Episode 17 features Rach chatting to Yvette about being courageous and taking brave steps to create the path your authentic path in life.
Yvette shares how she took steps to follow her heart by giving herself permission to be brave and accepting that perfection was not important.
Yvette's love of mentoring and supporting colleagues in her work as a hospital consultant helped her to identify her love of coaching.
We chat about the importance of feeling messages in your body, becoming more self-aware and showing up as yourself.
It was a wonderful opportunity for us to find out more about where our paths have taken us many years after finishing med school together!
It's a pleasure to share the space today with my next guest, Yvette Yvette is a co-active coach who works with ambitious and high-achieving mid-career professionals to help them achieve their goals. Yvette helps people to be authentic, purposeful leaders within themselves to recognize their choices and to be in control of their own lives. She first started coaching when she was working as a consultant in pain medicine, she remains passionate about working with leaders, living with long term conditions in particular chronic pain, but her interest in self-care and personal development is much more widespread and has led her to create her own coaching business. Yvette Coldicott pitching so welcome. It's wonderful to have you here.
Thank you Rach it's exciting to be here.
You and I met over 20 years ago now at med school and despite our paths taking us off in completely different directions, it's been really, truly wonderful to reconnect with you. Your work now involves supporting people, and I know some of the recent work you've done is about allowing people to reconnect with themselves. Can you share with us your own story of reconnection and how you identified, what matters to you and reconnected to yourself?
Mm goodness. Well, I think it was a very long journey and I was on it probably for a very long time before I realized I was on it and going around in circles, not really understanding what was going on or how it was happening. And I think when I started to recognize that I was on this journey of connection, I'm not even sure it was reconnection. I think it was probably more connection then that allowed me to really be much more purposeful in my thoughts and in my actions to understand, and to identify what mattered and what was important. And that it probably really started, I guess, about five years ago now that I became much more conscious of that. I was very lucky. I met somebody, a friend actually she was a school mum. We just started having some very stimulating thought-provoking conversations. And that started to really get me opening up and aware of where my thoughts were. And that allowed me through that than to start getting some support. I did a lot of reading as well, talking to lots of different people and working with coaches as well to really hone down or start to hone down the essence of me and my life and the meaning of it all. And it's ongoing and it's iterative for sure. But it gets clearer all the time.
It's great to hear, but it was getting clearer for you and you support your clients now to make some of those conscious decisions and to get clarity. And you've shared a bit about how you started to get that clarity in your own life to lead you to work in what you're working with now, was there a moment where you could see the path and the actions you needed to take to get to this point, or as you say, has it just continually evolved and you've given yourself that courage and that trust to follow it?
Yeah, very much the latter. So I think one big conscious decision that I made was that and I even called it project next step, and this was all about the next step. And it was absolutely about following my heart, following the path, not worrying about steps backwards, not worrying if it was left or right. And just feeling, feeling the direction. So yeah, the next step, everything I do is, is very much the next step. And I see it all as such a lesson and the gift of what I learned and what I gain from something. And if it ends up not being the direction that I continue going in, then that's okay. Because I take with me everything that I've gained from, from being there or from doing that and move on. So I think, yeah accepting that this was the next step was really important. And then the other thing that was really important was, was sort of giving myself permission to be brave and really, really sort of accepting that perfection wasn't the important thing. But courage and trying things was what mattered
That really speaks isn't it to you that lifelong learning that always evolving and always moving forward, which is amazing because if you think about when we met each other, we were really at that start of our journey of learning something, which was medicine at that time and clinical medicine. But at the same time, the medical community adopts a lifelong learning approach. So, I think it's probably innate in us that we continue to learn, but actually twisting that round and learning on ourselves is a different perspective. And it's something that I would wish for a lot of people because it opens up doesn't it a completely different avenue, a different viewpoint for you when you can also learn from what you're doing and your own actions.
