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Originally from Northern Ireland, I left Belfast at 17 and spent eight years working my way through Europe, Israel, Egypt, the East Coast of the US and Central America.

In 1990, I moved to Australia and began to put myself through college to become a social worker. While working in the social welfare field, I started taking a variety of personal development courses and became very passionate about the power that humans have to change the trajectory of their life.

Five years later, I moved to the US after receiving my green card in the lottery in my early thirties (a whole different story),  to the West Coast, San Francisco. After a year of working in treatment centers with adolescents, I was invited to sail across the Pacific on a 30ft boat and took off on the adventure of a lifetime. On returning to California eighteen months later, I decided to go through the Hoffman Process, a personal development program that had a worldwide reputation. A month after I completed their program, I started working at the Hoffman Institute as their Graduate Director and in-house coach, a position that I absolutely loved. While running a training program for their graduates someone asked me in a break if I was a life coach. I jokingly said “No, but I bet I would be a good one.” She affirmed back that I would indeed be a great life coach.

My “Aha!” Moment

Something about the name ‘life coach’ made me really curious and when I got home, I looked up the name of the school she had recommended and signed up for the first weekend of training.

I instantly resonated with the ICF coaching concept that the client is creative, resourceful and whole, that they have their own answers and the coach has the questions and the framework to help them access those answers. I experienced firsthand how a powerful question can change the trajectory of someone’s life and open doors they had never thought to open. I began to truly understand how incredibly transformational it can be to have someone fully listen to you, without having an agenda of their own. I was SOLD!

Six months later I completed my coach training and a year later I completed my certification process and went on to become a pioneer in the field. The idea that I could build a business to support the lifestyle I wanted while also traveling the world and having a positive impact strongly resonated with me.

Once I found coaching, doors just started opening up for me! When I finished my coach training program, I set the intention that within the year I would be earning ten times my hourly rate doing work that I loved… Well, that’s exactly what I did and it just kept on growing from there. It hasn’t always been an easy ride, but it has been an enlightening and rewarding one, that’s for certain.

How we’ve evolved over the years..

Discovering NLP

After a number of years of exploration in different niches in the coaching industry while building a successful coaching business of my own, I discovered the transformative power of NLP after being invited to be one of the first Master Coaches to be trained by Tony Robbins and join his team. This is where I entered the executive coaching market and began coaching C-level executives internationally.
After three years with the Tony Robbins company, I decided to study the roots of NLP and enrolled in an NLP Practitioner Training with the NLP Institute of California. This took me on a 18-month NLP Certification journey in learning all there is to learn about NLP and the inner workings of the brain.

For me, NLP was the missing piece from my original coach training. NLP skills supported clients to change sabotaging behavior patterns and release limiting beliefs that were preventing them from creating the life they wanted. NLP gave me the skills I needed to help clients create profound and lasting change. In my first 6 month training program, the owners of NLP Institute Tim and Kris Halbom asked me if I would join their coaching faculty and teach for them in China in 2006.

I went on to teach and train coaches in Mexico, China, Europe and in the US for the NLP Institute. Having had a lot of experience in the global marketplace, I realized how much I loved working internationally in new and developing markets. I also had the great privilege of developing mentor programs to help the first coaches in Asia and Central America get ICF credentialed, many of who now run their own coach training programs. It was through this experience that the foundation of ALCN and the Conscious Change Coaching Method® were formed.

The Academy Is Born

In 2009, Tim and Kris Halbom offered me the opportunity to build upon what they had created and develop a high-level ICF coaching program. I have been extremely fortunate to learn from some of the best in the field. The Academy of Leadership Coaching & NLP (ALCN) launched in 2009 and since then we have had the privilege of training coaches and leaders from around the world in all aspects of coaching, from life coaching to business coaching to executive and leadership coaching.

When I first started teaching in China, personal development was a burgeoning area, and while NLP Skills were powerful in creating a common language where people could feel seen, heard and understood, they often did not translate into other languages and other cultures. It was clear that the NLP material we had been teaching did not carry across cultures in a way that students could easily integrate into their personal and professional lives. This led to adapting the coaching approach, material and techniques to create a method that translated across cultures and could be taken anywhere in the world. The first step was creating a model that they could understand intellectually and translate into their culture.

The Inner Alignment Map™ was designed initially as a tool and a model that we used to support Chinese students to understand and begin to close the gap between where they were and where they wanted to be. It has since been adapted to support coaches and trainers in working with people from different backgrounds, cultures and professions to become who they need to BE to create the life they want in line with their mission and vision. It is a framework for understanding and working with the different levels that make up each individual’s unique map of the world; a framework for working with the whole human being.

The second step was to teach it in a way they could kinesthetically understand to embody the skills, so I began to incorporate simple breathing exercises, meditation and movement to support the NLP work. The combination of NLP and somatic techniques supported students in both learning the skills to develop new pathways in the brain while simultaneously understanding and experiencing the connection and wisdom of the body. Our translators who worked for several other large international coach training companies coined the ALCN training method as the ‘fine wine’ of coach training in the Chinese coaching market.

Our material has been adapted over the years with the support of our global faculty and the wide range of international students from diverse backgrounds that we would attract in our global classrooms who’ve given us incredible feedback on how to truly make the material even more powerful and relevant for different cultures.

Somatic Coaching – the missing piece…

As the pace and demand of modern life began to impact people’s mental health, wellbeing and sense of fulfillment in the western world, the tools we developed for the Chinese market became even more relevant in our global classrooms and for executives around the world. Despite all the ways in which technology seemed to be connecting us, it was clear that around the globe we were becoming increasingly disconnected – from our own intuition, from each other and from the world around us and that the missing link was the mind-body connection.

People come to coaching with an idea of success, or an idea of how their life ‘should be’, and often a complete lack of awareness of how their physical body was responding to the outcomes they were creating in their life – and this was getting in the way of them truly achieving happiness and fulfillment.

As we began to incorporate more somatic practices, breathwork techniques, mindfulness and whole body listening, the transformations that happened in our training rooms became even more powerful. Together with Teaching Assistants from around the globe and ALCN faculty members we began to design a number of coaching techniques, tools and exercises that cultivated connection to self through deep listening, accessing intuition, and somatic experiencing.

I believe the connection between our brain understanding new information and the skills to embody new ways of BEING is the missing piece in the coaching field today. There is a vast wisdom in the body and a sense of peace that comes from slowing down and listening inward. When we operate from this space, we can access answers that our logical mind often cannot. From here, we can truly create conscious change, and live a life where mind, body and spirit are in alignment. When coaches have these skills, they can support their clients at a much deeper level.

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