Meet the Coach: Dr Jill Andreanoff
What attracted you to become a coach?
I had been coaching for several years in my job, helping people get back to work or stay in work when they had acquired a disability and supporting friends who had relationship issues but didn’t realise that this what I was doing! I have always preferred listening to talking, have a genuine interest in helping people and was always quite fascinated by the fact that some people sometimes tackled their issues in a very different way to me.
It was only as coaching and mentoring emerged that I decided that I wanted to find out more about the theory behind it and embarked on my Master’s degree and then a doctorate on the topic.
Where did you train?
I did all my theoretical training at Oxford Brookes – a Master’s degree in coaching and mentoring practice in 2006 and, as if I hadn’t had enough by then, I went on to do my Doctorate, completing in 2015.
What kind of coaching do you offer?
This might sound a bit facetious, but I offer the kind that best suits the person I am working with. I have trained in many different models and modalities from neuro linguistic programming to CBT and solution-focused approaches, but I never start off with an approach in mind.
With my experience and knowledge, I can apply any of these approaches to suit the situation or the individual. Every client is different and I naturally react to their needs.
How can coaching help people?
Because I do not pigeon-hole myself into any particular type of coaching I have the flexibility to help a whole range of people from improving their self-esteem, motivation and sometimes to simply explore what direction they want to take or what aspects of their life or work they want to change. I help them recognise their strengths and work with them to increase their confidence.
I have in the last six years branched out to support middle to senior manager and directors providing leadership coaching but in many of those cases it stems from a lack of confidence in their own abilities. Imposter syndrome is more prevalent than one would imagine. I also work as a mediator, helping to resolve conflict in the workplace preventing prolonged grievance cases and stress-related absence.
What sort of coaching clients do you usually see?
I have worked with people who are caring for others to cope with extreme stress to long-term unemployed individuals who are at their wits end trying to find work or those who want to explore a career change.
I have also worked with young people to help them engage better with education, overcome barriers and, as I mentioned earlier, managers in the workplace. I have also supported individuals with mental health issues, SpLD and/or ASD.
Do you ever suggest books or other materials to clients?
I have a whole coaching toolkit that I can draw upon if needed and if it suits the client. These can either be used in the session or to take away and explore in their own time. They are practical tools to help with decision making, to explore worries to more reflective physical activities that allow the client to view their situations from many different perspectives and more importantly how to make improvements.
What do you like about being a coach?
If I am honest, I sometimes feel guilty getting paid for something that I enjoy so much. As mentioned earlier, even when I was young, I was the person that people confided in, trusted and talked to. It is my natural role. It is so rewarding and I sometimes feel the excitement of my client’s successes almost as much (if not more than) they do!
What is less pleasant?
Although I do have regular supervision (part of the code of conduct required by the EMCC) I do sometimes find it difficult not to be concerned about particular a client when they might be in a bad place or experienced a particular set-back.
What do you wish people knew about coaching?
Don’t expect your coach to have the answers to give you as they are not the expert on you. Only you are the expert on you! My job as a coach is to use effective questions to help you find the answers, to determine the direction you want to take, to make the changes and then support you as you put them all into place.
Do you have a favourite client testimonial or particular success story?
Yes, just thinking about this client makes me feel happy. A young man who was in teacher training was having severe doubts about his ability to complete the course and his placement. He had a learning disability and had been told by a teacher as he was leaving school that he would never get to university and to be realistic. But he had such a desire to teach he persevered anyway but ended up with a difficult school placement that had triggered the self-doubt.
After six coaching sessions with me he persisted and overcame the nerves that he was experiencing particularly when giving presentations and using some of the techniques I’d shown him. I can remember his joy when he telephoned me to let me know that he had passed the course with flying colours. The happiness I felt for him at that time was only superseded by another call a few months later to let me know that the school where he’d had his placement had offered him a permanent position. About a year later he called to let me know that he had just been promoted which was the icing on the cake. I felt privileged that he wanted to share that news with me.
Another lady who had been bullied at work and consequently suffered a lack of confidence since told me she he walked two inches taller after our sessions.