How Coaching Education Transformed Me as a Professional and a Parent

As a sceptic of coaching, I never imagined it would play a significant role in my life, let alone enhance my skills as a parent. In my last corporate environment, my only experience of coaching, was fruitless and unhelpful. Why? Firstly, I was given Executive Coaching when I was at my lowest point. Even though I was in the final two, I didn’t get that top director role — something I had been striving for and worked towards my whole career. I was devastated, and I felt there was nowhere for me to go. The company wanted to help me with my “next steps” through coaching, but to me, it felt like there was already an agreed outcome and it was all based around the “corporate me”. The me that I “wanted to be” in the office, not the real whole me, just the bit with the “work hat” on. This made the process all too formulaic, it focused on my career, my mindset in the office, my career and ambitions. At no point did I feel I was being honest or open about myself, I wanted that mask to stay on, because at the end of the day, I felt the process had an agenda – how to help me forget about my devastation and move on.  It didn’t matter where or what, it just had to be a positive move away from what I had gone through.

However, my journey from doubt to conviction began when I left the corporate role (and not due to the coaching), and I had the time to consider what I wanted as a next step in my career. Someone suggested I go on a coaching course. I doubtfully stepped into the one-day trial so I could see what coaching was all about. Within the first hour, I really started to understand the value of coaching, taking away my “work” façade and being totally open and honest, I started to realise how much of an impact it was having on me.

It was there and then that I decided to undergo coach training, an experience that not only broadened my perspective but also revolutionised my approach to parenting. Something I didn’t even envisage (maybe naively) when I started.

Initially, I harboured reservations about coaching, viewing it as a vague concept with little tangible impact. I questioned its efficacy, wondering how a few sessions could possibly unravel the complexities of personal growth and development.

Embarking on the training journey, I was greeted with a wealth of knowledge and practical tools that challenged my preconceived notions. Through immersive learning experiences and hands-on exercises, I began to grasp the transformative power of coaching. I learned that coaching was not about providing answers but empowering individuals to unearth their own solutions, fostering self-awareness, and igniting meaningful change. I didn’t know I had it in me! As a coach reading this, you might think, “yes, we know that”, but there’s a big difference knowing it and actually feeling the changes happen to you. That’s what happened to me, I started to feel the changes in me and my life.

As a working parent, navigating the challenges of raising children, whilst managing my career often felt overwhelming. However, as the training progressed, I found myself applying coaching principles not only in professional settings but also in my personal life, particularly in my role as a parent. I discovered powerful strategies that have transformed my approach and significantly enhanced my ability to remain calm in even the most stressful situations, positively impacting my parenting journey, allowing me to cultivate a sense of calm, patience, and resilience. All the traits I lacked when it came to parenting, but I had an abundance of in the workplace. I can manage teams in their hundreds but give me a 5-year-old having a bad day and I’m at a loss! I take things personally, it’s difficult to build your self-esteem when you feel like you’re getting everything wrong and never really getting any praise at all. I didn’t really know what “success” meant to me in my parenting journey, no one really gives themselves space to consider that, you just “get on with it”.

The shift was subtle yet profound, as I discovered parallels between coaching and effective parenting. I realised that just as a coach supprts clients towards their goals, a parent can nurture and support their child’s growth by fostering autonomy, encouraging self-reflection, and facilitating open communication. The improvements I saw in myself as a parent, started to rub off on me in my professional mindset, I began to develop a belief and confidence in myself. When one area of your life, especially your personal life is flourishing, you have the halo effect on your professional life, because family life can be unpredictable, full of constant change, with ups and downs and unlike your job, you can’t just quit and move on.

With all this learning, I knew I had to help other parents in the workplace to “win at life”. We cannot compartmentalise work and home, we cannot chase the illusive “work life balance”, instead we can remain resilient in the face of uncertainty and embrace the parenting journey for what it is – a journey of discovery, not just of self-discovery, but discovering your children as they transition into adults and your family as the dynamics evolve.

