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Coach In The Spotlight - Nikki Wild

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

What brought you to coaching?

I was a finance director in my previous role. It was very stressful and I reached a point, overloaded and burning out, when I recognised that something had to give. I’d seen colleagues in a similar state be signed off for a couple of weeks and then return to the same pressure and problems where nothing had changed.

I decided that I didn’t want to be like that so rather than give in to how I was feeling, I learned about emotional intelligence and personal development. It showed me that there was a lot that was within my power to change for the better. On a mini cruise with a friend we had a couple of sessions with a life coach and it was a revelation!

I returned to work raving about coaching and so many people commented on the noticeable change in me that I decided to find out more about coaching. Added to that, as I began coaching my staff they were telling me that I had an aptitude for it and a natural instinct so I looked into a career move to coaching.

I knew that there were a lot of finance professionals who were, like me, feeling the strain of the expectations placed upon them but without the support giving them the skills to manage it so I decided that would be my new mission – to de-stress accountants!

What were your original thoughts for applying the coaching?

By nature, I’m somebody who researches big decisions thoroughly so my initial thoughts were along the lines of “can I do this?”, “who can I ask about it?” and “can I make a living as a coach?”

The Coaching Academy two day Certificate weekend was invaluable because it gave me a chance to ask lots of questions and to speak to the trainers about my options.

At that time, I was still feeling uncertain and my first thoughts after that weekend were that this is a lot of money to commit to something that feels like a gamble. I’m very risk averse so the thought of leaving one career to start a new one was very daunting. At the same time, I had something in me thinking that if I didn’t give it a try, I’d be forever wondering what I’d missed out on.

What did you find most interesting to learn?

I’m fascinated by unleashing the hidden potential within each person. I found that I had a natural instinct to build rapport with people quickly so what was interesting to me was learning the skillful questioning techniques that meant I could help people unlock the answers to their own questions.

What was the most rewarding part of the training/journey?

The most rewarding thing is to share in a client’s “eureka” moment and have them thank me for helping them get there.

Which bits did you enjoy the most?

I enjoy the accelerator days enormously. I’m most suited to a classroom style of learning and I also enjoy meeting other coaches to share ideas and support each other. I’ve made some very good friends through attending the accelerator days.

I’m really pleased that I decided on the Protégé route. For me, it worked really well because I had the support of an excellent coach from the start. Without that, I know I wouldn’t have made anywhere near as much progress in my initial months. I also like that, as a Protégé, I can repeat accelerator days to refresh my learning and skills.

How did the qualification slot in with your current life?

The flexibility of the qualification programme was a major attraction for me. I could study in the evenings and attend accelerator days at weekends so nothing encroached on my “day job” until I was ready for it to. I scheduled my practice clients for evenings around social plans so still managed to include time for myself, friends and family.

What else did you have to consider whilst qualifying?

As I worked with different practice clients and on accelerator days in the classroom exercises, I considered which clients I most enjoyed working with and which ones I was drawn to. These helped me to identify the niches I was to target.

I thought about how I would use the skills that I was learning. It was always my plan to leave my old position but I was still considering whether to move to another employment position or to set up my own business and in what time frame.

Where are you now? How are you using your coaching skills?

I am now managing director of my own business, Wild Empowerment Ltd, which I set up at the end of 2009. I am a full time coach working with individuals or small groups within businesses and organisations. I combine coaching and NLP techniques (having qualified in both with The Coaching Academy).

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

I have two niches and at the moment I’m concentrating on these in my local region.

The first is from my finance background – I’m on a mission to de-stress accountants! I help finance professionals to develop their leadership skills and develop their career paths.

The second niche is helping business teams to relax, communicate and co-operate. This one came about almost by accident through networking with business owners. I found that when I talked about what I do as a coach, they were responding with “we could do with some of that”. So I knew there was a need to be met.

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

The best thing that could happen to my coaching business in the next two years would be for my passive income streams to take off and for clients to be queuing up to hire me (without me having to look for them!).

