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19 Jun, 2012

Coach In The Spotlight – Penny Strutton

Posted by: The Coaching Academy In: Coach Spotlight

Coach In The Spotlight - Penny Strutton

I qualified with a degree in organisational psychology in South Africa back in 1999 and always have had a keen interest and strong advocacy for personal development within the workplace.

About 6 years ago I was lucky enough to have 6 months of coaching when I was in a senior management position in the voluntary sector. I found the experience wholly enlightening and my managerial skills and confidence developed throughout the process.

When I was made redundant at the beginning of 2011 I wanted to work for myself. I have 2 small children and for 7 years was essentially my own boss. I wanted to enjoy the flexibility to enjoy my children but also quench my thirst for a successful career.

I started to Google Coaching and found a number of different providers of coaching training. The Coaching Academy struck me as a respectable organisation and the 2 day free certificate course seemed too good to miss.

Following my two days in London I realised that coaching was the career I wanted to follow and within days had signed my measly redundancy payout to the Coaching Academy and signed up to the Personal Performance Diploma.

From that day in February 2011 I haven’t looked back and forged ahead with the course which I thought was exceptional. I managed to complete and qualify 6 months later and immediately set up my own business as a performance and career coach.

My training took me along a vast journey of personal awareness and development. What struck me was the skill of listening. Without being able to listen effectively you are unable to coach.

The need to put your personal “noise” aside and truly listen and reflect what someone is saying takes enormous concentration, interest and intuitiveness.

Listening to a client and being able to reflect back their strengths and achievements and visibly see that realisation cross their face is 100% the most rewarding outcome of coaching.

Watching people’s confidence grow and ability to take on new challenges and achieve what they really want is just fantastic. My favourite question would definitely be “what did you learn about yourself in that situation”, it always results in the response…”now that’s a good question!”

Choosing my niche took some time. Initially I wanted to work as a business coach, however, the more I worked with people I realised that it wasn’t the business I was concerned about, it was the individual.

I now say I coach people on work related issues. This spans from personal career coaching and performance development coaching both privately and within businesses. I deliver career workshops and have designed some exciting team coaching days which are becoming popular amongst executive teams.

I am in the early stages of my business but already have a growing client list, and that’s just on my 2 days a week that I work! I love the ability to be flexible both around my family and around my client’s needs.

It takes some organising but it really works when I get it right! When my daughter goes to nursery in September I’ll extend my week to 3 days and hope over the next 2 years that my business will be well established with repeat clients and a waiting list!

There’s nothing like setting goals (as we all know) and my aim is to be earning £50k after 2 years of working and that’s on 3 days per week! Fingers crossed!

I really would recommend coaching to people who enjoy people and helping others. However, if you’re looking to set up your own business from scratch and don’t have broad business skills, get yourself a coach from the start.

You have to be a master of all trades which is hard work and time consuming! It takes a long time to get started and the one thing I’ve learnt is to be patient! Clients can take months to sign up and you have to expect that and keep going!

For coaches in training start looking to your network now and start thinking how you can use them to promote you and find you clients. Without your network and the ability to network your business will battle to grow.

Social media is something that has brought me business and built my profile so my advice would be to set up a linkedin and twitter account and start connecting with people you think may be relevant to your niche.

Something which I took from Sarah Urquhart was to approach my local paper and offer free articles. In December 2011 I started writing a career column for the Nottingham Post website which provides me with free weekly PR – fantastic for building my credibility but also for finding me clients!

I wouldn’t be where I am without my coach who I found when I was studying at the Coaching Academy. Working alone can be lonely so having a coach to help sound board ideas and help me reflect on my success is what I need to continue progressing.

I never thought I could be so content in a career and wish the same for everyone I work with.

Please feel free to connect with me through The Coaching Academy linkedin group.

3 Responses to "Coach In The Spotlight – Penny Strutton"

1 | Mark Tanner

June 21st, 2012 at 10:56 am

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Thanks for sharing that Penny. Some very interesting tips in there

2 | Piotr Jankiewicz

June 25th, 2012 at 4:39 pm

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Hi Penny, I like your well-structured and authentic approach! Just like you, I realised some time ago, that although I started off as an executive coach, I prefer to work with individuals rather that organisations;-) fingers xed for your 50K;-) All the best!

3 | Lynne

June 28th, 2012 at 7:44 am

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Very inspiring story of yours. Being a coach is not an easy job and you are right you should be a good listener to be able to be a good coach. Education and training is is needed. Thanks for sharing.

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