Reflecting on my journey so far, here are a few highlights for me:

Cultivating Self-Awareness:

Through introspection and contemplation, I’ve gained a deeper understanding of my own triggers, emotions, and patterns of behaviour. By recognising when I’m feeling overwhelmed or reactive, I can pause, take a step back, and respond to my children from a place of mindfulness rather than impulsivity.

Embracing Empathy:

Coaching has taught me the power of empathy in building strong connections with others, including my children. By actively listening to their perspectives and validating their feelings, I’ve created a supportive environment where they feel understood and valued. This sense of empathy has not only strengthened our bond but has also diffused many tense situations, as my children feel heard and respected.

Reframing Challenges as Opportunities:

Rather than viewing parenting challenges as obstacles, coaching has encouraged me to reframe them as opportunities for growth and learning. This is by far one of my most difficult transitions. Having been brought up in a family where “failure wasn’t an option”, I became a real perfectionist. However, by adopting a growth mindset, I’ve become more resilient in the face of adversity, recognising that setbacks are temporary and can ultimately lead to positive outcomes. This shift in perspective has helped me approach parenting with a sense of optimism and resourcefulness, even during difficult times. This is what not only held our family together, but made us stronger during lockdown.

Setting Boundaries and Prioritising Self-Care:

As a parent, it’s easy to prioritise the needs of others above our own. However, coaching has emphasised the importance of setting boundaries and prioritising self-care. By carving out time for activities that replenish my energy and nourish my soul, I’m better equipped to show up as a calm and grounded parent for my children. This practice of self-care not only benefits me but also sets a positive example for my children, teaching them the importance of prioritising their own well-being.

In essence, training to be a coach has not only enhanced my professional skills but has also profoundly impacted my journey as a parent. By integrating coaching principles into my parenting approach, I’ve fostered deeper connections, empowered my children, and nurtured a positive family dynamic grounded in communication, empathy, and resilience. As coaches, let us recognise the transformative power of our training beyond the confines of our professional endeavours, embracing the profound impact it can have on our personal lives and relationships.

As I continue on this journey, I’m grateful for the profound impact that coaching has had on me. It’s invaluable for parents in the workplace to be able to bring their whole self to work, not to hide their caring responsibilities but to parent out loud. When I’m working with corporate clients, the biggest benefit they see in my services, is the ability to be able to coach the whole person, as an independent, external coach, I bring a level of confidentiality and safe space that clients find crucial. Helping parents to feel supported to navigate the complexities of work and family, can enhance productivity, well-being and fulfilment in both professional and personal spheres.

Knowing what I know now, my life as a parent and my work with parents in the workplace, has also led me to become a Board Trustee for a local charity, focused on providing support for young adults (16-24) so that no young woman is invisible. Supporting more women to become confident, bold and believe in themselves, at a young age to create a better world where equality in society will support equality in the workplace.

In retrospect, my scepticism towards coaching was a testament to my limited understanding. Through training and first-hand experience, I witnessed its profound impact not only on individuals but also on relationships and personal dynamics. Today, I stand as a passionate advocate for coaching, grateful for its transformative influence on my life and parenting journey.

Shwezin Win

Shwezin Win is a professionally qualified coach. She brings a wealth of hands-on experience and knowledge from more than 25 years in senior positions in large corporates, managing large teams, whilst bringing up a family, to empower working parents to thrive. Her passion for authenticity, the ability to “bring your whole self” to work led her to set up to Win at life, helping organisations to provide parents in the workplace support throughout the entire parenting journey – return from parental leave is just the beginning. Shwezin provides coaching workshops for maternity/paternity returners, 121 coaching for parents and young adults, as well as a range of webinars on wellbeing. She sees giving back as a crucial part of her purpose and volunteers as an Enterprise Advisor for a local school, as well as providing interview practice for students and as a Trustee to a charity focused on ensuring no young woman is invisible. Shwezin has her coaching practice in Sussex, where she lives with her husband, two daughters and two stepchildren. When she’s not working, you’ll find her singing in the local choir, having a quick work out or on fun activities with the family. Visit her website more information on her work or contact her at

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