Student Story: Alexandra

I am a typical Aquarian. I have a lot of interests - perhaps too many interests!

It was only after leaving school – something I treated very much as a secondary consideration after my myriad hobbies ranging from pottery to ballet – that my spirit of inquiry really took flight.

I became an entrepreneur at the end of my twenties, having been in the corporate world since the age of nineteen. After another ten years I went back into the corporate world and worked then in several industries.

My time as an entrepreneur influenced me to become my own boss again and so I’m just about to launch a consultancy company with my brother, troubleshooting for high-net-worth individuals in London.

It was that spirit of inquiry that brought me into contact with i-Coach at an event hosted by the Financial Times a couple of years ago.

Consultancy and coaching are two very different practices. I know what makes for a good consultant and what my strengths are: negotiating, thinking on my feet, solving problems.

Coaching, on the other hand, places much greater emphasis on conversation, reflection and resisting the urge to rush to a solution.

I signed up because I wondered whether the principles of a coaching mind-set could complement or even enhance my professional effectiveness.

They absolutely did.

As both an innate and professional trouble-shooter, finding solutions is almost a reflex.

However, in order for me to be fully effective, I need to know how to have the kind of conversations which enable me to have a fuller picture of a client and their needs.

I know that effective communication is as much about speaking as it is about listening. The course was a good refresher for me in active listening, in holding back a little, exploring an idea from all sides before setting on a course of action, if indeed action is needed at all.

The great strength of the course is that you are encouraged to practice, practice, practice.

You do not have to wait for the course to finish to feel equipped or confident enough to put what you’ve learned to use.

Additionally, the things you learn aren’t solely applicable to one's work life, they are as relevant in one's personal life too. In fact, I applied coaching techniques to support the son of a friend, who was going through a period of significant transition. I’d known him since he was a baby, but through the conversations we had I learned so many things about him. It was an enriching experience for us both.

Since finishing the course, I’ve noticed I’m much better at allowing people the space, time and prompts in conversation to aid their thinking.

Considering Coaching Essentials?

  • Coaching Essentials is for everyone. Seasoned coaches seeking a refresher, for people totally new to coaching, leaders, team members, even parents. You leave with skills that equip you for that enable better conversations which lead to better outcomes in every aspect of your life.
  • You will be welcomed. When I joined the first session, I was conscious that I was the only person from my profession (and my country) in my group. I made connections with clever, nice people who taught me so much through sharing their own stories.
  • It’s never too late to learn. Lockdown gave me the chance to reflect on myself and the areas in which I could develop. The online, blended approach was paced and structured in such a way so that all learning styles are catered for.