Julia Griffin, Life Stages Coach
I started to first think about coaching as I floated into my late 40s. I had a great life, but I knew it could be better. I wanted to change how and what I was doing and the more I searched - Coaching seemed to tick all the boxes.
Four things shaped my path to ICA and coaching.
- I wanted to run my own business (but I had always worked in the public sector and lacked confidence)
- I was seeking a better work life/balance (and especially in relation to parenting and my own health and wellbeing)
- I wanted to benefit from a flexible and creative career (yes, that holy grail),
- I needed to begin a new career which celebrated age and experience
ICA stood out from other coaching schools because I knew I needed business skills as well as coaching skills and accreditation. And, I wanted my own unique coaching identity (vs a one size fits all approach). I also needed my study to be flexible (to fit in around my parenting, and not the other way around) and I wanted to connect with a community of global learners.
When did you discover your niche?
During my studies with ICA I focused on diversity and equality coaching. However, one of the great things about ICA is that they teach you how to coach anyone, anywhere in the world - meaning I wasn't locked in to one Niche. As a result, I recently changed my speciality and am now a Life Stage Coach. I coach people who are either relocating, returning home or navigating change. My clients range from about 25 to 65 and despite their different locations, their experiences and challenges have a commonality. It's easy to be carried along by the momentum of life so my coaching services help people with the next story of their lives - what do they hope to gain or leave behind.
What is/was your experience as a student of ICA?
I love ICA and I think that most people do. I am a huge fan of the e-learning methodology, and specifically the live classes. I got to connect with learners from around the world and learnt so much from their exchanges and experiences. The coaches and teachers are wonderful too. They offer a huge breadth of experience and they are so utterly generous with sharing their knowledge. I always felt rejuvenated after a class.
Since graduating from ICA I have stayed connected as a Study Advisor. This has also been rich with experiences and connections as I've continued to meet many new students, existing students and graduates. A highlight being the ICF conferences I attended in Greece in 2019.
What was a typical day for you as a student starting out with coaching?
Do you really want to know? Ok. You asked!
Each day starts with my son. My day begins with the usual morning mayhem of lunches, school bags and the endless chase for the missing shoe as snatched away by our pet dog in the dead of night.
After kissing him goodbye at the school gates, I head towards my local coffee shop where I check emails and catch up with immediate business. Community provides a vital role in my life and my local coffee shop is part of that community. They also do a mean espresso which helps.
Then each day will be different. I have online coaching commitments but I am also out and about in the community around East London. I love the variety. Face-to-face coaching and training, online coaching and plenty for time for myself. I have a lot of time at my desk at home which overlooks an old apple tree. It's the best office I've ever had in my career.
Within each week, I also make sure I swim and do yoga and mindfulness. I need this for my creative self and to be a good coach. I also provide myself with a good diet both nutritionally and ideas wise. I would read discussion threads on the ICA forum, take classes and undertake my own learning. I got as much from the dedicated coaching classes as I did the business classes.
Coaching allows me flexibility. I can attend most of my son's school events and walk the dog or take a break to sit in my garden when it's needed. This is important to me. My new life provides a structure which works for our family but it also work for me as a person.