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06 Apr, 2011

Coach In The Spotlight – Lara Williams

Posted by: The Coaching Academy In: Coach Plus Articles|Coach Spotlight|In The Spotlight|Personal Success|Success Stories

Coach In The Spotlight - Lara Williams

Lara Williams qualified through The Coaching Academy and has enthusiastically agreed to share her coaching experience, so we have put her in the Coaching Hot Seat. Here is Lara’s story:-

What brought you to coaching?

Five years ago I turned 30 and began investing time into my own personal development. I spent a couple of years reading books including ‘A Guild to Super Confidence’ by Dawn Breslin, which inspired me so much I enrolled onto her confidence for life programme. At the end of this I knew I wanted to pursue a career coaching. Dawn suggested that I attend The Coaching Academy’s two day certificate programme, and in September 2008 I did just that. At the end of the weekend I went home completely transformed, I wanted to be a professional coach! However, there was a small obstacle to overcome, the cost! I sat down with my partner and we discussed how we could raise the money for me to do this. My passion was infectious and he believed in me right from the start. We borrowed the money from my parents, not just for the Personal Performance Diploma, but for a second diploma too!

What were your original thoughts for applying the coaching?

I had worked with young people for over ten years, and was looking for a new approach. Whilst studying for my Diploma in Personal Performance Coaching, I was working in a job where I managed a caseload of long term unemployed young people. I was becoming increasingly frustrated for these young people, who underneath the surface had issues that were not being addressed. If they were to stand any chance of achieving their potential these issues needed resolving. Coaching gave me a framework and a unique style of questioning that encouraged young people to think differently, it was powerful stuff! I became more aware of the language they were using, and would match mine accordingly. I began to coach them, but coaching isn’t a quick fix and I needed more time in order to really help. However, there was an obstacle, I had targets to meet and not enough time to coach effectively. I was beginning to loose faith in the organisation I worked for, I had a skill that could help these young people, but I was unable to do anything with it. So, one day in January 2009, I took the plunge and handed in my notice!

What did you find most interesting to learn?

How asking a question beginning with WHY can sabotage a conversation, by making someone feel like they are being judged, even more so when talking to children and young people. Questions beginning with WHAT and HOW are so much more powerful, they get a person really thinking, and can elicit a response that helps them to learn from the conversation.

What was the most rewarding part of the journey?

The most rewarding part of the journey has to be getting my certificate with the word DISTINCTION printed on it. I have also really enjoyed practising my coaching skills on other Coaching Academy students, and found it highly rewarding when I have received positive feedback about how their lives have changed as a result.

Which bits did you enjoy the most?

I thoroughly enjoyed the accelerator days, it is highly motivating to meet other like minded people, many of which I am still in contact with.

How did the qualification slot in with your current life?

It was hard work, juggling being a parent, partner, student and business owner, but the flexibility of the programme allowed me to study at a time that was convenient to my other commitments. When I broke my ankle and had to take time out, I didn’t feel under pressure to be studying, like I might have done on other programmes where the organisations insist on their students meeting deadlines.

What else did you have to consider whilst qualifiying?

How I could create something unique that would set me apart from other coaches.

Where are you now?

I have invested financially into the services of a business coach/mentor. This has been invaluable, and was essential in order for me to grow my business. I have spent time considering “why I do what I do” which took me on an emotional journey back to my own teenage years. This led me to define my niche further from youth coach to girls coach. Having revisited my teenage years, I have created my own signature story, which I share with the young people I work with when I first meet them. This is a very powerful tool to being developing rapport.

I have created my own personal development programme called SHIFT, born out of my concern for the pressure teenage girls face in today’s society to achieve perfection in their education and appearance. I deliver this 1:1 as well as to small groups, and work on behalf of schools, training providers, and parents. I am currently translating the SHIFT programme to a book, which I will self publish in 2011. I am a guest speaker once a month on a radio station and I also write monthly features for a community magazine.

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

My SHIFT brand to be recognised Nationally and to have appeared on national television.

What is your favourite coaching question?

What is holding you back from being the person you want to be?

What do you enjoy most about being a coach?

