In early 2019, I was a Sales Director at an industry-leading survey technology and panel company. I had been there for 10 years and, in that time, had grown my part of the business from virtually zero to over £6 million in annual revenue. I headed up the leading sales team in Europe and had created lasting, highly profitable client relationships with household name brands. I was, by all accounts, very successful.
In March of that year I suffered a completely unexpected and almost total mental and physical breakdown, following a severe and very public anxiety attack. I spent the remainder of the year on leave.
Through regular therapy, I began to recover and understand why this had happened at what seemed, at the time, the peak of my career.
I also learned that I wasn’t the only one suffering a similar experience.
Now, I work with people from all walks of life who face professional and, sometimes, personal challenges.
The core premise of my coaching approach is that everybody is capable, whole and already holds all the answers. My job is to help find them.
I ask my clients to be honest and brave; to be prepared to try things; and to be ready to forgive themselves (and me!) if those things don’t work the first time. I can’t, and won’t, tell you what to do or where to go next – that’s for you to decide. But I’ll walk with you whilst you figure it out.
And, for the record, I still have my own personal performance coach.
A word on mental health.
Had I not walked the path of mental breakdown and recovery, I wouldn’t have come to understand the significance of being given a space to speak freely and be listened to without judgement.
My story informs my coaching approach and gives me a deep understanding of workplace pressure and stress, yet it is also an important story to tell more publicly.
I actively seek out opportunities to work with organisations and help their employees better understand and make use of wellbeing programmes without fear of stigma, judgement and shame – all the things that prevented me from admitting earlier that I needed help.