Yeah, totally. And I think there's, I think, although there's a lot of similarity in that, there's, there's also some fundamental differences in as much as what this learning that we're talking about now is it's, it's learning to understand, not learning to know, not learning to be correct. Whereas something that learning at medical school is it's learning to be correct. It's learning to know things to be able to pass that on, which is a very different sort of learning from the inner wisdom that you get from curiosity, experimentation. But yeah. Also courage.
Do you ever identify people along the way that were able to support you with the moment where you needed to be brave and courageous with your path with taking a path out of clinical medicine and into more of the coaching and developing your coaching business?
Yeah, definitely. And not just with the coaching business, but everything that I've done since I left medicine, cause I've done lots of work in digital health and technology and some health care leadership. They weren't difficult in terms of courage the time where I needed support and help around me, and there was almost an army of support in, in, in a way metaphorically it was an army. Was it when I bit the bullet and after 10 years of wishing and wanting and never believing, I could leave that I made the decision that I was going to leave this clinical career and move into something else. And there was, there was, there's a lot of people and friends, friends in particular really who was so supportive through that and really gave me the courage to say, I'm going to do it,
Which is a special thing. It's good to be able to identify those people, to support you and to be your champions. How did coaching become part of your life? At which point did you identify that coaching might be something you'd like to explore for yourself? And then how do you think your experience of coaching then led you to fall into wanting to explore actually being a coach?
Yeah. So actually it came at slightly, the other way around, I started to train to be a coach when I was working as a consultant. And that enabled me to support my, some of my patients using the coaching skills, which was a slightly unusual balance of coaching as a consultant because generally, patients come to see you for your expertise and your advice, which is very much not what coaching is, but the use of the coaching skills was because of chronic pain being so much about self-management and choosing the life that you want to live and then achieving that. I did find it very helpful. And then I also use able to use the same coaching skills for the trainees, the anaesthetics trainees, who I was mentoring and supporting. So it started like that. And through that, I understood and discovered what coaching was and understood what it wasn't.
Then this, this friend I mentioned, we started having these really interesting conversations. She took me along to a, in fact, this one, one event basically was me life-changing a women's leadership event, which went on for a couple of days and a group of us went to it together. And there were a lot of coaches there and the whole foundation, in fact, was the lady who ran it as a coach. And the whole foundation of, of the leadership event was really based on coaching principles. And after that, there was no going back for me, there was a couple of weeks of deep thought and figuring out what on earth was going on. And then after a couple of weeks, I just realized that this was, this was the way forward. I then started to do some work with coaches in different guises from then on really, but it really picked up when I moved into a chief medical officer role, which was gonna be a great big professional leap for me.
And I managed to get the organization who I was going to work for to sponsor me, to work with a proactive coach, to transition into that, into that role, which was super. And again, sort of helped me to deepen my knowledge and my understanding and all the while I was coaching people in the organization or using those coaching skills, I think that's the difference as you're using the coaching skills, but I wasn't being a coach and I didn't have a relationship with people that was purely to be their coach. And that's what, that's what changed for me. After I left that chief medical officer role that's when I decided that actually, I was, I was going to be a coach. I was going to have relationships with certain people simply because of the coaching, rather than allowing the coaching to be part of the relationship.
I think you've really described beautifully how it evolved for you because you were in a role as a consultant, as a clinical consultant, actually guiding people and facilitating their growth, but maybe not terming it coaching in the traditional sense. And then it opened up that world to you to be open to other opportunities. And eventually, it's led you now on to do your coactive coaching training. Could you explain a little bit about coactive coaching? So what's unique about that model and what can people expect if they come to a coactive coach?
Yeah, so Coactive is it's the Coactive institutes, the training Institute, it's one of the original coaching training organizations which was set up over 20 years ago. And it really much focuses on the Coactive, it focuses on the being and the doing. And it's so important to focus on the being and the doing. And I think a lot of people particularly I, for some reason, my clients generally start our coaching journey very much thinking about their life as what I'm doing, what I'm doing. And I think a lot of people then shift into much more of a who I being space. But, and you need, you need both, you really need both. What's unique about Coactive is it's really the depth to which we focus on the whole person and its body, mind, and soul.
