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Coach In The Spotlight - Carol Skolimowski

My journey to becoming a successful coach started back in 2005, while considering what options I had for creating a different lifestyle to the one I had then. I was successful, working in Supply Chain Management for GlaxoSmithKline, travelling the world, leading major change projects and found myself at a point where I knew things had to change. When I say change, I mean for me personally, it was time to do something that gave me time to do some of things I missed, such as reading, studying and just being with friends and family.

I considered a number of options, the wild card being a ski instructor, but the thing I kept coming back to was coaching. Friends and colleagues had more faith than I did, that I had a natural aptitude for coaching and could make a success out of it. In 2006 the decision was made by an offer from Leadership Trust to join them as an associate Leadership Coach. I had a long relationship with Leadership Trust having worked as a Tutor (team coach) on a number of their programmes over the years, so this just seemed like a natural extension.

You could say the rest is history, but having trained as a Leadership Coach it took another couple of years before I felt confident that I was making a difference and enabling my clients to move forward and develop their leadership skills. 2008 was a busy year and I was conscious of applying my learnings, using the CLEAR model, thinking about client’s “Maps of the World” and actually getting deeper into the Leadership Models I had been using for several years.

Early in 2009, I started to think about Coaching as a business and making it the part time occupation that I needed to pay the bills and that led me to think about the different types of coaching and a niche market. In addition I felt a need to continue my development in Coaching and in the summer of 2009 I attended a 2 day course at the The Coaching Academy. I enjoyed the approach and the trainers and took the opportunity to sign up for The Diploma in Small Business Coaching as well as a Diploma in Corporate and Executive Coaching. Adding the GOAL model to the frameworks I was already using was useful and filled in some gaps in my thinking.

The big thing for me though, was discovering my interest in Small Business and how its values and dynamics fitted the way I like to coach, to see quick results, and take a holistic approach looking at both the person and the activities. As a practical person, practising coaching alongside the theory was a great way of learning and reflecting back using Case Studies for my Diploma was really rewarding. I started in September 2009 and gave myself a year. However by June of 2010 it was clear I was going to need to step up the pace and use my own coach to get everything done and complete. In the end it took a couple months longer, but it felt worth it.

For the last year I have focussed my marketing on Small Business Owners, in particular those that deliver a Profession such as Accountancy, Law or Optometry while running their own business. I have often noted the challenge that business owners face getting the balance right between what they are trained to do and what they need to do to be successful in business. I still work as a Leadership Coach, but the Business Coach side of my business is growing.

For me my favourite coaching question is the one that enables the light bulb moment, the point when something changes and enables the client to move forward. Consequently it is hard to have one favourite as the point when this happens in coaching is so different with every client and situation.

I enjoy being a coach as it gives me a great mental challenge, I can’t just listen and make the odd comment, I need to be watching, listening and piecing all the bits together, making sense of conversations and steering the client towards the clarity they are seeking. I want the questions I ask to have impact and inspire people to take the actions that move them towards their goal.

If you are considering Coaching, think about whether you are a Coach or a Consultant, an asker or a teller. If you like to share your knowledge and give advice, coaching isn’t for you. If you like to listen and challenge peoples thinking to enable them to make the right changes for them, then take up Coaching.

If you are training as a Coach, make lots of new mistakes, push the boundaries.

If you are about to qualify, think about how you want to work as a Coach, for yourself and all that entails in running your own business, or as an Associate.

The key priority for me now and for others that are past the first period of enthusiasm, is to keep things fresh, to challenge myself to keep moving forwards.

The best thing that could happen to my coaching business in the next two years is to combine the Corporate and Small Business elements and land a contract supporting a chain of business, all with their unique operating unit. The first step is to change this statement from being a dream to a goal!

Carol Skolimowski

2 Responses to "Coach In The Spotlight – Carol Skolimowski"

1 | Ross Miller

August 4th, 2011 at 9:32 am

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It is great to hear that not only are you talking the talk, yet more importantly choose to walk the walk everyday.

I am in the very early stages of coaching having read many books in this field and recently booked my self onto my first real coaching weekend that I shall undertake later this month.

Your journey is an inspiration as well as serving to give me great confidence in believing coaching may very well be my calling. Good luck in all you do and I hope at some point our paths will cross.

Regards

Ross Miller

2 | Annette Ecuyere

August 8th, 2011 at 9:39 am

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I am transfering my skills from training/lecturing where I use many coaching skills and also found this useful. It has clarity about Carol’s thinking that has helped me ask some important questions for myself.
Change is always on the edge of scary/exciting and I waver from side to side along the journey. Looking to my strengths and my rationale behind the journey helps.

Thanks

Annette Ecuyere

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