On Becoming a Coach

On Becoming a Coach: a personal reflection on the Coach training journey by Stuart Sandeman, Executive Coach | Personal Coach | Artist Mentor 

Fully absorbed in a hedonistic lifestyle as an international DJ, coaching was not a profession I gave much airtime. I believed it was an American fad represented by sickly sweet, upbeat motivators claiming to help people get rich, happy and healthy. It wasn’t until I experienced the loss of a loved one that I found solace in various self-help techniques, including coaching. During that time, my best friend was training to be a coach and it was through his sessions I began to understand its value. After only a couple of sessions I experienced a huge positive shift in my life and my perception of coaching took a radical U-turn. Through this experience I decided to embark on my own coaching journey to help others create positive changes in their lives.

The start was extremely daunting. With an intense weekend of training and a huge manual to digest, I felt landed in the deep end. I believed that in order for me to learn as authentically and quickly as possible, the most important thing was to practice. Nervous yet consumed with anticipation and excitement, I began a couple of case studies. Initially, my main difficulty was to sit and listen with full presence. The process of being fully present with someone, without giving any advice was new to me. I realized that every natural conversation throughout my life until now had consisted of me projecting my views, stories and insights. Holding a space with all my attention on someone else for an hour or more was a new challenge for me.

My first case study involved a close friend of mine in the music business. I felt safe in the process of initial sessions arming myself with coaching tools, techniques and a list of powerful questions to keep the session in flow. The coachee’s vision was clear which allowed us to set a defined route map. Working through strategies and actions we were soon making rapid progress towards the outcome. The process of coaching began to feel natural and I felt a huge buzz from the sessions. With full confidence in my ability, I was excited about the journey ahead.

My second case study was a very different experience that knocked me from my coaching pedestal. We were unable to distinguish an outcome in the initial sessions and all my questions were filled with long silences, shrugs and “I don’t know” as answers. I found these sessions extremely difficult to navigate which affected my confidence and began to question my ability as a coach.  Reflecting on this I discovered some important insights. Instead of trusting the process in these sessions, I had become absorbed in my own coaching agenda. Although I had developed my skills in maintaining coaching presence I realized each session revolved around my performance as a coach, not about the coachee.

On further reflection on my attachment to performance and success, I unveiled a pattern of deep routed competiveness and comparison in my life. These characteristics were hindering my learning process and causing an underlying layer of stress and anxiety across my life; including music career, my family, my relationships with others and most importantly my relationship with myself. When I started to let go of the need to compete with others, and myself I began to feel a sense of peace, clarity and stillness. My coaching technique also became more relaxed and fluid. I began to trust the coaching process and let the coachee’s agenda direct the session.

From my second case study I also initially presumed that because we had not set an outcome, there was no clear direction in the coaching process. This led me to think I was failing as a coach (further self judgment!). Following advice from my mentor I asked the coachee for feedback on the sessions. To my surprise his feedback was great. The sessions had sparked his own self-enquiry, which he further reflected on at home and things began to move forward. By session 4 we had a clear plan and vision to work on. This further clarified to me to trust the process. I also concluded coaching didn’t have to be giant leaps towards outcomes; micro steps were just as powerful.

In addition to the valuable self-discovery, my coaching journey has transformed my personal development. Helping others to achieve their potential has given me a sense of contribution, purpose and fulfillment. I have also become more focused, structured, productive, better at scheduling, more aware, healthier, happier and kind! Through the learning process I have implemented daily journaling allowing deeper self-reflection and understanding. It has opened the door to further development in physical, emotional wellbeing as well as spiritual practices.

I am excited to continue my development as a coach. Due to my background in music, I have naturally navigated towards working with DJs and musicians. This is an area I am not only passionate about but I feel I could hold some special value in with recent studies showing musicians are three times more susceptible to mental illness. With a combination of absurd travel schedules, partying, onerous public appearances and extreme highs and lows, this can act as a catalyst towards the effects of depression, anxiety, addiction and more. Through coaching and further awareness I feel it could be an area I could continue to develop and support those in need.


About Stuart Sandeman

Qualifications, Awards & Credentials

  • Advanced Certificate in Coaching Practice, (Accredited by the Association for Coaching)
  • Transformational Breath - Level 3
  • Children Meditation - Level 1 - Connected Kids
  • BSc (Hons) Mathematics & Geography
  • 1st Dan Judo Black Belt

Personal Statement

Stuart helps individuals, groups and businesses to work in flow and reach their full potential. He has a professional background in sales and finance, has travelled the world as an international DJ and has a lifetime of experience in competitive sports.

Stuart loves to engage and connect with people to deliver powerful coaching sessions that break negative habits, beliefs and patterns to move into a state of learning, development, self-awareness and growth. This increases mental and emotional wellbeing, performance, energy, productivity, communication, confidence and focus.

His pursuit for optimum performance began when competing internationally for the Scottish Judo Team. As a successful athlete, he developed a winning mindset and learned the importance of maintaining a positive attitude, self-motivation, using visualisations, goal setting, and tools to manage anxiety. Using this experience, Stuart trained and coached the University of Leeds Judo squad whilst studying a BSC in Mathematics and Geography.

After graduating, Stuart followed a career in finance working in UK and Asia markets. During this time he dealt in a number of equity derivative based products, negotiating transactions up to $10 million and motivated teams of traders in a fast paced, dynamic, highly volatile and often stressful environment. Whilst working Nikkei 225 stock market in 2011, Stuart’s conscience was affected by the devastating Tsunami that engulfed Japan. Realising how limited one’s time is on earth; he decided to follow his passion for music. After securing a number of record deals, he was soon touring the world as an international DJ until another life defining moment struck; he lost his girlfriend to cancer. Through a sense of gratitude for his own personal circumstances, including health, wellbeing and opportunities, he took some time out to study and qualified with an Advanced Certificate in Coaching Practice.

Since completion he has joined the team of top coaches at Mindful Talent, delivering one-2-one coaching, workshops and talks to businesses across UK including Nike, Lululemon, Sky and University of Edinburgh. Stuart also works as an artist mentor; helping DJs, producers, and musicians maintain creative flow and manage challenges such as performance anxiety, self-limiting beliefs, time management, unhealthy habits and schedules.

Stuart has a daily yoga, meditation and breath work practise and enjoys being put through his paces at Crossfit training.

You can contact Stuart directly at [email protected] 

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