The Inspirational Tiffany Kay
I am really excited to have the opportunity to interview Tiffany Kay www.tiffanykay.com. Tiffany is well known in the coaching world, as a highly successful and inspirational coach, presenter and author.
C. Hi Tiffany and thank you for joining me. In coaching circles you are well known and your repetition proceeds you, can you let any reader who are new to the world of coaching a little bit more about you.
T. I grew up in Liverpool in a high achieving family – my father was a high-court judge and my brother excelled at rugby (culminating in being a member of the world-cup winning team). It seemed as though the rest of my family knew what they wanted to do but I never had that clarity. I did have a fascination with psychology and philosophy. When I was about 10 years old I remember asking my school friends why they thought we were here — I think they thought I meant the playground but I was talking about life!
The question stayed with me as I wandered rather aimlessly through the years. I cared deeply about what people were thinking and feeling and how they were finding meaning in their lives yet I struggled to find a career that fitted my skills. I went from sales to administration before ending up in a training position at Littlewoods. I found myself working with colleagues 1-1 in the business and my passion for coaching began.
Many of the conversations strayed from business issues to the problems they were having in their personal lives and this was where I felt I could make the biggest difference. This was in 2000 and ‘Life coaching’ wasn’t that well known in the UK but I read up about it on the Internet and felt that I had finally found what I wanted to do.
In 2002, full of enthusiasm but rather naively, I quit my corporate job to be a full-time coach and I have been working for myself ever since.
The first few years were really tough and I supplemented my income with associate trainer work. Later I partnered up with a good friend, Kate Trafford and set up a training company called Go Beyond NLP. We ran certification courses In NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming, Hypnotherapy and Coaching). We stopped trading in 2011 so that we both had the time and space to focus on our individual offerings again.
For the last few years, my coaching work has centred around supporting people to live inspired lives. The greatest gift I can give my clients is creating dramatic perceptual shifts enabling them to see situations and challenges very differently. I truly believe that everyone already has the inner resources and wisdom to resolve every problem they encounter. I see my role as helping the client to access those resources faster and more easily.
I have an extensive toolkit that includes NLP, Hypnotherapy, Emotional Freedom Technique and more but after coaching for as long as I have, it is much more likely that I will use unique techniques with each client – after all, we are all different and so each intervention/process will be different too.
Currently I specialise in helping clients to move from a life of pursuit to one of presence. So many people are caught up in the rat race and lack the time or space to appreciate their lives. Presence is about being able to live in this moment without worrying about the future or fretting about past events. I believe there is a simpler and more fulfilling way to live and I love to help people discover that for themselves.
I also help other solopreneurs/coaches to build their online presence, get clear about their message and share their gifts with the world
C. That’s quite a back story, so many coaches go through that hard decision of whether or not to quit their job to become a full time coach, especially back in 2002 when coaching was relatively unknown. You have been a coach in many settings, what do you consider is the main benefit from a coaching session?
T. When I first started out, I was having some business cards printed and the man serving me asked what I did. I explained the purpose of coaching and I remember him responding “Oh so it’s for weak people with problems so big that they can’t solve them on their own”.
Obviously I didn’t do a great job of explaining it but it still makes me smile. Nothing could be further from the truth. I think coaching is often the mind-based equivalent of a good massage. In one or two sessions, a good coach can help you to perceive situations differently, access inner and outer resources that you aren’t even aware that you have and find the best solutions to problems and challenges.
But the benefits of longer-term coaching are immeasurable. Finding and working with the right coach can enable you to find out the truth of who you are. There’s nothing like having a ‘tour-guide’ to help you to see yourself and your life more clearly – to know who you are (and who you are not), to discover your inherent and unconditional worthiness so you stop doubting yourself, to authentically and unashamedly express yourself in the world without being overly concerned with what others think and to help you know and change your own thinking and internal processes so that you are able to make decisions and solve problems effortlessly and finally find the inner peace and happiness that you truly deserve.
C. This is something I totally agree with, many people these days are to busy to take a look at themselves, to know who they are and what they want to achieve. You said that about people having “the right coach” for someone potentially looking for the right coach for them, what questions should they ask before booking a session?
T. A truly effective coaching partnership only works when the relationship is right. No one coach will be suitable for everyone so it is important to shop around and ask the right questions.
