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A client story...find out more about 1-2-1 coaching

Chris, 46, is based in Cambridgeshire. He works as an Agile Coach within a business, and is currently training with the ICF (International Coaching Federation). Chris came to me looking for support in building his confidence, coping with imposter syndrome and dealing with relationship struggles within his workplace. Chris’s coaching sessions (six across six months) took place online, with contact and support in between each session. They have been so helpful to him that he is continuing indefinitely. Here is his coaching story…

“Coaching has been a gamechanger for me because of what I have achieved. It has given me a different way of thinking which I didn’t have access to before.”

What led you to sign up to coaching?

Around ten years ago I moved from technical work to supporting people and teams. With that I started to build up some coaching skills. In the last couple of years I have wanted to increase my own coaching qualifications by studying for an ICF accreditation. I was struggling to get support from my organisation, so I needed help developing relationships with my line manager and executive leadership team. I always heard if you are coaching others it is good to have your own coach, it seemed like a good time. I looked for someone in the area and I wanted a coach who was ICF accredited and had an understanding of mental health first aid. The latter was very important to me as I’ve struggled with my mental health for the last 25 years but it came to a head at the start of lockdown. As I was going to be talking about topics that might bring up anxiety, it was key for me to work with someone who could identify if I might be going out of the realms of coaching.

What were your expectations of coaching?

I knew Gemma wasn’t there to solve my problems or give me advice. Working with Gemma gave me the space to be able to think differently.

How did you know that this was the right time to invest in coaching for yourself?

My main struggle was organisational relationships. Then also my history of imposter syndrome and self-criticism. I wanted buy-in from the organisation for me to develop my coaching skills. But my relationship with my line manager and the executive leadership team didn’t feel as good as it could have done. I knew I needed outside help.

What did your sessions involve?

To start with we focused on my relationship with my line manager and the executive leadership team. I started to realise that it was my own worries, imposter syndrome and self-criticism, that were stopping me from reaching out to the people I felt like I was in conflict with. Gemma asked me questions that made me consider – why am I thinking this way, how else can I think, what steps could I take to reach out to those people that I feel the relationship could be better with? Committing to someone external feels hugely different. I felt an obligation to reflect and do the tasks because I knew I would be talking to Gemma in a month’s time. I had accountability. There was never any pressure though, there is no guilt if you don’t get to it all. She has given me a lot of exercises to think about in between the sessions to help me think – that has been very useful as well. Coaching has been an interesting journey.

Did you discover anything about yourself that was a surprise?

After working with a psychologist for six months, prior to starting my sessions with Gemma, I still worried what people thought of me. I realised that the story I was telling myself of ‘what people thought of me’ - I actually didn’t know if they were thinking that. I’ve made it up in my own mind. I also had the realisation in the third or fourth session that I am doing a good job at work.

“I have learned to push fear aside and get on with my job. It wasn’t until my work with Gemma that I uncovered that – it was a real breakthrough.”

Did your experience differ from your expectations? If so, how?

Maybe better. Because my imposter syndrome kicked in at the start, I even questioned ‘am I going to be good in the coaching sessions, am I going to say what I need to say for the coach to ask me the right questions?’. It has gone better than I thought it would.

Reflecting on your coaching journey, what difference has it made to you?

Coaching has enabled me to build relationships in my organisation. My relationship with my line manager is excellent now, I have his full support with my ICF course. I have also built relationships with the executive leadership team. I feel so much better about the imposter syndrome. If I hadn’t had worked with Gemma, for the last six months, I wouldn’t be on the ICF course now.

What is Gemma like as a coach?

Gemma is very easy to talk to and comfortable talking about anything. You can tell she is invested and really listening through her body language.

Would you recommend coaching with Gemma to others?

100% - coaching has been a gamechanger for me because of what I have achieved. It has given me a different way of thinking which I didn’t have access to before. I feel comfortable raising anything with Gemma. I also feel safe to be open about my mental health experience, which has really helped me.

Has Chris' story resonated or inspired you to find out more about coaching? If so, I'd love to talk further. You can book a call with me, here.

Or you can read more client stories, here.


Gemma Brown is a Professional Certified Coach (PCC) accredited with the International Coach Federation (ICF). She works with individuals and teams thrive by helping them to elevate their authenticity, purpose and direction. Her belief is that when we confidently bring our whole selves to all areas of life, anything is possible. Transitions exist in both our personal and business life, and so often, the two fiercely overlap. Coaching with Gemma focuses on you as a whole, enabling you to identify your strengths, build confidence and to live a life with increased purpose and direction. Gemma works face to face with clients in the Cambridge area as well as via Zoom. For more about Gemma, visit her 'About' page or contact her directly.

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