn’t want to face.

Wellbeing, to me, meant re-learning the basics. What actions, practices and beliefs supported me to feel good in my mind and body?

It meant learning to notice what a sense of balance felt like, and how that compared to its opposite – stress.

In the pyramid below are some of my building blocks. The bottom layer shows the absolute essentials. When I’m feeling out of sorts – which might show up as being overly stressed, tired, grumpy or down for no particular reason, chances are I’m not getting enough sleep – or I haven’t got any exercise lately, or I haven’t checked in with my peeps. 

The next layers up are some nice to haves – I need these in my life to feel good, but they don’t have to happen every week. They give me an extra boost, and help keep me sane in the longer-term.

WB pyramid

Without wellbeing, we have very little. It’s the foundation we each need to be our best in the world. 

What does it feel like for you to be rushing all the time? To be chasing your tail? To have to remind yourself that sometimes it’s okay to stop, and breathe?

And how would it be to:

  • Give your full attention to something?
  • Feel resilient, that you can cope with whatever life throws your way? 
  • Make decisions from a place of calm?
  • Be clearer in your thinking and communication with others? 
  • Have more presence for the important people in your life? 
  • Get a little more satisfaction out of each day?

WB pyramid blank 2

Have a crack at completing the pyramid, and check in with yourself every now and then. Your future self will be glad you did.

What are your building blocks?

So, what is coaching?

Coaching is a rich and wonderful discipline, but commonly misunderstood. So I want to explain what coaching is, how it’s distinct from other disciplines like mentoring and therapy, what people commonly bring to coaching and the ingredients needed for success.

The International Coach Federation (ICF) defines coaching as ‘partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximise their personal and professional potential’. It’s about working alongside people to achieve changes that are important to them. Of course, making change is never as straightforward as just implementing a solid action plan. We humans are complex beings, so it’s crucial that we first look to understand ourselves, get clear about what’s most important to us, and address any barriers that might be holding us back. Ultimately, coaching is very much focused on maximising our potential.

Isn’t it just a type of mentoring? Or therapy?

Coaching has clear distinctions from other disciplines like mentoring and therapy. Mentoring usually involves a more experienced person training or advising a less experienced person in a particular subject area. Therapy tends to focus on addressing problems from the past. Both are very valuable disciplines in their own right, however coaching is different altogether.

In coaching, we look towards the future rather than the past – considering who you need to be, and what actions you can take now in order to achieve your potential and become the best version of yourself.

Coaching is founded on the premise that people are inherently whole and already possess the answers they need. My job as a coach is not to give you advice or tell you what’s best (as if I could possibly know that for you!). What I will do is help enable you to discover what you really want, create awareness around what might be holding you back, and design and implement a roadmap to get there. If it sounds like a linear process, it’s not! If achieving the changes we desire was as easy as following through on a logical plan, you probably would’ve done it by now. I will also offer you my observations as you journey through the coaching process, and appropriate challenge too – coaching is as much about reflecting and learning as it is about taking action.

What might I bring to coaching?

The possibilities for coaching are infinite. Anywhere you see an opportunity for change or improvement, coaching can assist. You may bring something specific (improve my communication skills at work, or plan my next career move) or more general (things could be better in my life and/or work, but I don’t know where to start). The beauty of coaching is that it is not a rigid process – we work with exactly where you’re at, provided that you bring the right ingredients for success. More on that shortly.

Want more of an idea about what coaching can do for you? Here are a few examples where it could help:

  • I want to feel more satisfied at work, but am unsure how
  • I’ve got heaps of things I want to achieve, but struggle to prioritise them
  • I know I’m not living up to my potential but I don’t know where to start
  • My priorities are out of sync and I need some help to get them in order
  • I want to do more meaningful work that’s better aligned with my values
  • I need to find a way to become more resilient in life and work
  • I’m juggling a million balls in the air and I need help simplifying my life
  • I’ve reached a certain point in my career and am unsure of my next step
  • I had some challenging feedback at work recently and I want to explore it further
  • I want to improve my leadership skills so I can be more effective at work
  • I’m feeling stuck with where I’m currently at in life, but don’t know how to get unstuck.

