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My background, skills and approach to life coaching

Justin Shelley Leadership & Life Coach.

As a Life Coach, I am often asked about my background, what I stand for, and my path to becoming a coach. Therefore, I thought it would be useful to share some background about myself in my first blog to give you a sense of who I am and where I came from.

I was born a child of the ’70s in Luton, Bedfordshire. At ten years old my parents moved our family to the Buckinghamshire countryside. Whilst I am grateful for this move, I will always remain true to my roots, I draw much of my strength from this.

As a child, I was very creative; I played the piano, loved to draw and had a passion for dancing. I was a happy, playful child with a shy streak unless I was dancing and the shyness would fade away. I found that from a very young age, people would tell me their secrets.

I guess this was an early insight for my coaching career.

From an early age, my parents instilled a strong work ethic, which I carry forward today. They taught me the values of respect, honesty, loyalty and trust. Good manners, kindness and above all else, how to laugh at yourself and not to take life too seriously!

After leaving school at 16 I became a printing apprentice for a local newspaper, this was my first taste of 'real work'. I then moved into digital printing, where I was able to combine my creative skills and printing knowledge with technology.

My career then took a different turn as I moved into training and development, and I landed my first role in London. This was my first experience of standing up and speaking in front of a live audience. My time in this role taught me how to entertain an audience, think on my feet, keep people engaged and inspire them to learn often the most uninspiring (dare I say dreary) topics. After a few years honing my craft, I was ready for a new challenge and landed my first Financial Services role with Credit Suisse.

My time at Credit Suisse spanned over 12 years where I performed many roles, the first being a software trainer, I then spent years working for the investment banking division where I led the annual graduate training programs. During that time, I was privileged to be exposed to another level of performance, expectation and professionalism. I then spent a further seven years working on projects in change management positions within the Information Technology space.

Whilst I am extremely proud of my career at Credit Suisse, all of that hard work did come at a cost, but also as a huge opportunity for me. I still remember the days leading up to my crash and burn moment, looking back it was inevitable and probably the best thing that could have happened to me.

I ‘woke up’ and from that point forward, I knew that I had to make a significant change. Whilst I do not wish for my first blog to sound pitiful or negative, it is important to be honest about my past experiences and understand where the most fundamental part of my journey to becoming a life coach came from.

My career in Financial Services did not stop there, but I realised back then that I needed some support if I was to continue further on this career path, even if it was a temporary measure.

Whilst I was contracting at Lloyds Bank, a kind manager put me in contact with a Life Coach. The time I spent with my Life Coach enabled me to learn about myself, my own patterns of behaviour, and I started to make real changes in my own life and make my own choices for the first time. The coaching process unlocked something powerful inside me, to the extent that it inspired me to become a coach myself.

Whilst I acknowledge the years of practical experience and professionalism I gained from within Financial Services, for my clients, it is the unique insight into those demanding and sometimes stressful environments that I bring to my coaching relationships. I understand the language, egos, the complex hierarchy, bullies, the games and the corporate jargon.

During my coach training with iPEC I was taken through an intense process of deep self-evaluation this is an extreme version of the coaching journey I take my clients through. During this process, I decided I would focus on becoming a Life Coach (as opposed to Career or Executive Coaching) due to the broader spectrum that life coaching covers and indeed a mirror of my own life experience.

The truth is, life coaching is about building a safe and confidential environment which is underpinned by trust, which allows the client to be vulnerable enough to be open and honest with themselves. It is, without doubt, a process which could not be achieved unless the coach has experienced this first hand themselves.

As I look back through my journey, all of the experiences that I have had, good or bad, were absolutely necessary for me to support my clients through their own journeys.

I hope that the above provides you with some insight into my background, a sense of who I am, and most importantly, the early influences which led me to become a life coach.

If you have any questions about what you have read, please contact me, and I will be more than happy to chat through.


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