Valerie Thompson, No-Gimmicks Career and Life Coaching for Individuals
I work for individuals, rather than companies, on a one-to-one basis.  To arrange a free no obligation telephone consultation, which will last about twenty minutes, please email me, mentioning the best days/times; when you can chat without interruption. I offer an outplacement programme, as outlined on the relevant page. An interview with Health and about coaching, August 2014  

"I am in a much better place now than when I first met you: you must take total credit for this. I am most grateful to you."

"Each phone call leaves me with the certain knowledge that I have just spent worthwhile time, had a meaningful exchange, and know more than I did previously."

"I couldn't have done it without you."


Mobile: 07903 16502607903 165026
Landline: 01323 47215201323 472152

Kindly note withheld numbers are not answered: Please leave a message and I shall call you back as soon as I am able.

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

Westminster Indemnity Ltd

Copyright 2013. Valerie Thompson. All rights reserved.

What differentiates 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.

The 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 coach.

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.

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