Coaching by Alicia Mullery – A Name All Young Women Should Know
Alicia Mullery is a constructive, measured and successful life coach who works on building foundational blocks for supporting empowered women who seek guidance of all calibers. After spending over half a decade in learning and practicing her techniques as a coach, Alicia has built an inspirational platform which tackles the barriers to necessary self-confidence and success – making women comfortable with their troughs and peaks in order to maximise their individual potential. We spoke to her about her personal journey as an influential life coach, as well as her hopes to expand and normalise healthy behaviours that can improve quality of mass for those who need support.
1. Tell us about when you first become a life coach? Where did you get your training?
I first learned about life coaching in 2016. I was using it to help me through some rough patches in my own life, and I was shocked and fascinated by how much control I was giving away in my own life. Coaching helped me realize I can always decide how I want to feel.
I got certified by The Life Coach School in 2020. The founder, Brooke Castillo, wants to be an example of what is possible in the world. What she has created and how she teaches is phenomenal. I highly recommend everyone listens to her podcast.
2. You spent more than a decade supporting C-Suite executives at Fortune500/FTSE1000 companies to design digital strategy and transform organisational culture. What are some concrete steps you took to be on the platform you are now? Take us through your stories, to achieve the goal of becoming a speaker?
I always have vision of what I call, “Alicia 2.0.” It’s more of a mood board in my mind of the life I want to be living in the future. Do I want to be living a life where I’m travelling in luxury to beautiful places, meeting interesting people? Do I want a relaxed life working three days a week living by the water? Do I want to want a large global team, and to be widely respected but also completely turn off on the weekend?
When making small decisions I practice listening to both my logical mind and my intuition. If it feels good, excites me or clearly seems like a critical, I say yes! If not, it’s a hard no.
13 years later all those little yeses and no’s have added up to being a Vice President at Gartner, working with amazing teams, having my own coaching practice with ambitious millennials who are looking to change the world, and living my dream life in London.
3. What do you consider a successful coaching session? ‘And’ what is your coaching philosophy?
The most successful coaching sessions don’t always feel great in the moment. My coaching is based on the idea that there are facts in the world and then there’s our story of how we interpret those facts. That story feels 100% true to us but it’s always optional. How we tell that story determines how we feel every day.
The best coaching sessions will help you to become aware of what your own stories are, if they are hurting you or serving you - and how to rewrite them.
4. What is the happiest part of your daily routine? In the past week/month/year, what were your three most positive moments?
My daily meditation. It doesn’t have to take long. I always feel restored after I’ve given myself a few minutes just for me to be.
The past year has been filled with a lot of beautiful moments and a lot of stress/fear for all of us. My top three would be:
- Savouring a very rare holiday in 2020. I was lucky to be able to safely take a trip to France in August. It was my only real trip in 2020 and I don’t think I’ve ever appreciated the sea, the mountains or the magic of a new place as much as I did on that trip.
- In December a book arrived in the mail for me with no note. It was Deepak Chopra’s The Spontaneous Fulfilment of Desire. I had no idea who sent it for months but knowing that someone wanted me to read this, and the magic of the book itself, still brings me joy.
- Picnicking in Hyde Park in July (social distanced!) with my friends. All of London seemed to be outside in the sun. It felt the first bit of normal this year and that we were all getting through this strange 2020 together.
5. What is the biggest challenge you helped one of your clients through?
One client felt that everything was going wrong in her life. She wasn’t happy at her job, she was living in a city she didn’t like, she wasn’t in a relationship and wanted to be, her apartment pipes had burst leaving her makeshift living conditions completely miserable.
She knew she wasn’t happy - but she didn’t know what to do next. Her whole life she thought she wanted to be exactly where she was, though the reality of it was that it wasn’t working. She faced indecision about what to do which just made things worse.
We talked about how life gives us whispers at first when something isn’t right. If we don’t listen it, gives us a shove and then finally a punch in the face to let us know we are going the wrong way!
When my client realized she was only holding onto this current life situation because she wanted to prove she could move away from home, it suddenly became very obvious to her what she wanted to do.
My job as a coach was to help her find that awareness and then be her constant advocate to remind her that she could act on the decision she had made. I’m happy to report she decided to go back home and is loving every minute of it.
6. Is there anything that frustrates you the most about your clients?
Honestly, no. I am my first client and I see firsthand how I keep relearning lessons I thought I had learned years ago. My clients experience the same thing. I decide that whatever experience my client is having right now is the perfect one for them. My job is to keep showing them their mind and loving them unconditionally.
7. What are some of the most meaningful goals that your coaching has allowed clients to actualize?
One of my clients spent years dating men who weren’t emotionally available. They were good guys but ultimately never able to commit to her. She was devastated and frustrated and not sure what to do.
