Kate Stevens

Kate Stevens, Life Coach

Change in Midlife; Powerful Autumn Coaching Questions 🍂

autumn trees and wild flowers on a hot sunny day, with captions

For many of us, Autumn resonates deeply, mirroring the transitions we experience in our own lives. Just as leaves fall gracefully from their branches at this time of year, we too can choose to release what no longer serves us.

So how do we navigate change in midlife successfully?🍂

Whether it’s career change, feeling lost, job satisfaction, caring for ageing parents or wanting to find purpose in life – this is an unchartered stage of life that can be challenging.

I believe nature and walking can facilitate the changes we want to make, by clarifying our thoughts to form the necessary actions.

Autumn leaves on woodland floor against backdrop of green trees, light shining through
Navigate change, nature’s life cycle

Here are 5 Autumnal powerful coaching questions to help you navigate change this season.

Plus, an invitation;  to take this work outdoors in nature on a walk.

Powerful Coaching Questions for Reflection this Autumn

1.   What’s gone well for me so far this year that I can harvest and celebrate?

Autumn is when we traditionally harvest. Take stock of your circumstances and appreciate the fruits of your hard work; make a list and review achievements, noting your successes.
Assessing where you are right now provides key information for the changes you can make to move forward.

2.   What didn’t take root, or perished?

This might be easier to answer – our human minds are great at reminding us of the negative and critical. Don’t be hard on yourself; think objectively as if you’re a mature, wise Oak tree, rather than an emotionally immature sapling. Note what didn’t work on this occasion and know it could still work next time with adjustments.

 

Ancient Oak tree in Mayow Park, Sydenham
Mature Oak Tree, Mayow Park SE26

3.   What do I need to let go of this Autumn?

You may be considering dropping something that has run its course. Or perhaps there’s an acceptance of letting things ‘be’. In nature’s cycle of seasons, we know things die off for growth to then appear. Can you create your space for growth; clear out what you no longer need?

4. What do I need to hold on to, to transition into the next season?

This might seem like a paradox in contrast to the previous question, but really recognising and appreciating the good in you and harnessing it for the wider good, is a strengths and skills based approach that works well for our wellbeing and performance. It’s a foundation for thriving and very much part of my work as a Life Coach.

Read more and benefit from some free exercises in this Positive Psychology website, HERE

5. How and where would I like to be 12 months from now?

Let your mind wander and play with this visualisation exercise;

  • Close your eyes, settle yourself
  • Visualise yourself 12 months from now – what you’re doing, where you are, how you’re feeling, who you’re with…; what’s changed?

If this image is not positive;

  • What needs to change?
  • What do you need to start doing?
  • And crucially, what do you need to stop doing?

If this image is positive;

  • What’s got you there?

 

Once you have some answers, what are you going to do with them? Consider setting goals that are meaningful to you. Read more in one of my blog posts HERE.

My Top Tips

  1. Ask yourself open-ended questions as if you were interviewing yourself – ideal for coaching and gaining a different perspective
  2. If you’re feeling stuck or it feels challenging or frustrating – and this is OK – move your body and shake it off; physical movement literally helps move things around. Or come back to it another time
  3. Creating a positive vision for what we want in the future helps our brains invest in that possibility and believe in it – as if it were actually real now

Read more about Visualisation and overcoming doubt in Tara Mohr’s insightful book, Playing Big

Remember – All Life and Midlife Experience Counts!

Autumn carries a unique significance for many of us. We midlife women and men have a lot going for us and the mental load can weigh heavy. But sometimes we forget that these life experiences; the good and bad count and make us uniquely imperfect and special.

We are more mature Oak than immature saplings – let’s own it. If we can navigate change this autumn to reflect on what’s good and positive, we can find a deeper sense of meaning and joy in our lives.

Oh – and one more thing; Oaks (and actually all trees), send out signals and communicate with each other when they need help. That’s my job too. Book a free call to find out more.

 

Join me for my Pause Outdoors Walk and Talk for Midlife Women. In Beckenham Place Park, monthly peer coaching and conversation with optional coffee or lake swim after.

Client agreement - ground rules.

1. Bring my whole self to this process; professionally and personally.

You cannot separate your professional and personal ‘lives’.

2. Be present in the moment and connected.

… to the coaching; what you’re thinking, feeling, experiencing. And…to nature if and where we are outdoors. If we’re on headphones, I’ll invite you to be descriptive of your environment too.

3. Bring the agenda to each session and keep your overall objective alive.

You can do this in several ways:

  • Be goal and action orientated – bring what you want to discuss and achieve to the session; OR
  • Talk and see what lands – exploratory and intentional.
 

I will bring the process, tools, ideas, resources and best practice to best support you towards your goal/intention/objective. More in your pre-coaching questionnaire. 

4. Give feedback and be responsive.

Coaching is collaborative. Neither of us should guess where we stand. I ask you to give me feedback and respond – you can rely on me to give and do the same.

