Each week we put the spotlight on one of our Product Partners so they can share their stories and inspiration behind their business. We will also be asking them a few questions around their challenges and successes.
This week we meet Laura Cloke who is a Career Fulfilment Coach, what does that even mean we hear you say? Laura helps women in their careers forge ahead on the path they choose rather than the one chosen for them. And in these uncertain times, her advise and expertise has never been in such demand.
a career fulfilment coach who helps ambitious professionals to achieve big career goals. Based in Kent (UK) but coaching across the world, her action-orientated approach empowers her clients with the path, tools and mindset to transform their careers.
Her own career epiphany in 2013 led her to retrain as a coach and create a portfolio career she truly loves, that now sees her coach people towards true career fulfilment, lend her retail expertise to charities and promote choirs. It’s what she always wanted for herself.
Since then, Laura has been helping driven professionals to confront their fears and go after what they want for themselves too – from big promotions, a change of sector, city or profession, to turning redundancy into a valuable career opportunity.
I first discovered coaching in 2013 quite by chance. I got involved with a project that required me to have two days of coaching training. We had to practice our coaching technique on each other and as I listened to how much everyone else was struggling, I realised how natural the process felt for me. It was at that moment I knew I wanted to become a coach. It was another 4 years and lots of work before I started my business but from that first moment, I could see how powerful coaching could be and I wanted it to be my career.
2. What has been your biggest challenge to date and how did you overcome this?
10 years ago, I was working in the retail industry as a merchandiser and I completely burnt out at work to the point where it affected my health and I got sick. I stopped being able to live my life fully and it made me hate my job. I realised that I needed to take control and prioritise my well-being. I set myself really clear boundaries, moved to the charity sector and any time I felt even the tiniest bit stressed at work I took a step back to see what I could change to make work more manageable. I feel so much more in control of my work now, and I’ve gone on to create a portfolio career so I can have even more control. I still have tough days, but I’ve learnt how to leave the stress at the office.
Having a portfolio career means I have lots of variety in my work. When I’m not coaching, I work with a company called Vox Anima London to bring choirs from all over the world to sing together. Last year we had over 120 singers from America, Europe and UK sing at Cadogan Hall in London. We are only a team of 4 and it was such hard work, but seeing complete strangers come together to perform a beautiful piece of music with just two days of rehearsals was a magical moment.
The most rewarding moments in my career have come from when I’ve stopped doing what I thought I should do and listened to what works best for me. I now have a portfolio career which gives me a combination of financial stability, variety in my work and control over how much work I do, which would never had been possible if I hadn’t challenged what my career could look like.
The advice I would give my younger self is to have the confidence to follow what feels right for you and not be afraid to challenge what is expected of you.
In my project Unconventional Mentors, I look to inspiring women for advice and inspiration from the way they have lived their lives. One of my favourite quotes is from the war correspondent Marie Colvin who was killed in Syria in 2012, “Bravery is not being afraid to be afraid”. Despite the very real danger from entering a war zone, Marie’s passion for telling the stories of those whose lives were devastated by war outweighed any fear she had of the danger she was putting herself in. Whenever I’m fearful of taking an action in my business or putting myself out there I think of her and remember that great things are done when you embrace the fear and do the thing that scares you.
My favourite product is my CV Top Tips workbook. Writing your CV can be one of those tasks we ignore until we actually need it to apply for a job and then we rush it and hope for the best. The process can seem really daunting but it’s actually a great way to reflect on your achievements and something you can benefit from doing even if you aren’t applying for a new job. Your CV is usually the first step to getting a new job, so it needs to sell you. By working on it when you aren’t in a rush means you can prepare to showcase your best self and increase your chances of landing your dream job when it comes along.