It has been a whole year since I decided to take a risk and pack in my day job in order to pursue a career in what my heart is in – writing. It has been scary, and to be extremely honest, that big opportunity hasn’t completely presented itself yet, but giving up is not yet an option, and I do not regret my decision for a second.
One thing that helped me find the courage to put my words into action was Life Coaching. At the time I was feeling extremely frustrated with my life, and there were things I wanted to do, but was either too scared or didn’t know where to start. That’s where Serina Julien came in. Serina is an accredited life coach who I met through a friend, and she has helped me to narrow down and focus on the things I want to achieve. She has recently set up Attainment Health & Wellbeing Coaching, and because I love you all so much, I’ve decided not to keep her to myself, but to share her with you.
Tell us something about the concept of life coaching and how it differs to counselling/therapy.
My favourite definition is from a Harvard educationalist named Timothy Gallwey, he described coaching as “the unlocking of a person’s potential to maximize their own performance. It is helping them to learn, rather than teaching them.” I feel it sums up life coaching as a whole! A common misconception is that coaching has just come on the scene, when in fact coaching has been gathering recognition and momentum as a powerful development tool for the past 15 years. Coaching is not like counselling as although a client may touch on their past, it’s not necessary to dwell in the past. It is all about focusing on the here and now, and seeing where the client wants to be and how they can get there. It’s all about aiding hem to achieve a goal they have set themselves. Many of my clients have found it therapeutic, as coaching can relieve tension and enhance positivity. It is not mentoring, as a mentors are seen experts, who guide and teach by drawing on their own experiences. Coaching is solely focused on the client and the client’s goals. A coach should always remain non-judgemental with no other agenda other than their client’s. I have found coaching to be a really powerful tool, where else can you enter into a relationship where everything is focused around you and your need to improve your life?
What is your background and what fuelled your interest in coaching?
My academic background has always been around the area of Health & Social Care, I have a degree in Social Sciences and worked for HM Prison Service, the Immigration Service and a number of London Boroughs. My working life to this point was satisfying, but I always felt that I wanted to do more. I have always been the person that people came to, to discuss issues they were facing. I soon realised that for me to be happy and content in my work I wanted to find work which fuelled my passion, where I could use my people skills and at the same time make a difference. A very good friend of mine spoke about a life coach she had met, and as soon as she mentioned those words ‘life coach’ I had a Light bulb moment. I had finally found a way that my passion and skills could work together! I knew this was the career for me and now it had a title. I soon went on to become an accredited life coach and have now set up Attainment Coaching, a company that specialises in Health & Well Being.
What sort of people have you found to be most in need of coaching?
We are all in need of coaching! I don’t think there is a particular sort of person that needs coaching. I have coached people that have been millionaires to people that struggle every day financially. I have coached people in all walks of life, ages, races, religion and gender. People come because they need clarity or want to improve some aspect of their lives. So at some time maybe we all need a little coaching if we have an end goal or dream in sight.
Are there any situations that you feel you wouldn’t be able to help with?
I don’t believe so, as I think my clients have all the resources needed to achieve what it is that they want. However there are times when as a coach I may be unable to work with a client, this is usually when a client has severe mental health issues or needs a course of therapy, such as a counsellor or a mentor.
I have heard that life coaching is just a case of common sense, and if you want to do something in your life – just do it. What would you say to that?
First of all, what one person deems as common sense is not what another might. However, I would say coaching has nothing to do with common sense, it is about the client and what it is they want to achieve. Many of my clients firstly come to coaching, because they wanted clarity around an issue. Once they find it, they are then able to see what it is that may be holding them back, and from then on they can focus on a plan to get to their goal/dream. A coach enables the client to really focus on their own resources & skills needed to attain their goal. I really do believe that we all have the necessary skills or tools to get us through any given situation, however I have found that many people have limiting beliefs of themselves. This then becomes a barrier and stops people from achieving what they want. These barriers can take the shape of that voice in the back of your mind saying you will fail if you do this, you can’t do that, so and so is much better at that, etc. These thought barriers are limitless. That’s why a coach is so useful, as they aid their client into focusing on the reality of any given situation and also what is needed to get a job done. Common sense does not play a part in coaching.
Is it a quick-fix method?
Now this would all depend on the client and what it is they were coming to coaching for. Some people get clarity and move on to what it is they want in their life in the space of 4 sessions, and others may need 8 sessions or more. However I would say that I have found that for coaching to really take effect a client will need a series of sessions, so they can make real discoveries, gain clarity and then action the changes needed. A coach is there to aid them to achieve their dreams or goals, and to do that the coach will use a number of tool and exercises that are completed by the client, and could be used for all other issues they may be facing. Also, I have found that once a person has achieved one goal they almost always move on to something else. I guess this is because we are always growing and changing which allows our goals and dreams to change. So with that in mind, I would say coaching is a ‘life fix’ and not a quick fix.
Are there various styles of coaching and what is yours?
Life Coaches are just as diverse as life itself, there are coaches for everything – relationship, motivation, career, executive coaches – the list is endless. When I originally started I was a general coach, I would coach on everything. Then I found that my real passion was coaching in the area of health & wellbeing. For me these two areas are interlinked in more ways that we know. A person’s finances, home environment, work environment, friends and family all have an impact on that person’s health, be it what they put into their body or what they fill their minds with. Sometimes we can be very unaware of this, which allows for us not to progress to where we want to be. However, once we gain clarity on this, only then can we make the necessary changes to create a healthy lifestyle which will then impact the area of wellbeing. I believe that healthiness and a happy balanced well-being life allows for a person to take on any and everything their heart desires. Due to my passion and experience in this area I have now tailored my business and my title to that of a health and wellbeing coach.
What sort of person would you have to be to become a coach, and what is the best way to go about it?
We all have different skills, so I would say anyone with a passion to aid people to build their dreams could be a coach. To be a great coach you need to have a number of key skills; be non-judgemental, patient, professional, a good listener and a great communicator. There is no need to have any form of expertise, as coaching is always about the client you are with, though any expertise in any area you are working in can give you more knowledge and understanding around what your client is dealing with.
There are many schools that train people to become coaches, some are more reputable than others. You can get courses that run for a day, a weekend or up to 6 months. The courses range in price so anyone choosing to gain any type of accreditation in coaching should do their research beforehand.
Is it wrong to assume that, as a coach, you personally have all the tools, so you’ll always ‘attain’ what you want in life?
I would say very wrong, because every day as human beings we learn and we grow. Each day I learn something new about myself or I learn to deal with a situation in a different way, therefore my tool kit is forever changing. Like everyone else I know where I want to be and where I want my business to be, but sometimes our life plan is slightly different. I, along with every other person in this world, am faced with obstacles, but I guess I try not to focus on the obstacles but on the solutions. It’s these solutions that able me to ‘attain’ my dreams.
In what way do you see Attainment Expanding?
Attainment Health & Wellbeing Coaching is just the start for me. I really want to bring my area of coaching to all areas of life. Everything we do or not do has some impact on our health & well-being, however when a person is aware of what it is they want (or don’t want) they are then faced with choices. I want to ensure my clients are aware of this. I want to get health & well-being coaching into schools, into the unemployment services, into the NHS, into the human resources department, I want my clients to ‘attain’ the life they want!
If you are interested in ‘attaining’ the life you want, please feel free to contact Serina via the following:
http://www.attainment-coaching.co.uk (to go live by mid-December)
Tel: 07791953045 / 020 7143 8346