Wednesday 29 November 2017

Meet Emmaus Herts' Life Coach, Fin

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“Up until 2005, I had spent 20 years in the telecoms industry, working in corporate sales, project management, training and recruitment.  I had always been very interested in people, and one day my boss said to me: “people buy from you because they like you, and some of your clients look upon you as a counsellor.” I must admit, I really enjoyed meeting a wide range of people and helping them find solutions to their telecom problems.

In 2005, I decided to give up a good salary and hand back the keys to the company car, and instead embarked on a series of coaching courses, which focussed on self-awareness, personal development, and goal-setting. Attending those courses led to me working with Young Enterprise and Mencap Pathway (among others), helping students prepare for the world of work, and helping people with disabilities find work, which in turn led to me getting a qualification that enabled me to teach life skills to people affected by learning disabilities.

In 2010, I volunteered with Homeless Action Barnet (HAB), peeling carrots and chopping fruit one morning a week as part of the catering team, and this is when I started 1:1 coaching for some of the centre’s clients; this focussed in the main on emotional intelligence, building self-esteem, and managing anger. While there, I heard about Emmaus because one of the HAB volunteers also worked at the Emmaus shop in Barnet, and I thought the organisation’s concept sounded very interesting. I had some spare time, so I thought I would volunteer my services.

The minute I stepped into Emmaus, I thought it was such an amazing place, and I talk about it now to anyone who will listen! Life is a challenge, and a lot of people who come to Emmaus have had a lot of challenges to face, but what the community provides is an opportunity to recoup, recharge and re-energise.

I ran a self-esteem workshop at Emmaus this time last year, working with around eight companions once a week after dinner, and this was well attended. With it being an all-male group, I found it took quite a bit of time before they were comfortable to open up about things, but even now some of the guys will tap me on the shoulder and say “I still remember what you said about alternative ways of thinking,” and I love that! The key is to help people replace negativity with positivity; what has happened is in the past, it’s how the past is viewed that is the important thing, and what positives can be taken from it. I continue to offer 1:1 sessions to companions, during which they set goals in order for them to improve their self-esteem and move forward in life: my coaching sits very well Emmaus’s values   

Through Emmaus, I have also been working with HACRO on their WorkAbility programme, which has been great. My passion is helping people recognise their abilities, values and qualities. When people have been told from a young age that they weren’t good enough, it’s hard to shake off the poor image they may have of themselves. By focussing on their core strengths and skill-sets, it reinforces just how valuable they are – and how they may be able to help others!

I’m keen to maintain my connection with Emmaus as it’s a cause I really believe in; walking through the door feels like I’m walking into a family home and I think that’s largely down to the fact there is no time limit on a person’s stay. When I see companions turning their lives around, I feel a huge sense of pride – long may that continue to happen.”

For more information or to book a session with Fin, click here