“A Motivation Coach and Performance Consultant? How’d you end up doing that?” is something I hear quite often. I became a certified coach and started my own business, realising there a was shortage of experienced female coaches. I work blending the two elements of what I’m love; motivation and psychology. I’m a geek on the two subjects and proud of it too. It’s become something of a standing joke that when my partner returns from a course raving about a book, I will already have read it – whether it be motivating teams, self-motivation or the impact of motivation on corporate goals!
For those close to me the fact that I failed at school will come as no surprise. I’m too full of inquisitive energy and need to explore ideas. “What have you learned while you’ve been out here?” was uttered to me by disenchanted teachers most days of the week and I spent most of my secondary school career the wrong side of the classroom door. I left with three qualifications to my name. My future didn’t look bright, and I wasn’t wearing rose tinted shades.
I ended up working 9-5. Clock watching my life away in my early twenties was both a sobering and motivating force. As an adult, I returned to college. I became the first mature student from South Birmingham College to gain a place at the esteemed redbrick University of Birmingham, taking on five jobs to fund my way through. I left with a 2:1 degree and set my sights on becoming a teacher.
My grandmother gave me sound advice; if something is worth doing, then it’s worth doing well. I studied with the best names in education – I sold my bed to buy my interview suit for my PGCE for which there were fifty applicants for every place. It was only coming home ecstatically happy having gained a place – jumping in puddles on the way I realised I had no bed to sleep in the night! But, none of that mattered because I was following the trail of what I loved doing.
So I began teaching and almost simultaneously I fell in love with psychology – which always sounds glamorous when I talk about it, but this really was driven from necessity. When scheduled to teach Shakespeare to 14 year olds last thing on a Friday afternoon, you quickly learn everything you can lay your hands on about motivation and persuasion!
Ebeneazor, if you ever find this blog, the day you ran back to school that Friday evening because you realised you’d forgotten my revision class – that was the day I realised I was quite good at this motivating business (16 year olds run for very few things)! You deserved the standing ovation the class gave you and the light bulb moment you gifted me changed the path of my career for good. I gained my MA (Education) focused upon ‘Deep Learning’ with motivation at the heart of my studies. I became a Deputy Headteacher in a large urban comprehensive school responsible for the professional development of over a hundred staff; trained and practiced as an Ofsted Inspector. I worked at regional and national level, coaching staff and senior leaders and energising teams. Once more I followed the trail of what I loved doing, the tasks where time seems to melt away and you’re left in a state of flow.
My passion sparked academic pursuit, an MSc in Business Psychology and courses with Dr Paul Ekman (the original Dr Cal Lightman from ‘Lie to Me‘) on body language and micro-expressions. I became an expert on deception – it’s not as easy as Dr Cal Lightman makes it appear and whilst an interesting subject for a dinner speech, understanding how to motivate individuals and teams to perform at their best is by far my favourite subject. It’s also how I spend most of my working time. ‘Do what you love…’ as they say, is the story of how I became a Motivation Coach and Performance Consultant.
If you’re looking for a female coach, preparing for your first leadership role or seek support in motivating teams I’d love to start a conversation about how I could help. Let’s talk…