Alison Sinclair

Alison Sinclair is a Self Leadership Coach. 

She tells us that, “10 years ago I started a development journey, trying out all sorts of approaches to move myself forward.  It was in coaching in 2003 that I truly experienced transformation. This led to me doubling my income, improving my health and being equipped with more self awareness and tools to navigate my life better with a stronger mindset which opened up further opportunities.

My eclectic career background includes anatomy, research, naturopathic nutrition, living in Japan, charity work, automotive industry, banking, customer service, support, sales, cloud change management and most recently leadership in IT. It’s in my IT career that mentoring and coaching became more formalised as part of my every day role. Having done Michael Bungay Stanier’s, “The Coaching Habit” training at Microsoft, I went on to study transformational coaching at international coach school, Animas, 3 Brains Coaching at the PEAL Academy in Madrid and more recently as a Mental Fitness and Positive Intelligence®️ Coach. Outside of coaching, I love health and wellness activities, painting, travel, and hiking. I am interested in what makes us who we are and what is true.

My focus as a Self Leadership Coach is helping busy professionals unlock their inner leader, realise their personal power so they can break free from self defeating cycles and lead themselves with conviction to create a life that feels just right.”

What were your initial years of growing up like? Tell us about your life before starting your professional journey/venture/initiative and what inspired you to choose this career.

I grew up in the West of Scotland and from a young age had a hunger for learning and development.  It was my own personal experiences with a life coach in the early 2000’s combined with my coach training at Microsoft that inspired the path I am now on.  

When you personally feel that amazing sense of mental growth, and you witness it driving your actions, it naturally makes you want to share that joy with others. When people sense that they are truly seen, heard, and safe, it creates a comfortable space for personal growth to unfold. I find immense joy in connecting with others, creating an environment where they can embrace new perspectives and explore ideas that might be tucked away within them, just waiting to be discovered under the right conditions.

Was there any turning point in your life that changed your journey? If so, what was it? Please tell us the backstory behind it.

As I mentioned earlier, I wasn’t achieving the results I wanted in my life. I had a chat with a friend, and they recommended a coach to me. That coach turned out to be the game-changer that opened up my life to possibilities and potential I had never imagined. I’m incredibly grateful for that.

Tell us about your goals, interests, and role models.

I’m a passionate learner, especially when it comes to self-improvement and the skills needed to navigate life’s challenges while staying true to ourselves. With a background in anatomy, nutrition, and science, I’ve been deeply interested in these areas for years. Back in the day, I used to subscribe to New Scientist, but now, thanks to platforms like LinkedIn and YouTube, I can easily follow experts like Professor Huberman. Being neurodivergent myself, I hold immense admiration for Professor Amanda Kirby, who has been a trailblazer in the field of neurodiversity. Additionally, Professor Ludmila N. Praslova’s profound expertise in neurodiversity, coupled with her dedication to fostering talent-rich workplaces through global and cultural inclusion, is truly commendable. Their passion and unwavering commitment serve as a great source of inspiration. In the realm of coaching, I draw inspiration from Michael Bungay Stanier, as well as the incredible peers, mentors, and supervisors I’ve been fortunate to work alongside and learn from. Additionally, I’m a strong advocate for Positive Intelligence®️, believing it lays the essential foundations for personal development that everyone needs to lead a fulfilling life.

On a personal note, I adore everything related to travel, meeting new people, and Japan holds a special place in my heart as I lived there in the ’90s. Staying active is a big part of my life, whether it’s working out, hiking with friends, or diving into all things wellness.

Everyone has their own set of challenges when starting an entrepreneurial journey. Still, the most essential part for others to learn is how you deal with those. Would you like to share with us your challenges and your coping mechanisms?

Embarking on the entrepreneurial journey of starting your own coaching business in my experience involves three interconnected pillars. First and foremost is the commitment to inner work, as developing a resilient mindset is vital in navigating the myriad challenges.

The second pillar involves your growth as a coach, extending beyond the initial training. Continual development and refinement of coaching skills contribute significantly to your effectiveness. However, it’s the third pillar, the business side of coaching, that often surprises many. While training as a coach is foundational, it’s not the sole component. 

Contrary to the assumption that completing coach training is sufficient, the reality is that creating a successful coaching business entails a nuanced approach. The specific nature of your coaching business—whether you aim to work with corporate clients or pursue other avenues—significantly influences the steps and challenges you’ll encounter. For instance, coaches working in the corporate sphere may discover a steady influx of clients once established, while those in different niches need to proactively build visibility. Establishing the right level of presence demands a diverse skill set and financial investment. Recognizing the multifaceted nature of these three pillars is pivotal in crafting a sustainable and thriving coaching venture. Learning about all of the above takes a great deal of energy, so excellent self care is essential. One key lesson I’ve learned is the challenge of trying to juggle too many tasks simultaneously, an easy pitfall when you’re still discovering what you don’t know. Establishing a network of peers who are also navigating the entrepreneurial landscape proves invaluable for both connection and support, given that creating a business by yourself can become a lonely endeavour. Collaborating with peers in this respect can provide much needed balance – given how much time you might spend alone working on and in your business.

What impact do you feel you have been able to create with your work so far and how would you want to grow in the next few years?

