Meet the Coach: Suzi Payton
What attracted you to become a coach?
Back in 2011 I was working as a secondary school teacher and knew something was missing. I knew I was not fulfilling my purpose or my passion in life. In some respects I was, as I was helping children with their studies and with their development at a crucial stage in their lives, which I loved. What I did not love however was the constant barrage of paperwork, endless planning and an uneven life – work balance!
My dad sent me some information about a two-day event to find out what coaching was all about. It was fantastic! I was so inspired and motivated that I signed up there and then. I knew that coaching was for me.
I loved the idea of working with people 1:1 to support them with their goals. I particularly align with the idea that the coach does not give their opinion or advice to the client. Instead they ask meaningful questions, so the client finds their answers from within. Or they know where to look and who to ask. To trust in yourself is key to transformation and lasting change.
Where did you train?
I trained with The Coaching Academy. At first, I studied in the evenings and at weekends around my job. However, at the time I had undiagnosed ADHD and quite a common feature of this neurodivergent condition is that people can lose interest as quickly as they gain it. I let the studies slide and eventually I just stopped.
In early 2020, when the world changed, I was furloughed from my role as a skills advisor for the YMCA. I thought to myself ‘what can I learn’? I made a list: learn the ukulele, learn Greek, do some online courses. Then the answer hit me, I could pick up my studies and complete them!
And I did. I threw myself into my studies and coached seven practice clients pretty much full-time. I knew that this was where my vocation was heading. Seeing the transformations in my practice clients confirmed that I was on the right path.
What kind of coaching do you offer?
I support neurodivergent folk (autistic, ADHD, dyslexia, dyspraxia, Tourette’s) to develop new habits, reframe unhelpful thoughts, take control of their lives and feel confident in their unique abilities.
I use the GROW model which explores the client's goal from every angle and helps make an achievable plan for the week ahead. The goal is broken down into small steps which makes it feel easy and exciting to follow through on.
How does coaching support neurodivergent people?
Neurodivergent (ND) folk are more susceptible to stress and overwhelm that the general population. They have often received a huge number of negative messages over their lifetime such as ‘you’re too much’, ‘so dramatic’, ‘lazy’, ‘ditzy’, ‘airhead’, ‘stupid’, ‘rude’, ‘anti social’ etc.
These messages take their toll on a person’s self-esteem and confidence. Especially when these wonderful neurodivergent folk grew up and into adulthood not even knowing they were ND.
I support people to identify and use their strengths and to find ways to overcome their challenges. Quite often the challenges are:
- Being overwhelmed and not knowing where to start
- Feeling stuck
- Feeling chaotic and out of control
- Time management
- Routines and structure
- Low self-esteem and confidence
- Assertiveness/speaking your truth
- Unconsciously masking your true self by acting a certain way to ‘fit it’
What sort of coaching clients do you usually see?
I work with ND folk weather they are diagnosed or not and anyone who resonates with me and my values.
Do you ever suggest books or other materials to clients?
Books I recommend:
The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz
Playing Big by Tara Mohr
Daring Greatly by Brené Brown
Atomic Habits by James Clear
What do you like about being a coach?
The privilege of working with others and witnessing their transformations in a relatively short space of time. I love working with interesting people who are ready to make changes in their lives. The relationships that are built and the equal partnership.
What is less pleasant?
Nothing about the coaching. I do have to juggle my business though as I also teach comedy improvisation to beginners and deliver autism training to charities.
What is one life lesson you try to live by?
To remember that what anyone says or thinks about you is not personal, it is a reflection of them, their experiences and their unique lens that they are viewing you through.
What do you wish people knew about coaching?
If there is an area you want to change or improve and you are willing to take action then coaching IS for you.
Do you have a favourite client testimonial or particular success story?
Lee had a session with me prior to a job interview and got the job! I asked him how he felt and this was his reply: "Blown away. I really wasn't expecting that. Seriously I'm over the moon. Thank you for your support Suzi. You really helped me to unlock and to believe."