The News Article That Changed My Life

I thought I'd tell you the story of how finding out about coaching, then how working with great coaches completely transformed my life.  Scroll down for the deets about me and my experience etc.

I first read about 'life coaching' in the Evening Standard newspaper back in 1998/9. I was sitting on the right hand side of the train carriage, in the aisle seat.  I travelled for over an hour and a half to London every day, leaving my small children asleep in the care of their Dad, coming  back (if I was lucky) just as they are getting a bedtime story.

I remember it must have been Summer (because it was still light)  and while I usually read a book on the train, I had put it away and was idly flicking through the paper while alert, waiting to stand up for my stop. 

The article talked about life coaching, but specifically in context of your career, and after a year of commuting, while reading ‘7 Habits Of Highly Effective People’ I was ready for a change.  I loved my job and my boss, Bennie Gray, but my dream was to take my fledgling online business forward to the next level and I knew I needed help to do it.

I desperately wanted to work from home again.

Nicola with Phoebe & Nelson in her beloved Greece

So I went looking for a coach, specifically an entrepreneurial coach, one who had been successful in the music industry.

I reached out to the organisation mentioned in the article, the ICF or International Coach Federation to see if they knew of anyone.  Funny, I've just realised that they asked me back to give a keynote speech for them a couple of years ago!

They put me in touch with Rachel Turner, who had previously co-founded a record label, publishing company and DJ Management company, with Carl Cox, a British mega-DJ.

We talked, I gulped a bit at her fees but signed up.  I couldn't really afford it but we started work the next week.

How can I describe the coaching process so that you really understand how life-changing working with Rachel, and the coaching process in general, really was?

It absolutely changed my life for the better and, by osmosis or knock on effect, that of some of the people around me.

Imagine having a great friend in your life, one you met at college, who knows a bit about your family background but not too much, who now lives at the other end of the country (coaching is usually remotely done).  They are straight-talking, direct, kind, a bit more experienced in life and either work or business and always ‘on your side’.  They totally believe in you, your potential for greatness and they root for you every single week.

While they know a bit about you, your background and family circumstances, they focus firmly on the ‘here and now’ but also have one eye on the future.  They know a bit about human psychology, have read (listened) extensively to most of the great books about motivation, happiness, money, business or the world of work.  

A good coach will also have a number of bloody useful tools under their belt, like mental models, a bit of CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy), wealth creation and money management, and a good dose of critical thinking, theory of constraints techniques and good, old-fashioned problem-solving.  

More importantly, they have a wide network themselves and know how to help you find things out, seek out experts and move things along.

You ‘meet’ virtually once a week or fortnight, you report in on actions taken, results achieved and feelings felt.  You discuss all of those, decide on some ‘next actions’ and go off to take those.  Sometimes you get access to your coach in between by email or Whatsapp, by Zoom group call for Q&A and sometimes they have a Facebook group or membership area for clients. 

Ironically, you’ll get more done in the last hour before your next session, than you ever would working on your own.  You don’t want to look lazy and you certainly don’t want to waste your own money, so you do tend to make more effort.  I don’t like the word ‘accountability’ because it smacks of your coach being like a teacher but lots of people crave it.

If I had to sum all that up, I’d say it’s usually a mix of strategic planning, personal support & resources, peer support and yes, a bit of persoanlly driven accountability.

What you don’t do (at least not for long) is wallow in your misery.  At one point I sought out some therapy at the same time, having some emotional issues that I wanted to work on at a deeper level.  It was miserable and expensive, and I don’t think it achieved anything that I couldn’t have achieved by reading a few more targeted books.

I worked with Rachel for a couple of incredible years. She taught me so much about myself, by her artful questioning and patient silence, giving me space to think things through myself.  I came across many concepts that I’d never come across before (fluffy sock list, anyone?) and she encouraged me to train as a coach myself, which completely changed my life again.

Eventually, I moved on to work with another coach she recommended to me, Chris Barrow, who specialises in working with dentists, as I felt I needed more specific sales expertise. I didn’t, as it turns out, but working with Chris was another incredible experience (albeit very different) and grew my confidence enormously. 

Through Chris I also gained a mastermind group of other business coaches who really supported me through the next few years. One was a young internet genius, Guy Levine, who taught us all loads about marketing online.  Because they liked to get out and about to big coaching events, I ended up going to Las Vegas among other places, that I would never have done on my own.

Ironically now, Chris works with Rachel, as his coach, after I recommended him to her, many years later.

When I bought 'The Acacia' hotel 'no money down' and started The Money Gym, I met another great coach, Judith Morgan.  After coaching her for a while, I invited her to become my business partner, then we started a podcast 'Own It!' together and i got coached, indirectly, for over 250 episodes!

Since originally training with Coach-U, I have gone on to work with many hundreds of people personally, and thousands if you add in group situations. I combine a down-to-earth style and highly practical approach with occasional flashes of emotional intuition and bucketloads of creative ideas.

I hope I’ve given you a flavour of what it can be like to work with a coach, in International Coaching Week, and if you get a chance to secure a taster coaching session, grab it with both hands.  You will get enough out of one session to know if that coach is right for you.

