Bio: Fourteen years with Salomon Brothers (now part of Citigroup). Eighteen years as a small business owner, providing consulting, outplacement, training, and recruitment services to, primarily, investment banks, in the UK and overseas. Published author. A mother and grandmother.
Full CV available upon request.
* Fowler International
Academy of Professional Coaching
Copyright 2013. Valerie Thompson. All rights reserved.
the support of a coach with that of a friend?
As a coach my role is to help my clients work out what they want, and how best
they can achieve whatever changes they seek.Consideration of their obligations and responsibilities, important
relationships, history and unique way of being, is essential.This requires objectivity.
By contrast, friendships tend to be subjective, as well as spontaneously
two-way.A friend tells us about a
situation in their life and we tend to respond with our own stories, to
strengthen the bond of friendship.It’s
similar with family.Friends and family
members might also volunteer advice, sometimes without knowing the full
facts.This can disempower and leave a
person feeling judged.
value of friendship cannot be underestimated but there is a natural barrier to openness,
as it is human nature to engage with different friends in different ways,
respectful of sensitivities, whereas a person can be totally open with their
How does coaching
differ from traditional talking therapy?
What coaching, counselling and psychotherapy have in common is they all provide a
safe, private space within which to talk and reflect, and make sense of
things.However, the coaching
relationship is equal; a business arrangement between professionals, and
coaching is primarily focused on the present.With
psychotherapy the client is a patient, and the focus is more on the past; on
understanding deep-rooted thought processes and behaviours.As these often date back to
childhood and are rooted in trauma, this can take years.Counselling is similar to psychotherapy,
although problems and their causes are usually more recent.
While a client will often talk about their past during coaching, to provide
invaluable context, the focus is more on today and tomorrow than it is on
yesterday.Achieving lasting change is
always the aim, what differs is the method.Coaching is more interactive; a coach will ask questions, make
suggestions, encourage consideration and reflection, and generally prompt
discussion of the pros and cons of an action or strategy.A coach therefore acts as a mentor as well,
responding in the moment and as required.Another difference is that coaching is mostly conducted by telephone or Skype.
What situations lend
themselves to coaching?
I provide career and life coaching, and aside from outplacement (see dedicated
page on this site) which is a clearly defined career coaching service, there is
often overlap.A business crisis, for
example, can have a big impact on family life, personal well-being and
relationships.The coaching framework
provides a constructive medium for dealing with both professional and personal
problems and frustrations.
How would you
describe your coaching style and approach?
Coaching is a broad term and life is a broad term, so you will find a variety of
different coaches out there, each with their own style and methods.I would describe my approach as holistic,
pragmatic and sensitive.We are all a
package deal, so to speak, and in my experience the best authority on a person
is themselves.My job is to help bring
innate wisdom to the surface, and to act as an anchor and a springboard.The client dictates the pace and decides the
agenda, while I facilitate based on what he/she ultimately wants to accomplish.