Meet the Coach: Zuzana Svepesova
What attracted you to become a coach?
I have always been interested in the human mind and in human behaviour – in why we do what we do.
I consider myself an introspective person and I enjoy the wealth of knowledge and possibilities that come from knowing one’s mind and being able to manage it well.
For me, being a coach allows me to utilise my personal and professional experience and expertise to help others achieve their goals and improve their lives.
Supporting my clients to identify and overcome obstacles, develop new skills and behaviours, and make positive changes is very rewarding.
Where did you train?
I have a Master’s Degree in Psychology from the University of Pavol Jozes Safarik in Slovakia and I trained as a transformational coach with Animas Centre for Coaching in London.
Following my training I have been drawn to a person-centred approach in combination with neuro-linguistic programming and somatic practices. I am currently learning more about these and I am excited to introduce them into my practice soon.
What kind of coaching do you offer?
I am a dating and relationship coach, working with individuals to break away from unhealthy, self-sabotaging patterns that have been keeping them stuck so that they can be truly loved for who they are and attract stronger, more fulfilling relationships.
How does dating and relationship coaching help?
The modern dating scene can be really hard to navigate, especially if you're looking for lasting love. While there are many dating apps that are designed to connect people that are looking for a serious relationship, it can still be difficult to find the perfect match.
I use various methods from discussion, to behaviour modelling and/or role playing. These are tailored to your individual dating and relationship needs and help you clarify your dating and relationship goals, identify your dating blind spots and address and remove your self-sabotaging patterns.
To avoid exhaustion and dating ‘burnout’, my clients learn how to manage their anxiety, fear and all the emotions that can emerge in the process of looking for their special someone.
The key part of the process is creating a safe, non-judgmental and confidential space where my clients can explore, learn and practice, even when things get tough. As a result, they feel more confident and able to navigate dating, choose the most compatible partner for them and enjoy happy and healthy relationships with others and themselves.
What sort of coaching clients do you usually see?
My training and qualifications enable me to work with clients from different backgrounds and who have a wide range of goals outside of relationships and dating. However, I feel very passionate about relationships and how they shape our lives, so I decided to specialise in this area.
I help professional single women over 30 to overcome challenges in their love lives so that they can meet the love of their life faster and with more ease.
Many of my clients are expats, just like myself. This brings another element of exploration to our sessions where I help my clients to navigate dating and building relationships in a new and different culture to their own. This in itself can be challenging so they often appreciate the fact that I have personal experience in this area and can relate to them on this level.
Even though I primarily work with my clients on dating-related issues, I also have clients who come to me with questions related to already established romantic relationships or family, friend and/or work-related relationship challenges.
Last but not least, it is the relationship with ourselves, behind the closed doors, that determines how we show up in all our other relationships. Things that all my clients have in common is that they all are looking to gain better self-awareness, improve their self-acceptance, self-care and self-esteem as a key element that impacts their mental and emotional health and improves their bonds with other people.
Do you ever suggest books or other materials to clients?
Certainly! I love a good book and I continuously expand my library. Here are some of the books that I always recommend to my clients and that have also helped me on my journey:
Attached by Amir Levine and Rachel Heller which is a brilliant book that talks about how understanding and navigating our attachment style can help us find and keep love
Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It by Kamal Ravikant is a masterpiece that will teach you exactly what it says: how to love yourself. If you want to dramatically improve the quality of all the other relationships around you, then this book is for you.
In Love but Worlds Apart by G. Shelling talks about insights, questions and tips for the intercultural couples.
Not Nice by Dr. Aziz Gazipura is another page turner that teaches you how to set healthy boundaries in a confident way. For me, this is the best book on boundary setting by far!
Anxiety Workbook by Arlin Cuncic gives you a clear seven-week plan to overcome anxiety and end worry. Full of practical exercises, this CBT-based piece is designed to help you become more aware of your thoughts and help you to navigate the emotions in a more balanced way.
