Having spent several years training business professionals in the art of effective communication, Claire recently completed her own training to become a qualified coach.
Now offering one-to-one sessions to individuals looking to develop or redefine their careers or personal lives, with New Year marking the traditional time for personal development she is anticipating a busy start to 2018. But at the risk of sounding dim, what exactly does her work entail?
“Ultimately I am your biggest cheerleader,” explained Claire. “I listen, support, challenge, motivate and ask the right questions at the right time. Coaching is all about empowering people and helping them identify and then achieve goals.”
Agreeing that coaching is a mix of psychology, mentoring, empathy and common sense, for Claire the fundamental skill is listening.
“I need to absolutely understand where someone is coming from and where they want to get to. By working with a coach you become accountable. Taking time to focus on a specific goal, whether that is getting more exercise, achieving greater success or learning how to improve your work-life balance, can be really effective. Investing in a coach is similar to investing in a personal trainer – one will look after your body and one will help your mind.”
Working within guidelines set out by the International Coach Federation, Claire stressed that coaching should not be confused with counselling, and that the onus of responsibility to know when their services are and aren’t appropriate is on the coach.
“Coaching looks at the present to move forwards. Counselling, on the whole, unpicks the past to better deal with the present. Most businesses will only employ someone with the appropriate accreditation, but lots of coaches have not received the professional training. I believe that the ethics and values behind that training are really important.”
Currently working with a range of clients, including global-level executives, designers, the charity sector and private individuals, she also coaches people starting new businesses.
“For them there is often so much going on that it can be hard to be objective. I can help them to clear the fog, build confidence and manage their time efficiently.
Also working one day a week with the sixth form at St Phillip Howard School in Barnham, Claire uses her coaching skills to help prepare students for their next step.
“I am really passionate about getting young people thinking independently and creatively and understanding that you need self-awareness and good communication skills, not just academic ability, to be successful. My work at school includes giving Life Skills workshops, covering things like presentation skills, interview preparation, personal branding and body language.”
Dynamic, exuding natural warmth and positivity and with her feet firmly on the ground, if you have goals that you want to attain then I suspect Claire would be far more than your personal cheerleader. I reckon she’d be your secret weapon.
Claire offers sessions in person (including ‘coaching while walking ’) and via Skype or Zoom. For more information: www.oandotrainercoach.com
Photograph: Rachel Poulton