Emma met Dr Alice, a Chartered Psychologist, when Alice was leading a workshop on Positive Intelligence. Following the workshop, they connected, and, for a short time, Alice provided Emma with some coaching. But they soon realised that there was a better opportunity for them both, and that was peer-to-peer sessions.
“Within a few sessions I realised that I was getting as much out of this as Emma was. I wanted to know what was in her head for me as well. I wanted her as someone for support.”
Emma and Alice re-contracted so they could both benefit from the sessions and a very special relationship developed. Working together for more than two years, some sessions are scheduled and others are on an ad-hoc basis when either coach needs some decompression time. Knowing that the space is ‘held’ is important for – and valued by – Alice.
“She’s a beautiful person. She’s so respectful of your experience.”
Alice’s family had a mantra when she was growing up that ‘Pride comes before a fall.’ Whilst Alice doesn’t like the terminology ‘imposter syndrome,’ it’s a term that’s recognised by the public.
This mantra from her childhood translated into her working life and she’s continually searched for the evidence that she was good enough. She says she’s always strived for proof and one of the ways she’s done this is to take part in lots of training.
“She’s very empathetic. She’s very open. But the thing that I think really draws me to her as a person, and that’s what it is, she comes to you as a person – not just as a coach or psychologist – it’s the gentle challenge.”
When tempted to sign up for more training, Alice says that the Emma-voice in her head now makes her think again. Describing working with Emma as like having her own personal life consultant, Alice sees Emma’s gentle challenges as something to move her forward. Emma has helped Alice curb her need to take on more training.
“She unwraps things a bit like an onion. She’s uncovered the stories that I’ve been telling myself that really aren’t true.”
Driven by curiosity and interest and with a long list of achievements in her academic and professional life, Alice has, nevertheless, been telling herself stories about not being good enough since childhood. Running a business, she knows she must market herself but hasn’t felt comfortable doing this – a throwback from the mantra of childhood. Sessions with Emma have helped to flip this mantra to a new one – “I’m allowed to be proud.”
“Because I’ve known her so long now and we’ve talked so much, I kind of have her in my head… she’s created some sort of inner voice. Even when we’re not together, I know what she’d say if I told her what I’m thinking.”
Therapists and coaches supervise others and are supervised themselves, as part of their professional development. Historically, when being challenged in the work environment, Alice admits having felt it was criticism.
“With Emma, I’ve never felt anything she says is a criticism. She’s so ambitious for you to live the best life that you can. She’s full of hope, so encouraging.”
From a professional standpoint, Emma has gently challenged Alice to stop underselling herself, giving work away without being recognised and talking her achievements down. Whilst never going to be one to shout about her achievements from a mountain-top, Alice has recently embarked on a little outbound marketing… with great success.