Men Don’t Love Women Like You by G.L. Lambert goes straight to the point and explains how and why some women are chosen and feel like a priority and others struggle and feel like an option. This book is the brutal truth about dating, relationships and how to go from Placeholder to Game Changer.
What do you like about being a coach?
Seeing clients make progress and positive changes is incredibly rewarding. Being able to work closely with them, build relationships based on trust and mutual respect is very fulfilling.
As the coaching and self-development industry is a constantly evolving profession, I really enjoy the opportunity to learn and grow alongside my clients. This enables me to provide the coaching experience to my clients that is fresh, exciting and up to date over time.
Additionally, since I run my own practice, this work offers flexibility and freedom to create my own schedule and work with clients in a variety of settings, should I need to.
What is less pleasant?
Although I really enjoy working as a coach, it certainly comes with a number of challenges. As I run my own coaching practice, managing the business side of coaching is something that requires a considerable chunk of my time. Tasks like bookkeeping, marketing and managing client relationships can get overwhelming at times. However, I have created a clear system that helps me on top of all the tasks that are necessary to be completed on the day.
Even though clients want to change and seek guidance on their journey, they sometimes are resistant to change, for various reasons. Staying up to date with coaching techniques helps me to deal with these situations in an encouraging and motivating manner so that we move past the resistance and make progress towards the client’s goals.
My practice is online, which means I can support clients from any corner of the world. This means looking for a quiet, confidential place with a strong, reliable internet connection, which can sometimes be challenging. Careful planning and experience have taught me to do the research well ahead and think of the alternative options of attending the sessions on time.
What is one life lesson you try to live by?
One of my favourite lessons I have learned in recent years that helps me to feel empowered, present and resourceful comes from one of my coaches Jim Fortin who says: "You are where your attention is."
Another thing that really helps me to put things into perspective is a question, and that is: "What am I making it mean?" The vast majority of our experience and how we feel about ourselves and the world around us comes from the meaning we assign to those experiences. This question helps me to quickly check in with myself and see if the meaning I give to the experience helps me and propels me to get where I want to be or if it keeps me stuck. It is a simple yet incredibly powerful way of bringing a locus of control and choice back to yourself.
What do you wish people knew about coaching?
I really enjoy the concept of coaching and how powerful it is in practice. I can see there are, however, some misconceptions about it. First of all, coaching is not therapy. It can be just as impactful, however its focus is on the present and future and it is goal-oriented. It is not intended to address mental health conditions or deep-rooted emotional issues.
Going through a challenging time can be unpleasant and some people may be looking for a quick fix. Even though coaching helps you get results, it usually takes a bit of time and it requires one’s time and effort where both the coach and the client collaborate, rather than the coach dictating to the client what to do.
The power of coaching lies in creating an environment where the client – supported by the coach – can identify their goals, challenges and opportunities for resolving the issues. The coach is the facilitator of that change and guides the client on their way to achieving their goal.
Last but not least, in most cases, coaching requires a financial investment. This is an investment in yourself and your personal and/or professional growth, depending on the type of a coach you work with. However, the benefits of coaching can be long-lasting and impactful.
Do you have a favourite client testimonial or particular success story?
There are so many to choose from! One that comes to mind now is the story of my client who wanted to find a committed partner and was ready for a serious relationship. Despite doing her best and really putting herself out there – she had had close to 100 dates – none of the dates were compatible with her and she felt like she was always the one making the effort and driving the relationship forward.
She really wanted to find a partner who would take the lead too. She wanted to enjoy the dating process without sabotaging it or repeating the same mistakes that kept her stuck, choosing the wrong people. She wanted to ‘be’ in the relationship, rather than ‘do all the work’.
After we worked together, she was able to spot her dating blind spots and avoid repeating the same mistakes. The biggest turning point for her was discovering the power of feminine energy and allowing herself to let her dates show up for her.
She raised her standards, was able to recognise and rule out those dates that were not compatible with her quickly which saved her lots of time. Soon after, she met her partner and as she would describe it : "When he showed up in my life, I was ready for him, thanks to Zuzana."