Interviewed by The Coaching Academy – Coach in the Spotlight
Here is my interview for The Coaching Academy’s “Coach In the Spotlight” blog series. Very happy to be invited to take part.
Claire Griffin shares with us her story of becoming a professional coach.
What brought you to coaching?
As recruiter for the advertising and marketing industry I’ve worked in the people business for most of my career. Over the course of 20 years I’ve listened to literally hundreds of people talk about their jobs, their career goals and their personal goals and aspirations. I’ve also worked with clients up to CEO level and heard many of them identify the same challenges and concerns they experience in growing and sustaining growth in their businesses. For some time I had been wanting to offer more than recruitment consultancy, and I realised that my interest lay in helping people build careers and businesses which are more in tune with the positive values they hold as people. And also helping them create a level of balance and happiness at work which in turn creates better places to work in. Completing an MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction) Meditation course in 2013 and continuing with my own daily meditation practice helped me clarify my thinking around what I wanted to do and confirmed to me that I definitely wanted to explore other ways of working with clients. I attended the Coaching Academy 2 Day Cert course in June 2013 and knew straight away it was what I had been looking for.
What did you find most interesting to learn?
I found the whole course really interesting from the very beginning – but possibly one of the most interesting learnings for me was the fact that beliefs are not facts, and we can change our beliefs if we choose to. This was a revelation to me! Also learning new listening skills has been hugely beneficial to me – not just in coaching but in my professional and personal life in general.
What was the most rewarding part of the training/journey?
I found the practice coaching sessions very rewarding – the first time a coaching client said to me at the end of a session “When you asked me that question it suddenly felt as if something had shifted” it was a major moment for me as well as for the client.
Which bits did you enjoy the most?
The Accelerator Days were always very enjoyable – not just for the content and the quality of the speakers but because it was so invaluable to meet up with other trainee coaches. I also really enjoyed doing my co-coaching with 2 of the other trainees I met on those days and having coaching buddies who stayed with me throughout the course was very motivating.
How did the qualification slot in with your current life?
Because I work for myself I was able to make the practice coaching sessions part of my week-day work schedule and use the weekends and evenings for completing the Modules and of course the Accelerator Days.
What else did you have to consider whilst qualifying?
I had to keep the same level of revenue coming in from my recruitment business which meant balancing my time and my focus to make sure that happened. I was also in the process of buying a new house and moving during the course so plenty going on!
How are you using your coaching skills?
I currently have paying clients who have all come to me because they know me from my recruitment business. I am coaching them around Performance at work and Career Direction and of course coaching around other areas like confidence and stress management as part of that. I’m also doing pro-bono practice sessions with the owner of a Digital Technology business and the owner of a Start-up online magazine as part of the Small Business Coaching Diploma with TCA.
What is your coaching niche and why did you choose it?
My niche is coaching people in the Digital Industry. I enjoy working with people in this industry and I already have a network of people who I’ve worked with as a recruiter so it just made sense. I also think that because of the particular nature of the digital industry – it’s incredible fast moving and there can be a lot of excitement in it but a lot of stress too – that people in it can benefit hugely from having coaching support.
What is the best thing that could happen to your coaching business in the next 2 years?
I’ve got a good reputation as a coach, a diary full of coaching sessions & workshops and some online products which are also bringing in revenue. I’m earning a living doing something I love.
What is your favorite coaching question?
“If you could be/have this now would you take it?” Great for helping clients really get clear and can uncover any secret doubts or limiting beliefs which might get in the way of them achieving the goal.
What do you enjoy most about being a coach?
The interaction with my clients and the fact that coaching helps people feel better as well as do better– it is very fulfilling to be able to offer that. What are your top tips for: People who are looking at coaching? Go to the TCA 2 Day Cert course. It’s a great way of seeing what coaching is all about.
Those coaches currently in training?
Take on practice clients as soon as you can – there is no substitute for actually getting out there and doing it! Also I know it’s been said before but you really do need to complete the Learning Records Sheets after each coaching session as you go along – it’s going to accelerate your learning and make the difference when you coach that person next time.
Coaches that are about to qualify?
When you are starting your coaching business keep referring back to Kris’s blog post “Why Coaches Aren’t More Successful” for the 10 main things NOT to do – I guarantee you’ll recognize yourself somewhere on the list (I did!) and you can then set the goals you need to in order to change the things that are holding you back.
People that are in a similar situation to yourself?
Hire an experienced coach to work with you. I’d also say consider getting a coaching supervisor when you have your 1st couple of paying clients so you can keep improving your coaching skills at an accelerated rate (remembering that word of mouth recommendation from your existing clients is the best way to get more clients). Keep reading coaching blogs, books, looking at TCA webinars, going to training days -anything you can to continue your professional development. And once you decide who your ideal client is, go to events where you know you will meet them. Get your “Elevator Pitch” ready!