Why Coaching? My story
I've been reflecting recently on my journey into coaching, why I feel so passionate about it and what is driving me to want to help others make real change in their lives. As a coach I have the honour of listening to people's stories every day, so I thought I'd share mine with you. Here it is - in a bit of a brain dump!
In 2012 my husband and I started expanding our family - a beautiful thing of course! But it came with its own unique and intricate emotional, logistical, psychological and physical challenges.
Totally unprepared for what new parenthood threw at me; I was overwhelmed and anxious. My inner-gremlins went wild; highlighting my failures and throwing self-doubt into all areas of my life. But I was a survivor - right? I didn’t need help - right? That would suggest weakness - right?
As I returned to work after maternity leave I decided I could work this all out in my own head …..... I couldn't! Instead I lived with the anxiety and conflicting pressures throughout my kids early years. Grateful to be working in a supportive organisation that enabled me to have some flexibility to my role. I could get on with working and being a mum. I had enough flexibility to allow me to collect my kids from nursery (often running all the way) and to take time off at short notice to deal with sickness and appointments.
My life was functioning: I was working and I was a mum, I was succeeding! Or so I thought. Until I realised I was beginning to burn out. I realised I was actually barely coping let alone succeeding, and in the process of running between the office and the nursery and the doctors and parents evening and xmas shows and conferences and work travel and and…. I had lost myself.
I had stopped thinking about me and what I wanted and needed, I was living each moment as it came with no vision of where I was going. I told myself this was just how life is; I was a devoted mum and the kids were the most important thing in my life and I didn’t need to look after ME….
Then one day I began to feel the fog of new parenthood lift. Things were getting a little easier. I had the chance to stop and breathe, and as I did I saw and felt the impact that my emotional, logistical, physical and psychological challenges were having not only on me but on those around me. I felt like I no longer knew who I was or where I wanted to go in life. Four years had passed and I felt like I hadn’t progressed (I know now that this just simply was not true!).
I decided something absolutely had to change! I was not doing justice to any area of my life. I was not fully present at home or at work. Driven by a desire to live a more balanced and fulfiled existence, I embarked on exploring a life that could holistically satisfy all aspects of who I am. Me as a parent, a friend and a wife; my personal and mental well-being; my interest in the world and people around me; and my career. I started dreaming of a life which facilitated all this stuff - and still had space for me.
This dream had no tangible structure, no physical What, When, Where - it was more of a feeling of how I wanted to “be”, how I wanted to feel and show up in my life. I wanted to be present for my kids, husband, family and friends; I wanted to live life with purpose.
I looked into coaching as an option to support me and as a potential career direction. What I found was transformational! It enabled me to explore what was truly important to me and how I viewed myself and my world. It helped me to better understand my own struggles, my impostor syndrome, my inner-gremlins, my non-negotiable values. I was able to take control of my life, make real changes, and create a career and life that complimented and spoke to who I was. I was able to embrace and welcome my own imperfections and vulnerabilities.
It was an utterly liberating experience and I wanted to help others feel this. I wanted to creating a place of comfort and challenge, a place of understanding and not feeling alone, a place of empathy, trust, exploration and hope where you can make real shifts in your life. Knowing how long it had taken me to ask for help, and how much I had procrastinated; I wanted my coaching service to be accessible, to feel undaunting, to be clear and practical and to focus on making life fulfilling and more balanced.
Coaching speaks to my values and beliefs. It utilises my personal strengths of listening with compassion and respect, building trust and truly empathising with my clients. This means I can work with my clients effectively and without judgement, providing a supportive, safe and empowering space for them to reflect, refocus and make real change to their lives.
Ali McNab is a Transformational Coach helping people who feel frustrated or stuck in some aspect of their life to explore and be their best selves. As well as working directly with individuals, Ali also works with charities and social purpose organisations supporting their approaches to staff well-being and growth.