Linda Stephens, PCC (United Kingdom) is founder and Managing Director at Cobalt Red, an international executive coaching business geared toward senior C-suite professionals and those aspiring to become C-Suite.

Alongside her paid business, Linda offers pro bono coaching to alumni of the African Leadership Academy (ALA). These are the creme de la creme from all over the African continent. They go to Jo’burg, to go to university, they get an internship, they then go to Harvard, Stanford, or Oxford, and when they graduate with their Ph.D., that’s when I meet them. They’re usually in their late twenties or early thirties. And to date, I have coached about 40 of these alumni on a pro bono basis,” she explains.

Linda was first introduced to coaching while working at GSK, through an initiative called Job Plus Coach. This enabled her to obtain coach training for internal colleagues whiles continuing in her normal job duties. “I really enjoyed it,” Linda states.

She enjoyed it so much that she left GSK in 2019 to establish her own international coaching business, Cobalt Red. It was when asking colleagues for recommendations for further coach development that she discovered Coach Advancement. She says, “at least three people recommended Tracy Sinclair, so it seemed like a bit of a no brainer.”

Looking to obtain her next coaching credential, she signed up for the Art and Alchemy of Coaching course. “Art and Alchemy looked really interesting,” she says. “Art and Alchemy enhanced my professional life by giving me lots of practice with other experienced coaches, getting feedback from Tracy and really equipping me to move to that next step of my coaching journey.”

Linda was impressed by the interactivity of the course, given that it took place on Zoom. “Tracy is an experienced trainer, and I learned an awful lot from her and her approach. The course allowed me to further develop my coaching skills and become more confident in a different and higher-level approach. I have more than 700 hours of coaching, and I was keen to make sure that my clients got the best from me.”

To those thinking about joining Art and Alchemy, she says, “I think it gives you lots of things. The obvious thing is a number of hours of tuition, but it also gives you access to Tracy and a cohort of coaches, like yourself, who are trying to gain more experience. I’m still in close contact with three of my colleagues on that course and we do peer to peer coaching and we support each other.” She continues, “It’s very uplifting. It’s challenging. It’s hard work. It’s a lot of days, but it is a great deal of fun as well.” Now, as a Coach Advancement Alumni, Linda enjoys the continued contact with Tracy through videos and newsletter.

Linda is very passionate about the importance of regulation in the coaching profession. She says, “I wanted to move from ACC to PCC because I feel very strongly that all coaches should have a credential. It really concerns and worries me that you can call yourself a coach and you might have done a bit of dabbling at some point. It’s very important to me that coaches as a profession, show that they have experience, that they’ve had supervision, that they’ve had mentor coaching and they have been on excellent courses such as Art and Alchemy.”

As she looks to the future, Linda hopes to continue learning and growth as a coach with continuing professional development. She says, “I’ve done this all my life. Coaching should be no different. I want to continue to hone my skills and give my clients the best of me.” She also hopes to continue working with C-Suite professionals. “You can’t talk to your board about issues that might concern you. You can’t talk to your chairman about certain things. This is the only safe space that they have,” she explains.

Coach Advancement’s Art and Alchemy of Coaching course is available via the Level 2: Intermediate Coach Diploma Programme or the ACC to PCC pathway. The Level 2: Intermediate Coach Diploma Programme is for those who have not obtained their initial coach training or their ACC credential. This package walks coaches through their journey all the way to their PCC credential. For those who already have some coach experience and training under the belt, the ACC to PCC pathway is for you! This is a stand-alone offering of our Art and Alchemy of Coaching course to get you the coach training hours and experience necessary to apply for your PCC credential.

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