We spent six months uncovering why she wanted a partner so much. What did she think would be true when she found him? What did she think she was going to feel when she had him?
We unpacked that those feelings were never going to come from him. Ultimately, those feelings are always going to be something she chose for herself. In response, she started practicing them on her own: joy, curiosity, love, fulfilment.
Then she met someone.
She realized that her past self would have settled for the guy she met. He was a good guy. Except her new self-image was so much stronger. She had a beautiful relationship with him but ultimately decided on to end things on her terms. That kind of self-love wasn’t the exact goal she wanted to work on, but she told me it was far better than her goal of finding a partner.
8. What’s next for you? Is there a specific goal or opportunity you intend to pursue?
My next passion with coaching is to help women become more comfortable with their own wealth and talking about money. Wealth and money are very male dominated topics. I find that women can be uncertain about what kind of conversations they should have about money.
I think a lot of freedom comes with wealth and I want women to know exactly how much money they want to make without any apology, shame or guilt.
As Ellevest CEO Sallie Krawcheck said, “Nothing bad happens when women have more money.”.
9. What do you see as a significant challenge right now?
Strong emotional and mental health. The past year has forced a lot of us to confront parts of our life that we were avoiding. With COVID all the buffers of social outings, eating out, and endless travel are largely unavailable. We have more time and space to confront how we really feel about our life and that is proving a big challenge for many of us.
The real challenge is to not only confront but to make peace with whatever it is we don’t like in our lives. And if we are able, go and change what we can control.
10. Imagine you’ve just ended the perfect week at work. What outcomes make you proudest?
Creating space in my life for me and not feeling guilty about it!
I aspire to create a lot of value in the world and with my clients--as I think a lot of us do. While society often emphasises “work more” to create more value, I have found the opposite to be true.
When I focus my efforts and say no to the nice-to-have opportunities, the value I create skyrockets.
My proudest moments are when I model for myself and others that the way to create success is by saying no. Only then can we make space for ourselves to be present in our life.
11. What matters the most to you in your professional life? What do you believe passionately in?
I have always found the most meaning and satisfaction in serving others.
Professionally, this means serving my clients to fall in love with their life. When advising executives, it means finding the hidden challenge behind their challenge and shining a light on that. And with my teams it means helping them discover and pursue their own passions.
The more I serve others the more it comes back to me tenfold.
12. What skills, talents, or competencies do you have that you are most proud of? Which makes you feel accomplished?
I think my superpower has always been to not have a strong starting opinion. Some people have lots of views on everything. I am impressed by their passion! But my skill is to hold space with an idea, person, situation first. To hear the different sides and see the potential stories.
That helps me to see a more nuanced picture and to allow people to show up more authentically. I’m not going to rush to judge them. I know they all have something to teach me.
When I do this well, I help people feel heard and seen. When more people and ideas are heard and seen, the value that gets created for businesses or in personal lives is exponential.
13. How do you evaluate the success of your coaching?
I evaluate coaching success by the ability to constantly show my clients their unconscious thoughts. Can I keep helping them uncover new parts to their mind and how they are choosing to see the world?
Clients don’t always agree with an unconscious thought we uncover. They often don’t even want to see it in the moment. But when they go away for a week and think about it, they often come back with a totally new perspective. Those are always the most life changing conversations.
14. How has your role as a coach changed as a result of COVID-19?
While my role hasn’t changed, I have found that so many more people are turning to coaching now. Previously, I had mostly worked with women in my coaching practice, but with COVID-19 I find a lot of men also seeking coaching support.
I think the stigma of asking for help and focusing on their mental health has been reduced because of COVID.
15. During the pandemic, each day was difficult than the previous one, with people losing their loved ones. How did you cope with their emerging feelings of guilt, worry and loss?
I lost my mother to breast cancer when I was 14. It forced me to address grief and loss in a way that I never had before.
I learned how important it is to really feel an emotion when that happened. Most of the time we push emotions away. We eat, drink, browse Instagram, scroll on our phones, over work - the list goes on.
Instead, I specifically name the emotion I’m experiencing (which is sometimes harder than it sounds!). I close my eyes and focus on the physical sensations in my body, describing them with as much detail as I can. For me, grief always felt like a wave crashing on my chest. I would just breath and focus on the sensation of the wave and without fail the feeling would start to subside maybe 30-60 seconds later. That is the art of processing an emotion.
When I have negative feelings regarding the pandemic, or life, I name the feeling and allow myself to focus and feel the sensations. It’s remarkably simple, and I recommend my clients practice this too.
You can do it now wherever you are. And I promise it will help you to feel better.