Rachel Stone

Rachel Stone is a Leadership Coach and Trainer.

She tells us that, “Using the wide range of experience, skills and knowledge gained working in management in a variety of sectors including manufacturing, retail, commercial and education (in both small limited companies to massive PLCs) I set up my own business training and coaching company in 2012.  I specialise in management training and business & executive coaching, supporting managers and leaders to develop their skills and coaching business owners to grow their businesses.  I work with whole-staff groups or 1:1 with business owners/managers, or the board of directors.  I support business owners and leaders to develop improvement of systems and processes and to deploy coaching skills to improve performance. My success relies on building excellent working relationships with people in my network and delivering a high standard of customer service. I am a values-driven, heart-centred coach, with a very wide range of skills and expertise.  My purpose is to change lives through the skills of coaching. I have coached over 100 companies in a variety of sectors and have a proven track record.”

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

In 1972, when I was 5 years’ old, my family went away on holiday with the family next door. 

On returning from the two weeks in Wales, in two caravans, we drove back all jumbled up.  I was not with my dad, or my beloved  brother, but in the car with my mum, the man from next door and his daughter.  It all went wrong from there.  

My parents married the couple next door and they shared the children. It was a disaster.

I grew up with zero self-worth, but embarked on a career in management. Getting to that point, aged 21,  I had some challenges and some brilliant times, too, which all helped shape me into, what I thought, was a fairly well-rounded person.  What I didn’t know at that point, is that there is a huge difference between confidence and self-worth.

Getting married young seemed like the answer.  I was desperately keen to raise a family, only I would do it properly….I met and married a lovely man.

It didn’t go to plan.  We experienced very trying times. I had to sacrifice my ideals.  I had to become the main financial provider for the family. I couldn’t spend the time I wanted to as a “stay-at-home-mum”. 

With a sick husband, who lost his mum and his job in the same week, a one year-old and a three-year old, no family support to speak of and having to have a hysterectomy two weeks before, I started a degree course which included a PGCE, I was to become a Business Studies Teacher. 

Sorted…. Or was it? That didn’t go to plan either. 

So, in 2012, from zero, I started my own business – after a great deal of further learning and development. 

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

I never lived with my brother or my father after we came back from the holiday in 1972.  I grew up always wondering why my dad did not want to be  a part of my life. It’s  a long story, but it came to a head when I reached 50 years of age.

My marriage was failing, I had started the menopause and my dad was in the last few days of his life. 

I got the call to say that he did not have much time to live.  Up to that point we had never really had a good relationship. On leaving the hospital the last time having not been able to connect with him despite his ability to do so and my willingness to show how I still wanted a loving bond between us, my husband drove me home from the hospital. 

In the silent journey home I realised so much. It was a transformation of awareness shifting in me. Finally. 

Dad was just being himself.  He was who he was and I hardly knew him, really. Why did I expect so much of this man? 

He was just trying to do his best with his level of capability.

We all do our best. 

None of us is perfect. 

The many years I’d spent (and the considerably large investment I’d made) on personal development, training and learning to become a manager in my employed work, and a Business Coach in my self-employed work, had paved the way for me to transform myself. 

I had simply forgotten to apply this learning to myself. 

How many times has the power of gratitude come up in coaching sessions about mindset as part of sessions with business clients?  

Most likely hundreds of times. 

(Take my advice – I’m not using it!)

In that car, in the dark, on the motorway, the Tarmac whizzing beneath the tyres, putting the physical distance between the old me and the new, more adult me,  sitting silently next to my husband, my marriage in a state and my Dad on his deathbed, I made a massive shift. 

What has all this taught you? Where is the learning from your experience?

You can dwell on gratitude if you choose to.

Answers came flooding in.

You don’t need external validation. 

You don’t need Dad’s approval. 

You are your own person, and you are strong. 

You are OK. 

You are safe. 

The person asking to spend time with you – is yourself.……. 

Suffering comes from resistance.  

You must learn to accept that only you can only find your own self-worth. 

Nobody can give you that now.  You are an adult. 

You have to find it within you.

So, I came to dwell on gratitude.  

The day of Dad’s funeral arrived. Neil and the boys did not want to come, but Mum wanted to be in the car with me on the journey to Lincoln and back. That way she could spend time with Ian and his family. Irene had stated that she didn’t want Mum to attend, which was upsetting for Mum, because she would have liked to have seen Dad’s sisters and to be there in the crowd. She fell into line,  because nobody wanted a scene. She waited at Ian’s house. I had one small request regarding the funeral. I asked Dawn to ensure that the photo of my family was placed with Dad in the coffin. She said she would make sure this was done. (Thank goodness for Facebook messenger). 

I knew I wanted to say something on the day.  I wanted to be able to thank him.  

Everyone gathered in the church for the religious service, which was pleasantly done. 

Irene looked fragile, but dignified.  Her girls were very caring and her grandchildren stayed right by her side throughout.  

I was greeted warmly by them all. I’d bought Irene a little gift  –  a bottle of ‘Bach’s Flower Remedy’ to drip under her tongue. I’d heard that it was good for soothing distress.  She accepted the gesture graciously. I kissed her cheek and sat with Ian. 

The Celebrant talked about Dad’s life. None of it resonated with me.  I sat clutching Ian’s hand. We both shed a few tears.  

My tears were about the fact that we never really connected properly and we had missed out on what could have been. But we all did our best.

I didn’t know what Ian was thinking. I didn’t want to pry.  

We all moved on  from the Church to the Crematorium.  Ian and I were given spaces in the funeral cars for this journey. A nice touch.  We totally didn’t expect that.

