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Career development stories from my clients

Client story

Changing thinking and behaviour to be a better leader

Liz Thompson, Head of HR Business Partnering and client of Celia Clark at Inspires Coaching

“I’ve improved my work approach with the team and delegate more now rather than keeping work to myself and procrastinating with it.”

Liz is Head of HR Business Partnering for a social housing provider and has over twenty years’ experience in the people profession. She enjoys her varied role but sought coaching to stretch herself to have more impact within and beyond her organisation and recoup some confidence and energy lost in the pandemic.

With naturally high self-awareness, she was already conscious that her thinking and behaviours sometimes got in the way of her being a better leader. “[Celia] created the space for me to understand what was happening and what I was doing and become more aware of my own actions. It’s being alive to the fact that these are my derailers and understanding when I am going into that mode and being able to pull myself back.”

Liz’s confidence grew as she took this dedicated time each month to reflect on progress and celebrate successful completion of her work projects. She also sought feedback from a range of colleagues which affirmed her strengths and identified further areas to focus on. As a result of this, she started flexing her naturally collaborative style so she was ready to be decisive and directive when needed.

By the end of our initial sessions Liz was feeling more confident in her leadership and extended our contract to focus on developing her team’s performance and having a stronger voice in the strategic direction of people support in her organisation.

Liz says she feels calm and optimistic about the future. “There are some things which are out of my control and I understand that, so it’s being able to work with what I can, and know that there is always a choice.”

Client story

Practising the scariest of questions to build interview confidence

Career development stories - building confidence at interviews.

“Thank you so much for your expert support and advice. It was so, so helpful. I went into the interview feeling that I had prepared and was still being me.”

CM is a dedicated GP with a warm, easy manner developed over years dealing with anxious patients and hard-pressed colleagues alike. But her confidence drained away at the prospect of her first interview for 15 years for a role that would allow her to influence the development of healthcare services close to her heart. 

“I’ve always been rubbish at interviews” was her diagnosis when she approached me for help. She wanted to be able to get across what the panel wanted to hear in a way that was authentic to who she was.

In a one hour Sounding Board session, I asked CM a range of questions I’d prepared based on the job requirements and person spec. She was able to think about her answers, try different wording, stop and start again several times until she began to relax and find fluency and her ‘real’ voice. I was able to feedback whether I was hearing evidence of her skills and experience in her answers. 

Having practised and survived the questions that scared her most (like those probing her weaker areas of experience) she felt confident to handle anything the interviewers might throw at her for real. That inner confidence inspires others’ confidence and I was delighted to hear that she got the job.

Client story

Making a success of a promotion

brass magnifying glass and stethoscope lying on a laptop keyboard

“I’ve come so far, I feel confident and really happy in my new role.”

My client arranged six months of coaching when she secured a job in a new business giving her an exciting step up to a strategic role. She wanted to build in conscious reflection time to help her get an accurate grasp on the culture so she could work out what action to take to have positive impact as soon as possible.

On a practical front, she devised a way to track data she was gathering from stakeholders so she could be sure she was reaching reliable, evidence backed conclusions. We explored approaches she could take to manage trickier relationships and she developed skills to help leaders think about people issues more deeply.   

But the biggest change was on the inside. Insights from doing the PQ programme alongside her coaching gave my client much more confidence in her ability to deal with whatever comes her way. “I’m more positive, more in control and feel deserving of the role I have. I’ve learned I can be myself – I don’t have to hide. I enjoy using my energy to tackle issues head on.”  Relationships at home have improved too as she’s better able to deal with her strong emotions.

Client story

Helping clarify purpose and rediscover creativity

Amy Malloy, client of Celia Clark, career development coach

“This has been so wonderful. I feel a huge shift in my understanding of the business and of myself!”

Amy loves helping people find wellbeing and has made use of coaching to put this at the heart of what she does. Initially, as a new mum at a career crossroads, she wanted help to explore how she could turn her hobby – yoga and mindfulness teaching – into her living to get the flexibility and fulfilment she was lacking in her job.

Having crystalized a vision for her business, tackled the thoughts and beliefs getting in her way and planned how she could transition from employee to entrepreneur, she felt she was “getting back to the heart of me” and made the leap when the time was right.

More recently, she returned for space to consider how she could grow her impact in a planned and sustainable way. After Covid shook up both her business model and her thinking, she had a breakthrough session when she realised how much she wanted to make her lifelong love of sketching and writing a part of her offering. The heartwarming The World of Amy now combines wellbeing, illustration and words to help everyone find their sparkle.

Client story

Reversing unsustainable working habits

looking down on a woman's feet, the right one in a work shoe on a hard floor, the left one barefoot on sand

“I have now gone from feeling overwhelmed and worn out to feeling completely in control of my time and how I choose to use it.”

My client is a mum with a demanding professional role where her own clients’ needs can be hard to step away from. Working from home during the pandemic made it even harder to maintain her boundaries. Work was dominating her waking hours and weekends with the family and time off to recharge her batteries had become a rare luxury in her desire to meet everyone’s expectations.

“I came to see Celia as I was feeling completely overwhelmed with work and home chores and wanted to get back some balance for myself and my family.

Celia provided a space for me to think through how I use my time and supported me in coming up with solutions to carve out time for myself and my family.  I have now gone from feeling overwhelmed and worn out to feeling completely in control of my time and how I choose to use it.  

I could not recommend this enough for anyone wanting to take some time for themselves to engage in reflective thinking with a supporting and friendly coach.”

Client story

Turning ideas into action to get out of a career rut

woman cutting paper with the word impossible on it so it reads possible

“I’d recommend Celia without hesitation, especially to anyone who’s got into the habit of kicking themself.”

Becca says “I was in a career rut and hit a pandemic-assisted low. I came to Celia in hope of finding some direction among my half-baked ideas and rebuilding my confidence.

Over our six sessions, Celia coached me like a critical friend – interrogating my ideas, querying my self-critical tendencies, reflecting back my strengths, and negotiating suitable goals to help me investigate my options in more detail. 

Her combination of kindness and accountability got me taking practical steps towards an area I had been tentatively considering but thinking unattainable, and building my confidence through action. I’m not at the end of the journey yet, but I am moving with greater intent and awareness of my ability to do so.”

Client story

Reflecting on strengths to see how skills apply beyond your current job

an easel viewed through the hole in a paint palette

“I was able to secure two new roles that promise to better suit who I am as a person and a professional and I have Celia to thank for giving me the tools to do that.”

Kathy says “Celia’s coaching sessions initially helped me to reframe my professional view of myself at a time of challenge in my work. And, several months later, those same sessions gave me the words I needed to present myself confidently when applying for new roles.  

I first worked with Celia when my confidence was at a low ebb and I could not see a way forward professionally. She was a wonderfully warm and active listener and skilfully helped me move from a position of doubt in what I had to offer to an understanding that I had developed a wide range of skills that I could use in different roles and work spaces. 

A few months later I decided to look for new work. I looked back at my coaching notes and was able to use them to reframe my view of myself, my skills and my strengths. Prior to interviews, I again referred to these notes and stuck some key points on my screen as a reminder of what I could bring to these new roles.”

Get in touch to explore working together on any of these:

Laying good foundations

Organisation, work-life balance, focus, mental fitness

Resolving issues

Overwhelm, relationships, imposter syndrome

Rising to challenges

Becoming a manager, leading a project, starting a new role

Creating opportunities

Seeking a promotion, job move or career change