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Joy - the Authentic Tea podcast with Nicola

Nicola is an empowerment coach supporting women who have experienced trauma to rediscover their true self, find freedom and awaken their potential. Nicola combines her experience as a doctor and women’s trauma specialist with her training in Mindful-Self Compassion and transformational coaching to work with individuals to make a change and reclaim their lives.


Join Rach for Episode 19 and listen to her chat with Nicola and be inspired by her story and the joy she has found in her life choices.


Rach (00:00):

My guest today is Nicola. Nicola is an empowerment coach, supporting women who have experienced trauma to rediscover their true self, find freedom and awaken their potential. Nicola combines her experience as a doctor and a women's trauma specialist with our training in mindful self-compassion and transformational coaching to work with individuals to make a change and reclaim their lives. Welcome Nicola.


Nicola (00:25):

Hello.


Rach (00:25):

Thanks for joining me today. It's an absolute pleasure to have you, and maybe we could start with you explaining a little bit about one of the programs that you're sharing with your clients. You deliver a Freedom from Trauma Program, which supports your clients for six months to really love their lives. Again, could you share a little bit about why you decided to create the program and what type of transformation people see as they work through the program with you?


Nicola (00:51):

Yes, I'd love to. So as a GP, I mean, I was, I was working in the NHS for over 20 years and you meet so many people. And I absolutely love that aspect of being a Doctor. But as a GP I would, I would see snapshots of people's lives and sometimes kind of walk the journey of their lives with them for, for some time. And I really noticed how so many people who have potential the, the experiences that they're keeping on the inside, the kind of stuff that they're carrying is holding them back or has created a narrative that kind of runs their life. That stops them from moving forward. I guess, as the GP I wasn't particularly sort of pharmaceuticals interested. I was always very interested in the narrative, what was going on beneath and behind the symptoms and what was not being said.


Nicola (01:47):

And that was my general leaning as a doctor. Anyway, I've always just been very curious about people. And so over the years, I've thought a lot about this and it wasn't until I decided to train as a coach, but also I'm quite self-reflective. I thought about myself and what stopped me from moving forward. I, I quite often during my career, even though on paper, you know, I had everything going for me. I got all my exams. I didn't struggle in any way, and everybody gave me great feedback. Sometimes I would feel like I was kind of standing on the edge of the swimming pool of life and not fully leaping in. So I was really reflective about that side of myself. And I read a lot and I studied a lot over the years. And then when I finally made the decision to train as a coach and to actually leave medicine I started coaching women individually for the first couple of years.


Nicola (02:43):

And, and I, and I used that as a, as a way to reflect on what, what did these people need, who was attracted to working with me and what do people really need? And there were themes that came up again and again, and there were questions that came up again and again, that made me think actually I've really got something here that like it's much better with, as a coach to be able to just coach freely on whatever is needed on the day. But there were these skills and obstacles that I knew I could help my clients with. So by creating an online program, I could give those reflective exercises, meditations processes to help my clients to work through those things at the same time as being coached by me. So that's kind of where it came from, was a lot of observation and a lot of self-reflection and thinking about what do we really need to yeah. Help us to break free of those kinds of constraints that we put on ourselves or that life has, has put on us.


Rach (03:41):

Thank you. It sounds wonderful. And it's really interesting to see how your own experience has influenced how you've developed that program. So maybe you could just explore a little bit more about when you left clinical medicine and when you took those steps work more independently and maybe a little bit about what you learned maybe about yourself, but also about that whole experience of stepping out of one role into another.


Nicola (04:06):

Yeah. So a couple of years before I left Medicine, I had, I had several experiences where I came up against myself and, and initially I didn't learn the lesson. So I had a back injury. Gosh, it must be eight years ago now, eight, seven or eight years ago. And did the classic GP thing of, I could still feel my feet. So therefore there was no need to go to A and E. I just took some paracetamol and carried on, you know, and kind of that was in September. And it took me until December to sort of crawl into A and E in absolute agony and to get very told off by the orthopaedic team. And so at that phase of my life, I was still ignoring my own needs. I was putting myself right at the bottom of the list. I had young children and a husband that travelled abroad a lot for his work.


