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14 Mar, 2012

Never Underestimate the Power of Encouragement

Posted by: The Coaching Academy In: Coaching Articles

Never Underestimate The Power Of Encouragement

Highly successful Personal Performance Coach Terry Ingham remembers how a single encouraging sentence changed his life.

“You’re rubbish” was a phrase he heard so often growing up that it became a guiding principle through his early life. Terry left school with nothing but a report card  that recommended he stay away from anything requiring academic ability. Instead it was suggested he try a manual or craft based career.

Goodness know what would have happened to Terry if not for the intervention of a sports coach named Margaret Johnson several years afterwards. Quick to spot his talent at Judo, she told him, “you’re good at this”. This simple sentence changed a lifetime of negative affirmations and was to have a profound effect on Terry, who was by then in his late teens.

“I was so used to being told that I was no good at anything so when I heard that, it shocked me. It was my green light, someone saying I was good at something. It changed my world. From then I chose to believe what Margaret Johnson had said to me rather than what anyone else told me. I realised it was me who drove my brain and my behaviour and I could choose who I wanted to be”.

Within 18 months Terry had earned a black belt in Judo and became a qualified Judo coach working with some of the top international Judo competitors in the world.

Terry spent the next 30 years working in roles that would allow him to help others reach their potential, using what he had learnt as a sports coach. “Throughout my consulting life, I’ve used coaching to encourage people, help them change and help them them to get to better places”. He also worked for some of the largest multi-nationals on the planet and relished being responsible for coaching provision covering 135,000 people over 120 countries.

His success didn’t stop there. Terry then set up his own business (Positive Impact Coaching) and his previous employer, a large engineering group, became his largest client. The relationship continued to grow, more work continued to come in which then led to attracting further, new corporate clients.

However busy or successful Terry became he always wanted to remain focussed, remembering exactly why he wanted to become a coach. “At the end of the day, my core business is about coaching. I wanted to do this full time and nothing else because seeing people achieve things that they didn’t believe they could do makes it all worthwhile. I like applying what I have to make a difference to people – that’s what gives me my buzz. If I could afford it, I’d do it for free”.

And given the opportunity, what would he say now to those teachers who judged him so harshly back at school. “Look how wrong you were. You never know what people are capable of. All anyone needs is the right stimuli, somebody to have faith in them and to give them the support they need and they can achieve beyond their wildest dreams. I reckon I’m testatment to that”.

We certainly think so Terry. Congratulations on all your success as a coach and thanks for sharing your story!

3 Responses to "Never Underestimate the Power of Encouragement"

1 | Gwyneth Jones

March 16th, 2012 at 11:34 am


So true! It’s awful to see teachers (or even parents) belittling children, creating a self-fulfilling prophecy that leads to failure. I’m very lucky – my grandparents always believed in me, and even if they did push me to get perfect grades a little too much, I’m sure that my academic success is down to that encouragement.
The saddest thing is to see adults who are so used to criticism that they cannot accept a compliment at face value – they think that it is a secret dig, a piece of sarcasm intended to mock them. My advice to anyone who wants to fill this world with more hard-working, ambitious and confident people is to look for the light in every person, and let them know that you see it.

2 | June Courtney

March 19th, 2012 at 9:23 am


With you all the way Terry. At an early stage of my life I had to have major surgery. Miss a lot of schooling. On my return I was told I had a lot to catch up with. End report my grades were low. comment June has a lot to catch up. It was written as if it was my fault. I then spent a long time with “What have I done wrong now.”Yes! a scapgoat for others responsibilities.this was just one experience.
At 32, I took myself back to school to find my own paths in Learning. At just on 59 I’m still learning and just understanding compliments.

I’m a Freelance Carer Co-ordinator in maintaining Health; Wellbeing. Very much hands on. I’m very Successful in supporting others in going out to experience their true talent.

Yes, I’ve taken the foundation level in Coaching Training. Funds; Family responsibilities ment I was unable to continue at the time. In later years, I’ve attented many workshops with Johnathan Jay; Others building a lifestyle.


June Courtney.

3 | Petra

March 28th, 2012 at 10:15 am


Great story! And so true.

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