MY COACHING APPROACH + Learning lineage

My approach to coaching rests on the shoulders of teachers, coaching supervisors and the learning I have devoted myself to over the last decade, coupled with the hundreds of clients I have had the privilege of coaching.

I endeavour to remain theoretically grounded, empirically valid and conceptually coherent – while open to an unfolding wild and playful mystery that surrounds us.

I began my coach training with the Coaches Training Institute, after working with a CTI-trained coach. Within the first hour of training, on a rainy September day in a beige room in central London, I was hooked. Coaching felt like coming home.

After I completed the CTI programme, I enrolled with Dr Martha Beck's Wayfinder Life Coaching programme. I wanted to understand more about the spiritual (and perhaps magical) aspects of this work. I found Martha's willingness to be with the mystery of life fascinating and fun.

Curiously, this also exacerbated a growing sense of mistrust for coaching - was I really going to change my whole career and become a Life Coach?!

I worried about what people would think. And I detoured for a year into training as a therapist, specifically cognitive and behavioural approaches (this seemed so much more legit). But it just wasn't the same, and I missed what I felt in coaching conversations.

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I enrolled in a rigorous academic programme - eventually completing an MA in Coaching & Mentoring at Oxford Brookes University.

My dissertation was peer-reviewed and published, I was invited to speak at an academic conference. I loved the research. I was utterly seduced by long conversations about my epistemology (developmental constructivist). The process of writing my dissertation on the experience of Self-doubt was an intellectual love affair.

I have also trained with Center for Narrative Coaching & Design and Internal Family Systems.

Other short courses include Psychodrama (role-playing your trauma anyone?) Narrative Therapy, Shadow Work, Voice Dialogue, Family Constellations and Somatic Intelligence.

I have been deeply influenced by the teachings of Robert Keegan, David Drake, Eugene Gendlin, and Martha Beck, respectively. My approach references Developmental Psychology, Narrative Therapy, Attachment Theory, Somatic practices, Existentialism and Positive Psychology. I use techniques with roots in Transactional Analysis and Gestalt Therapy. I also incorporate mindfulness, therapeutic journalling, nervous system regulation and meditation practices.

I am an affiliate member of the British Psychological Society, as well as a member of the Association for Coaching which has a strong research focus.

i'm a developmental coach

Self-doubt is a protective mechanism that attempts - in complex and sophisticated ways - to hold us back from psychological risk. It finds a squillion different ways to say: don't do that, you might hurt yourself.

We construct narratives about who we need to be to feel safe - to be accepted, to belong - based on our lived experiences. These stories inevitably become fixed and constraining and we end up feeling stuck between our dreams and desires, and the risks they present.

Because self-doubt is a 'developmental dilemma' my approach to coaching is very much interested in exploring how you make sense of your 'self'.

Primarily, my work is about supporting you to feel resourced even when risks are present. We bring self-doubt (Protector) along for the ride, as we develop the capacity of your internal resources (Healthy Adult Self).

Coaching is an ideal container to uncover, understand and heal the unconscious protective beliefs that are in charge, and to support you to develop psychological flexibility to create a life that feels fulfilling and meaningful.

Developmental coaching is quite different from solution-focused or cognitive approaches that focus on goals, behaviour and mindset. Some key aspects of a developmental approach to coaching:

  • non-directive exploration of meaning-making
  • holistic and addresses the whole person
  • addressing long-standing beliefs and challenges
  • aim is to increase the broader capacities of clients
  • concerned with how we construct our reality and our sense of self
  • self is not whole or fixed - it is changeable, contradictory and made of up many parts.

i'm a coaching supervisor

I've worked with (three different) trauma-informed coaching supervisors for over 8 years. I'm convinced this has been the bedrock of any good thing my work has brought to the world.

And then I spent this year in small group supervision. I feel like every single aspect of my being has exponentially expanded. My self-trust, my intuition and discernment with clients, and with my business especially. In particular, being held and seen in a group has healed something for me around needing to be 'the expert / the helper'. I feel so much lighter - so much more JOY about my work.

I am currently undertaking a Diploma in Coaching Supervision. There is a deep firey purpose in me about this work (something like when I chose to commit to self-doubt) and I am thrilled to be offering small group supervision in 2023.

fern

COACHING: A GENERAL DISCLAIMER

There are no guarantees that coaching will lead to true love, multiple orgasms, your dream job or winning the lottery.

Your life is unlikely to suddenly take on the lustre of a tampon ad, where your hair is perfect and you wear white jeans while riding a horse along a beach at sunset, on the daily.

The people who drive you nuts will remain themselves; your body will be with you always, and life will continue its monotonous pace of one damn thing after another.

However.

Having coached with hundreds of clients and, after spending thousands of hours researching the empirical data that underpins this work, I know that coaching can lead to transformative change.

Occasionally this looks like big and obvious shifts. Mostly you have the exact same life, but inside there is a quietly healthy adult self who emerges. This leads to more self-compassion; you show up in the world in a different way. Your loved ones often notice.

The process of coaching often feels revelatory and light. Sometimes it’s mucky and shitawful as we face the difficult bits together. But I promise that through it all, there will be unconditional encouragement.

My mission is to help you heal the root causes of your self-doubt and to cultivate robust and lasting self-acceptance, self-worth, self-trust and self-belief.

Sometimes we need to go underneath everything to hear our wisest, truest, most powerful self.

I can show you how to listen.

Fern

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