And it really, really is body mind and soul. So a third of the Coactive training curriculum for want of a better word focuses on what we call process coaching, which is really, really working with the emotion and the energy that comes from emotion and the energy that comes that flows through the body as you feel a feeling, whatever that emotion is and exploring that until you learn from it and through the training, obviously we were able to help people to to yeah, to uncover some phenomenal wisdom and, and make incredible leaps forward from what they really thought would be an helpful or unproductive place to go. And so that's sort of the emotional side of things. And I, I, I, my understanding really is there's no other school or or training Institute for coaching that includes this very, very emotional work. There's also a lot of embodiment and really, really using the body and that. And so it's listening to the body, it's feeling the body, but it's also using the body. So I will spend as much time sitting as standing or lying in my coaching, both when I am coaching and when I'm working with my own coach. And it's really important to, to let the body be mobile,
That is fascinating that tuning in to your body, because so much of what I teach in yoga is that connection and that learning to move with your breath and connect to your body. So it's fascinating to hear you describe that in a different sphere. It's not something that I'd ever put two and two together, but I can see how, by being much more aware of your body and your, how your body is feeling, allows you to open up in different ways and create a different relationship between that client and coach.
Yes, exactly. And it's not just, it's not it's through the body, but feeling the messages that the body and be able to spot the patterns. So it, you know, think about things that make you feel alive. You'll probably actually always have the same physical sensation when you experience them. And when you think of something that always makes you feel so deeply angry or disappointed, you probably always have the same sensation. And if you can learn to tune into those, there's so much wisdom that can come from it
Also, what's quite fascinating is how that's making me think about your previous role when you were working in chronic pain and supporting patients who were living with chronic pain, how do you think that experience of understanding the chronicity of challenges that people face and their own personal stories and their ability to move through those challenges can, can help you now. And how has that shaped what you're doing?
Yeah. There definitely are parallels. I am just going to start then perhaps it might help me to think that through, because when I'm, when I was working with people who are living with long-term pain, they had goals in their life like everyone else has, and they wanted to achieve those goals like anyone else. Yeah. They always had an extra challenge and that challenge was silent, often invisible, normally relentless, sometimes escalating, sometimes waxing and waning. And so where we all have goals and we want to achieve them. And we have challenges to overcome. This group of people had such a phenomenal, additional, challenging challenge that they had to carry with them, but it didn't stop them from making choices and recognizing that they could live a life that they wanted to live. That life might not be the life that they would have lived if they didn't live with the pain, but it could be the life that they were going to live right now.
I think the parallels really are that we all have challenges and whatever those challenges are, whether they're physical, emotional, structural, or whatever else, they might not be visible. They might not be audible. People might not recognize them. It could be desperately lonely. They can be desperately relentless. And I think, yeah, I think that's kind of why I really felt that for me, coaching was much more than helping people with pain. And it was about working with anybody who wanted to get somewhere, because yeah, what looks little on the outside? You just, you know, that's the tip of an iceberg. You have no idea what's going on underneath do you?
That's so true for so many people, isn't it? That we there's, there's a part there's a big part of us, which is just internal and cannot be seen from the outside. And it's both. Sometimes we can't see it ourselves either. So it's both about opening that up so that we can see it, but also being able to share some of that externally and identifying when we need help. And when we can find other people who can help us through those challenges and to strive to reach whatever goal it is that we've set. So now you're working a lot with the professionals in their mid career. Why was it that you wanted to start to support more leaders and compassionate leaders?
Generally the people I work with are ambitious. Very very successful. They're not yet at the peak. They're not at the top of that game or top of their career yet. But they are in a place already where they are able to be in control and be transformative in their work if they choose to be. I also so generally there are people who are in leadership roles and there people who want to lead authentically and generally are compassionate leaders. It just so happens. And they want to really see the world change and see the organization in which they work, change and see it change in a way that is really going against what has for so long, been cultural normality. And they're often they are going against the grain. And that's where we start to sort of bring in some professional goals that they might be working with.
