As a child growing up, I had always dreamt of being a lawyer. I had grandiose ideas of advocating class action lawsuits against morally bankrupt corporations.
I attended the top law school in London and then joined the top litigation firm in the UK. Whilst I could immediately feel that something didn’t sit right with me, I believed the people that said I was getting the best training available anywhere and that I would be crazy not to stick it out.
Four years later, after having switched firms twice and even worked in the US for two years, life at work remained abject misery. My soul was crying out, but I’d only ever known the law and the prospect of transitioning into the great unknown completely petrified me.
Dreams vs Reality
For as long as I could remember I had dreamt of doing something that I loved and setting my own hours, but I had no idea what that was. Whilst my daily reality was being trapped in an office generating piles of meaningless paperwork and being at the mercy of my seniors, I didn’t feel confident enough to take a leap without a clear idea of what I was leaping to and what that would mean for me financially.
Like many professionals who are outwardly extremely competent and relatively financially successful, inwardly I felt uncertain about my own creativity and decision-making capabilities. I yearned to take the bold step out of the profession and into a new world filled with passion, purpose and possibilities, but I didn’t know where to begin looking for options, reassurance, practical advice or support.
The Secret Revealed
The truth is that in the absence of a cultural revolution, it’s up to each of us, as individuals, to choose a better life for ourselves.
Deborah Arron (author of “Running From The Law”) offered some advice,
“First, [people] must listen to their inner voice……..the pivotal point occurs you can clearly visualize a future away from the [profession]…….No matter how they handle the financial arrangements, it’s their vision of a more satisfying life afterwards that keeps them motivated.”
So how does one begin to tune in to this ‘inner voice’ and go about forming a clear vision? The answer, thankfully, was both beautifully simple and heartwarmingly effective– find a trained, qualified and experienced career coach – OR – do what I did and become one.
Coaching – Eh?
So why coaching and what does coaching involve? Many people have heard of life coaches, but the profession as a whole still appears to be widely misunderstood.
There are all sorts of coaches out there: executive, small business, health and wellness, relationships and parenting, to name but a few. Coaching is a profession, a skill set, a collection of core competencies that is now being used in close to 90% of UK businesses.
Essentially, coaches work off the principle that the client has all the answers, but just need some help identifying them and putting them into action. Through asking the right, often bold, questions, a good coach will identify the values that drive your vision of the ideal future and then work with you to overcome the limitations that have, up until now, stopped you from having what you want.
A good coach will then co-create a detailed action plan with you, teach you how to access and engage your energy and resources, all the while holding you accountable to your action plan to ensure that you reach your goals.
The Best of Everything
I loved the idea of helping people live the lives they wanted to live but I didn’t imagine for one moment that it could actually be a career. Suspending my cynicism for a brief moment I set to work looking into the viability of coaching as a profession and, finding myself more than a little impressed by the reports and statistics, forensically started looking for a coach training programme that would tick all my boxes.
I wasn’t in a financial position to give up work immediately, so I needed to find flexible and affordable training that didn’t require me to give up my job (at least not straight away).
Since I had no experience in starting a business I knew I would need help understanding how to take myself to market. As a lawyer who’d always been handed work on a plate by my seniors, I had no idea where to start.
I also wanted to do something fun, that would allow me to do some self-exploration and personal development, ideally with other people who were going through the same or a similar experience (as opposed to purely online training).
I found my solution at the Institute of Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC).
The course was a transformational experience in more ways that one, offering me the support, encouragement, a community of like-minded individuals and practical solutions every step of the way. Over 85% of the people in my class had paying clients before they even finished the training!
I was so taken by my experience and what a perfect solution it was for people looking to get out of their profession and do something fulfilling, flexible and financially rewarding that I now deliver that same programme here in London to people going through a similar life shift.
I appreciate more than most that the prospect of leaving a profession can feel much like stepping off the proverbial cliff into an abyss of uncertainty. It is so daunting that many choose inevitable suffering over facing their fears and taking the leap. But for those who are willing to tune in and listen to their inner voice, coaching or a career in coaching may well be a step on the personal path to freedom and bringing your dreams and visions into reality.
Anna Margolis had a successful career as a city lawyer for 6 years including 2 years spent working out of the West Coast of the US. Whilst in the US she trained as a certified professional coach and worked for 6 months with one of the top dating and relationship coaches in the US. Anna is now the Programme Director for the Institute of Professional Coaching (iPEC) in London (www.ipeclondon.com) the world’s leading coach training academy. iPEC trains people from a range of professions including HR professionals, psychotherapists, psychologists and to become world-class International Coach Federation (ICF) accredited coaches.
Go to www.ipeclondon.com to find out more about iPEC London’s next coach training starting 19th-21st July.