And the list goes on. The possibilities are endless.

Ingredients for success

In my view, there are two crucial ingredients needed for coaching to have a successful outcome. The first, which is inseparable from success is the approach and attitude the client brings.

You must be prepared to take responsibility for your own success. Coaching is not for excuse-makers. You simply cannot achieve change without a healthy dose of courage, determination and openness. And I don’t say that naively. I understand firsthand how challenging it can be (and continues to be!) to step outside my comfort zone, overcome the barriers in my way, and particularly, commit to taking full responsibility for myself.

Coaching can be uncomfortable, frustrating and challenging. You need to be motivated towards your own success, and shouldn’t come to coaching expecting someone to fix you or tell you what path to follow.

Be willing to invest time, energy and effort both during and after the coaching sessions. Coaching is a commitment to yourself, and you get out what you put in.

What you should expect is to form a partnership with someone who will support you, challenge you, and invest wholeheartedly in your success. Isn’t that a wonderful opportunity?

The second crucial ingredient is the partnership and dynamic that is created between the coach and client. This is why it’s essential to find someone you feel comfortable with, supported by, and able to trust. Don’t be afraid to shop around to find someone who is right for you, as it’ll have a big impact on what you get out of the process.

As a client myself, I have experienced coaching with several different coaches – each with a distinctive approach. Some women, some men. Some who had an explicit focus on work, others who took a more holistic view. Some based within my organisation, others working independently. Some who had a fixed programme and toolkit to work through in a series of sessions, others who were more flexible and happy to work with whatever was ‘on top’ for me that day.

Most resonated for me, but some more than others, for instance in the degree to which I could be honest and completely myself. You can imagine how this might have influenced the outcome, and how it might do so in the same circumstances for you.

An effective coach has the capability to be fully present with their client, to listen to with their ‘eyes, ears and gut’, to be curious about their client’s experience, to put aside any of their own judgements or preferences, and to ask powerful questions that support their client’s development.

When talking at length about coaching recently with a fellow coach and friend, we agreed that at its foundation, coaching is about being present, building trust, listening deeply and non-judgementally, and reflecting back in order to support that person’s development. It’s not rocket science – but it is a rare set of acts in today’s world.

Think about what that experience might feel like for a moment. How often do you feel completely heard? How often do you have dedicated, exclusive space with someone who is focused purely on you? 

More often than not, I’m met with curiosity and interest when I tell people I’m starting out in coaching. It’s interesting to hear how many people are intrigued by the topic and have wanted to look into it further. I hope this post has helped shed a little bit of light on a topic that is very close to my heart. It may have even helped you consider where coaching could be beneficial for you. Trust me when I say that I believe coaching has the potential to add immense value for just about anyone.

But after all, what unfolds in the coaching process is unique for every person, and there’s nothing like experiencing it firsthand to understand its own unique brand of magic for you. I’ve chosen this field because I know firsthand how truly transformative it can be and I’m so enthusiastic about giving others that opportunity. Life and work can unfold in the most glorious and unexpected ways by partnering with someone who wants to see you succeed.

I always welcome feedback on these posts! And you can contact me here if you’re keen to find out more.

P.S. Here’s a great little read on the gift of presence if you’re interested. 

So, what is coaching?

Why coaching?

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been fixated by the idea of finding my calling. Around age 20 I bought a book called ‘Finding your own North Star’, which was all about finding a pathway in life that was right for you. It has been really important to me to find meaningful work and live a life that is in line with my own values.  Now here I am, three-quarters of the way through a professional coaching qualification, and working towards a career and life that has a strong coaching component.

Looking back, it would seem an obvious choice: I grew up wanting to be a ‘psychologist’, since I was young I’ve gravitated towards books and magazines about personal development and understanding what makes people tick, I have a degree in psychology, trained as a Kids Line counsellor, I read countless articles on facebook about resilience and wellbeing, and I’ve always been a more natural listener than talker.

I’m also really fortunate to have received coaching from four different coaches, in different contexts so far in my career. As a result, I firmly believe that providing staff with work-related coaching opportunities is one of the greatest investments an employer can make in its people.

