The truth about coaching no one tells you

Just over a decade ago, at age 44, I made the radical decision to change careers and retrain as a life coach, for one simple reason.

Coaching had changed my life.

I wanted more of it – and not just for myself. I wanted to offer it to like-minded women who felt the way I did, before I discovered this brilliant new ‘thing’ that had impacted my life so profoundly.

Coaching gave me the courage and the confidence to leave an unhealthy 22 year marriage, and an unfulfilling corporate career.

It fuelled me with the belief that I could actually create a life I loved, and make a living doing meaningful work, that would make a real difference in women’s lives. Even though, at the time, I didn’t have a shred of evidence that I could succeed.

As cliche as it sounds, coaching gave me permission to be my true self. 

I literally no longer recognise 44 year old me, though I have so much compassion for her. My life has unfolded in ways I couldn’t have even imagined back then.

Don’t get me wrong. The past 11 years haven’t been an easy ride by any stretch. On the contrary, much of it has been really bloody hard! But I wouldn’t change a thing.

In that time, I’ve grown as a woman, a mother, a romantic partner, and as a coach.

My life is infinitely better now in so many ways. I am no longer pretend happy – I am living true to myself.

And I’m even more passionate about what can be achieved through coaching, than when I started.

Coaching is, by far, the most valuable (and most expensive) gift, I have ever given to myself.

And yet. It is not the whole story.

The myth

Here is the myth I want to dispel:

There is no coaching programme in the world that can prevent you from experiencing pain, shame and despair, when life throws you a curveball or ten.

No programme or coach can forever banish your self-doubt and and guarantee you rock solid self-belief 100% of the time. If anyone promises you this, don’t believe them!

No matter what we can achieve through coaching ~ and it’s a lot ~ here is what has been, and continues to be, true for me, that you don’t often hear on the internet:

  • I still experience the same amount of pain and negative emotions as I did pre-coaching (though I’m much better now at discerning between genuine pain and self-created mind-drama)
  • There are still areas of my life where I struggle with my confidence, courage, self-trust and self-belief – because there is always another layer to peel back, and another level to reach (it’s called growth!)
  • Despite, and sometimes because of who I have become through coaching (hello healthy boundaries!) there are times when life serves up a whole tray of shit-sandwiches to me all at once. Right now happens to be one of those times! And because I’m human, I can still get caught up in my own pity-party about how unfair life can be. 

You see, no matter who we become, what we achieve or how much our lives change and evolve, life will always be a 50/50 mix of positive and negative emotions. This includes all of the crap, hard-to-feel ones like shame, guilt, anger, frustration grief and deep sadness. As the saying goes, shit happens!

Coaching can and does provide amazing tools to help us navigate life’s ups and downs, including the challenging people and circumstances we experience. And it provides awareness of where we’re creating our own suffering with our own self-judgement (Martha Beck calls this ‘dirty pain’) so that we can get back on track when we’re ready.

But it does not alter the 50/50 equation of positive to negative emotions.

False promises

Yet there is a flavour of marketing in the online coaching world that would have you believe some version of this:

“If you buy my coaching programme RIGHT NOW! your life will be rainbows and daisies forever more! Sign up to Work with me TODAY and you’ll never, ever experience a single problem, negative emotion, difficult person or dodgy relationship in your life ever again! You and your bank account will be immediately sprinkled with magical unicorn fairy dust and all of your dreams will instantly come true!”

Ok, this might not be the exact language 🤣, but you get the picture!

Me too

I’ll admit, I’ve been sucked into this kind of marketing myself in the past, where the solution being touted seemed to hold all the answers I was seeking. It never did, and I was always left disappointed and disillusioned.

We buy into the hype when we believe the answers exist outside of us. And when we want a quick fix, ie someone else to provide the ‘easy’ option and solve our problems for us, because we want to avoid the real ‘self’ work that would lead to our growth.

We fall for these manipulative marketing tactics when we don’t trust ourselves to find our own answers.

If you can relate, we don’t need to beat ourselves for falling for this type of marketing. Instead we can have self-compassion, because it’s a very natural, human response to our self-doubt.

Here’s what is possible

The right coaching with the right coach can be powerful, life-changing and create real, tangible results.

The kind of results I shared above from my own experience.

And the kind of tangible results my clients like Jill regularly achieve. She emailed this week to say she’d just had a difficult conversation with her boss, one she would never have had the courage to initiate pre-coaching. No only did the meeting result in a great outcome regarding her next career step, her boss told her he had reviewed her salary – and was increasing it!

“Your coaching has literally paid off!” she said.

This is what I mean by real, tangible results.

These results are possible because Jill has done the hard ‘self’ work of cultivating more courage, confidence, self-trust and self-belief.

Effective coaching is like a light switching on in your mind, where previously there was darkness. 

The light that switches on is awareness.

Awareness creates clarity about who you really are, and why you think and behave as you do.

Only with awareness, can you create real change. Because we can’t change what we can’t see.

Coaching provides the tools to help you gently and compassionately transform the parts of you that are holding you back from being the best version of yourself.

It’s that awareness, and the tools you learn, that you take forward and apply in your life, career and relationships long after coaching has ended – over and over, and over again, forever.

Want your own tangible results?

I’m delighted to share with you a preview of my new, signature coaching programme, the culmination of my ten years of coaching experience. It goes live on my website on Friday, but I wanted to announce it here first!

Elevate your Confidence is for smart women who want to feel as confident on the inside, as they appear on the outside.

It’s for women who want to stop constantly doubting and second-guessing themselves, and cultivate true self-confidence in their lives, careers and relationships.

The programme offers a proven process that works and gets results.

If you coach with me, I’ll never promise you unattainable results, or any other unrealistic nonsense.

will promise that, if you commit to doing the work, you can cultivate true confidence, self-trust and self-belief. The inner kind, the kind that can’t be taken away or invalidated.

Next week I’m opening up a small number of places to work with 1:1 clients. Will one of them be yours?

If you know this is the work you need to do, and you’d like to explore if we’re a good fit, click my calendar link and schedule a no-obligation consultation. And if you have questions, just let me know!

I can’t wait to get started.

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