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27 Jan, 2010

Coach In The Spotlight – James Barton

Posted by: The Coaching Academy In: Coach Spotlight

Coach In The Spotlight  - James Barton

  • What attracted you to coaching?

After spending the last 15 years in the world of corporates, I was looking for something that gave me more purpose and more satisfaction than simply selling computer systems.

I had originally trained in HR and have always been fascinated in the world of psychology and completed an NLP qualification in 2006, but when I came across coaching it felt like coming home.

There is nothing quite as satisfying than knowing that you have had a positive impact on someone’s life.

  • What was your profession before becoming a coach?

I have done a number of things after leaving college in 1994 but they have primarily been focused around Information Technology. 

I have been the Director of IT for a premiership football club (I won’t say which one in case I offend anyone), ran a small IT business with a friend, and worked in large corporate such as Dell and Fujitsu.

This has all been excellent training for coaching and for setting up my coaching practice and I don’t regret a moment of it.

  • Why did you choose The Coaching Academy?

When looking for my sense of purpose I stumbled upon an advert for the weekend and sign up straight away.  At first I was very sceptical, but as the weekend progressed I knew it was the right thing to do and that the Academy was the place to learn.

For me, the focus on the practical elements of the qualification really appealed as I didn’t want just head knowledge, I wanted to have real, hands on experience, with support.

The Academy stood head and shoulders above the rest.

  • What is your coaching niche and why did you choose it?

When you start at the Academy, finding your niche is one of the first lessons and the importance is stressed throughout the training.  I have found it very hard to define mine and so decided not to let that hold me back and started up as a performance coach, confident in the knowledge that my niche will appear.

Looking at it now, there are definitely some trends appearing in what clients I am attracting in all my areas of work, so will be looking to clarify my focus over the next few months.

The important thing for me was to start something and not to be paralysed by not knowing the niche.  As Anthony Robbins says “Winning starts with beginning!”

  • What is your favourite coaching question?

There are so many great questions out there but my favourite is the Cartesian Co-Ordinates.  For those who haven’t come across them yet, it is simply asking 4 questions to check the validity of the clients proposed actions.

The questions are

  • What will happen if you do this?
  • What will happen if you don’t do this?
  • What will not happen if you do this?
  • What will not happen if you don’t do this?

They scrambled people’s normal thinking patterns and is a great way to cut through any veneer and get to their heart of their issues.  As people get to questions 3 and 4 they suddenly realise that what they thought they wanted, they don’t really.  I have done some powerful change work with just these questions

  • What do you enjoy most about being a coach?

It is an honour to be let into people’s lives and businesses and seeing people change and succeed is such an amazing feeling.  I have had the privilege of working with people who were at their lowest ebb, and walk them through getting new jobs, new relationships and totally changing their outlook. 

I could not think of a better thing to do with my time.

  • What success have you achieved so far with your coaching business?

I started the business in Dec 2009 with some set goals and targets around customers and revenues and I am pleased to say that I have achieved every one. 

I have a wide variety of paying clients in personal coaching, 2 large corporate coaching contracts with some very prestigious companies, 4 small business clients and 2 youth coaching contracts.  All in two months.

Given the short time I have been in business I am very pleased with the results, and truly believe it is because I am following my passion.  Too many people follow the money, but I have simply stayed true to by true definite purpose and watched the work come in.

  • What is the best thing that could happen to your coaching business in the next 2 years?

Like most people I am keen to set up some product based revenues and have a number of new ideas which are going to launch over the next few months and I plan to focus a great deal of energy in getting these right. 

I believe in having multiple income streams as it is essential to be able to protect the business and to allow me to live the life I want and give my time to the things that really matter.

  • What are your favourite personal development books?

I demolish books at a frightening rate but there are a number that have had the biggest impact.  For me my top 5 would be

  • 7 Habits Of Highly Successful People – Stephen Covey
  • Blink – Malcolm Gladwell
  • Losing My Virginity – Richard Branson
  • Think and Grow Rich – Napoleon Hill
  • Who Moved My Cheese – Spencer Johnson

As I spend a lot of time driving, I use an audio book download service and will often read (listen) to a book every two days!

  • What are your top five tips to new coaches just starting out on their journey?

Coaching is such a wide and important area, 5 tips don’t quite seem enough but here goes

  • Start something – I have seen and spoken to too many coaches who don’t feel they can start until they have websites, business cards, bank accounts etc.  Just get on and do something, you will be surprised how much of the other stuff is just noise keeping you away from what you need to do.
  • Follow your passion – There is no point coaching corporates if corporates turn your stomach.  Spend some time thinking about what you are passionate about and then focus your business on that.  Don’t worry if it doesn’t come straight away, mine hasn’t, just trust that it will. 
  • Fill your mind with positivity – There is a lot news out there, some good, some bad and it all affects how your mind works.  Getting your attitude right is key to success and your clients will notice whether you think they will or not.  Choose to be positive every day.
  • Don’t rely on a single source of income – Work in one area can dry up over night, so spread your business out and look at how you can create multiple streams of income from your coaching niche.  Write a book, an e-course or look to do teleseminars, the options are endless
  • Use technology – A great deal of my business has come from using Twitter, Facebook, Linked and technologies like auto responders.  They do all the work for me once they are set up and have help me dramatically increase my web presence and reach.  I am fortunate, because of my background I have the knowledge to do this myself, but find someone who knows how to market on the web and stay close to them.  Remember this is not always the person that can put up a website; marketing is different to web design!

By James Barton – For more information on James visit

5 Responses to "Coach In The Spotlight – James Barton"

1 | Sanda Ionescu

January 28th, 2010 at 3:41 pm


Really impressive how much you have achieved in such a short time. Clearly you are living out your coaching emphasis on focus and detox! Well done.

2 | Jacqueline Pigdon

January 28th, 2010 at 4:02 pm


Congratulations on achieving all your coaching business goals in such a short time! I know when you have such passion sometimes you can move mountains.

I also agree defining a niche is very important. One of my favourite niche areas is helping people who have been married or in a relationship for 10 years or more, are now unhappy and they don’t know if they should stay but they’re not ready to leave the relationship either. With our spiritual insights we open up new ways of thinking and help people know exactly which step to take and how to take it to become truly happy and peaceful within themselves and with their relationship status.

Live Your Best Life!

Jacqueline Pigdon
Existentialist Spiritual Coach

3 | Nick Cramp

January 29th, 2010 at 8:00 am


Hi James,

Well done on the start you have made. Have just checked out your website which is well organised and easy to navigate.
Like you I have stumbled across my clients rather than had a specific plan in mind, all from referrals so far. Now taking some time to plan the multi income streams you refer to as I agree this is goign to be very important to give me the income in the future I aspire to.

Nick Cramp

4 | James Barton

January 29th, 2010 at 9:58 am


Thank you all for your positive comments. I think we have to be the most fortunate people about right now.

Working in a field we love, helping people to become the best they can, and supported by such wonderful people.


5 | Sandy Scott

March 10th, 2010 at 9:54 am


Hi James, Just wanted to say great article and you are a real inspiration. I’d love to know how you are using Twitter to boost your business. Perhaps over coffee at a future Youth training event?
Well done and look forward to the audio book!

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