I would prioritise questions that explore the values of the coach. Conflicting values are the main reasons for failed coaching relationships. For example, if you strongly value harmony and avoid confrontation, you may not want a coach that is more challenging than supportive. I say ‘may not’ because it can be really useful to work with a coach with different values as it offers a much broader perspective – too much similarity doesn’t always make for the most personal growth. Be clear about what values you have that are absolutely essential for the coaching relationship and where there is more flexibility. Usually the context will determine which values you place the most importance on – they are likely to be very different for a therapeutic issue compared to a business situation, for example.
Find out what areas the coach specialises in. Ask them what previous experience they have in your context. I think getting a case-study answer is much more valuable than asking for a list of qualifications. They can give you examples of the types of approaches and interventions they use and how clients got to their outcomes. Obviously confidentiality is key to coaching so don’t expect too many specific details that would make a previous client identifiable.
And of course there are the logistical questions: Where do they coach? Do they work over the phone/Skype (which can save you valuable time and money travelling)? What dates/times do they work? What do they charge? What are the cancellation terms?
When I first interact with a prospective client, I view it as a two-way interview. I know which clients I work best with and I have absolutely no qualms about referring someone to a different coach that I know would be a better fit. If I was looking for a new coach, I would be wary of any coach that tries to be all things to all people or who works too hard at convincing you that they are the right one. Any coach acting with integrity will be at ease with allowing the clients to reach their own conclusions. It is an important decision to let someone into your inner world and one that deserves your full and relaxed consideration.
Don’t allow yourself to be tied into a long-term contract before you are absolutely sure that this is the coach for you. Ask for a test run if that help you to make your decision. Don’t be pressurised into something that you are not yet convinced about.
Most of all use your intuition. Asking the right questions will help you to reach a logical and thought-out decision but more often than not, your hunch will be the most accurate guide you can have. If it all seems good on paper but it still feels off, I would walk away or at least ask for a taster session. Trust your inner guidance and you are much more likely to find the perfect coaching relationship for you.
C. It is always a sign of a good coach when, as you just said the coach is willing to refer a client to another coach that would be a better fit for the client. As well as being a coach you are also a publishes author, can you tell me a little bit about your new book.
T. The idea for my book came as a simple inspiration. I overheard a lady sharing with a friend her less than favourable horoscope for the day. Somewhat defeatedly, she had already written off the day to bad luck. Whilst I appreciate that there is a fine art to astrology, I couldn’t help but think that it was crazy to let such negative thoughts pollute the day. What if, instead, there was a source of daily inspiration to offer words of wisdom to nourish the heart and soul?
And so I wrote “JoyScope: Daily Inspiration to Nourish your Heart & Soul”. The intention? To provide an alternative to the ‘horror-scope’ which can sometimes be gloomy and fear inducing. JoyScope aims to bring a fresh and uplifting approach to life. Each day there is a message that invites you to view the world from a new perspective. I wrote JoyScope to be a ‘user-manual’ for life!
JoyScope is available to buy on Amazon or through Waterstones.
C. What a great idea for a book, talking about uplifting approaches to life what is your life mantra?
T. I’m sure like most people, my mantra continues to evolve with the passing years and (hopefully) more wisdom! At this point in my life, I am acutely aware of the importance of being in the flow of life rather than opposition to it so my mantra would be something like “my version of my life is an illusion”.
This stems from the recognition that we are living from our own thoughts and perceptions and not reality itself. We take the millions of bits of data present in any given moment and choose what to pay attention to and what to ignore. Sometimes that will seem to work for us and we think life is going to plan. Other times we perceive life as challenging, difficult or frustrating but that is only because of how we are choosing to filter it.
When we stop trying to make life fit our expectations and release the need for conditions to be a certain way in order to feel happy, we move back into the natural flow of life and everything becomes simpler and more peaceful once more.
I have learnt that any time I am experiencing an issue, I don’t need to focus on resolving the problem, rather that I need to question my thinking, realise that it is simply an illusion and ask what will bring me back into my flow. If we look to nature, we can see that life knows how to auto-balance. Learning to step back and allow rather than dive in and take action can be powerfully transformative. The path of non-action is vastly under-rated!
C. Being able to change the direction of your thinking so you can ask you said get back in your flow, is so powerful and when I learnt this, it changed the way I lived my life. Coaches always talk about goal setting, why is goal setting so important?