What is your favorite coaching question?

If you did know the answer, what might it be?

When somebody is saying “I don’t know”, I’ve lost count of how many times this question has worked.

What do you enjoy most about being a coach?

Being a coach has allowed me the flexibility of working to my own time scales. I still have a full week but I choose at what times and on what days I work.

The thing I enjoy most though is working with my clients. It’s a privilege to join people on part of their journey and to see the huge steps forward that they make while they work with me.

What are your top tips for:

People who are looking at coaching?

  • Think ahead to say a month’s time and then ask yourself what you want to find out between now and then so that you have the bases covered.
  • Think of every question that you can generate about coaching, e.g. how you would use it, what you want to get out of it and so on, then ask your questions to several people so that you get a balanced, realistic view.
  • Be prepared to ask tough questions and be challenged by the answers. It’s OK to have questions and it’s OK to feel stretched by the response.
  • See who else you need to involve. If you have a spouse or partner, do you need to talk it through with them? Which family or friends will support and encourage you?

Those coaches currently in training?

  • Be realistic with your time allocation.
  • Write up Learning Record Sheets as you go. Not only will you keep up with the workload but they’ll more accurately reflect your progress and development over time.
  • Regularly step back from the detail of the books and training days. Check that you’re still on track for your completion target and regularly review your training goal(s).
  • Know what motivates you. Are you a carrot or stick person? Build in some motivational aspects to keep you on track.
  • Start your practice sessions as soon as you can and use them as part of your learning. Ask yourself “what could have been even better about that session?”
  • Be authentic. Be coached (even if just in the exercises at the accelerator days) so that you know what it’s like to be on the receiving end and you can then say with certainty to your clients that coaching is a benefit.
  • Walk the talk. Practice good coaching competences in everyday life. i.e. being accepting, not judging, listening well, asking questions, being curious, etc. It also helps the competences to come naturally which means that when it comes to assessments there is less to worry about.

Coaches that are about to qualify?

  • Well done! How will you celebrate getting this far? Allow yourself a pat on the back.
  • What’s next? What will you do with your new qualification?

People that are in a similar situation to yourself?

  • Seek as much feedback as possible. Whether it’s from contacts about what your niche’s current needs are or from clients who can give you helpful pointers of where things can improve. We’re all continuously learning and developing so by asking for feedback we can make sure that we’re keeping at the peak for our clients. It helps us to stay ahead of the competition too!
  • Remember that you are a walking advert for your coaching business so if people see you behaving as a coach in every area of life, it will build trust and rapport from the first encounter.
  • Always seek a testimonial. Even a few words will do.

4 Responses to "Coach In The Spotlight – Nikki Wild"

1 | Rosemary Bannister

June 2nd, 2011 at 11:04 am

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A great story Nikki and I love the way you found your niche – if you were stressed in your finance role others must be to! Thanks also for the tips for ‘those currently training’, that includess me and I need to get a move on!

Many thanks for sharing your journey.

2 | Richard Thayer

June 6th, 2011 at 10:02 am

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An inspirational story and we are fortunate enough to be benefitting from Nikki’s relaxed, yet focussed and challenging approach. Getting people to think – hard!

Nikki kindly gives some of her valuable time and experience to our job club which has truly made a difference to our customers. Using her skills as mentioned above, I can clearly see these in action and people always go away with new insights, thoughts and challenges to improve themselves and their opportunities.

Thanks Nikki

3 | Harriet Salzman

June 9th, 2011 at 9:46 am

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A very good article – excellent advice for students, new coaches and anyone in the coaching world. I particularly like the emphasis on the fact that we never stop learning about and developing our niche – that’s what makes it so exciting! Thank you for this excellent article, Nikki.

4 | Nikki Wild

August 4th, 2011 at 9:52 am

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Thank you all for your kind comments. I’m glad you enjoyed the article.

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