07 Aug, 2012
Coach In The Spotlight – Di Woolloff
What brought you to coaching?
Most of my working life has been spent as a Civil Servant in various management posts but a common thread throughout was working with, and developing, people from community leaders to fellow civil servants and other professionals.
I have always been a great believer in the power of coaching and over the years have seen how it can help people unleash their potential and surprise themselves and others with their achievements!
What were you original thoughts for applying for the coaching? I went along to the 2 day Coaching Academy course as I had been offered voluntary redundancy and hoped the course would help me in my personal decision making. In the event it did much more than that.
I saw that here was an opportunity to develop my coaching skills and turn my passion into a new career. The enthusiasm and professionalism of the presenters during the 2 days really impressed and I decided to sign up for the Personal Performance Diploma.
Which bits did you enjoy the most?
The day the box arrived was exciting and a bit daunting! I had previously completed a MBA via distance learning and knew that for me I really thrive on attending and participating in `live’ events so signed up for the majority of the accelerator days.
Knowing that I had deadlines to get course work in by helped me to maintain momentum. I found the standard of presentation at the weekends of the highest quality with lots of tips and tools that I would not have picked up through the written material alone.
Other trainee coaches at the accelerator days became good friends, helping me with co-coaching as well as providing a mutual support network.
How did the qualification slot in with your current life?
Just after I started the coaching diploma I accepted the offer of voluntary redundancy and was offered training to become a NLP Practitioner too. At that time I was part of the Management team leading on the closure of my office, helping to relocate around 180 staff.
It was a very hectic period but the NLP course complemented the coaching training so whilst challenging in terms of volume of work it was good to take the two courses together. The situation at work meant I had plenty of volunteers looking for coaching and it was great to be able to apply my learning to a very real situation and see that I could make a difference.
What did you find the most interesting to learn?
The work around values and beliefs – particularly relevant in a redundancy situation where people doubt their ability to find new employment or move into a new direction. I also like the flexibility of the Wheel of Life as it can be adapted to a number of scenarios eg Wheel of work, wheel of leadership, wheel of management etc.
What was the most rewarding part of the journey?
Completing the training within the deadline I had set myself and getting a distinction!
Where are you now? How are you using your coaching skills?
I qualified at the end of last year and now focus on career coaching (including job hunting, confidence building, personal performance development) and retirement planning. Getting my first `real’ client was very exciting and came through someone I worked with in the past.
For me I have come to realise the importance of networking in generating leads. Another opportunity came from an ex-colleague with her own consultancy company who asked me to work with her as an associate. I also do voluntary work with people on a 1:1 basis and apply my coaching skills here too.
In these relatively early days I would say that up to 80% of my working time is focussed on promoting and marketing my business, something which is quite new to me and not entirely within my comfort zone. A real opportunity to apply all that learning around limiting beliefs to myself!
What is the best thing that could happen within the next 2 years?
I would love to have established my business to the point where I can work 2 or 3 days a week to get the life work balance I am looking for.
What is your favourite coaching question? It is really 2 questions –
What would happen if you did this? (reached your goal)
What would happen if you didn’t?
What do you enjoy most about being a coach?
Seeing people realise they can (and do) achieve so much more than they first thought.
People who are looking at coaching? Think about your personal motivation for becoming a coach – the training is time intensive but it is such a fantastic learning experience.
Coaches currently in training? Keep on top of the paper work. It is easy to get carried away with the excitement of the coaching and the learning but qualifying is easier if you document everything as you go along. Book your first assessed interview early in the process.
I was dreading this but the feedback was invaluable and gave me both enormous confidence that I was on the right lines as well as practical advice about how I could improve further.
Coaches that are about to qualify? Qualification is the beginning not the end! Think about how you are going to use your coaching qualifications – particularly if you are looking to set up your own business. Work on your elevator pitch and become confident at telling people what you do, you never know where your next lead may come from.
A member of my support group videoed us presenting our pitches which was a bit scary but a great way to fine tune our `scripts’. Finally look to continue the learning process – I put aside half a day a week to research around my topic and attend learning events around both Coaching and NLP.
People that are in a similar situation to yourself?
Network, network, network! Look for opportunities to promote your business but also to listen to what people want.