T. At the risk of being controversial, I would say that goal setting is actually much less important than perhaps we coaches think!
Just to be clear, I do believe that is valuable for everyone to have an experience of setting goals and achieving them. Living from a place of victimhood and believing that life happens to us without our influence does not create a healthy and happy person.
So what I am about to say comes from the assumption that most people do know they have some influence over their environment and have a sense of empowerment. If so, I would invite people to go beyond goals!
The problem with traditional goal-setting is that is presupposes that we have more control than we actually have. Let’s say that I decide to set a goal to earn £20,000 more a year. Perhaps I come up with a well thought out plan for how I will achieve that result. I will probably break it down into manageable milestones. I may even map out the tactics that I can deploy to make it happen.
Most goals assume that we can make things happen. Going back to my life mantra “my version of life is an illusion”, perhaps we can now see that we are basing our goals on a limited amount of data available to us in that moment. That data is the information we are choosing to pay attention to which is unlikely to be accurate – our own thoughts and filters bias what we perceive. Life is changing moment to moment so what we put in our plan to increase our revenue is going to be out of date before the ink is dry! And the longer term the plan the more inaccurate it is going to be.
We are likely to get attached to our goals. Life throws in a curve ball and your goal doesn’t have the capacity to accommodate it. Maybe you or a loved one gets sick and the £20,000 is now an unrealistic target. In this example, it is easy to see that a renegotiation of the goal is required but you might be surprised at the number of clients I see that are so attached to a goal that they cannot see that it is no longer relevant to who or where they are.
And what happens if I don’t achieve my goal? Either I have to redefine it or I will be left feeling disappointed. It is very difficult to feel satisfied with a £10,000 increase when the goal was twice that. Goals also set up what is known as the “I’ll be happy when” pattern (e.g. I’ll be happy when I am earning more money, I’ll be happy when I move jobs, I’ll be happy when I am in a relationship etc). Inadvertently, the goal becomes the very thing that stops us from feeling happy now. In other words, we postpone feeling happy until we have reached the achievement of our goal.
The work I do with my clients has very little requirement for goal-setting. Of course, I will always ask my clients what their outcome is for coaching but I always make sure that any goals are fluid and flexible and can respond to the twists and turns of life as it happens.
I am coaching a number of clients wishing to be in long-term relationships. Even with the best will in the world (and deploying every law of attraction technique available!), you can’t just make a fulfilling relationship happen. There are too many internal and external factors, many of which can’t be controlled. But you can create a wonderful inner relationship that brings a deep sense of personal fulfilment – the relationship between you and YOU is one of the only areas we do have full control. And of course, it makes sense that the happier and more content you are, the more likely it is that you will attract a partner. You just don’t want to set up an all or nothing goal.
So I always invite my clients to have dreams rather than goals. This allows them to live closer to the present moment rather than going out into the future and demanding that life conforms to their expectations and ideals. Life will never be exactly as we plan and wishing it to be different is the source of all of our suffering and unhappiness. Opportunities will still come our way. In fact, it will seem as though there are more than before because we notice them rather than being distracted by our own plans. Rather than having to predict the future, when we stay connected to what is happening right here, right now we get to witness the magnificence of life unfolding before us. It really is the simplest way to live.
C. Tiffany it has been a pleasure to meet you, thank you for joining me today.
Tiffany Kay Bio:
Tiffany Kay is a transformational coach, inspirational speaker and the creator of Living an Inspired Life. After flat-lining through the early part of life, Tiffany faced a time of awakening that transformed her life. Following her son’s life-saving heart surgery, she realised that life matters and made a deliberate and conscious decision to make her life a life that counted. Since then she has been inspiring others to be the best that they can be.
In addition to offering her products and programmes, Tiffany also mentors other trainers, coaches, entrepreneurs and how-to information providers to help them to effectively create, develop, package and promote their expertise. A certified trainer of NLP, Humanistic NLP, Hypnotherapy and Coaching, she has over ten years experience working as an independent coach and consultant. She knows what it takes to be a successful solopreneur and relishes the opportunity to share her expertise.
Tiffany is also the author of “JoyScope” – a book and blog with daily inspirations to feed the soul!
Website is www.tiffanykay.com, Facebook page is www.facebook.com/tiffanykayfan
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