Once we were all inside, I found the right moment to put my request to Irene to ask if I could say a few words.

“Irene, I would like to say a few words, is that OK?” I asked, timidly. 

She was surprised, but she maintained her composure.

“Yes, OK dear. There’s no room for nonsense, though. I’m sure you will be respectful.”

I understood why she said that, completely. 

Despite me ‘doing my best’ over the years, I wasn’t exactly the easiest to get along with. It couldn’t have been all her fault we didn’t get on…I had to take responsibility.  

“I want to thank Dad and I owe him an apology”. I said hoping to reassure her. I didn’t want to add any stress to an already difficult day. 

She nodded. 

I liaised with the celebrant, who happily gave me a slot in the running order.

At the allotted time, I stepped up to the podium and spoke from memory. I needed no notes or prompts.  It was crystal-clear, what I needed to say. I began:

“I wanted to say a few words about Dad, because I feel I owe him an apology.  You see, we didn’t have an ordinary relationship.  It was complicated. I only lived with him until I was five. I didn’t spend a lot of time with him after that. In his absence, I wished that my Dad could be what I wanted him to be. 

 I’ve always been a fan of a  TV programme with a great personality –  “The Val Doonican Show”.  To me, Dad looked a lot like Val Doonican. I think it was the hair and the teeth that did it. More than that, in my mind, my dad was like Val Doonican.  In that gap where Dad was missing, I made up the person I wanted him to be. I modelled him on Val. However, when I did spend time with Dad, he was not much like Val Doonican at all! He couldn’t sing for a start, but actually he was also a very different kind of person. Dad would always disappoint me, because he was not like Val. I’m sorry, Dad, for setting you up to fail in that way. I think it was a coping mechanism. 

I also wanted to say thank you to Dad for making me who I am today.

After hours of counselling and therapy I am now able to say that I am an OK person.  I’m only the person I am today, because of the life I’ve lived.  

Not living with Dad has had its advantages. 

Because I wasn’t able to need my dad, I am very independent. I’ve never been able to rely on him, so I have learned to rely on myself.  For that I am truly grateful.

Because of the type of parent Dad was, I have chosen to be the type of parent I am today.  I grew into a parent who made deliberate choices about how to be.  Without that experience, I doubt I would be the parent I am today.  I have two wonderful boys with whom I have wonderful relationships.  I thank you, Dad, for that. 

Because of my struggle with not feeling valued as a person, having low self-esteem growing up, I have learnt a great deal about self-worth to help myself.  Low self-esteem was a challenge for me in life.  Because of that, I have made it my business to learn about coping with this.  This has not only helped me, it has helped me in my business life. In my coaching work with my  business clients, I have been able to use my experiences with others who faced the same battle with low self-worth, t. (There is a lot of it about!) I truly thank you, Dad, for that gift. So do all those people who have benefited and will benefit from that in the future, too. I’m sure of that.

By giving me nothing, Dad, you gave me everything I needed.  I thank you for that.  I loved  you very dearly.” 

Almost everybody in the room clapped as I sat back down and took hold of my brother’s hand. 

It felt good to say that.  

At that moment I realised all the struggle had been worth it. 

I finally came to a place of knowing that I didn’t need my parents to want to spend time with me anymore.  I just needed to fully appreciate how to like myself for the person I had become, because of the life experiences I’d had.

I needed to find gratitude and acceptance, to cease the resistance of what is, in order to end the suffering I was putting myself through.  

I needed to spend some time with myself. 

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

My role model is Professor Damian Hughes – a thought leader, coach and expert in the field of leadership and management. He is also the other half of the highly successful podcast”The High Performance Podcast”  .  He has inspired me since I started my learning journey into the field of coaching.  He amazing book “The Five Steps to Success” inspired me.My Vision from the work I subsequently do is:

The Kindness Economy prevails. 

People, Planet & Profit are valued equally. 

Transformational leadership & trust-based relationships are paramount. 

I believe my purpose is to train and coach leaders so that EVERYONE can have an excellent day at work because they are led by expert leaders who use the power of coaching skills to help people be their best. 

My interests are yoga, swimming in the sea and loving nature.

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?

Low self-worth and periods of severe depression have been part of my life and I strive everyday to work on this so that I can help others overcome the biggest barrier to our own success!  This issue of low worth bothers many people.  Learning to cope with this is the most important work we can do everyday if this is a problem in one’s life. 

My coping mechanisms have been to learn as much about understanding people as I possibly could whilst still earning enough to live.  I have been a continuous learner.  I also believe that practising yoga and gratitude has saved my life. 

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?

I have worked with over 100 companies and this equates to about 200+ individuals so far.  I would like to make a bigger impact in the world because now it is so important to help people find a way to thrive in such challenging times.  We all need to lift each other up and build better ways of doing business and working in communities.  Building a sense of “we” not “I”.  People, planet, profit must matter equally 

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?

Yes please.

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?

I feel women tend to experience low self worth more than men in a statement which is a  massive generalisation – of course. Many societies have developed with structures in place which do not support women to feel empowered.  However there is nothing externally which can make us feel anything good inside.  it must come from within.  Working on leadership techniques to build a sense of shared purpose and values is the way forward. We must do business better for everyone in our world.  All stakeholder groups must be valued .  The BCorp movement is playing an increasingly important part of this transformation.  Women in leadership can offer an extra dimension to the workplace.   We need to support the development of excellent leaders who have high self worth based on strong skills and understanding and to help those who feel threatened by this to come to a better understanding.

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?

Work on your inner strengths, learn as much as you can about effective leadership. Learn to understand your own personal drivers and conditioning. Make steps each day to learn to adjust your natural personality type to enable all those you serve to thrive.