My work aims at fostering a profound connection within individuals, enabling them to identify and nurture their strengths, ultimately empowering them to lead with unwavering conviction. My mission is centered around supporting busy professionals in overcoming self-imposed obstacles, guiding them to become their own staunch advocates. The reality is, these vital skills are rarely taught in school, leaving many feeling disempowered or adrift. However, I firmly believe that each of us possesses personal power, a force we can harness to propel ourselves forward positively. It’s about recognizing and tapping into this inherent strength to craft lives that align seamlessly with our true selves, resulting in fulfilment and joy.

While the global pandemic of COVID-19 is associated primarily with adversities, it has also brought about a true boom in startups, with successful entrepreneurship in many countries. The pandemic has impacted all of us in one way or another. Would you like to share your experience on a personal and professional level?

I kickstarted my business right before the pandemic struck, and navigating the online realm and communities proved to be a lifeline during those challenging times. Admittedly, the circumstances led to a slower pace in building my business. To add to the hurdles, I contracted Covid before vaccines were available, causing a significant setback and alongside menopause challenges, it would have been understandable, if I had given up.

However, on the bright side, this journey allowed me to connect with a global community of peers and like-minded individuals. These connections, which might not have been as feasible without the unique circumstances of the pandemic, have persisted and continue to be valuable. Despite the setbacks, I’m grateful for the enduring connections and the unique opportunities that emerged from these challenging times.

Your journey and your vision are very inspiring, but are there any achievements or accomplishments you would like to mention?

Reflecting on the tumultuous events of the past few years triggered by the pandemic, I take pride in my ongoing journey of learning and personal growth. This period has been a steep learning curve, not only shaping me as an individual but also deepening my skills as a coach and reinforcing my resilience. Persisting through challenges, I’ve found strength in continuing to move forward and trusting myself, even in moments when the path ahead seemed uncertain. Navigating this uncertain terrain has been noteworthy, highlighting the importance of perseverance and self-trust during times when the road ahead was unclear.

Would you like to share with our young budding women entrepreneurs the change you would like to see in the world if given an opportunity?

The change I aspire to witness revolves around prioritizing wellness, connectedness, and love over the relentless pursuit of wealth. In today’s world, a considerable number of individuals grapple with unhappiness, stress, and distress, and this daily struggle undermines our potential for success.

Recognizing the interconnected nature of life, it becomes crucial to lead ourselves effectively. By doing so, we lay the foundation for meaningful connections built on trust, collaboration, and kindness. Our personal conduct holds a profound impact, creating a ripple effect that extends to everyone we encounter. My ultimate hope is that, as individuals, we can position ourselves to tackle global challenges creatively. This involves breaking free from destructive cycles and fostering connections that not only align us with one another but also empower us to find innovative solutions to the world’s pressing issues.

What’s the most important thing you have learned in your personal life and professional journey? What is your personal motto in life?

Self trust and persistence come to mind and learn to rest when you are tired, not quit. 

One of my favourite pieces that speaks to my passion for self leadership is this: 

“True power is living the realization that you are your own healer, hero, and leader. it is when you share your truth with compassion and peace. your power grows when you make progress in your own freedom and wisdom. those who are truly powerful do not harm themselves or others; instead, they use their energy to enrich all they know with love.”

― yung pueblo, Inward

Women are a growing force in the workplaces worldwide, standing shoulder to shoulder with their male counterparts. There are cracks in glass ceilings everywhere, with many women breaking through to carve out a space right at the top of the pyramid. What are your thoughts about women’s leadership today?

We need more effective leaders, ones with a clear definition of what qualifies as effective leadership—a harmonious blend of diverse thinking and approaches, akin to the yin and yang of work life. Transforming organizational culture is an immensely challenging task, requiring the establishment of solid foundations and the consistent embodiment of those principles daily. It’s not enough to pay lip service, a pitfall that many organizations unfortunately fall into.

In my perspective, the key lies in returning to basics—fostering self-awareness in every individual and instilling a sense of personal responsibility for how we present ourselves and contribute to our workplace. The current ways of working are proving inadequate; the longstanding issues are evident in the rise of mental health concerns, stress, and illness. If the system were effective, we wouldn’t be witnessing these alarming trends.

I envision a transformative role for women in leadership, trusting in the inherent value of feminine energy and embracing alternative ways of being. This shift has the potential to positively reshape our lives and work, recognizing that the divide between work and home life is artificial and should be approached as a unified whole.

With your grit and determination, you are making a considerable impact, breaking through, and serving as role models for many budding entrepreneurs. What would you want to say to our young women leaders/audience reading this?

It all begins with leading yourself. Take a moment to reflect: are you in control of your life, or is life dictating the terms?

Discover the true essence of who you are, allowing you to lead with clarity and conviction. Remember, this isn’t a one-time task; it’s an ongoing journey. Feel free to recreate yourself as many times as needed until it aligns perfectly with who you want to be. Throughout this process of self-discovery, approach yourself with compassion and acceptance, acknowledging that not knowing everything is part of the journey. Once you gain insights, stay loyal to yourself, commit to doing better, and incorporate those newfound understandings into your life. The key lies in continual investment in self-awareness. This ongoing commitment will propel you forward, allowing you to paint the canvas of your life with impactful colours. While learning from others is valuable, stay connected to your unique essence, recognizing the tremendous potential it holds. Your journey is a masterpiece in the making, and each brushstroke contributes to the beautiful tapestry of your life.