Sunday, 28 September 2014

finding out: What's life coaching all about? A guest post from Leyla Kerlaff

So, I'd heard of this life coaching thing, and I was a little bit interested, but wondered if it was really any use, you know? 

And then Leyla, a friend I used to work with, and a woman I admire and respect, told me she was now a life coach. I asked her to explain what it was all about... And here's what she said.

Leyla and baby
Life Coaching - by Leyla Kerlaff

Coaching, for me, is about figuring out what you really want, and helping you to achieve it. A coach should be able to skilfully guide you on your journey, to help you gain clarity about what it is that you are really passionate about achieving in your personal and professional life, and support you on your journey to make it a reality.

So when might you benefit from coaching? Coaching can be particularly useful at times of transition in your life, to help you reflect on, and take decisions about which direction to take in your personal and professional life. For example: if you are thinking about returning to paid work after a period of staying at home to look after your children; adapting to being a stay at home parent; wanting to change career; or just feeling lost and wanting to find your path.

The power of being coached is greater than I anticipated when I started out on my own journey. My personal experience of the process has given me some very powerful insights into how my own beliefs and behaviours have been holding me back from enjoying life fully. As a mother of three, I have first hand experience of returning to paid work after having one, then two children and then (third time lucky) of leaving a stable, permanent job to follow my heart and set myself up as a life coach. I know how tough it can be to find the balance between ‘giving out’ to your family and job, and ‘giving in’ to your self. 

However blissful (or not) that period of giving yourself over to looking after a wholly dependent baby is, and whether you are returning to paid work or not, the transition back to regaining some independence from your children can be a really emotional journey.

For me, and, I know I am not alone in feeling this, the problem begins with knowing what I want for myself, never mind knowing how to get it. A skilled coach can support and constructively challenge you in a way that those who are closest to you sometimes can’t, for fear of upsetting you, or because they are too close to be objective. From a personal perspective, I was once asked in a coaching session: “are you taking responsibility for yourself?” At the time, I had been offended by the question – I take responsibility for everyone! But, while storming across a deserted beach on the Isle of Tiree last summer, feeling utterly churned up with emotion and depleted of energy, I suddenly realised what she had meant. I had, for years, believed that my own happiness was dependent on how happy I made others, and had become so used to trying to second-guess what they wanted, that I had been abdicating responsibility for making myself happy. Instead of seeing this as a ‘failure’ and berating myself for it, I used my coaching sessions to help me to find the confidence to nurture my own feelings and thoughts, and really give myself space and time to figure out what I wanted. What I wanted was to set up my own coaching practice, and I’m so happy to have found the confidence to go for it, and to do it my way.

My way is to work intuitively in helping you to connect with your own inner guide. I believe very strongly that we each need to discover what works for us, in our own way, and in our own time. I use my facilitation skills to support you to do this through visualisation, relaxation techniques and deep questioning.

Coaching is a structured process, which allows each individual flexibility to explore what they want to, in their own way and at their own pace. The first session is spent developing a goal that truly inspires you, based on where you are right now, and where you would like to be in the next twelve months. Subsequent sessions are spent developing that vision; breaking it down to better understand the challenges and obstacles that may be preventing you from achieving it; and developing sustainable strategies to help you overcome them.

To find out more, give me a call or have a look at my website. There’s no charge for a first informal meeting with me, and I’m offering a substantial discount to the first ten clients to book in for six sessions.

I look forward to joining you on your own journey! You can contact me on 07814 851 303 or at

Leyla Kerlaff