Meet the Coach: Alex Birnie Manners
What attracted you to become a coach?
I have always been interested in what makes people tick and while completing a Masters in Applied Psychology I learned about how coaching works and the potential it has to transform peoples' lives.
I really enjoy meeting clients, understanding what issues they want to work on and then supporting them to make sure they reach their goals. I like the focus on the present and future and of opening up the potential that each of us has.
Where did you train?
I trained at Animas Centre for Coaching, completing the Association for Coaching Accredited Diploma in Life Coaching.
The course was a great way to meet other coaches in training and there was a good balance of theory and practical learning.
What kind of coaching do you offer?
I coach anyone who wants to make a transformational change in their life or at work. I work both face-to-face and online, usually for six sessions of 60 minutes.
I also work with groups, where there is the opportunity for targeted smaller discussions, as well as open discussion within the group.
Using my Animas training and background in Applied Psychology, I am able to use a variety of tools and questions to help clients recognise more solutions. This is really useful when a client knows what they want to achieve, but is being held back by obstacles getting in their way.
How does your coaching help people with career and life issues?
After a consultation phone call, where I work with a potential client on what the essence of the problem is, we make a coaching plan.
In the coaching sessions, a client explores a problem from different perspectives and starts to re-manage different areas of their life, to gain a deeper understanding of what they want and how they are going to reach it.
I write follow-up notes after each session to help a client reflect on the previous session. These notes are designed to encourage more progress between sessions. The result is that clients start to feel more motivated, more decisive and clearer on what they need to do. They then work out the best way to achieve their ideal result. That is the exciting part.
What sort of coaching clients do you usually see?
I see clients of all ages and all backgrounds, who usually tell me they feel stuck, are going round and round with something and not able to arrive at a solution.
They feel frustrated and have lost self-confidence, they want to make progress but feel that they can’t find the way forward.
The important part is that usually when they contact me, they are ready to do whatever it takes to find a solution.
Do you ever suggest books or other materials to clients?
There are so many great books, Ted talks and podcasts available. I am always mindful of how much time a client can devote realistically to coaching work between sessions.
It’s also important to understand the relevance of extra materials, such a particular podcast for the client’s goals. The priority for me is to make sure a client is making good progress.
I am a great fan of Daniel Amen’s Ted Talks.
What do you like about being a coach?
I really like working with someone on defining their goals and then watching their journey to achieve them. Everyone is different, so no two coaching sessions are the same. I am always thrilled by how a client makes great progress and I am always learning.
What is less pleasant?
I am not a natural organiser, so I have to work at behind the scenes tasks like invoicing and administration.
What is one life lesson you try to live by?
I like to think about what has gone well each day .
What do you wish people knew about coaching?
People often tell me that they didn’t expect to enjoy their coaching sessions so much. From the moment people start their first session, they feel more positive, more motivated and more decisive. Welldoing is such a great platform to introduce clients to coaches so that they can get started.
Do you have a favourite client testimonial or particular success story?
This is one of my favourite testimonials :
"My coaching sessions with Alex have been instrumental in helping me find clarity in what I want for my career and in giving me the boost that I needed to do this. She has helped me to retrain my thinking into focusing on the positives in situations rather than automatically zoning in to the negatives which I had developed the bad habit of doing!
When we first started our sessions, I was miserable at work and had handed in my notice without really knowing what I wanted to do or where I wanted to go next. With Alex’s help, I was able to realise my goals and succeeded in finding a job which I truly love and am very happy in. I cannot thank her enough and only wish I had met her sooner!"