Why Do We Do What We Do?

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Oct 06, 2018
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Folk invest in coaching for many different reasons, but virtually every coaching programme includes some time looking at why people do what they do and what success looks and feels like. 

I've done quite a lot of reading and thinking around purpose over the years, both as a CE and as a coach. Why do we do what we do? What makes us keep going when things are hard? What's going on when we feel anger, distress and discomfort around some things? Becoming clearer on values and drivers helps make sense of much of this.   

The world becomes easier to navigate when you have this insight. You can take steps to honour your values, work out strategies to deal with situations when your values feel compromised and make clearer decisions about the future. 

When I'm working with clients around future career directions we always start by looking at values and the things they love to do in terms of spending time, energy and resources. This helps them assess what routes forward will help them thrive.   

There are lots of different ways to become clearer on your core values. You can use value cards - there's lots out there. You can think about the choices you'd make around time, energy and resources if you had true freedom. You can reflect on past experiences where you felt on top of the world - what was going on for you, what made it feel great? What about when things weren't so great - again what behaviours made it feel challenging? You can keep asking yourself the WHY question until you understand what's really important to you. 

Whilst a coach will help you do this it's possible to work on this for yourself or with a trusted friend. I have developed a series of coaching tools which you can use to do this. Drop me an email if you'd like me to send you a couple. 

When I started working as an independent coach in 2016, I struggled with the concept of selling, especially around my charging structure. Some of this was about me and a touch of imposter syndrome but deep down it was really about values. 

Working with my own coach I delved deeply into my WHY and the choices I would make if I had total freedom. This helped me get clarity around why I was working as a coach and the clients I want to work with.  

I do what I do to make a difference - sounds a bit trite, I know. Fairness and accessibility are important to me. Giving value is important to me. Meeting and being around energising people is important to me. Giving something back is important to me. Building something for the future is important to me. Creativity is important to me. 

Knowing this really helped me make sense of a few of the dilemmas I felt inside.

I've chosen to do most of my work in the public and not for profit sectors. I've chosen to target Future Leaders and senior teams with high potential. I've chosen to work with other coaches to deliver Team Coaching. I train mentors and coaches. I've chosen to do targeted pro-bono coaching. I've chosen to set my fees at levels which enable access. And I will always find time for a coffee and a chat with anyone interested in finding out a bit more about how coaching will help them succeed. 

Some folk have, and still, tell me, that I'm a bit daft. They tell me how much more I could earn, especially if I worked in the corporate world. They tempt me with stories of what success could look like.

Success for me is about making a difference. Yes, I do have a few metrics around success - a level of income, a balance of work, play and home time, the number of paying clients I work with at any one time, personal development and learning, a target date when I will have secured ICF PCC accreditation.  

But, in the end, success for me is really about seeing the difference that my clients make for themselves. Transforming services. Building positive cultures. Getting more out of their teams. Leading their staff well. Enjoying life. 

I love it when coaching colleagues share their success stories - big clients, big fees, big programmes. But, for me the thankyou cards, my client’s achievements, the referrals, the new exciting programmes which emerge through word-of-mouth, the occasional lunchtime catch-ups are what makes my day.  

If you are interested in a chat about how coaching might help you, please get in touch. As I said, I love meeting people over coffee. 


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Sandra Whiles

Director, Sandra Whiles Coaching Ltd

I work with people who need a bit of a helping hand to rediscover what makes them shine, be energised and succeed. I love my work as a coach, helping people, organisations, groups, teams and partnerships succeed and supporting small businesses to transform their ideas into reality. All of my work is grounded in a coaching approach and builds on my experience and success in shaping and leading individuals, teams, organisations and partnerships over many years. Before setting up my business in 2016, I worked for 35 years in the public sector. My last job was as Chief Executive for Blaby District Council in Leicestershire, described as "a great council" by the LGA in 2015 with very high levels of public satisfaction and staff engagement. Having trained with Barefoot Coaching Ltd, I am a Professional Certified Coach with the International Coaching Federation, hold a postgraduate certificate in coaching from the University of Chester, have done specialist training in Team Coaching and am a qualified NLP Practitioner. Sustainability is very important to me, so my work is designed and delivered in ways that give clients tools and approaches to use to maintain and build on their successes after their work with me is completed.

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