Practitioner Diploma / They get freedom and so do I: Elise Finn on training with the AoEC

25th September by Lee Robertson

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Elise Finn completed the AoEC's Practitioner Diploma in Coaching


Elise Finn has spent 30 years in some of the most challenging work environments creating and leading transformational growth initiatives. Doing her professional coach training with the AoEC to become an accredited executive coach, we asked Elise about her experience of doing the Practitioner Diploma in Executive Coaching.

What is your professional background and what made you decide to sign up for the AoEC’s Practitioner Diploma course?

Before becoming a coach, my career focused on driving successful marketing transformation. In my last corporate role as chief marketing officer for a £2.5Bn global business, I created a team that delivered £115+M p.a. in sales pipeline in its second year.

I've spent 30 years in some of the most challenging work environments creating and leading transformational growth initiatives. I know what it takes to be successful in high-pressure, high-profile roles and I have first-hand experience of driving change in entrenched businesses.

My family foundation is entrepreneurial, but I also have a deep understanding of the global, tech and financial worlds. I've recruited and led large teams, transformed operational functions, launched global brands and managed big budgets. I've worked with some amazing people and learnt a lot along the way.

I've made plenty of mistakes and they are my most valuable lessons. My successes and sacrifices shape the person I am today.

I came to a career pivot point in 2016 and decided to leave my corporate role and take time out to reconnect to my family (my children were going through important educational years) and learn how to just ‘be’ rather than racing around the world ‘doing’. I decided during this process that I wanted to change careers completely and retrain as a coach. I had experienced the benefit that professional coaches bring through having them myself during my corporate role and was keen to use my experience to help and support others on their own journey.

I asked my network which coaching course I should take and AoEC kept being mentioned, so I included it in my research and decided to go with it based on reputation, course content and length and logistics.

What were some of the positives and challenges you experienced while doing the Diploma?

I really enjoyed the process of going through the diploma – the challenge was the self-examination we’re asked to undertake in order to connect to our ‘why’ for choosing to be a coach. This also really helped me as I was able to go deep and examine my motives which helped me get clear on the type of coach, I wanted to grow into being.

What would be your top piece of advice for anyone thinking about training to become a professional coach?

Be clear on who you want to coach and why and what problem or challenges you can help them dig into.

Now running your own practice, can you tell us a little more about the type of clients you are working with and the kind of issues/development needs you are being contracted to help with?

I inspire and support professional women to build careers, lives and businesses they love.

As a coach I specialise in helping professional women solve challenges I really understand, because I’ve been there, faced and overcome them myself and learnt a lot in the process!

These are the specific challenges I can really help solve:

Starting a new role and wanting to harness your energy for early success
I'll help you avoid common mistakes, engage your strengths and turbo-charge your impact.

Facing a scary job change
I'll help you use it to redesign your career and find work you love, with people you like and logistics that fit.

Playing it small and sabotaging your career
I'll help recognise your part, stop playing small and start playing smart.

Sacrificing your personal life for your career
I'll help you to make a great life, not just a good living (it’s not a myth and it’s not about ‘balance’).

Struggling to build the business of your dreams
I'll help you find and attract ideal customers, who are waiting to work with you.

What are the most common challenges you face in working with your clients?

Getting them to commit to the coaching. I work with individuals who are self-funding – so it’s usually a journey to get them to commit, but the advantage is that they are 100% in when they do, because they’ve spent their own money on the coaching!

How are you understanding and measuring the impact of coaching sessions on the client’s performance and revenue?

I don’t deal with corporates (at the moment) and I usually have a specific set of goals and objectives that we’ve set at the beginning of the coaching that keeps us aligned. These goals are about levels of fulfilment, happiness, growth and relationships. I usually use a scoring system using a scale of -3 to +3 to help my clients plot their progress against their goals. What price can you put on happiness?

Why do you think coaching can be so effective and empowering for coachees?

I get to use all the lessons I’ve learnt the tough way in my coaching relationships with professional women. I understand their challenge and their pain because I have (most often) been there and can empathise. This is extremely rewarding for me and alongside seeing my clients make meaningful life changes that bring them fulfilment – I can’t see another role that would deliver this level of empowerment!

What has your work as a coach taught you personally?

Many things! The most important one is to listen to understand and not respond.

What do you find most rewarding about your work as a coach?

I can work from anywhere in the world (as long as I have internet) and reach clients anywhere in the world to help them make positive change in their lives.

They get freedom and so do I.


An enormous thanks to Elise for sharing her coach training journey with us.