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A Magazine for Sheffield

Corvus Coaching A listening ear and a firm encourager

We can all benefit from a little practical support sometimes. Raven Nielsen is a transformational life coach who also runs an online workshop for folks who would like to learn how to become better LGBTQ+ allies.

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I first met Raven through their life coaching account on Instagram and was immediately drawn to their friendly and welcoming vibe, which gently invited followers to look within and ponder a question or two on any given day. A few months later, Raven invited me to one of their Allyship 101 workshops to learn more about the LGBTQ+ community. I chatted to them to hear more about their work.

Hi Raven. It’s great to be chatting with you. First things first, can you tell us a bit about yourself and the journey that led you to start Corvus Coaching?

Hi, thanks for inviting me!

Well, it’s been an interesting one, that’s for sure. After 15+ years as a textile artist I wanted a change and more of a purpose, and counselling was the thing that leapt out at me. At around the same time my partner came out as a trans woman and the gaps in understanding she faced when accessing therapy made me see that there was a huge need for therapists from within the LGBTQ+ community. So those things combined pushed me to retrain as a psychotherapist.

I was paying for my four-year diploma course by doing events catering, and then when Covid hit in March 2020 I lost all my income when everything was cancelled. I had to quit my course, which was devastating, but then as I started to pull myself together I found coaching, and honestly that felt like an even better fit for me, as I’ve always been about asking, 'So what’s next?' and finding a practical way forward.

It must be rewarding to help people make positive change in their lives. What does your life coaching process look like and is there a particular philosophy behind it?

It really is. I studied with Animas School of Coaching, which is an ICF (International Coaching Federation) accredited course grounded in the ‘person centred’ approach. I position myself as a ‘thinking partner’, not an expert, and hold a non-judgemental space for you to explore your own thoughts and gain your own insights.

It feels more like a conversation, where I will reflect your thoughts back so you can see them more clearly, and challenge you with questions and exercises that help get to the roots of your ideas and perceptions. I definitely don’t give advice or tell people what to do. I believe you have all the answers within reach, you might just need a little nudge to uncover them!

You offer a variety of ways for people to experience coaching. What are the different options?

Right now I’m just offering 1:1 coaching, and I can do that over Zoom or in person. Zoom is very popular as you don’t even have to be in Sheffield. I’ve found many people feel more comfortable chatting in their own homes. In person coaching can either be at a cafe - I have a list of places that have quiet corners - or I also do ‘walk and talk’ coaching in the Endcliffe Park and Whiteley Woods area. Walking alongside someone is great for encouraging deep conversations and it’s beautiful being out in nature.

Some folks might read this interview and have more questions for you in relation to their own personal circumstances. What do you offer for people who would like to know if life coaching is the right option for them?

I always start with a ‘no obligation’ conversation, about half an hour, where we can just have an informal chat about what you might like to gain from coaching and how I might be able to help. That way you can bring any questions you have, get to know me and see if I’m someone you feel comfortable talking to. And if so, then we can look at booking some coaching sessions.

You’ve also recently hosted two LBGTQ+ Allyship workshops. Can you tell us more about these, who they’re for and what you hope people will take away from them?

I love these! I identify as genderqueer and bisexual, and got into coaching - as you know - because of the lack of understanding around trans issues in particular. I put together this short workshop, which I currently run online, to provide a very basic level of understanding about what LGBTQ+ means, what the community needs and how people - especially therapists, coaches and educators - can best support their LGBTQ+ clients and students.

I’ve always been open to answering any questions from people, because the thing I came up against most was, 'I want to be supportive but I don’t know where to start,' or, 'I’m worried about saying or asking the wrong thing.' So I’m like: ask me! Ask me anything!

It’s a blend of useful information and language, things you can do to help - and things you want to avoid - and an open Q&A, which tends to be anything from, ‘Why are pronouns important?’ to, ‘If you’re non-binary, do your kids still call you mum?’ (Answer: no, but that’s their choice!).

I love the conversations that come up and I love that people say they feel safe enough to ask the awkward questions. I want understanding and empathy to ripple out from these workshops to make more safe spaces for LGBTQ+ folks everywhere.

by Felicity Jackson (she/her)
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