If you’re a business owner or entrepreneur, or aspire to be one, and you'd like to talk to me and experience the magic of coaching, just book into my diary for a short complimentary session. I’m really looking forward to talking to you!

Nicola Is Always Striving To Be A Better Entrepreneur

[Prefer to watch?  Scroll down for Nicola's latest LIVE video!]

From a not very auspicious start of dead-end jobs and failed college courses, Nicola Cairncross was, only 20 or so years ago, applying for £12-14k per year secretarial jobs and had to move her whole family in with her sister in a little fisherman’s cottage in Worthing, things were so bad.

Her life had a massive turnaround due to a personal revelation, a well-timed mentor (Bennie Gray from the Space Organisation) and a book falling off a shelf in the Oxford St branch of Books Etc. That book was “Swimming With Pirahna Makes You Hungry” by best-selling author Dr Colin Turner.

Phew! Is that one great book!

She devoured it – and did all the exercises – before moving onto other greats such as “7 Habits Of Highly Effective People” by Steven Covey, “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki, “The E-Myth Revisited” by Michael Gerber and other such life & business changing tomes.

This was her real education you see, because although bright…….Nicola left school at 16 with only two skills:

* the ability to read and a love of books
* the ability to type
* the ability to market igloos to eskimos

OK, that’s three.

That proves you don’t have to be able to add up to be able to found Europe’s leading wealth creation education company The Money Gym AND become the official “Wealth Coach In Residence” for Visa International PLC and Pampers iVillage.

After this epiphany about taking responsibility for your own life and success, Nicola Cairncross trained as a coach for three years with Coach University USA, founded by the inspirational Thomas Leonard, and she is still a lifelong member of the Coachville Schools of Coaching.

She then went on to buy a half-million pound hotel in Worthing, 'no money down', called The Acacia. Nicola renovated it and opened it for the summer trade in under 12 weeks.

Simultaneously Nicola devised and launched The Money Gym coaching programme in 2002 including home study materials, one-to-one coaching calls and interactive workshops. Held in her own hotel!

The Money Gym enabled several of its clients to become millionaires and some are en-route to become multi-millionaires already. Nicola published “The Money Gym – Wealth Building Workout” in 2003 (updated 2010 after the Global Financial Crash) which is available on Amazon and in all good bookshops as they say!

Nicola was short-listed for a major Channel 4 series on entrepreneurs 'Dragon's Den' and has been screen-tested for a new Sky One TV series. She is regularly featured in the press, radio and was a guest recently on CNN Breakfast News which was broadcast worldwide.

After selling the hotel, Nicola launched a digital marketing agency for her friend Neil Asher, before creating a digital marketing agency and then her 'Extraordinary Entrepreneurs Academy'.

She is always passionate about helping other business owners in the UK recognize and maximise their full potential and value as she initially struggled with business success having started and failed at more businesses than she cares to remember!

Her twelfth book is called “A Better Entrepreneur” and it was published early 2024, getting to No 1 and No 2 in it's main Amazon Categories.  Nicola says:

“I knew I was destined for financial success but I despaired of finding it through the kind of jobs available to me. I always used to look at my pay check and think “for God’s sake, get bigger!” but I never knew how to make that happen, as they don’t teach success at school beyond the traditional routes.

And as for creating a successful business, I had even less of a clue, though I knew that was the route I wanted to go. I nearly went bust so many times, in spite of attending loads of local business seminars. It was only when I found mentors among the mega-successful, both here and abroad, that things changed for the better.

I also learned that a successful business is only one 'Lane Of The Wealth Highway', which can be teamed with property investing and traditional business, not to mention making money online, plus the stock market (both investing and trading) to create real and lasting wealth. And then came Bitcoin which changed the game again...

As well as spending time with my friends and family, I know that my mission in life is to share my business and marketing knowledge with as many entrepreneurs as possible so that they don’t have to work so hard and struggle around money (as I did) and so that they could learn how to set themselves free financially too”.

Nicola caused a sensation when she spoke at the Annual Conference of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants and started her talk by telling them she only had Grade 3 CSE maths. But she captured their attention by pointing out that she had put a £1 coin on each of their chairs and asking them if they knew how to turn that £1 into a million pounds in just 18 years?

None of them did know! So she showed them……

She speaks regularly at events such as Athena Networking Annual Conference, Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, International Coaching Federation, The Millionaire Mind, The World Internet Summit and “Inspire Scotland”, on Wealth Creation, Entrepreneurialism and Internet Marketing.

Nicola has been featured in many newspapers and magazines, including Woman & Home (Jan 2007, Duncan Bannatyne’s “The Sharp Edge” (Jan 2007), The Times, The Observer, The Mail On Sunday, The Mirror, The Scotsman, RED Magazine (many times), New Woman, Woman & Home (Aug 2006), Cosmopolitan (Feb 2007 and many other times), Elle, Marie Claire, Essentials, Top Sante, Radio 5 Live and CNN Breakfast News .

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