Jennifer Gibbons-Joseph interview with Essiba Small, editor of the Trinidad Express Newspapers; ‘In The Trenches’ – Sunday 7th April 2019.
Tell us a little about yourself?
I am at the third act of life, living my dreams. I am the Managing Director of Conec Professional Life Coaching Services Ltd. I am also an internationally certified Life Coach, Energy Leadership Practitioner, Certified Financial Planner and Sales Consultant. However, all these titles are integrated to offer exceptional, holistic service to my clients. I consider myself a peoples’ person, very concerned about the welfare of others. In my previous career as a financial adviser and sales manager and now as a Life coach, I am always happy to help people to reach their goals.
You’re a life coach, what exactly do you do?
As a life coach I partner with my clients and help them to better understand themselves, and their situation, clarify their goals and dreams and to design a life plan to live the type of life they want.
Why do people need a life coach?
People who are frustrated, stuck, not sure about their direction, cannot achieve their goals and not happy with their situation are in need of a life coach for support and guidance.
Who are the people that really seek out you out and why?
My clientele consists of mature men and women. These are employees who are preparing for retirement or transition to other careers. Those people who, are in active retirement and want to monetize their skills and experience. Others, who are in transition and need guidance in particular aspects of their lives. I can easily relate to this group as I am within this life stage and understand their challenges and needs. My clients appreciate my competence and nonjudgmental and embracing style. They also trust my guidance and walk away very happy, empowered and confident about their future.
What do you bring to the lives of people that make your service different?
I believe that living beyond fifty is an exciting time for people to embrace and celebrate their journey. As an intuitive listener and a naturally friendly person I engage my clients in a calm, welcoming and confidential manner, immediately putting them at ease. My training as an Energy Leadership Practitioner helps them to release the negative energies that are holding them back and to harness their positive energies, allowing their best self to emerge.
About ‘CONEC-TIONS 50+’ and what you hope to achieve.
Under my company ‘Conec’ I created a signature program in 2018 called ‘LIFE JOURNEY 50+’ to meet the needs of men and women fifty and over. This program was designed based on the results of a survey completed with this age group. I assessed their concerns and designed interactive forums, workshops, and social events to meet the different needs identified. At the beginning of 2019, I partnered with a business associate to produce CONEC-TIONS 50+ our 2019 program. We expanded Conec’s suite of programs for people fifty plus, to include weekend retreats, webinars, and other exciting events. We would be launching CONEC-TIONS 50 this Sunday, June 7th. which is a cocktail event to give people fifty plus the opportunity to mix, mingle, network, make new friends and just have fun.
Is the coaching pattern the same for women as men? How do they differ, if so?
My coaching style and methodology is the same for both men and women. I partner with clients in a very embracing, friendly and nonjudgmental manner. As a result, they openly share what’s utmost on their minds and trust my judgment.
In your line of business, what would you say women need to work on the most?
At this time, working with women fifty plus, I would say they need to build self –confidence. More women need to step out of the box, build skills, expand their knowledge, be more aware of what is happening around them and within the country and become decision makers.
How does the process work? How do you connect with clients? Are they referred to you by those familiar with your programmes or do you do a lot of marketing?
My company Conec offers specialized coaching programs to companies, individuals and the public. I also collaborate with specialty coaches for some of these programs. We get corporate clients by promoting our customized workshops. Our public forums and events are advertised and are well attended. We get high reviews and endorsements from participants, which help boost our client base. Individual clients are as a result of referrals.
Are people skeptical in the beginning about hiring a life coach? What are some of their concerns at first?
When I started my practice as a coach in 2012, I was often asked what does a Life Coach do? I had to explain that I was not a psychologist or therapist and go into detail as to how my service differed. Some of the concerns were whether I could really help them get unstuck and having to pay a fee for a service they were not familiar with. Life Coaching is now well known in Trinidad and having established myself, I no longer get these questions.
How long does it take to see results in people you coach?
Life coaching is a process and not a quick fix. I am a Life Transition, Energy and Financial Coach, so my clients come to me with different issues. It may be a financial challenge or someone looking at changing their direction in life and need guidance. I have a starter coaching package with three 1- hour sessions scheduled according to the client agenda. Both the client and I would agree on how we would move forward based on the progress at that stage. I am satisfied with this model and have been receiving very positive results, breakthroughs and excellent feedback from clients.
How long have you been in this business and why life coaching and not some other career?
I became certified as a Professional Life Coach and an Energy Leadership practitioner in 2012, at which time I opened my practice. Prior to being a coach, I worked as a senior sales manager and consultant. In these roles I was being asked by clients to help them in matters that went beyond my duty. They were always happy with my support and would commend me on my vast knowledge and networking ability. As a result, I saw a great need to help people in a more holistic way and decided to change careers. I saw life coaching as a new career to realize my goal.
At what stage of their lives should people hire a coach?
Adults who find themselves in a situation when they feel stuck, frustrated and just don’t know what to do, need a life coach to help them formulate a plan and guide and support them along the way..
What advice do you often share that has become synonymous with you and your business?
I believe that our body is an energy system made up of our emotions, habits, values and other attributes. In order to live a happy and fulfilled life, people should release the negative energies causing them stress and blocking their progress and focus on the positives. Be truthful and authentic.