Here’s a selection of stories from people in the community who’ve benefited from our coaching and mindfulness training. All client names have been changed to protect their identity.
Sue came to coaching with low self-confidence, and little sense of what kind of work she wanted to do, despite being well-qualified, skilled and capable. She also had become increasingly isolated socially.
By the end of a six-week programme of life coaching combined with mindfulness training she’d begun “to tackle personal issues that frighten me; to be kinder and more gentle to myself; to speak up with honesty and truth when I really did not want to speak at all.” She had discovered the value of participating in a group, and that she did “have something to say of worth.” She was better able to “understand my body and its responses and dialogue.” The course had “introduced a variety of tools, systems and strategies that I can use, practise and refine, to help negotiate any personal, emotional or practical difficulties I encounter.”
More specifically, in relation to the goals she wanted to work on during the course, she was able to “refine what is important for me in employment” and had created a stronger CV. She was clear that her next steps were to research companies or training agencies; to identify new skills she needs. She had also decided to seek out voluntary work with lone parents or senior residents in her local community.
In her social and leisure life, she had started to accept more invitations from friends, to go to regular weekly fitness training, and had booked on to a local evening class. She was even considering training for a marathon.
All in all, she found that “the experience has marshalled my thoughts, increased my confidence and re-ignited my motivation. I have been reminded that the future and all experience, pleasant or otherwise, are opportunities for growth and expansion. An invitation to experience is not a prelude to fear.”
Robert began his coaching sessions while still serving a community service order, and was in very low spirits at the time. He knew that his life could be very different if he was able to find more control and discipline, as well as a more positive view of himself.
To his great surprise, he found that all this was possible for him. By the end of the course, he felt that: “I understand myself, I know myself in a different way, and I accept myself.” He also found that he could be “patient, control himself and understand himself and his surroundings”.
Most importantly, Robert realised that it was possible for him to “change myself.” In practice, these major shifts and insights manifested for him through taking more exercise and spending more time with his son. He was also able to pursue his interest in music-making, practising more, and preparing for going out to play live acts. Alongside his musical interests, Robert was rediscovering his talent and love of graphic design and audio-visual arts, and had plans to set up his own small business in this field.
Veronica came to coaching finding herself stuck in life. She had recently been diagnosed with endometriosis, which had come as a great shock to her – particularly the possibility of it affecting her fertility. She had always wanted to become a mother, so the prospect of this not being possible had had a very strong impact on her life. Her mood had been very low; her relationship with her boyfriend had been under strain; and her work as a special needs classroom assistant had also suffered – due to low motivation and difficult working relationships with colleagues.
By the end of the six-week course, she had undergone an extraordinary transformation. She had had some highly significant insights, namely, that “it’s OK if life doesn’t always work out the way you plan it to, and it’s possible to accept what life has to throw at me; to overcome my emotions and feelings; and to deal with life and to find solutions.”
Veronica had learnt how “to be mindful about my own actions and the impact it may or may not have others and myself.” She also realised that she had “a lot of love to share and that I can now see a fun and happy future for myself.”
These major shifts in outlook and mood also had a major bearing on Veronica’s work and personal life. Her 5-year work goal had been to reach NVQ level 3 in childcare, to move up the career ladder and support more children. She realised during her coaching sessions that she needed to break this down into manageable steps. The first step would be to re-enrol on tutoring towards achieving grade Cs in Maths and English GCSEs, the latter being a particular challenge due to her dyslexia. By the end of the coaching, she had made major progress towards this goal, resuming her tutoring, and picking up her NVQ coursework studies.
Veronica recognised that all this had been possible due to the power of acceptance – specifically, around her endometriosis diagnosis. She said that “every time I finished a coaching session I felt relieved and very happy, knowing that I was moving on with life and dealing with my emotions better”. In particular she valued the way that the coach “really listened and helped me understand what I was trying to express. He would ask me questions which in turn would make rethink situations and how this would make me feel.”
As a result, Veronica “would highly recommend this course to anyone. I can’t believe the difference it has made to my life, my thinking and understanding of myself and life…and all in six weeks!”
Maggie was keen to get into coaching to help her build on the positive momentum she had gained through a 12-step addiction recovery programme. Her past addictions had prevented her from exploring her considerable interest and talent in the creative arts – writing and painting.
