This News Article Changed My Life Forever!

It's International Coaching Week and I thought I'd tell you the story of how finding and working with great coaches completely transformed my life.

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, it was summer (because it was still light)  and while I usually read a book on the train, I had put it away and was 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 went looking for a coach, specifically one who had been 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.  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 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 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, 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!

Photo by Justin Veenema on Unsplash


business coaching, career coaching, chris barrow, coach, coaching, inspiration, international coach federation, judith morgan, life coaching, motivation, rachel turner, success coaching

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