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10 Lessons from 20 sessions of coaching & a year of a transformative journey

Lessons from a year of coaching

As the curtain falls on the year 2023, for me the lessons from a year of coaching have been profound and transformative. From a first meeting with a business coach, a chain of other types of coaching followed, which have given me so many different insights.

Business coaching was followed by embodiment coaching, a career pivot group coaching, mentoring and a final positive intelligence & mental fitness coaching, Each session has woven a unique tapestry of growth, practical insights, and self-discovery.

Here are the top 10 lessons from the extraordinary coaching journey I had this year.

1. I have learned to Stay Open and Embrace the Unexpected

The most valuable experience came when I Ieast expected it. Although the first instance was me seeking help on business coaching, the rest of the journey unraveled without my planning. This is the power of staying open to unforeseen opportunities.

Although I had many plans and goals for 2023 for my photography business, not all of them came to fruition. Something that made me feel lost and confused on a number of occasions.

Starting the year working with entrepreneurs, academics & business owners for Personal Branding Photography was a highlight.

My pricing was where I wanted it to be, a little higher than middle of the market, for the reasons that allowed me to value my service, my skills and experience, offer great value and results to my clients and ensure my business is sustainable. 

I continued with Headshots, Corporate Photography and Family Photography through the year but the pace was slower. 

And the way the year unravelled was less strong that the start & some of the clients and enquiries I was getting were not aligned with my vision and goals.

So things felt stuck, which got me started on my coaching journey.

2. A clear vision and a focus on my values helped to become clear

Through my experience of Business coaching I realised the importance of aligning my vision with my values and my daily actions. 

Creating a business that is aligned with my personal values and lifestyle gave me renewed passion and purpose, when I was at the bottom and was thinking of throwing the towel in.

3. Simple daily habits sparked significant change

Embodiment coaching followed business coaching and gave me the transformative power of simple daily habits and self-care. 

Not having paid much attention to these practices for a while, I felt lacking but lacking in what I already had. What I was not doing was to spend enough time to reflect, appreciate and rest. 

So what I changed was simple. I started taking a short amount of time to reflect on the day at the end of my working day; go for short walks everyday, in the middle or at the start of the day; and breathe naturally without worrying whether I am breathing correctly or not.

You know, when sometimes you feel you’re not inflating your belly properly. It used to give me anxiety and I mentioned it to the coach who said just let your belly, your diaphragm and your body do the breathing naturally. I did and I could breathe again!

Contemplation and slowing down, became tools for balancing the demands of a busy day.

4. Identifying limiting beliefs and reframing 

The career pivot group I was a part of, had 2 amazing coaches who worked with us to identify limiting beliefs about our skills and career. 

I had mine and all the other women in the group had theirs. Writing them down and looking at them, brought a sense of laughter and lightness as we realised that they were just mental constructs we somehow had in our heads.

Reading through them and talking about them with other women felt exhilarating and liberating. We looked at them and reframed them to see that in our career paths there is a lot of value, a lot of learning and a lot of transferable skills, no matter what the limiting beliefs told us and had us believe. 

5. Career paths are enriching journeys, not straight lines

During the group work and the coaching support, we came to realize that yes our careers might not look linear, they might not have been carefully planned or executed for many reasons. And this doesn’t make us “less good or less” than others. 

Our career paths resemble enriching journeys rather than linear trajectories and this type of journey brings a fresh perspective.

Each experience contributes to learning and growth, and the contribution we can all make to companies and organizations can incorporate the skills and value accrued during the different experiences.

6. Intentionality is key to progress

Being intentional with our search for jobs, new roles & opportunities was another key learning. 

Rather than shooting in the dark, utilizing the valuable resources of time and energy in an intentional way, is the best way to maximize efforts, results and satisfaction. 

Pausing, reflecting, and staying laser-focused on goals and aspirations emerged as pivotal steps toward achieving a more fulfilling professional life. This was from my experience of working 121 with a mentor during the same time as the group coaching sessions continued. 

7. Redefine the “Hustle”

I was asked a very pertinent question by this same mentor during one of our sessions. Why do you want to change? What are you not happy with at the moment? 

And I said, the “hustle” i don’t like the hustle, it is tiring me out. 

We explored the options of leaving the current hustle but we also explored the option of a new hustle, getting a job, would that be better than the existing one?

My reflection was to say that actually the current hustle is better but something needs to change. 

So then we explored ways to enhance the current business and seek alternative paths to success.

8. Positive intelligence and identifying your saboteurs

I was made aware of a framework called Positive Intelligence during the work with the last coach I had this year. 

During a taster session, we explored different ways and tools to make me feel better connected to my goals.

Part of the positive intelligence framework is to look at your saboteurs and see what they are doing. The saboteurs tend to distract us, make us avoid situations, make us want to be in control, etc. There are about 9 of them. You can take a quiz to identify yours here 

9 Ways We Self Sabotage

9. Connecting to intrinsic motivation

During the taster session we managed to work quite deeply and I created a tool that could help me connect to my goals. A simple tool and one that I have within me. 

This practice highlighted for me the importance of connecting with my intrinsic motivation. Understanding my values and motivations served me as a guide to prioritize goals and avoiding daily distractions.

10. Gratitude fuels continued growth

Reflecting on this coaching journey has brought forth a deep sense of gratitude for the opportunities I was offered and the people who made them possible.  

In summary, the year-long coaching journey has been a rich tapestry of lessons, growth, and self-discovery. From aligning values to embracing unexpected opportunities, each coaching session contributed to a holistic understanding of me and the path forward. 

As the journey continues, the lessons learned will serve me as guiding lights, illuminating the road ahead with gratitude, resilience, and a deep sense of purpose.

So continuing with my photography business enhanced with my values, skills, experience and unique perspective is the direction forward.

The Small Business Network, is the side project that I have nurtured and will continue to grow, giving me the opportunity to connect with other entrepreneurs, help them in their journeys and share what I have learnt.