02 Nov, 2011
Coach In The Spotlight – Diana Smitham
I sat in my parent’s sitting room and said that I had just signed up to do a Personal Development Diploma in Life Coaching. Well, you could have said that I was about to go to the moon! They both looked at each other and waited for further information. I then went on with total conviction and enthusiasm about the seminar I had recently attended in London.
How I just KNEW that I had to do it…that it had been my light bulb moment, and that both my head and my heart had said “Go For it Girl!”
I have never looked back….and they have seen the results 18 months later to prove it.
I had come to Coaching via a new boss, who could see that I was very unhappy in life. I had been with the same company for 23 years. I had been newly divorced a few weeks before after 18 years of marriage when my ex had left his family 4 years before. I was stuck in a rut. I simply did not know how to ever get out of it. I was frightened of taking that one step forward – to move into a new gear. She thought it would do me good. Little did she know, just how much good.
A week later I took a 2 day seminar session in London with Ann Skidmore and Pam Lidford. They both totally inspired me and I knew at the end of the second day (and I am usually very cautious about spending any money that I haven’t really got to spend on myself) that I just HAD to jump off “Some Day Island”. To do something for once that would make ME happier and more confident. I also knew that ultimately it would make the children happier too.
I worked already in Sales and Marketing, so I had watched carefully what the seminar was “selling” – but quite simply and honestly it isn’t like that. It is initially all to do with YOU growing as a person, developing and ultimately leading a better quality of life.
I signed up for ME and for MY personal growth….but within a few months I had found the whole experience so powerful that I wanted passionately to help others to do the same and to become a professional Life Coach.
How was I ever to achieve this if I worked full time? I knew that some of my strengths were energy and having huge discipline. I worked out that if I did the work on my one hour commute into London and back – even if it was sometimes just reading or watching a DVD seminar, then every week, something could be done.
I worked out that I could probably only realistically do around 6 hours a week. Sometimes more, and sometimes less. It all depended on “life”. My goal was to do it and finish it in one year. When my box arrived with all the work, I felt excited and determined. Yes, there were times when I was too tired to study – but then I would watch the DVDs on training, and each time that too would pick me up and give me energy. Another couple of hours ticked and studied.
It was fascinating to see over the next few months how I learnt about the power of the mind. How I could switch from negative to positive. From feeling totally useless, to realising that I had lots of talents that I was good at but had always undervalued. What one person can do brilliantly – others can’t always achieve perhaps so easily, but everything – absolutely everything – is possible. If you put your mind to it. I just repeated this constantly to myself. I CAN do it. I WILL do it. The writing down of short, middle and long term goals is essential – for ever. Not just for your clients, but for yourself to develop for the rest of your life.
I attended all the seminars, and each time came away with a renewed sense of purpose. The staff were so friendly and helpful. Yes of course, on the first day I felt very much the new person on the block…but so did 30 others!
I appear a very confident person outwardly. Inside I felt very inhibited, but I just knew I had to concentrate and keep going, one step at a time. Always forwards. We would always be reassured by those who were on their 3rd or 5th seminar. One of the great things about this course has been that on that very first introductory session to coaching in London, I met one of my now best friends for life! We met over a sandwich, instantly clicked, and have never looked back! She decided not to take up the course, but has watched and praised every step of my journey.
Over the next year, I set myself my own personal small goals – short, medium and long term. About 3 months into the course I finally felt ready to take on clients. It was then that I suddenly realised how powerful coaching was. I could SEE tangibly the help that I was giving to others. It was the most wonderful sense of giving. The power of listening. The power of getting clients to really, really start to do what they CAN and WANT to do for the rest of their lives. To watch their confidence blossom was just so amazing – and the reward at the end when they thanked me about how I had changed their lives. Wow!
I felt quite overwhelmed and knew that Coaching was to be my future. However long it took, I would do it as my end result. I received my certificate 14 months later. I was so chuffed and thrilled. This had been my own personal journey. I had come a long way in those months. I had achieved so many goals and I was brimming with happiness.
It has now been 3 months since I passed. It has not been easy, and I have always known that clients would not just spring out of nowhere and pay me!
My niche is to “Live Life Again After Divorce”. I chose this one specifically because of what has happened to me. I felt that there were so many people who remain in a rut and cannot move on with their lives.
Working full time means that I have little time to market myself. I always knew this would be the case, but every week I set myself goals, and every week something new has been placed, like bricks to build a house. I am in contact with local Divorce Lawyers and Financial Advisors etc. I look through local papers and each week one new contact or task has to be done. Last week I got my first paying client and this was achieved by giving him a card months before whilst talking in business.
Whenever possible, I have networked hard in the evenings. I have so many contacts so far. They are contacts who believe in my mission and are willing to help.
The best thing that could happen to me would be that within the next 2 years I SEE the measurement of my achievements in achieving my goal. That I will have the number of clients I realistically have set for year one, two and so on and that I am heading towards giving up the day job to become a full time coach. I haven’t felt down yet about it. Not once. If that moment comes, I will remind myself of the joy that I gave to my practising clients when they finally realised they could move on and GROW as people. One day it will happen and one day I WILL become a full time coach.
For those of you already in training, keep yourself focussed. Don’t give up when it gets tough. Set yourself those small bite size steps to move yourself forward. Believe in yourself.
About to qualify? That is brilliant! I am sure you will have come on an amazing journey – personal and otherwise. Set your goal for finishing. Put that date in your diary for submitting your work. You CAN and WILL become a Life Coach! How excited would you FEEL about that? Brilliant!!
If any of you are wondering whether or not to take this course, all I can say is “Go FOR IT!” You will never look back. Question yourself before committing. Ask yourself and WRITE DOWN the pros and cons.
When you look at your list, ask yourself……..What happens if I don’t take this up………do I really, really want to stay on Some Day Island………..?