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Life coaching & self-care in a time of uncertainty

It's never been a better time to consider what life changes you want to make, says Sheffield-based life coach Karen Perkins.

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Karen Perkins is a business and life coach who is celebrating ten years of helping people to realise their dreams and fulfil their potential. We chatted to Karen to find out more about her fascinating work and to ask what advice she has for navigating our way through this new reality.

Firstly, can you tell us a bit about yourself and what you do.

I'm an active walker, especially in the mountains and I love art, design, innovation and new tech. I'm a member of Sheffield Digital and a pioneer member of Sheffield Creative Guild.

I started my career in housing with two empowering managers who inspired me to support my team members, trainees and interns to aim as high as possible. I grabbed the chance to do a coaching course for work which inspired me to start up my own coaching business.

Redundancy gave me the opportunity to take my coaching business full-time. I love to help people find their passion, job or business idea, and get the confidence to fulfil their potential and overcome self doubt or the low expectations of others.

How has your work changed as a result of the pandemic?

People are coping in different ways, so my coaching helps them move forward in the way that suits them best.

For example, helping them to work out a short-term plan to manage their work or redundancy situation and anxieties, by job searching, providing CV support, and assisting them with interview and skills gap filling. Others who are still employed or furloughed have different challenges like keeping safe, keeping going and not feeling guilty about making the most of the time and planning for the future.

Early on in the crisis I made a video to help Creative Guild members cope with the Covid-19 challenges affecting their business and creative practice. I've also become a Zoom expert and run a weekly Lockdown Life Unlocked online meetup and support group with expert speakers.

How can you help people to use the current situation as an opportunity for growth and making positive life changes?

It's never been a better time to consider what life changes you want to make. So many people have been emboldened to say what they see needing to change. I can help them to explore how they might want to be in future, by working differently, refocusing their priorities, and taking forward social enterprise and business ideas that have sprung from adversity, to find more satisfying, sustainable ways to live.

Using my experience, listening and questioning skills and various tools to help uncover what people are looking for, I help them to make a proper plan to move forward and suggest ways to keep motivated. I love innovation and creativity alongside wellness support so they can explore ideas and how to make them happen.

I coached and developed teams in social housing for 20 years and 2020 is my tenth business anniversary so I bring my experience and business, public and voluntary sector insights. I am also accredited by The Association for Coaching and have a degree-level ILM coaching qualification.

You're offering free life coaching taster sessions. What can people expect at one of these?

A quick chat first, then some tailored work and a session by phone or online. I'm good at asking questions and helping people to gain insight into their work and life. Then we focus on practical goals to help them move forward, including self-care tips and a practical plan.

One of my coachees said, "I was somewhat dubious about the value of coaching before embarking on it myself. The overwhelmingly positive nature of the coaching experience has resulted in a radical shift in my opinions and I would now wholeheartedly recommend good, personally-tailored coaching to anyone who is interested in their personal and professional development."

Check out the 'Offers' section on the Now Then App to find out how you can get a free life coaching taster session with Karen.

What do you think are the most important things people can do to look after themselves during this time?

Plan time to look after yourself. Don't feel pressure to be positive and do masses of new things. Keep a journal to record what you actually did. You'll be surprised when you look back.

Plan in regular catch-ups with friends and colleagues. Plan breaks and don't feel guilty about having fun and being creative. Plan a wishlist for when we are allowed out again. It's good to have things to look forward to.

Get off social media, limit news consumption, help someone else, volunteer in your community if it's safe, or become a phone volunteer. Voluntary Action Sheffield have a brilliant website full of opportunities.

Visit Karen's website and follow her @fabcoach on Twitter and Instagram.

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