Have you ever wondered if you should have a personal version of frequently asked questions? You see them all the time in corporate and sales environments. And the other day, I was thinking that a personal version might be very handy.

Truth be told, I’ve actually had this thought before. Previous versions of my personal FAQ’s would have would have included lines like these:

Q. When are you planning to provide a little brother or sister for your son?

A. Um. We’re not… 

Q. You have an unusual surname – where are you from?

A. Victoria, Australia.

Q. Don’t you get sick of travelling to France every year?

A. Not at all. Have you ever visited France?

Anyhow, a fresh question has been coming my way lately, and I thought the perfect place to answer it is in my journal (it seems more efficient than creating an FAQ flyer). And besides, it feels right to answer it here, with you xx 

Q. Why do you choose to work in a corporate environment and build a coaching practice?

A. For so many reasons. Before we count them, let me give you some context…

Like all working environments, both the corporate and the coaching industries have stories that tell you what it takes to be ‘successful’. In corporate there’s a belief that you have to give every ounce of your blood, sweat and your tears to ‘win’. You have to be prepared to work all hours of the day and night (not to mention every weekend) to climb the corporate ladder. It’s extremely  important to show that you’re committed to your career and your organisation. 

Then in the coaching world, there’s a lot of talk about building your practice to a point where you can quit your corporate role. In some circles it’s held up as the holy grail, the thing you should be aiming for and ideally reaching in the shortest time possible. Because the corporate world is apparently sucking the absolute life out of you. Which it might be, but you can also thrive in corporate if you know how – but I digress.

Personally, I believe in the AND strategy. (I also believe in setting my own success criteria, but that’s a post for another day.) Rather than choosing one or the other, I choose to work in corporate AND build my coaching practice. Working part time in both industries gives me the best of all worlds. Here’s why.

  1. My choice is the perfect example of how I’m self-styling my own life. It’s important to me that I practice what I preach. I also like to model what intentionality looks like to my clients, team and this community. My hope is that if women can see me combining both worlds, they’ll be inspired to combine the best of their worlds – despite what either of my chosen industries might suggest is normal. The more women who start living their lives by their own success measures rather than what their industry, boss, or parent might say, the better.
  1. Coaching is my way of supporting others and I love it. But I also enjoy the leadership opportunities that come with working in corporate transformation. I have stimulating work, an awesome team and options for growth – all things I value highly. And while you should ideally confirm this with my team, I feel I’m a better workplace leader thanks to my coaching. It gives me a deep understanding of the protective beliefs that hold professionals back.
  1. Similarly, I know that I’m a better coach and mentor because I’m still in the corporate game, with three decades of experience behind me. My coaching clients work almost exclusively in multinational or national corporations. Things shift at lightning speed in those worlds, like most professions. And coaches who blend current knowledge with coaching experience are in a great position to support their clients.
  1. I get to use all my skills and experience in an integrated way. You see, I’d fallen for the stories both of my industries were telling me.  I’d made up a story that I either had to be coaching full-time or working in my director role full-time. Blending the two somehow didn’t seem feasible. It was my own coach who pointed out that my all or nothing thinking wasn’t serving me. I was in danger of leaving parts of me behind if I forced myself to choose between one role or the other. The fact that I do both, is relatively unique in both fields. And that forms part of the value that I can offer clients and my employer. In fact, some of my clients question if I’d be able to have the same coaching impact without my current bank role. Now as a working mum, with multiple qualifications and years of work and coaching experience, I know I can support my clients to achieve their goals. But I appreciate that my program director role is something my clients value as part of my skill set. It’s similar to the way they relate to the fact that I’m a creative writer or that I spent time as a single mum. It’s the combination of all the parts of my history that’s important. And it allows me to support my clients with things like:
  • critical conversations with their boss
  • email templates,
  • time management strategies for Christmas and
  • experiments to get back in the dating game.
  1. As much as it pains me to admit it, I tend to get bored quite easily. As a result I have a high tolerance for change. From hairstyles to cushion covers I’m prone to want to switch – and all that switching energises me. Similarly, I find swapping between coaching and corporate very refreshing. I rarely get overly tired because I get to experience so much variety. I’m more engaged in every aspect of my career. Which means I show up better everyday for my clients AND my corporate team.

I’d love to know – where in your life do you get to combine the best of both worlds? And is there a FAQ that you’re always answering? Let me know in the comments section below.

And until next time – stay fabulous xx


Image credit: Haute Stock

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