Good’s Natalie Cyra talked to life coach and business mentor Rachel Hill about her approach to mentoring and the challenges she sees her clients face on the daily.
What is your career background, and what made you decide to get into being a life coach and business mentor?
My work life started doing front line work in retail and on the production line. Very quickly I realised that I wanted something more challenging so began my lifelong love affair with career development for myself. My whole life has been focused around re-education and career redevelopment. I developed a career that culminated in national senior management roles leading large scale business improvement projects and teams of up to 350 people.
When I reached my 50s I began to wonder “is that all there is?” I looked around for something that was deeper and more meaningful. I did a career coaching assignment on myself and realised what I loved about my career in leadership and management was the people development aspects. I absolutely loved seeing the people I worked with take risks and achieve their dreams. So I became inspired by people who were coaching and mentoring. Coaching and mentoring is a relatively new field, so when I looked for training and qualifications back in 2012, I found the International Coaching Community (ICC) offering certification and became qualified with their International Coaching Certification. This augments my years of management experience, and my life skills as well as my Masters in Business Administration. I have also qualified as an NLP (Neuro-linguistic programming) practitioner and am currently studying towards my Masters in NLP.
What are some common struggles you see with your clients?
Some of my clients are business owners who, although they have a successful business, struggle with balancing the time consuming day to day operations with taking a step back to work on their business. We work on improving that balance and implement things like structured business planning processes and understanding that their role is to be the leader, not the expert. We also work on building their leadership capability and how they engage and motivate their people to be more productive and happier at work.
Some of my clients are people who love their jobs but face challenges with difficult relationships at work; for example their boss, their coworkers and even clients and suppliers. Or they could be high producers who are struggling with an underlying feeling that they are going to be found out – that they are not good enough for the job they are doing. All of my clients are suffering from fatigue and stress.
Moreover, some of my clients are those who are at a career crossroads and are unsure about what next and how to get there. For all the good will in the world, talking to their friends and family just doesn’t work and so they are looking for someone who has been there, done that and is able to provide objective advice that comes from real world experience.
I also see people who are struggling with the challenges of every day life. These people are frequently suffering from stress, anxiety and depression because they just cannot seem to create the life they want. As someone who has experienced this myself throughout my life, I am uniquely positioned to help them with personal development and self mastery. This then positions them to take steps to create the life they want.
Have you seen this theme change over the years, and if so, why do you think this is?
Over the years I have seen the same themes popping up in my clients’ lives. One of the disturbing trends I am seeing is that people are thinking of themselves as failures, as broken or suffering from some kind of illness. When in reality, what they need is some new thinking and decision making strategies, a place to learn them. Often they just need someone they can trust who is not a part of their life but who has the skills and abilities to help them come to grips with what is actually happening and create the breakthrough they deserve.
What is your approach to mentoring, and what services to you offer?
My coaching and mentoring focuses primarily on how people are engaging with work. Humans have a need to live a life of meaning and when our needs are not being met, we can begin to feel helpless, empty, alone, confused, stuck and a failure. We know that life could be better but are unsure how to get things back on track.
The four pillars of meaning are belonging, purpose, storytelling and transcendence. My area of focus is purpose, and how we can live on purpose though what we do at work. I help people improve their skills and strategies around work and when that happens they suddenly no longer fear Monday mornings, but jump out of bed eager to get to work.
I offer a narrative coaching style that focuses on the stories we tell ourselves and how they affect us. I help people become aware of those stories and to realise that they can change these stories. And how powerful that is. I also help them with skill development in areas of management and leadership, individual performance at work and generalised life coaching and self mastery.
What do you love most about your job?
It’s very simple really. I love the breakthroughs my clients make and that I am able to make a positive difference for them in their lives. Every day I say to myself how lucky am I that I get to work with amazing people who take risks and make changes that fundamentally improves things for them.
For more from Rachel Hill, visit rachelhill.co.nz