I aim to get back to you within 24 hours of you emailing me, even if it’s just to say ‘I received your message’ before I respond properly. If it’s over the weekend or holiday, this may take longer.

5. Do the work in the session and in between sessions.

…so that you get the best value, even when it’s challenging. I might suggest a piece of work based on what you brought to the session. Mainly you will decide your course of action.

Whichever way, I’ll invite you to:

  • Reflect more; through walking, writing and whatever else fires you up, to help you achieve your objective.
  • Explore more; be curious and follow those trails of thought, intentionally
    Practice more; habits? Actions? Keep trying/tweaking.
  • Note what’s coming up that’s important or interesting to you in the session. I may share a few bullet points with you after, via Google Docs.

6. Session duration and timescale.

Generally a session is an hour but happy to shorten or increase session lengths, as and when we both can, that day. Where either of us thinks it appropriate, let’s say in the session. Timescale – let’s keep to the timescale agreed in the contract.

Additional information...

  • Coaching is a relationship designed to facilitate the development of personal or professional goals and develop a plan/strategy for achieving those goals.
  • It is comprehensive; it may involve other areas of your life beyond what you may have originally intended. It is your responsibility to choose and decide how to handle this, or even whether to.
  • It can be challenging; digging deep, creating better habits, becoming more self-aware, changing unhelpful beliefs you hold about yourself to something more helpful. There will be ups and downs. You will gain new insights, learnings and perspectives to help you achieve your goal.
  • You – the Client, are solely responsible for creating and implementing your own physical, mental and emotional well-being, decisions, choices, actions and results arising out of or resulting from the coaching relationship and your coaching calls and interactions with me – the Coach. As such, you agree that the Coach is not and will not be liable or responsible for any actions or inaction, or for any direct or indirect result of any services provided by me – the Coach. 
  • You – the Client, understand that in order to enhance the coaching relationship, you agree to communicate honestly, be open to feedback and assistance and to create the time and energy to participate fully in the program. I will do the same.
  • Coaching is not a substitute for counselling, mental health care or substance abuse treatment.  If you are in any kind of therapy, please tell me.  Tell your practitioner (medical or therapeutic) of you working with me.
  • I ask you to agree to commit to the coaching sessions to facilitate the required change.
  • I will treat you as the expert regarding the subject matter, which is…YOU.
  • I will allow time and space for you to explore your thoughts and think for yourself, no interruptions. There may be long pauses or silence sometimes to elicit more.
  • What goes on in your sessions is confidential. I do not discuss it with anyone. There may be occasion when it is my duty to break confidentiality:
    > If I feel you or I are at risk of harm.
    > Criminal / illegal activity.
    > A safeguarding concern or something else so serious that warrants concern.
  • I may talk to my coach or supervisor about issues arising in our sessions without ever naming or giving away you as the client. This is to ensure I am following professional and ethical guidelines and delivering my best. I subscribe to these by the ICF; https://coachfederation.org/code-of-ethics
  • Qualifications and CPD; I am an accredited coach. This means I have trained, practiced and qualified with Animas Centre for Coaching (Nov 2020). I hold a ‘Diploma in Transformational Coaching’. This is accredited by the International Coaching Federation (ICF).
    > I have my own coach and group supervision
    > My CPD includes –  Outdoor Intelligence for Online Coaching (Oct 2020) -Positive Psychology (Feb 2021

My accreditations

Birds

My story

I’d been trying to work out ‘what else’ I could do with my career and life.

After 20 years in HR and with the children getting older, I wanted to change careers, but into ‘what?’ And ‘how’ was that even possible? And…’who would take on a mid-40’s apprentice?’!

I took small steps to boost my confidence and mindset; a regular ‘walk and whinge’ with friends to offload, short courses to up-skill, more running, more netball.
I asked my workplace ‘what else’ they needed that I could help with – ‘job crafting’. 

I was trying to make changes but it wasn’t really working. I was still frustrated and now, more miserable. I needed a different approach to find a way forward and release the building pressure I felt.

Hiring an accredited coach with whom I knew I could work with, enabled me to take a good look at myself – at times, uncomfortably.

To be listened to without any interruption, or judgement was empowering and I started to recognise what made me, me – my personality, strengths, what energised me and made me happy. What if these things amounted to a job I would…love…?

I followed my curiosity and dabbled with ideas about potential jobs, tasks and environments that would suit me, with a new, growth mindset.

I started to shift perspective. When I finally realised the ‘what’, I felt an energy and sense of knowing that was powerful. And I laughed, because it had been right in front of me!

Coaching undoubtedly helped me get to know myself, to see my potential and what was possible. I wholeheartedly decided through those sessions, on what and how I wanted things to be.

It had taken me two years of feeling stuck and miserable and a number of hours to be liberated.

This is what I now do with my clients. I help them rediscover themselves so that they can play to their strengths and thrive.

Water