Through the coaching and mindfulness programme, Maggie discovered that “I am stronger than I think and I have inner resources.” She also realised “that it is vital to stay in the present; you never know what the future holds; you have to go with the tide, not fight it. If you do the right thing, things get better.”
In particular, she was proud of the way on the course she found she was “interacting with people; being tolerant of them; and not giving up.”
She also found that the course helped me to keep engage more with her 12 step programme, which helped her to “focus and keep busy”.
Maggie naturally found herself wanting to put these discoveries and improvements into action in her life. She started to look into voluntary work in the community. She also became “more social and open”, accepting more social invitations from friends.
But perhaps most importantly for Maggie, she found she was naturally making more time for creative pursuits: for painting, listening to music, and going back to some writing she’d been working on some years previously.
Maggie felt that the course had given her “space to work out my thoughts into a lucid order.” She felt that she “will take things I have learnt forward with me into the next chapter.”
Simon came to a six-week programme of life coaching and mindfulness, feeling that he needed a way to help him feel more confident in himself and his abilities, and to carve out a meaningful career in science.
Simon got more than he bargained for, particularly in relation to the mindfulness aspect of the programme: “I feel this has been very helpful and that I have an enormous amount to gain from persevering with mindfulness and making it a core part of my life. I feel very lucky to have been able to do this for free. I’ve known that I have needed something like this in my life for a long while. It’s good to have found it at last. I believe I can transform my life through this if I stick at it. Even just taking what I’ve learnt away I am in a better position for managing myself without further work.”
“I’ve been surprised by how doing mindfulness does simply seem to help in everyday life. I find it hard to believe, but it’s like in a sloshing sea of emotions and stress, there is some rock under there to on, and the meditations bring it close to the surface. I can improve my self-management with mindfulness – things need not be as bad as they sometimes seem.”
Simon also gained a great deal from the coaching, appreciating in particular the chance to “to talk to someone about myself; getting insights into my thinking and seeing directions to move forward on my planned trajectory.”
As for that planned trajectory, Simon made significant steps during the course not only to change the daily routine in his life to foster on-going wellbeing, but also to research career opportunities in scientific research.
Sarah took up the offer of coaching to help her get clear on a range of issues in her life: her work, her living situation, and her personal interests. She had been finding that, while she had many and varied interests in her life and plenty of good work experience, she was stuck and confused about which direction to take next. She had also been experiencing a lot of anxiety and indecision.
Through the coaching and mindfulness training, she discovered some insights into herself, namely that “it’s better to have goals as a more relaxed way of striving. Some people have more problems than me and I am doing well. And it’s good to not look back – to focus on one thing at a time is a positive step.”
All this translated into a whole raft of positive steps in relation to employment. She had applied for a part-time role in the NHS, and taken up volunteering for national charity Kids Company. She’d also started researching a possible move to Bath, and likely job prospects there. Plus she’d been looking into a course at Birkbeck College/UCL.
Sarah had also taken lots of steps in her creative life, something that is very to her. She’d taken up sculpture, yoga and swimming, and was looking into a writing course.
Sarah was pleasantly surprised at how she was able “to complete lots of actions I set out to complete; to respond more calmly in difficult situations; and to notice how negative my thinking is.” She found that all these taken together had “really helped me see some way forward”.
Denise took up the offer of coaching and mindfulness training to help her steer her way through some very challenging personal circumstances – in particular, an on-going dispute with her ex-husband over the custody of her children. This had been having a major impact on her life, preventing her from moving ahead with her career ambitions as a photographer and businesswoman.
Denise found the mindfulness training “very beneficial. It’s increased my use of my intuition. I will continue to practice it”. She also reported that she had been able to use mindfulness to help her at particular times of high stress, when she might otherwise have been precipitated into a full-blown panic attack.
The coaching also proved to be extremely effective for her. “Asking the right questions of yourself; identifying areas to work on; gaining a sense of balance; having a coach that used different techniques (mindfulness, NLP) rather than the straight GROW model was very effective”.
As a result of the whole course, Denise was able to develop a range of strategies to deal with the on-going legal dispute with her ex-husband, and to devote more time to her creative and business pursuits.