Why I’m no longer offering (traditional) career coaching

I want to share some important news about my business and I hope my story will put this decision in context for you…

How it all started


I thought it would be good to share a little about my motivations for starting my business back in 2016. I make no bones about the fact that redundancy was actually the catalyst for my own leap into self-employment. It wasn’t particularly from a place of courage, inspiration or a deep desire for change that I made the decision!

Honestly, I was in the early stages of pregnancy with my second little girl, Tabby, and I felt I had very little choice in the matter. In fact, I remember thinking. “Who will employ a pregnant mother of one, on a part-time basis for just a few months before she is due to give birth?”😔

Time was of the essence. I had less than 8 months to save a nest egg that would see me through my maternity leave..(and beyond?). I missed out on maternity pay from my then employer by a matter of days. 🤦‍♀️

Panic stations

Never being one to rest on my laurels, I secured a freelance employee engagement consultancy contract shortly after I was made redundant which took me up to the month before I gave birth in November of 2016.

I tried to switch off and not worry too much about what I was going to do with my career once my mat leave was over, but this was easier said than done! My redundancy process had been difficult for various reasons, aside from the obvious, and my confidence and self-belief were in tatters.

What next?

The one thing I was certain of was that going back to my corporate 9-5 (or even another contract role – lovely as my experience had been) was simply never going to cut it. I wanted more.

More meaning. More freedom. More time to spend with my young family. More time in nature. More time to create and learn. More autonomy. More happiness. More of what lit me up.

I wanted to do work that made a dent in the world. I also wanted less pressure, less conflict, less responsibility, less capitalist, alpha-male, corporate BS and far less political game-playing.

My wake-up call

Becoming a mum the first time round in 2014 – like for so many of the women I work with – gave me a huge dose of perspective about what was really important to me; and what was actually important in life generally.

Of course, motherhood isn’t the only life event that forces people to take stock. COVID, for example, has rocked the world to its core and there’s a palpable shift in people’s definition of work happiness. Check out any of the numerous articles on The Great Resignation to see the stats for yourself.

All I knew was that pursuing a career that looked ‘good on paper’, that quite often made me unhappy, took me away from my young family and lined someone else’s pockets was most definitely not my definition of ‘work happiness.’

I did it my way

So doing ‘my own thing’ felt like the obvious next step for me. This way I could do things my way, on my terms. I could choose who I worked with, the kind of work I did, when I worked and with whom I did that work. For someone like me with very clear values around autonomy and freedom, the prospect of working this way blew my mind.

So I proceeded to offer corporate culture consultancy and leadership coaching, along side my first love, coaching; working with individuals to shape happier more impactful work lives.

My business evolution

The first incarnation of my coaching business in 2018, was as a career and confidence coach for mums who were returning from or on maternity leave. Perhaps you even followed me as @shinebrightermums on social media?

Over the next couple of years, my business evolved and I started to work with a few founders who had lost their way and female leaders who wanted to change sectors or leave the corporate world to do their own thing. It became about helping people define their own Work Happiness Blueprint so they could then take aligned action to shape either their corporate careers or businesses.

It’s time to speak my truth

Over the last few months, there has been yet another evolution of my professional and business purpose, as my own interests and passions have evolved and my own why has become clearer. And I feel it’s finally time to speak my truth!

N.B It may not be your truth though so, if what I’m about to say does not resonate with you, I won’t be at all offended if you decide this is where we part company because my new direction doesn’t align with your own work happiness vision.

Here goes…

I honestly believe that the only way to find true work happiness and to create a work life on your terms; completely aligned with your core values, innate talents, work and life experiences, personality and purpose is to design your own YOU-shaped business.

Are we still a good fit?

There I said it. Eek. And as a career coach, who has historically helped a wide range of people with all sorts of career-change conundrums, this is a big deal for me to say out loud.

I also appreciate that this news may not make me ‘the career coach for you’ after all. And I completely respect that. I can’t be, and would never expect to be, for everyone.

I still wholeheartedly believe that you can definitely find more ‘work happiness’ by changing industry sectors, tweaking your role, playing to your strengths, adjusting your work patterns and working on your mindset. And for many people that is more than enough.

But this would never have been enough for me. I wanted more. I wanted to work on my terms, just as I described above. Call me selfish, call me idealistic, call me demanding.

Ain’t no going back!

But now I’ve tasted ‘true work happiness’, I’m not sure I could ever go back to the full time corporate 9-5. (Never say never though, right!?) All I know is that since I started my business, work (and life, for I feel they are one) just keep getting better and better. (She says, touching wood furiously!)

I totally get that the path to entrepreneurship is not for everyone and it’s definitely not for the faint-hearted. But if you want it enough, I promise you it will be the best career move you ever make. I speak from personal experience!

The upshot

From January 2022, alongside my corporate culture consultancy and leadership coaching, where I help organisations and leaders shape purpose-driven and people-centric businesses and teams – I’ll be focusing on serving anyone keen to explore starting (or growing) their own service-based business.

I’ll continue to apply my work happiness philosophy, blueprint, science plus intuition-backed approach and signature SHINE coaching framework but with a view to helping brilliant women like you design and grow a YOU-shaped business, not just a corporate career.

I will, however, continue to support the wonderful women in my affordable career coaching membership, The Shine Collective, but this will be the only way to access pure career coaching support with me moving forward.

Because I honestly believe that entrepreneurship and self-employment is the path to true work happiness – at least until the world of work has been through a massive transformation! (which I’m working hard on in the consultancy side of my business!)

I have over 15 years’ experience of helping shape purpose-led businesses and cultures and nearly 5 years of growing my own successful coaching business, so I’m really excited to be able to share this expertise (and learnings!) with other (aspiring) female founders in 2022.

Is this goodbye?

If you know categorically that working for yourself in some capacity will never feature in your own work happiness vision, then feel free to join my Shine Collective affordable career coaching membership or please don’t hesitate to get in touch, and I’ll refer you to some brilliant career coaches who can help you grow a happier corporate career. If this is you, goodbye and I wish you all the work happiness in the world!

But if you’re still here – and made it to the end of this mammoth article! – and want to stick around to see what I have in store for you in 2022, hurray! and I’m truly honoured to have you in my world. 

Drop me a line if you’d like to be first to hear about my new future founder coaching programmes, launching early next year. Or you can book a free no strings call here to see if we’d be a good fit. You can follow me on instagram and facebook as @theworkhappinesscoach. Thanks for your patience as I update my website and social media to reflect this new direction!