My Experience With Life Coaching

27 March 2018


Okay, so I didn't get my interrail post live last Saturday like I thought I would, and in fact, I didn't get any post live on Saturday at all so I'm really sorry about that. That post will still be going live in the next week or so (for real this time) so still stay tuned for that!

For today's post, however, I thought I'd talk a little more about a situation I've mentioned in the past, especially in my mental health posts, and that's about my experience with life coaching.

So. Back in 2013, I was volunteering at a charity shop while I was on a job hunt, with the help from the local council. At the same time, I was experiencing extreme anxiety. I really struggled. I couldn't use the phones at work (I can now, but there are still things I struggle with) because I'd feel a slight panic inside when I'm talking to someone on the phone because I can't see their face, as if I need some kind of visual cue to help me communicate, I was working as part of a big team and at times it just overcame me. There were times that my manager would send me down into the downstairs office and have me in there shredding paperwork so that I was still able to work and do something, but also so that I was in an environment I was comfortable with. It was horrible. Sometimes I'd be in that office where I'd hide under the desk and cry.

After a couple of months, the Employment and Training Unit (ETU) began to realise that I was struggling and set up a meeting for me with Lorraine at Developing Nation.

I wasn't sure what to expect. I was nervous. But over more and more sessions with Lorraine, I started to feel more comfortable, and I really enjoyed getting to go and talk to her. Life coaching isn't a counselling session, which I feel is important to point out. It's about trying to gear you into a career path that's right for you, however, when she asked me the question of how she could help me, I asked for help coping with my anxiety. And that's what she did.

The first few things she got me to set up were with 'Notes from the Universe', a website which sends you positive emails daily, that I still receive but barely ever read now, as well as a 'happy song' playlist. The playlist isn't one that I listen to any more, mostly because it's on my iTunes (I use spotify now) and that there's a lot of songs I don't listen to any more, but it is a mechanism that I still use. I really confided in Lorraine, and I made huge progress in a really short period of time thanks to her, but the story doesn't stop there.

My manager at the charity shop was really impressed with how well I was coping, and eventually I was helping train new volunteers on things such as tills and standards, I was a trusted member of staff. At the time I was dating someone who had younger siblings and I mentioned to my Employment and Training Co-ordinator (ETC) that I wanted to be a teacher, which lead to me starting an apprenticeship in Children's Care, Learning and Development. Which meant that, despite being an ETU programme, I had "recovered", so I was to say goodbye to Lorraine. Which she didn't agree with.

I started to really struggle once I started my apprenticeship, and it was as if I never really settled in. I couldn't hold the new level of authority that I'd found myself in and my anxiety was really beginning to come back. Lorraine knew this would happen, because she knew about my personality well enough to recognise that I needed a transitional support. After talks between my new ETC and Lorraine, it was thought that it would be in my, and everybody else's best interests, if I went back to my life coaching sessions.

Like last time, I made recovery quite quickly, it was a support mechanism that I really needed. This time along, we discussed that this career path wasn't what was right for me, and it was a transition for me to find something else, while making sure everything else was steady. During this time, Lorraine gave me another challenge for me. Talk to at least one new person every day. Which I did, and I've mentioned in a few of my older posts.

This new challenge was one that I continue to try and achieve to this day, and it was one of the most vital things to me combating my anxiety issues. It made me into a more confident person, and giving a stranger a compliment has been something that, in my experience, can really make somebody's day. It's a core part of my customer service at work, to be able to talk to customers, and also, it's something that has benefited me when I travelled around France. It's really changed my life.

My sessions with Lorraine lead to me leaving the Modern Apprenticeship programme, and the Employment and Training Unit, before signing onto Jobseekers. Throughout all of this, I was still able to continue my life coaching sessions. I got a job working in a local Fish and Chip shop. Then, we began to discuss my hobbies and interests to see what kind of career I could go into. All of the options revolved around travelling. One was national geographic photographer (I wish!) because of my love of Volcanoes, one was a hotel reviewer, which was the inspiration behind my restaurant/hotel and airline reviews. This was what lead to me applying for courses in Travel and Tourism. Then, eventually my coaching sessions came to an end.

In the time since I've left my coaching sessions, I've grown into a much more confident person. I work as a supervisor in a retail shop and I've travelled solo in a foreign country. I've changed so much of my life around, and I completely thank Lorraine for her help.

Life coaching changed my life for the better, but I know that not everybody has the luxury of being able to see a life coach, or a counsellor, and I'm thankful for my privilege in the experience and for what it's done for me. Thank you, Lorraine, if you read this. I'm so thankful, and all these years on, I've become a much stronger, and a completely different person to who I used to be. Thank you.

Until next time, be excellent to each other.

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