Life and mindset coach Siân Winslade shares the reasons she loves her job, and how she learnt to set boundaries
This week, Life Coach Directory member Siân Winslade explores what she loves about the work she does, and offers tips and cautionary reminders for others looking to become a coach themselves.
A life and mindset coach based in Knutsford, Cheshire, Siân works with clients on a range of different challenges – from self-esteem to self-confidence, habit building, and learning to be the best version of themselves. She supports clients with their personal and family dynamics, helping them to create strong boundaries and find their purpose.
Siân also works with clients living with adult ADHD, creating a safe and honest space that is free from judgement, in order to allow them to become more self-aware, and more self-compassionate.
So, what’s her professional opinion?
Hi Siân! Why did you decide to join your profession?
I decided to become a coach because I had lived a full life of contrast and joy, and wanted to support others to take control of theirs.
I struggled at certain points in my life with postnatal depression and motherhood, and I wanted to release the shame I felt around that. I wanted to empower my clients to understand that the choices and challenges they have don’t have to let hold them back. In many instances, it was teaching them that they had the instruction manual for their own lives, but didn’t understand the language in which it was written.
Since you began, what have you found to be the most surprising thing about the work you do?
I am surprised at how I feel after every session with my clients. It can be so euphoric and invigorating. I am so invested in their progress and how they are changing and developing week by week. It fills me with such happiness to see them succeed.
The transformation in some clients is profound. They never cease to amaze me how they can start to reframe their lived experiences and attitudes toward others in a matter of months.
I wanted to empower my clients to understand that the choices and challenges they have don’t have to let hold them back
What do you like about your profession?
My clients – first and foremost, they are incredible.
I like the freedom to be able to choose who I work with, when I want to work, and for how long. As a sole trader, it gives me endless freedom and the ability to make several new connections each week.
I had previously been a teacher for 25 years where my life and timetable had been dictated, even down to when I had time to go to the bathroom! I love the fact I can work anywhere in the world, so long as I have my computer and my phone, the world really is my oyster. I love the mindset of those in the self help profession, they are willing to challenge themselves and constantly step out of their comfort zone.
What are some of the challenges that come with your line of work?
The challenges have been putting strong boundaries in place over communication, pricing, and giving too much of myself. When you work with a client over a three to 12-month period, the relationship can be very intense. When clients are going through some great challenges it is often hard to switch off and not think about them. It can also be a challenge not to try and fix everything for them, it has been crucial for them to find the answers within.
Managing all other areas of my business such as marketing, websites, social media, and admin can be a stress – certainly in the early days of setting up. After working in a government role for most of my career, with a guaranteed salary, the nature of self-employment can provide a level of uncertainty that is not for everyone. My advice would be to keep one job part-time if possible, whilst building up your business, particularly if you are relying on your salary. Trust that the clients will come, it just takes time, patience, and a lot of hard work.
How do you address some of the challenges that you face?
I now respect my own personal time and do not make myself so available to responding to requests and enquiries immediately. I am able to put my phone on ‘do not disturb’ without being too concerned that someone might want to ask a question or send me their journaling.
I have needed to occasionally step back and take a breath, switch off the phone, and take a nap when my head becomes too full. Following the same recommendations that I would offer my clients.
I belong to a peer supervision group of therapists and coaches at the Cheshire Wellness Centre in Lymm, where I see my clients face to face. I also attend fortnightly sessions with my own therapist who is able to keep me in check.
What do you think could be done to improve the profession for you and for others?
I think there is very little information out there about life coaching. As it is a fairly new profession (certainly in the UK), people don’t understand the coaching process that well and in the past, it has been given a bad reputation.
Life/mindset coaching has its place in everyone’s life the same as counselling and therapy. We all have times in our lives when we have lost our way or need to add some spark or even make significant change.
Life/mindset coaching can positively impact us in so many ways. I also feel that, in the same way we nourish our body with food, we should nourish our mind and invest in our own wellbeing, not seeing it as a luxury for the more fortunate.
I have needed to occasionally step back and take a breath, switch off the phone, and take a nap when my head becomes too full
What do you see being some of the major challenges your profession will face in the next 10 years? How do you think the way you will operate may change?
I think that unless coaching becomes regulated many more people will claim to be a ‘coach’ with little to no training or experience. Social media is a perfect place for anyone to say they are a coach because they have completed an online one-day certification.
It’s important that coaches have undergone some form of recognised training and supervision in order to practise. I have completed an intensive Neuro Linguistic Programming study and made a significant financial investment in this, as well as 10 months studying to be a clinical hypnotherapist. I then completed my master's degree in coaching and mentoring transpired a few years later. Being qualified doesn’t always make you a great coach, but understanding values and ethical standards does.
What advice would you give to others in the profession?
I would advise anyone to invest in a good training programme in person or online with a professional coach. Do your research, so many people offer opportunities to be a coach earning 10k a month. In the most part, this is nonsense, it is just people making money selling courses on how to be a coach.
I would also not niche too soon. I originally only wanted to work with women over 40. As I opened my services up, I now have an equal balance of working with both sexes, varying in age from 20 up to 65. I love all my clients and would have missed out on meeting so many fascinating and beautiful clients if I had niched too soon.
Bed (Hons) Education, Neuro Linguistic Practitioner ( NLP) certification, GHSC accredited training in Hypnotherapy and Psychotherapy, Life Coaching Diploma, Corporate Wellness Coaching Diploma, Positive Psychology Diploma, Mindfulness Diploma, MA ( merit) in Coaching and Mentoring.
Find out more about Siân and connect with her on the Life Coach Directory