coaching stories: luke hancock on leaving the corporate world to start coaching in laos


16th November 2018

In the Animas Student Stories series, we ask people who qualified on our Diploma in Transformative Coaching what they’re doing now. These accounts provide some insight into the life of coaches, and the variety of potential coaching careers.

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

Luke Hancock trained as a coach at Animas after nearly two decades in the corporate world. He now runs Sacred Place, a holistic health project in Laos which offers coaching and counselling alongside business, nutrition and permaculture consultancy. Here, he speaks about his transition from the corporate world to coaching, what life is like as a coach, and how he’s building his practice.

“I had just spent 17 years in the corporate world working in global sales and in internet start-ups and large multinationals,” Luke described, “and I basically burnt out in 2006. I made the decision after burning out that I would follow my intuition, so in 2008 I went travelling for about a year and a half. When I came back, I was speaking with my sister and I was discussing what I wanted to do with my life. During those conversations, one of the things that came up was talents and skills, not just passions, but gifts and talents. I always used to work with people in teams and sales environments. I was in that space of having time, money, and health to create the life that I really wanted and not a life that I was paid to lead, so I allowed myself to explore. Another area that came up through our conversations was life coaching and personal development, which I had been focusing on for myself with the work of Anthony Robbins, John Rowan, these sorts of people and I sat with the idea and it just sort of resonated.”

Whilst working out what he wanted to do with his career, Luke got a coach that helped him through a 12-step career transition course. Realising the real value of this work, Luke thought about how he might be able to help others do this same work later in his life. He then trained as a coach at Animas.

“It’s impacted the kinds of people that are attracted to work with me,” Luke explained, “because I focus a little bit on personal development; so gifts, talents, limiting beliefs, emotional or mental barriers and I focus a lot on career transition where I feel quite comfortable with the framework and the process having been through it myself and having facilitated others to go through that process. I also quite like business coaching and consulting because I have quite an extensive experience in the world of business. That has also arisen where I’m consulting and then with their permission I may move into coaching.”

creating sacred place

“I was really grateful for my time in the corporate world,” Luke recalled, and “thankful I have the awareness about myself and the world otherwise I probably wouldn’t have embarked on that journey in the first place.” Luke pointed out how his corporate work gave him skills that he didn’t know he was capable of developing at a young age.

What pushed Luke out of the corporate world was the burn-out. “It was the crash that made me realise that I was living a lie, that I was people pleasing, and that I wasn’t following my heart.”

With his partner Susanna, Luke works with people to focus on the present moment and what they want to create in the future. He commented, “I am working in a space with permaculture which is about creating sustainable systems whether it’s for people, communities, water, food etcetera and what came to me was that nutrition is simply the other side of the coin of permaculture.” Luke and his partner recently bought land in Laos, where they live, to build a space for workshops that will be conductive to the inner-journey.

toward coaching groups

At first, Luke coached remotely over Skype with clients from Europe and the United Kingdom. While Luke used to spend a lot of time with clients one-on-one, he now spends more time preparing for his group programs: Moving towards a one-to-many model. He remarked, “I noticed that in the group there is a lot of healing and growth that takes place because of the community that’s created by the group and because of the relationships in that group.”

With group coaching, his clients are shifting to be from a wider range of places including Europe, America, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and several Asian countries. Coming from all walks of life, they’re looking for change: “They realise there’s an element of urgency to wake up, switch on and tune in to what they’re going to do with their lives,” Luke said.

on the rise of entrepreneurship

Speaking to the people in his workshops, Luke realised that people are becoming more interested in exploring themselves and the world instead of having a single expertise and being an employee. Luke describes this as a move towards health of the self.

He explained, “It means healing and developing a strong inner foundation first, and trying to have a positive impact on the world. I believe that we’re going to see a big shift away from employees to entrepreneurs at least for the people who are becoming aware that the existing paradigm is not sustainable in its current setup. It’s not sustainable on an emotional level, on an environmental level, on an economic level.”

Luke is a great example of how beneficial it can be to reflect on all the ways past experiences can enrich a coaching practice. From career and travel to personal experiences, the past can deepen the business you develop.

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