29 May, 2012
Coach In The Spotlight – Launa Walker
Posted by: The Coaching Academy In: Coach Spotlight
I guess I must be the last person in the UK to have heard of coaching! I had been managing staff in various guises for 16 years when I lost my job last year. I froze in blind panic, I had never been out of work, did not have a CV and didn’t know where to start.
A friend of mine suggested I look at this thing called Life Coaching, so I did some internet research and realised that I had been using coaching skills with my teams for years without knowing that they had a profession of their own.
I booked onto the 2 day course in Bristol and came away full of energy; even managed to persuade my partner that I should sign up as a protégé. The truth was that I realised I needed coaching as much as I wanted to be a coach, and with hindsight I think that is what my friend meant when she signposted me in this direction.
I have always given 100% to my employer so I went into the qualification with gusto, thinking that it was time to do something for myself. I managed to get onto the week of Accelerator courses last year in London which was really inspiring, I learnt so much and started planning to set up my business.
have some great friends who helped me put the website together and start me off with a brand identity. The most frustrating part of the qualification, I must admit, was doing the coaching itself. I loved it and saw some great results with some of my clients but several of my volunteers had agreed to help because they wanted to support me, they just did not realise that they would have to do some work too.
This taught me a lot about who makes a ‘successful’ coaching client.
Alongside my studies I had my own coaching sessions. Working with an experienced coach was the icing on the cake. Not only did being coached make a huge difference to my own self esteem but I also experienced the process in action and am now thoroughly convinced that it works for the right people, at the right time for them.
I passed my Diploma in Personal Development in October 2011 with distinction, and I am very proud to add that last bit. I then moved straight on to taking my NLP qualifications, again finding that I knew quite a bit about the subject without being aware of its very existence!
Doing the NLP course was different because of the nature of the programme. I got to work very closely with some fabulous coaches for short but intense periods of time and I am sure we will keep in touch. I qualified last month and am proud again to add that I am now an NLP Practitioner.
So, how does this fit into my present life? Well, I have done literally anything over the last year to pay the bills including dog walking, cleaning houses and chopping endless amounts of food for a caterer. However, I struck gold last June when I was approached by a charity to do some support work.
The WEA offer learning for disadvantaged groups within society and often need tutor support when learners have particular needs. I started off helping out at a confidence course, then a second, then the tutor went sick and I took over the second group. Almost a year on and I have 2 of my own classes as well as project work supporting learners into volunteering.
Working with the WEA gives me a regular income and the chance to use my skills with people who would not normally be able to afford my support. Last term I delivered 6 workshops on coaching for them, followed by free sessions for those who were interested; I had a conversion rate of 80%!
The other side of my life is spent working with my own clients and developing my business. I have chosen confidence coaching as a niche as it worked for me and I get so much fulfilment from watching people grow. Networking locally, I have built up a collective of small businesswomen who I share ideas with to develop our businesses.
For instance, I started paying to go to pamper evenings and talk about coaching to the women attending. I now work with a friend to arrange the events locally which means that I take an admin fee for the organisation itself and get to deliver for free which is a win/ win as far as I am concerned.
TCA have asked me whether I have any tips for people looking to become coaches, there is one thing that springs to mind. I come from a small shire area and when I first started networking I get a lot of negative feedback about coaching and coaches who had gone before me.
In fact even yesterday I completely lost the excellent rapport I had with someone I was networking with the minute I used the word coach. It did shock/worry/frustrate me at first because coaching is very precious to me but it is well worth gritting those teeth and persevering.
Support, understanding and even referral clients have come from the strangest of sources as people have been drawn to me as an individual and coaching as an amazing tool. Believe in yourself and believe in your coaching and you will be just cool.