I also work with some aspiring leaders who are much earlier in their career. And this often will fall more into my pro bono work or sponsored through their organizations and they are earlier in their career. But very, very ambitious and likely to really, really be incredibly high achieving people where they, where they overlap with the sort of the mid career people is these people who are spending lots and lots of plates who will rarely take time for themselves to think about what they want or how they get there. And it will get carried away and giving themselves that time to just step back and take a look from the outside and look around as well as look in is really, really critical. I find it fascinating then to work with with that younger generation. And for them, it's about building habits early and working with them so that they do create these practices before they have to unpick difficult things. So that's work I really enjoy doing
Sounds like a great approach and and, a wonderful group of people to work with. Like you say, learning their skills and early point can also help us to develop more inner resilience because they become, like you say, habits. So any sort of self-care practice, any self-awareness practice, anything that links in to being able to understand yourself better, the more we're doing these things, the more it becomes a subconscious rather than a conscious, I'm sorry, the opposite way around, we're being conscious, but we're making them subconscious by practicing them more.
Exactly. And the other thing I think is that for that group of people in particular, that they, they recognize the importance of relationships with people who they work with. And the more you can do this, this work, the more you can start to bring that into your communication and your relationships with colleagues, but also with family and friends. And in doing that again, yeah, it turns the conscious into the subconscious but it, it really sort of starts to draw on collaboration, collaborative approaches and genuine team-building
The team building and the collaboration. Is that something that you've continued to seek out as you've had a transition and your path has continued on? Have you been able to find peers that have been able to collaborate with you and give you that support? Because you stepped out of a role where that's very defined and very sort of hierarchical. We clearly know, you know, who's our peers within a hospital environment stepping out of that. How have you found you've been able to identify your networks and those people that you can start to build your own collaborations with?
Yeah. I mean, that's, that have happened definitely right from right from the get-go and it, I guess it's evolved and it's waxed and waned, but that's partly as, as I have evolved in this and the journey that I'm on has evolved. I mean, I think that's it network. And it started off really as, as building a network around me. And through over, over time that network did start to become quite focused on people who are in a similar sort of space to me. In terms of female consultant level clinicians who had left clinical practice and were doing nonclinical commercial leadership roles and very strong network of, of people in that sort of space, the network's got a new branch, which is the, the network of coactive coaches around me from, from doing the training through the Coactive Institute. And, and that has really, really broadened the, yeah, it's just created more diverse network, all coaches, but from different walks of life, with different expertise, different backgrounds, different perspectives, and all over the world.
Great to find those networks, isn't it. And I think some of the beauty them is that diversity is that uniqueness that people are coming from all different backgrounds, but you're all kind of leveled because you're all going through a similar process. So when you're all going through your coaching diploma, you're, you're working all towards the same goal. And yet it brings so much richness with your own story.
And the richness comes from that, from that diversity in that. And it's almost like making those delicious customer all and the amounts of different ingredients that you put in and just gets more and more amazing.
I really feel a parallel with my own experience of going through my yoga teacher training, because it was a group of us all wanting to deepen our understanding of a topic, which happened to be yoga for us being very passionate about it. And yet each person had such a different story as to how they'd got to that point. And it was just opens your eyes in a different way, I think, to people and seeing people as they are, and just taking them at face value and just being open to it. One of the things that you're offering at the moment or recently offered was about resetting and refocusing to let people be themselves, which ties into what we're saying about arriving and saying, this is me, this is who I am. Who do you feel like when you're being your most true, authentic self?
Mm, well, I feel like me, that's who I feel like that's who I feel like, and it's one of those lovely times where I actually get to be me and I really get to be just true, authentic me. And that generally is when I'm coaching, when I'm coaching or when I'm in some form of, let's say coach style engagement. And I say that meaning recently was working in a role helping support the pandemic response. And that was a leadership role, but so much of that role was about supporting the team and bringing my coaching, me, bringing my authentic me to that role. And so it's not necessarily in my coaching time with, with, with clients, but it's when I'm able to be in that supportive, open unjudgmental listening, compassionate place. That's when I'm at my most authentic self. And that's what, and I just, yeah, that's when I'm in my power.