Nicola (04:54):

And I was so far down the list. I was almost not even noticing when I was hungry or in pain or, you know, and I don't think I'm alone as a, as a doctor and lots of other professions as well, of ending up in that kind of situation. But I didn't really learn from my back injury. I thought I'd learned, I changed my job. I moved my job closer to home, but I was still really of that mindset where I was really way down the list. And then scroll forward a few years, the NHS was gradually changing. And I started to realize that the way that the practice I worked for wanted to work was, and I was a salary GP was we were kind of just excuse the phrase, but sort of bums on seats, interchangeable, interchangeable, cogs in a great big machinery.


Nicola (05:45):

And I, I found that really de-motivating, I'd always been a GP that just went above and beyond. I was absolutely passionate about what I did. And I suddenly found myself working in this environment where I thought, you know, I could die in the station recovered and they wouldn't even notice they'd just get a locum in, carry on, you know, which is horrible, horrible thing to say. I had wonderful colleagues and it's an amazing profession, but something inside me started to change. And, and I guess it's that when the equation changes and you start to realize, okay, all this extra effort I'm putting in to be an amazing doctor, or what I hoped was, you know, it's not really, it didn't feel valued anymore. And and therefore being that exhausted and that far down the list suddenly didn't seem like such a great decision.


Nicola (06:34):

So things started to shift for me. And I also had an experience where two people close to me were diagnosed with cancer in the same week. And they were both amazing energetic women outdoorsy, never any kind of inkling that they were in any way unhealthy. And it really shocked me. And it really made me think that could be me. I've got young children, I'm always frazzled. That's all my children ever see is me kind of pretty frazzled. And I know they loved me, but I just thought I've got some choices to make here. And I was, I was heading for burnout. I think there is an element of, I didn't fully, you know, reach burnout, but there was that feeling of, I was feeling less than less connected with the people around me. You know, when you're in that fight flight mode, you become less creative.


Nicola (07:20):

You get less good at delegating because you you're, you just can't see the wood for the trees. So I'd, I'd be in that kind of like, it was easy to do everything myself kind of mode, which I know a lot of people have experienced in the past 12 months that, you know, it's hard to think creatively and in a connected way when you're that stressed. And I could see all of this happening, I could see it all unfolding in front of me. And I, I just made the decision which was terrifying for my husband because he was like, well, what are you going to do? You know, and everyone around me was a bit shocked, but once I actually got clear on my mind that, and it was a really important choice, then actually it was really quite easy. I didn't, I was quite scared and I didn't know what I was going to do. And I found the uncertainty really difficult because as a Doctor, I'd always been in work and I'd always known that I could locum or something else. And I was completely stepping away from that structure. But I think it's, it was just seeing those two sides of the equation and realizing it no longer added up for me that made it easy in the end. So, yeah. Crazy or otherwise, I just went for it


Rach (08:32):

Really interesting to hear how that unfolded. But at some point there was probably a moment where you had to really be courageous actually, and just take those steps. And you remember what it was that sort of, or you said about the clarity and was it just really realizing that there was something else that was going to make it feel better? Or was it just knowing that what you were doing was not feeling right. And how do you think that's helped you now, when you, when you get into similar positions where you have to change, how do you find that those lessons from that have changed how you make your decisions now?


Nicola (09:06):

Yeah, that's a great question. I, so I think that one thing that really made a difference is when I had my back injury, that was my first time I had some coaching. I just had three sessions of coaching, but I was really impressed by how coaching has this very simple but really clear techniques to help people to do their best thinking and having been interested in all of these things as a Doctor for so long, there was a bit of me that felt a bit kind of humble that, wow, you know, as Doctors, we do, we do stuff on communication skills and I've been interested in this stuff for my whole career, but I don't have that level of skill. And it suddenly opened my