Animas Student Stories: Laura Nowell on coaching as the glue that holds other skills together

In the Animas Student Stories series, we ask past students who completed our Diploma in Transformative Coaching what they’re doing now. These accounts provide some insight into the life of a coach, and the variety of potential coaching careers.

You can listen to the full interview using the player, read the full transcript or read a shortened version below.

This is an interview with former Animas student, Laura Nowell, six months after she qualified from the Diploma in Transformative Coaching. Laura speaks about coaching as the glue that holds her other passions and skills together.

Laura Nowell has worked in different countries, holding senior positions in the corporate world as well as working as a yoga teacher and massage therapist. Having been through significant career and location transitions, Laura believes in the value of support during these times and will be setting up a coaching business to support those in transition.

On coaching

“The role of coaching can be misunderstood as being about therapy, or getting someone out of a hole, or problem-focused. But I like to think of coaching as having a more positive start point. The start point can be, how do I want my life to go? How can I start to take control and responsibility for what I want my life to be? What is my passion and what is my bliss and how can I create strategies to take me forward?”

“The thing that surprised and delighted me the most is, when I’m coaching, the clients I tend to get tend to reflect back to me some part of myself… This is recognition of the fact that we are so interconnected. And coaching is so generous. It always brings me new perspectives. I think this is life-affirming and coaching-affirming.”

On her experience of coach training

Laura was cynical about the seeming intangibility of coaching skills. She thought that coach training would be something she already knew through other therapeutic training. However, her experience was different.

“I learnt so much more than I knew, and so much about myself. Lots of ideas I had already were able to come together… Coaching for me is like the glue that brings together a lot of ideas, perspectives, preconceptions, experience, skills… to create something more tangible […] I was drawn particularly to Animas because they talk very much about enabling their students to draw on their skills and life experience, as opposed to drop them.”

Becoming a coach allowed Laura to bring together many skills she already had, and ways of working she’d been practising. It also enriched her relationships with friends and family. In particular, she says that coach training taught her how to have the courage to sit in silence, alone or with clients, and how to be present with discomfort.

“Right now it’s the most valuable tool in my life… Now I feel more inquisitive about myself.”

On a coaching career

Laura works at a retreat centre in Goa and last season introduced transition coaching to her offering. In addition to coaching four or five clients, largely around transition, Laura found herself using coaching in her yoga teaching, yoga therapy, massage, meditation, mindfulness and workshops.

“My Animas training enhanced all of my skills and all of my offering. It can complement any skill of working with human beings.”

And coaching is as applicable to human strategy as it is to business strategy:

“Whether you’re a brand or a person, you ask how do I get from A to B? How do I use the truth of who I am to evolve to the next stage? I see myself working as a personal development coach, supporting people in exploring themselves deeply.”