Coaching lights a fire in my bones. I absolutely love it and am incredibly grateful to be creating a career that is so rich with meaning. So many of us (who are in the privileged position of having choice in our lives) crave this. I credit coaching for helping me get clarity about what I want to do, and crucially, for helping me gain the necessary self-belief and flexibility of mindset. Having got to this point feels like magic to me – and that’s the essence of what coaching can create.

Honestly,  experiencing first-hand how transformative coaching can be is what motivates me to become a coach. I want others to know that big shifts are possible for them too – and I want others to have the opportunity that I’ve had.

Bear with me if you’re still a bit hazy on what exactly coaching is. I’m keen to explain that further in another post. For now, I’ll illustrate four features of coaching, drawing upon my own experiences as a coaching client.

Asking powerful questions. Good coaches ask powerful questions of their clients. Powerful questions have the ability to transform your perspective.

I was in a job I loved, that was highly satisfying, and was working with people I adored. I was also pretty tired from the huge workload. But I didn’t actually want to leave. My coach asked a simple, but powerful question: ‘do you see yourself still here in five years?’.  This question really got under my skin. I had a strong, instant reaction – I knew I wouldn’t be there in five years. The question helped me connect to my future self.  It was a trigger for a different way of thinking that saw me eventually moving to a completely different industry.

Shifting perspective. Coaching provides the opportunity to shift your perspective – it helps you ‘see into yourself’, and uncover unconscious ways of thinking or behaving that might be holding you back. It’s almost like holding up a mirror – a coach will reflect back their insights based on what they see, hear, and sense from you – things you may or may not be able to see yourself.  

Last year, I was feeling overwhelmed and emotionally ‘heavy’ from my work environment. My coach helped me consider whether there might be a different way of doing life at work. Maybe I could choose to think about decisions that were made and conversations that were had more objectively, less personally. I’ve tried this on for size, and it’s something I’m keen to stick with because it saves me a hell of a lot of energy.  

The areas we struggle most with, whether at work or in our wider lives, give us clues for where we might benefit from a shift in perspective. There’s a saying… ‘where you stumble, there lies your treasure’. Are you curious about what your stumbling blocks could teach you?

Creating strategies. One of my biggest self-development challenges is perfectionism. This probably reached a peak whilst studying at university, but the demands of work meant I had to start learning to accept things done ‘good enough’. Nonetheless, many of the patterns continued in my working (and personal) life. I learned the hard way that perfectionism + a job with significant responsibility + a programme of work I felt really passionate about was a recipe for exhaustion. But looking back, it wasn’t until I received coaching at work that I really started to become aware of this issue and how much it was holding me back. My coach could clearly see these tendencies in me, and helped me identify my own strategies to manage it effectively.


Fast forward a couple of years and I rarely, if ever, take my day job home. Assignments are done well, but I don’t fret over them, because I know there is an opportunity cost – I miss out on other bits of life.  I now have an inbuilt radar that detects when my perfectionist tendencies are taking over (like when I’m spending too many hours on a particular task, or I’m feeling particularly ‘stuck’ with something). This is a signal to me to take a step back, mix up what I’m doing (go for a walk or bounce some ideas off a colleague) and refocus on what is most important. Probably the biggest indicator of how far I’ve come is captured in one of my coaching business principles: ‘prototype, not perfection’. Quite simply, I will learn by doing, rather than becoming paralysed trying to perfect things (like this post, for instance).    

I owe these remarkable shifts in my own development to coaching. It is possible to change unuseful patterns!

Having someone on your side. And finally, one of the most heartwarming things about coaching is not only having a trusted confidante, a voice of reason, and someone who is willing to constructively challenge you, but having the experience of someone who is always in your corner.  A coach has your back and wants you to succeed.  They don’t see you as a problem to be ‘fixed’ –  a key tenet of coaching is that people are inherently whole.  Having an objective person standing firmly in your corner helps you believe in yourself – and in your innate capabilities, strengths, and uniqueness.  In turn, this helps you stand more firmly in your own corner, more of the time.  

In my next post, I plan to talk about what coaching actually is, and what you can expect as a client.  If there are particular topics you’d like to see in future, please contact me – I’d love to hear from you.

Why coaching?