So to hear you say that, it sounds say wonderful. Where can people go to find out more about your coaching and to see where you're offering at the minute?
Oh, well, to find out what my probably the best way actually is to talk to me about it, to be honest, I do have a website, Yvette Coldicott.com. You'd have to have to spell it. Yeah. The website's a little bit of a work in progress. And I say, I probably have more attention on coaching and having conversations with people that I do and building the website and making it really give the right information about it generally suggest people that they'd book in a chemistry, called a chemistry session, but basically complimentary 45 minute chat, which you can book on the website actually. That's probably the most useful thing about the website, the scheduling tool on there but can have a chat and then we can talk about what coaching is and most important to see what kind of fit we have between us. And if we'd work well together, cause it is a very individual relationship between the coach and the client. And sometimes that that's not the right fit, but then I know so many other coaches that generally I'm able to point people in the right direction. If I'm not the right person for them, then I can often help them to find someone who will help them to get what they're trying to get.
That's the beauty of networking, isn't it? That we can find people and we can reach out to partners who may be a better fit because we all know that we're going to have a much deeper relationship and have a much more successful relationship with someone who is aligned with our values and we're aligned with theirs and we have a good relationship going forward. So it's in everybody's interest really? Isn't it to find those people. Yeah,
Yeah, absolutely. Yep.
I we'll put all your details underneath the podcast so people can reach out and have a look and get in contact, also connecting and I think this is interesting about when we've reconnected is it's quite interesting because I've realized that we also have other parallels that maybe we didn't know when we were at med school. And I know that for you nature and being outdoors is a place where you get your energy and it's the same for me. And I read one of your blogs about birds and it's also something for me. I love to watch birds. I love to connect with the birds around me. What do you think that we can learn from that experience in the world around us?
Oh, the birds are amazing. And then it's funny. I wrote that blog well back in 2020 at the beginning of the first lockdown. And and now I've moved out of London and living in the countryside and I'm just surrounded by birds. And every day I marvel, every time I look to the window, the different birds for me to look at, and then I continue to have a real love, love of birds, but it's, it's an ignorant love. I started to learn what is what
That's okay. We're, we're always learning. We're always moving and evolving. It's just something to explore, which I think part of the reason I wanted to do this podcast and to share stories is that the more we share stories with each other and the more we explore other people's journeys through life, through their life, we can learn. And we can build that courage, that feeling of being brave to explore our own true story. And when you answered that question about being your authentic self it's, I think that embodies, understanding yourself that you've got to that place. And like you say, you're still learning and who knows where your path is going to weave now, but being able to feel like that now and have that sense of self awareness and contentment with you as you are, is really brilliant. It's very inspiring. And I hope everybody listening feels inspired by you sharing your story and your thoughts. So this podcast is called Authentic Tea and mainly to tie in with that question about being authentic, having authentic conversations, being open and vulnerable to sharing. So the final question is where and with who would you choose to have your most authentic cup of tea?
Oh, goodness. Where, and with who, well, right now I'd have it with anyone anywhere to be honest, because it would be a treat to actually be with someone in person.
But where, well,
If it's going to be a cup of tea, as opposed to a different kind of drink, then I think actually, well, can I choose a special place rather than somewhere that's particularly authentic because I've never been to a tree plantation. So I'd quite like to go and have a cup of tea in a tree plantation. And so it would be a little bit far-field and I'd go with my friend Sinead, who I just can be totally myself with. And we always have a great laugh. And yeah, if we, if we were together and not drinking tea, then it would be a very different kind of drink and we'd be in the mountains. And that would probably be a little bit more authentic.
Both of those sound equally wonderful. I love the idea of the tree plantation and I hope that at some point you will be able to do that together. Thank you so much for being a guest today. It was a real pleasure to have you thank you for sharing your story. And it's also, I just have to say, it's so lovely to reconnect with you. I'm so glad we have done. And I look forward to hearing more about your story in the future.
Yeah. Thank you. Thanks for inviting me. And likewise, I'm just so grateful for this reconnection and for yeah. All the things that we can continue to explore and discuss together.
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