In this blog Jo shares the impact that her coach Yasmin had on her confidence and her career.
Are there people in your life you often think about, who helped you get to where you are?
One of mine is Yasmin, my coach from Young Women’s Trust. Yasmin supported me, and believed in me, a few years ago during a difficult time. And even though she doesn’t know it, she is still helping me now.
I didn’t think I could get anything better
A few years ago I was working in a gardening job that wasn’t going anywhere. I was paid minimum wage, employed by a family friend. I was feeling really down, but I didn’t know how to leave because I didn’t think I could get anything better.
Before that job, I’d been unemployed for years, after developing severe mental health issues in my teens and then struggling with ME. A lot of medical professionals I dealt with back then made me feel like having a job was unrealistic; that I’d always be on benefits. At one point I started training to be a counsellor but had to stop because of health reasons and was devastated.
New Year’s resolutions
In 2017 I made a New Year’s resolution to try to make a change.
Then I saw an advert on Facebook for a free coaching service for young women. My first thought was, “that sounds great, but I bet I’m not eligible”. I thought being 29 or having a job might rule me out, but it didn’t. I had 6 hour-long phone calls with a coach called Yasmin, over about 6 months.
Speaking to Yasmin helped me to really see my strengths. Unlike a lot of people I’d spoken to, Yasmin focused on what I could do. She helped me to re-frame my difficult experiences to look at what skills and attributes I had, rather than looking at them in negative terms. Like how struggling with my health had proven how determined I was because I’d kept on trying despite all the setbacks.
Yasmin supported me to re-apply for counselling training. She helped me deal with my anxieties about not being up to it. She believed in me and reassured me that I was in a different place this time around. I was eventually accepted onto a course, and I’ve been working towards my counselling qualification for the last 3 years.
Then came 2020. It’s been a really difficult year, but Yasmin has still been in my head, still reminding me of my strengths. I finished my training in the middle of the first lockdown, but because of coronavirus I wasn’t able to qualify. Lockdown was really hard. My partner and sister were both very ill in hospital, and I wasn’t able to visit them. My student loan payments were coming to an end so I needed a job, but I hadn’t done any job hunting in years and years. I felt so worried.
But it was like all the things Yasmin said in our coaching sessions came back to me.
It felt scary disclosing details about my mental health in applications, but Yasmin had shown me how to frame this as a positive, highlighting everything I’d gained as a result. I applied for 70 jobs and got 7 interviews. Dealing with the rejection was difficult, but I stayed determined that something would come through.
And it did! After so long of not getting anywhere, I had 3 interviews in 1 day, and was offered all 3 jobs! I started my new role in September, working on-site for a youth homelessness charity, similar to a hostel where I was once housed. They even told me that my openness about my own experiences, and about what I’d gained as a result, had helped my application.
In my old gardening job, after just a few days work everything would look great. You could see the progress instantly. With things like coaching, it’s different. You can’t always see the change straight away, but the impact can last years.
2020 continues to be a difficult year for so many young women. But you can fund a coach like Yasmin who will make an impact for years to come.
If you can give a little extra this Christmas, donate to our Christmas appeal and help make 2021 a brighter and better year for young women.