A day in the life of a coach: Simon Machin

07 May 2018

Training as a coach can be a life-changing learning and personal development experience but what is life actually like once the training is over? We spent a 'day in the life' of three Barefoot Coaching alumni to help shed some light on the daily realities, challenges and rewards of working as a coach.

 

I start my working day at...

...6.30 most days.  The exception is if I have to travel - one of the advantages of my job is that it’s flexible in terms of location but living “in the sticks” means travel is inevitable.  If there’s time I like to walk our dog before starting work, which I manage at least half of the time. 

 

My job involves...

...coaching mostly (and mainly, but not only, coaching people with leadership roles in organisations), but I also supervise other coaches and work on the Barefoot Coaching Postgraduate Certificate / ICF programmes.  It’s rare now that I do much work outside the coaching space: I’ve worked freelance for 8 years and gradually reduced my “non-coaching related” work, allowing me to focus more strongly on the bit of my job that I think makes the biggest difference to people, to organisations and, without wanting to be too ostentatious, to humanity.

 

In the morning I tend to...

There isn’t much of a pattern to my working life, other than that it tends to be about coaching.  So, maybe 10 or 20% of my time is spent working on the Barefoot programmes in some way, a similar amount on personal development or preparation and the rest split between coaching and supervising.

 

After lunch I will…

Again, there’s little pattern.  I might be teaching, coaching, supervising or doing some development work.  Or sometimes, I might take some time out for reading or digging into something that stimulates my interest.

 

I end my working day by…

I’m a big reflector (and worrier, but I think it is different!).  So, the end of the day will often see me journaling and reflecting on my learning.  One of the things I love about working in the coaching field is what my clients teach me about myself: these interactions constantly provide me with a personal mirror and I’m convinced I often learn more from my clients than vice versa. 

On a more mundane level this is sometimes when I reflect on business finances.  Working in the coaching space is something I massively enjoy but it is also something I do to make a living.  So, I do try to take time out on occasion to consider my overall level of work and income.  I became a coach, at least partly, to improve my life-work balance, so my goals are not about exceeding income targets but about staying within a range and being prepared to say “no” at times.
 

The most challenging part of my job is…

...getting used to the flexibility.  When I worked in the corporate world my weekly pattern was kind of a given but now some days are totally clear whereas others are full on; I’m always either too busy or too quiet.  But over time I’ve come to just be comfortable with this and see it as a benefit as well as a challenge.  So, if my day’s clear, I’ll just jump on my bike and have a cycle ride: something I found it hard to give myself permission for when I first started out. 

 

The most rewarding part of my job is…

I should probably say this is about seeing the change and the insights in my clients.  That is hugely rewarding but if I’m honest it’s all about me!  Coaching makes me feel good about myself, knowing I’m making a difference and having an impact but in a way that feels authentic. 

 

Simon Machin is an executive coach and Barefoot course tutor. www.simonmachin.com