From High Flying Lawyer to Professional Coaching Trainer.
"I would endure the weeks and live for the weekends. Now I wake up and look forward to the day ahead; I’m gratified by the knowledge that there is nothing that I would rather be doing."
- Anna Margolis, Programme Director for iPEC London
I'm so excited to share with you the story of Anna Margolis, Programme Director for the Institute of Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC) in London. I met Anna when I recently did some training with iPEC. As a practicing professional life and career coach, it is so important to me to keep abreast of the latest trends and keep my expertise at the cutting edge. I was really inspired by iPEC's approach, particularly their Core Energy Coaching Process which is their unique, groundbreaking system for lasting transformation.
Anna jumped at the chance to share her story with us and the huge benefits that training as a professional coach can bring (and that I myself can testify!)
What were you doing before you started iPEC London?
I was an international labour and employment lawyer for 6 years. I trained at a magic circle firm and on qualification I worked for a couple of US firms. The last two years of my legal career were spent living and working over in California for a law firm there.
While I was in the US I completed my professional coaching qualification with iPEC (they were the leading coach training programme in the Continental US). During my training, I also worked alongside one of the leading dating and relationship coaches in L.A for 6 months.
What inspired you to have a complete change of direction?
From fairly early on I knew I didn’t see a long-term career for myself in the law. I didn’t enjoy the culture of the firms I worked with and couldn’t connect to what I was doing or the reasons I was doing it. Whilst I was intellectually engaged (to an extent) I became increasingly emotionally disengaged. In spite of the hefty pay-cheque, no amount of money could compensate for how I was feeling. I just sensed that I was meant to be doing something fulfilling, fun and that would make a positive difference in the world.
I decided that a professional coaching qualification that could be taken flexibly was a good way to do some professional and personal development that would look good on my CV and potentially help me step out of the law into something else. When I was assessing the accredited coach training providers I decided to get coached by a graduate of my top school choice so that I could see how effective their training was and how well their methods worked from the client-perspective.
Over the course of that coaching relationship, things happened in my life that literally opened up the door for me to successfully make a complete change of direction.
What has been your biggest challenge in forging your new path?
Early on I really struggled with articulating what I was doing to people, particularly people I knew. I wasn’t confident about my direction and goals and so I was terrified to talk about it with anyone. I remember it so well because it literally made me tearful to be around people sometimes.
It’s taken just under 2.5 years from the point of making the decision to do a professional coaching qualification, to leave my job, discover and be confident about who I am and what I want, start the business and build it to the incredible place it’s in now.
The biggest challenge was sitting with the fear that I didn’t know what I was doing and that it wasn’t going to work.
What do you do to best manage that challenge?
Sometimes reminding myself of the vision literally reawakens the passionate I have for it (and can dissolve the fear immediately).
Taking stock and reminding myself how far I’ve come and everything I’ve already achieved.
Being grateful for where I am and the incredible gift of knowing where I want to go.
Taking care of myself – sleep, food, family, friends and FUN!
How does life now compare to when you were working in law?
It’s the difference between living a life that I’m choosing as opposed to just existing. When I was a lawyer I would endure the weeks and live for the weekends. Now I wake up and look forward to the day ahead; I’m gratified by the knowledge that there is nothing that I would rather be doing, that I am continually learning and growing (particularly in the principles that we teach) and consciously choosing how I’m spending my time.
I have the flexibility to create my own schedule so I get to enjoy all the things I couldn’t do when I was working (tennis in the sunshine, spending time with my family and friends, travelling and having random adventures).
I’ve intentionally slowed right down and that allows me to enjoy my experiences, my interactions and my environments more.
I’ve also chosen to work with people who I genuinely like and respect, including my colleagues, my partner organisations/coaches and my students and that makes the process both collaborative and playful.
I really am seeing and experiencing the world through very different eyes and learning how to enjoy playing the game.
What advice would you give to women who are fed up in their careers and want to make a change?
It’s your journey and your life; you’re the only one who can every truly know what you want. If you’re afraid of change, the good news is you’re normal, but how long are you going to let that hold you back from your dreams? If you don’t know what you want, maybe just ask yourself how much more time you’re prepared to spend waiting to get to know yourself.
Fast forward six months to where you would like to be, then set goals to help yourself get there. In taking any big leap you need to pat yourself on the back for each little success along the way. Often I think that when we’re struggling we think we’re failing, rather than acknowledging that we’re actually growing.
Be patient. It doesn’t happen over night but it does happen. 2.5 years doesn’t seem like a long time for my dreams to be coming true.
Finally, reach out and call a coach who will partner you on the journey. You will be blown away by what good coaching can inspire people to achieve.
“Life is a perfect adventure; a game that cannot be won or lost, only played". – iPEC Foundation Principle
If you'd like to learn more about training as a professional ICF accredited coach with iPEC then click on the below to arrange a chat with Anna's amazingly friendly team over at iPEC.
Inspired by Anna's story and want more tips on how to style a career, business- and life- you love? Join my growing tribe here