Inspirational Woman: Sandra Parker | Founder & Owner, Just the Tonic Coaching

Sandra Parker is an ex-chartered accountant and qualified life coach. She struggled with alcohol for 20+ years before finally learning how to remove the desire to drink, she felt amazing and set up a company to support others to do the same.

What specific areas of coaching do you specialise in?

I have designed a programme for high-achieving individuals that ditches the shame around drink and enables my clients to get to the point where they no longer need alcohol, take control over it and they can live a bigger, more exciting life.

Tell us more about your average day.

Every day is different, which is great! Over a week, I typically spend my time on the following:

Coaching clients on group and individual calls (typically on Zoom) and via our WhatsApp group.

Interviewing recent clients – I spend a couple of hours per week on testimonials and interviewing recent clients, this is great fun to do and very rewarding.

Supporting my team – I have an assistant and a couple of coaches who support my business.

Speaking to potential clients about their challenges with alcohol to determine if I can help them and if not, give them my best advice.

Marketing for my business – writing emails, managing paid advertising and PR. Usually, I have a project I am working on – right now I am about to record a new webinar so I am working on the preparation for that.

Have you faced any challenges along the way to become a coach?

Not so much in becoming a coach, I loved the training as I love people, and find it fascinating to learn how to support people to make big changes in their lives.

In terms of leaving a successful, well-paid job and setting up a successful business, that has been a bigger challenge and my proudest achievement. Along the way, I have learnt to be resilient, to handle challenges, to stay positive and focus on the goal.

What has been your biggest achievement to date and what one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving this success?  

Supporting hundreds of people to go through my programme and shift from drinking as much as two bottles of wine a night to getting control over alcohol and feeling good about themselves. Some of my clients had tried rehab, AA and endless other solutions before working with me. It is a huge privilege to be able to support people and see the transformation from when they join my programme to 10 weeks later when they complete the work.

I think a major factor in my achieving this success is firstly being authentic. I know what it is like to struggle with alcohol and self-loathing but still hold down a successful job and my clients recognise and appreciate that. And secondly, I am passionate about what I do, so the combination has allowed me to create a successful business. And one that is growing.

During coaching, how do you handle situations where a client is resistant to change or challenges?

By communicating to understand what is in the way – we all have mindset blocks, and we are all unique so understanding where the client is coming from is critical to be able to agree on a plan and strategy that works for them.

What do you think are the most common obstacles that people face in achieving their personal goals?

Mindset, strategy and accountability. To use alcohol as an example, someone can want to drink less but have strong subconscious beliefs about alcohol being necessary eg: for stress, for fun, to feel good, etc that we have to unpick, challenge and change.

When we try to achieve a goal on our own, we create unrealistic timelines or ignore the how-to – so we may set a goal to simply not drink – which ignores how-to – what are the strategies we need to remove the desire to drink?

Accountability is critical too as we are much less likely to achieve a goal without external accountability.

What is your philosophy on work-life balance, and how do you integrate it into your coaching?

My philosophy is that we need to decide on what our own ideal work-life balance is and that can vary at different points in our life and from person to person.

Personally, I am passionate about my business and the client work I do energises me so I do not need as much downtime as I did in my corporate career, where at times the work was quite draining.

How do you structure the end of a coaching relationship, and what follow-up support do you offer?

Firstly, all clients have access to the modules and any subsequent updates for life.

Secondly, they are invited to become part of the Just the Tonic community – some clients go on to work with me for years to create the life they want and that they can because they have control over alcohol, and I also offer lighter touch support as required.

And lastly, because my style of coaching is to combine group coaching with one-to-one, many of my clients develop long-term friendships with the people they have been on the programme with.

If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self, what would it be?

I have had an exciting life with lots of adventures, but if I could go back and give one piece of advice to my younger self, it would have been to tackle my anxiety earlier. I always found the courage to do the things I wanted to do such as travelling and moving to London, but I could have enjoyed life so much more if I had been able to understand and manage my anxiety.

What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?

I am currently working on expanding my business and am excited about being able to support more people.

In terms of what I want to achieve, I want to pioneer an alternative to the current options for people struggling with alcohol – that is to have control over alcohol without feeling deprived. And to feel empowered in doing so.

Connect with Sandra on social media:

LinkedIn   |   Instagram   |   Facebook

Read more from our other inspirational profiles here.

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