Introducing young people to powerful new ways of thinking.

What are your top tips for: People who are looking at coaching?

Attend The Coaching Academy’s two day certificate programme. It’s FREE, so what have you got loose? Get coached! Contact The Coaching Academy and ask to be put in touch with a student coach looking for practice clients.

What are your top tips for: Those coaches currently in training?

Begin with the end in mind! There are times when you will feel challenged, so keep site of what the end result will be. Do something every day if you can towards your study. Read a chapter from a coaching book or listen to an audio or teleclass seminar. Keep in the ‘coaching zone’ as much as possible. Consider how you could implement coaching into a niche where you have professional or personal experience.

What are your top tips for: Coaches about to qualify?

Get clear about your niche, and begin thinking about what makes you different from all the other coaches out there, and think about how your could lead with this. Do you have a signature story that has led you to where you are today? Start marketing yourself. Talk to potential clients in your niche area, tell them about your business and give them a business card.

What are your top tips for: People that are in a similar situation to yourself?

Don’t pay for marketing and advertising, unless of course you have the budget to do this! There are so many marketing opportunities you can get for FREE. I have a monthly slot on my local radio station and I write for a local magazine. Social networking is also a great way to market yourself for FREE. Create a Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn account for your business and keep in contact with your fans and followers on a weekly basis.

Every time you do something new, write a press release for your local news paper, and if you have something really news worthy, go to the national papers.

If you have created your own signature programme or product, why not offer it to a small number of clients for free, in return for a photo or video opportunity and testimonial. This will enable you to develop the programme/product as well as gain testimonials to boost your credibility.

8 Responses to "Coach In The Spotlight – Lara Williams"

1 | Maggi Campbell Keith

April 6th, 2011 at 8:32 pm


Great reading thank you Lara. Some really interesting & sound words of advice in here :)

2 | Viv Leach

April 7th, 2011 at 8:00 am


Well done Lara Williams. What an inspiration you are! Its great that you have been so innovative and proactive! I, too, qualified throught the excellent programme of support, by attending the 2 day free weekend Certificate Programme and then the Diploma Course for Corporate and Executive Coaching.

I have three strands to my business support services: Business Adviser, Skills Trainer, Motivation and Confidence Coach. Deliver Personal Development “Confidence and Motivation” building workshops which I designed myself to people who need a boost and kick start for next actions. Its now more important than ever to help people make positive changes in their lives and its people like us that “SHIFT” (your copyright) perspective!

I highly recommend The Coaching Academy and excellent support staff!

Warm regards,

Viv Leach

3 | Lara Williams

April 7th, 2011 at 1:27 pm


Thanks for the comments Maggi and Viv. I’ve loved my journey with The Coaching Academy. My very best wishes to you both :-)

4 | Elsie J.Kemp

April 10th, 2011 at 7:15 pm


As an executive coach my niche is completely different from yours but I loved reading your story.

I completely agree branding yourself is the best way to separate yourself from the competition. It seems you have mastered this perfectly with SHIFT. The play on words is perfect as you have “shifted” from the teen girl you were to the successful woman you are today.

I also like the tip of going to free workshops and setting up free social media accounts. This is wonderful advice to give those starting out. Thank you for sharing your wisdom.

5 | Lisa Young

April 11th, 2011 at 11:07 am


Thank you for sharing your Story. I love the sound of SHIFT and your aims and intentions through running this programme. Good on you for finding all these creative ways to make your career dreams come true and for supporting and empowering girls / young women. Wishing you every enjoyment in your future, Lisa

6 | Daisy Moss

April 12th, 2011 at 11:58 am


Loved reading your story Lara, good luck for your furture coaching career, Daisy :)

7 | Lara Williams

April 13th, 2011 at 1:23 pm


Thanks to all of you for your comments. If you would like to link up with me on Facebook or Twitter I would love to keep in touch.

8 | Dawn Breslin

April 25th, 2011 at 10:47 pm


How wonderful to read your story! When I read articels like yours, it makes my job so worthwhile : )
CONGRATULATIONS on your success.
Dawn Breslin x

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