11 Jan, 2012
Coach In The Spotlight – Jane Drapkin
Jane Drapkin qualified through The Coaching Academy programme and has enthusiastically agreed to share her coaching experience, so we have put her in the Coaching Hot Seat.
Here is Jane’s story:-
What brought me to coaching?
As a manager working in charities in the international relief and development sector I’d always used a coaching style to support my staff, although at the time I didn’t assign the term coaching to it.
This developed into a more professional approach when I joined a human resource consultancy and began giving 1:1 feedback to clients on psychometric tools which again was coaching, without being called it as such!
The real prompt to move into coaching as a profession came when I had to take several months off sick to recover from major back surgery. I found that although when people came to visit me I was the one lying down, in practice I was often the one listening to other people’s needs, concerns and issues. And, more importantly, I got a real buzz out of helping people to feel better about whatever it was that was bothering them.
Also whilst I was recovering I had a key concern of my own, which was how was I going to earn a living now that I had a back condition that limited the amount of travel I could do?
Consultancy was great fun, very interesting and hugely rewarding, but it involved travelling to wherever the client was – be that in Bristol, Chester, Glasgow or Birmingham, and my back wouldn’t be able to cope with that. I was also not going to be in a position to apply for a job based closer to my home in Windsor until I was fully recovered – and that was likely to take many months if not a couple of years.
So putting together the fact that I loved helping people to sort out their problems, and I needed a new career that enabled me to work at, or close to, home – becoming a professional coach seemed like a great idea!
What did I find most interesting to learn?
For me the most interesting aspect of coaching has been about the way we can control our feelings, and therefore our actions and the outcomes we achieve, by the language we use. I have found this incredibly powerful, and am still startled by the impact this has on me when I consciously apply it to my own way of thinking and talking and on my clients when they do likewise.
What was the most rewarding part of the training/journey? Which bits did you enjoy the most?
If I’m totally honest the most rewarding part was getting great feedback and testimonials from my practice clients!
For me the most enjoyable bits of the training were the coaching sessions.
I loved (and still love)the feeling of making a difference, and I particularly loved the sessions where the client had a tricky or complex issue to work on and I had to be 110% engaged with them and their agenda, responding to their needs as the coaching session developed and helping them to make that ‘breakthrough’ that enabled them to move on.
How did the qualification slot in with my current life? What else did I have to consider whilst qualifying?
When I was training I was on unpaid leave from my employer and I therefore had plenty of time to focus on the qualifications. I trained for the Personal Performance Coach and NLP practitioner at the same time.
I combined with this my ‘back recovery programme’ which involved lots of physio and other medical appointments, regular walking and swimming and a rigorous regime of daily exercises – some of which could be done whilst listening to teleclasses or watching training DVDs!
Where am I now? What is my niche?
I am now in the set up stage of my coaching business. I have some clients already, and am working on a range of ways to increase my visibility and my client base.
My niche seems to be evolving… my passion is to help people that need to make or deal with changes to their lives for health reasons – a subject close to my heart.
More generically my niche is working with clients that are dealing with change, and want to ‘unmuddle’ their heads to enable them to move forwards in their lives or their work.
The best thing that could happen to my coaching business in the next two years is…
That coaching becomes recognised as an effective method of support for people dealing with health issues.
My favourite coaching question is:
“What is your key takeaway from this session?”
It’s not sophisticated, funny or particularly original, but it always makes the client take stock of what they’ve been talking and thinking about, and as well as them taking away actions, it means they are taking away a change in mind-set.
What do I enjoy most about being a coach?
This is hard to answer as there are so many aspects of being a coach that I enjoy, but if I did know the answer…. it would be that my interest in ‘what makes people tick ‘ is being continually fed every day!
My top tips for:
- People who are looking at coaching:
Look at it! Give it a go! Think seriously about how you want to use it.
There are many ways to be a coach without actually being a full time coach. To run a coaching business you not only need to be a coach, you also need to run a business.
If this isn’t for you, think about how else you might want to use your coaching skills.
- Those coaches currently in training:
Enjoy the ride! Grasp whatever learning you can – it can come from many directions. And practice what you preach!
- Coaches that are about to qualify?
- People that are in a similar situation to myself?
Get a coach, coach yourself, keep using and implementing all the things you learnt in your coaching training.
And keep checking the R part of your SMART goals – as Bryan Tracy said – if you’re not hitting your goals, it’s not the goals that are unrealistic, it’s your timelines…