Having introduced myself to Vision Foundation’s community in November 2021, where I shared my story of founding Balance with Becca, a Transformational Coaching business, I have since had the pleasure of coaching Kerry Firth through my Introduction to Transformational Life and Wellness Coaching programme. It has been such a pleasure because I’ve enjoyed each session with Kerry more than the last. Her commitment and openness, having not had a coach before, was wonderful; creating a fantastically collaborative environment for us to both work in. In this article I will explain more about what is involved in life coaching and give you an insight into the wonderful progress that Kerry has been able to make through our continued work together.
Kerry and I were introduced by Vision Foundation whilst Kerry was volunteering for the charity. Following an impressive academic career, obtaining two degrees and a PhD in music, last year Kerry decided that she wanted to move in to permanent employment rather than pursuing a career as a freelance, professional musician. She was supporting VF on a voluntary basis to gain some varied professional experience before applying for full time roles.
This is where Balance with Becca and I come into Kerry’s story. Vision Foundation and I proposed the idea of us working together to Kerry, offering to support her with her journey to permanent employment. Our aim was to create a space for her to explore her current goals around what she wanted to pursue professionally and how to remain motivated as a visually impaired jobseeker in a challenging market. Kerry was open to the idea, however, she had some reservations:
“Having never participated in life coaching before, I initially thought I would have nothing to offer. I was a little worried about how personal the conversation might be, or how much I would have to open up, having never really done this before.”
We first had an informal chat, known in the coaching world as a ‘discovery call’. These calls cover a range of topics, offering:
• A chance for the coach and prospective client to get to know one another a little better.
• A first-hand experience of coaching for the prospective client.
• The opportunity to ask any questions or raise any concerns that they may have around the process.
• An opportunity for the coach to clarify what exactly coaching is and is not.
• A safe space for the coach to get an understanding of what the prospective client would want to work on during coaching sessions.
My discovery calls last 30 minutes and with Kerry this flew by because our connection was almost instantaneous. I was really looking forward to pursuing our coaching sessions, should Kerry agree, as I got a sense that Kerry would be receptive to my intuitive coaching style. However, this is not always the case and that is why discovery calls are so important for both coach and client. Due to the nature of coaching, you must be able to trust the person you are working with fully to make the most of your time together.
Having now worked with Kerry for the past three months, I was thrilled to hear Kerry’s feedback:
“Before starting sessions with Becca, I was quite unsure what to expect. I even felt a little nervous, as I guess I’m not so used to opening up. Soon into our first session, however, my worries had pretty much vanished. We met via Zoom, and Becca was extremely welcoming and very open to questions. In our sessions we talked about all sorts of things: daily routines, how I negotiate certain aspects and barriers related to my visual impairment, and much more. I always went away from sessions feeling energised and much more confident in myself. I now feel significantly more motivated in my day-to-day life, and feel more equipped to tackle certain issues and challenges.”
Kerry and I would either meet on a weekly or bi-weekly basis due to bouts of illness, a festive period and ‘life stuff’ happening along the way. When working with clients, I always advise that it’s imperative that we stick to regular sessions in order to maintain momentum and consistency as well as building a routine together.
Sometimes, ‘life happens’ and as a people-focused professional, I always take this into account. Ultimately, where consistency and commitment is maintained is where you can see the most transformational shifts.
When developing a coaching session, each one is as unique as your fingerprint. However, I follow a loose structure of:
• Ideal outcome
…as prescribed by the ICF, however due to my intuitive nature, I am always following my gut; asking inquisitive and often challenging questions. Sessions last between 45 minutes to an hour and often amazing things can happen when you (as a coach) create a safe and supportive space for your client to think and wonder around their current paradigms, occasionally reflecting their thoughts or observing their behaviours to inform their thinking.
“Becca’s coaching style really put me at ease, and she asked the right questions and struck a balance that really allowed me to explore different aspects of my day-to-day life. Her motivational way of speaking, and her reassurances when I felt unsure about what to say, or when I didn’t quite understand what she was asking, really helped me to get the most out of the sessions. I particularly enjoyed how energised I would feel by the end of each session.”
Together, Kerry and I explored her perceived challenges around employment as a visually impaired person and explored how creating routine during the application stage could ensure a sense of accomplishment on a daily basis. We developed bespoke strategies for Kerry to capture daily wins and to capitalise on the positive mindset she had created in our sessions through my questioning and probing, around her ideas and goals. In our third session we took time to reflect on how far she had come from when we first started working together which reinforced the different strategies and techniques and how they were having a positive impact on her world.
It is with a great deal of joy that I can write that Kerry is Vision Foundation’s new Grants Officer, having interviewed for this position whilst we have been working together.
Life coaching can be a catalyst for change for anyone; whether you have full vision, partial sight loss or are completely blind. If there is an element of your life that you want to change and are willing to put in some hard work and often enlightening self-reflection, whilst being supported by a trained professional, then the possibilities are endless.
I am currently growing my coaching practice so if you’d like to connect, please reach out via firstname.lastname@example.org and if you’re ready to hop on a discovery call you can do so by following this link.