Formulating a Plan of Action - Siobhan's User Story

By Upskill Coach, On May 25th 2020

Why coaching?

‘I’m at an early point in my career. I’m trying to establish a more professional framework or myself as a professional artist. I found that a little bit difficult to do. I don’t know many other artists and, I wanted to look at it from a more business-minded perspective as well. And so I felt like speaking to a coach might be really helpful and that that could provide me with a bit of guidance or support.’

What were you looking to achieve?

‘I was excited to start coaching sessions with Upskill. I wasn’t too sure what would be involved, so I was eager to see whether it might suit me. And whether I would find it helpful. I figured I had absolutely nothing to lose and it was worth the try and it definitely proved to be so’.

Worried about booking a coach online?

‘I had no reservations about booking a coach online. I saw on the website that I could chat to a lot of the coaches for 15 minutes in advance of making an appointment and committing to a coach. I felt like I got a really good sense of who the right coach was for me from their written introduction on the website and I didn’t feel like I needed to do that. And I feel like I matched really well with the coach that I chose based on her introduction’.

What did you like the most?

‘What I liked most about my experience was that it was really simple and straightforward. The team at Upskill made it all very smooth and easy for me. They were checking in with me regularly and making sure that everything was going to plan. My coach – she was quite flexible and we found it quite easy to find time to talk. So definitely the ease of use, the fact that I could do it from wherever I was. It was quite easy to access my appointments because all I needed was my laptop and the internet’.

Benefits of coaching?

‘I feel like I’ve benefited from Upskill Coach in a few different ways beyond just the ease of use. My coach really helped me to formulate a plan of action to lay out the next steps that I might take. I felt like speaking to somebody who is removed from my profession, removed from my personal life, could see it in a different light than I see things. So speaking to her, I immediately went out and put into practice some of the suggestions that she made and I found that they definitely paid off. 

My coach really helped me identify the importance of language surrounding my professional life. As a professional artist, it can be easy for other people’s views to infiltrate my own views. As in their perception of artists not necessarily working. And I found that through speaking to my coach who helped me to view my work as a professional practice in the same way as any other field is. And she reinforced the importance of speaking about it as such and that really has helped me to frame it in my mind’. 

Would you recommend Upskill Coach to a friend?

‘I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Upskill Coach to a friend. I think you have absolutely nothing to lose. Just from my initial browsing of the coaches on offer, they seem to cater to a lot of different kind of areas and they have their own different strengths and I feel that my coach and I were a good fit for one another. I have no doubt that anybody could benefit from some coaching from Upskill Coach. 

I found Upskill Coach really easy to use in that all I needed was my laptop and internet connection. Everything is laid out really simply on the website. It is very straightforward to get a sense of who the coaches are and if you want, go ahead and do the 15-minute introductory call. I didn’t feel the need to do that because I felt like it was all clear enough for me as it was. And then yeah really straightforward and simple to book a session whenever suited me. So ease of use is definitely something that I would let my friends know about’.

What did you get from online coaching?

‘I was hoping that through online coaching I would be able to get somebody else’s perspective, somebody from outside of my immediate circle, my personal life, from outside of my profession. I felt like a coach might be able to view things in a very different way from how I view them. I was hoping for a different viewpoint in helping me move forwards and making plans. And identifying what it is that I want to do and between my values and my career ambitions and how to actually get there. I definitely found that my coach was very helpful in terms of helping me map out the next steps to achieve my goals’.

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If you’re a professional with a coaching certification, then you’re probably already aware of what to do, but it can be hard to trace that line between therapy and coaching. Sometimes people become vulnerable in coaching sessions, and that can be great—goals can touch on deeper fears and anxieties.

But there are times when you’ll see signs of something more serious, which is outside the expertise of any coach, and you need to gently step away.

You can and should be sympathetic and continue with your empathetic listening, but resist any urge to offer anything like therapeutic help. Even though well-intended, this can do harm and even complicate things for someone who may already be in therapy. If there does seem to be a crisis, you can gently probe if they’ve considered expanding their growth into something like therapy, if they aren’t already receiving it.

We recommend doing your best to mitigate this by sharing expectations at the beginning of your coaching relationship: What you will and won’t discuss, dive into, or help them the address, and what you should agree should happen if they need something you can’t offer.

It might even help to include ‘therapy’ in a longer list of things, such as legal or tax advice, or other professions that offer services you (and Upskill Coach) can’t provide. This can do two things. One, it helps people see any attempt to guide them toward therapy as part of a plan you made together, rather than a reaction (which can exacerbate certain types of crises). And two, it places therapy on a list of professional services that are simply outside of your expertise, and, for someone in crisis, that can make it feel less like a judgment.

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