I meet Kelly in a vintage cafe down on Essex Road, where we both arrive almost 20 minutes early. She takes a notice of that.
Kelly is a life coach. She builds my trust almost immediately, perhaps because of her warm personality and mannerism.
She speaks with an Australian accent and begins by telling me about her management consultant job, where she worked for 12 years, climbing up the corporate ladder. She was doing well, but personally was suffering from depression and anxiety. ‘In my twenties I had been on medications and anti-depressants for 7 years. And nothing was shifting.’ Kelly began looking beyond her corporate role.
She developed an interest in ways of influencing the brain, and communicating with others and ourselves. One method is Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), a concept which helps us with our personal growth, as well as inter-personal relationships. Another is Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), which explores acupuncture and emotions, and lastly hypnotherapy. ‘I went to a seminar and it was like gaining an owner’s manual for the mind. It really opened my eyes; I can’t believe this is not taught in schools!’, she says indignantly. This was the beginning of the coaching idea.
Kelly began thinking what she wants, and set herself a goal to move to London, where she decided to use a life coach. This helped her to become clearer about what she wants, and get rid of the negativity caused by depression. ‘I was getting so much from it I wanted to be able to offer that to other people’, she says.
‘Coaching is much more about listening than giving advice’, she tells me. ‘It’s about being present with the client and allowing them to find the solutions. Another quality is being able to ask really good questions.’ Kelly looks at me and smiles, I return giving her an unequivocal nod, ‘pretty much like journalism.’ We both laugh.
Kelly’s method of therapy includes hypnotherapy, when I ask her about this her eyes brighten even more, ‘Hypnotherapy is working directly with the unconscious mind, we only use about 10% of our mental capacity, and that’s because the other 90% is unconscious. Hypnotherapy is about accessing that 90% instead of relying on will-power and conscious decisions it’s supported by unconscious actions, emotions and imagination’, she explains delightfully.
The main difference between life coaching and psychology is that coaching is forward looking. Kelly explains, ‘It’s about goals, it’s about moving forward. Psychology and psychotherapy tends to be more backward looking, looking to unravel things from the past. Each has its own place. It depends on where you are in your journey.’
The age range of Kelly’s clients varies from 20 years old to people in their 50s. ‘Sometimes people feel they need to carve out some time and space to really just focus on them. In our busy lives, where do we really have time to stop, sit down and think about what it is that we really want and where we’re headed.’
She explains that she offers a three months coaching programme. ‘If you want to create a change, you want to see something in the physical world.’ She becomes more uplifted, ‘Thee months is a lovely period of time, three months is a season, in a season the flowers can bloom, the leaves could drop off the trees, you have enough time to create something tangible.’
This year one of Kelly’s goals is to publish a book. She has been working with her former life coach on a new method to achieve goals, called Intentional Goal Setting, (IGS). ‘The purpose of IGS is to create a goal that’s compelling, and states what’s important to you’, she adds. This method is a step away from focusing on one goal only, ‘We’ve got these multifaceted lives now. IGS allows you to focus on multiple categories, areas of your life and make progress in several areas without being overwhelmed.’ Kelly also runs monthly workshops.
Kelly asks me about what I want and what my goals are. She listens carefully; travel and flexibility are important to me. ‘You will feel satisfied with your career if you have those two values, because they’re important to you. This is what I do with my clients.’ She gives me a taste of a life coaching session, and from an interview about herself, she managed to focus on me. It’s comforting to know there is someone who will support you and help you achieve your goals. After all, we live in a world where social norms sometimes mute what we truly want. When was the last time you sat down and thought about if you are happy? Mine was today with Kelly.
Find out more about IGS and book your place at Kelly’s workshop here!
By Ada Chyrowska.
Originally published in Goldsmith’s magazine: The Self, 24 February 2015. Article reproduced with permission. Ada is a qualified Journalist who studied at Goldsmiths, University of London. You can contact her here.