If you’re a life coach or aspiring to be one, you may have stumbled upon Life Coaching Professionally, an all-in-one online location for information on life coaching created by Wendy Buckingham.
With more than 20 years of formal coaching experience, Wendy is a certified graduate of the first coaching school in America, Coach U.
Coaching people from all walks of life and facing all kinds of challenges in achieving their goals and outcomes, Wendy discovered that guiding clients to set powerful authentic goals is just the beginning. It was as much about helping them to identify and overcome the “stuff” or obstacles blocking their path that is the real key to success and happiness.
After many years of coaching, Wendy also recognized a lack of independent and credible information for aspiring coaches. She set out to create a website where she could provide this information on becoming a coach, including lessons learned from personal experiences and coaching materials. This has become her life’s work and her mission, and her website Life Coaching Professionally has evolved into a huge resource for the coaching community.
Wendy is passionate about keeping the integrity and authenticity of the coaching profession and believes that in order to qualify to call yourself a life coach you must have taken some coach specific training. To hear more about Wendy’s journey as a life coach, the inspiration behind creating her own life coaching information website, and her thoughts on goal-setting and achieving, read our interview!
4WRD: Why did you become a life coach/interested in goal-setting? Tell us more about your path to becoming a life coach.
Wendy Buckingham: Over many years I had worked as a secretary (before they became personal assistants 🙂), a journalist, voice-over artist, small business owner, and unofficially what has now become known as a life coach.
Drawing on much experience and many resources, I developed my own goal setting and achieving template, that also involved helping my clients with life skills.
Then in 1998 I heard about the new profession of life coaching and a training that was being brought to Australia by Coach U, the first life coaching school in the US. It seemed a perfect fit for me, so I enrolled in their program and did the 200+ hours of training by “tele-classes” (no Zoom of Skype then!). I later became a tele-class leader. It was inspiring and rewarding both from my own personal growth aspect and what I was able to integrate into my goals work. I officially became a certified life coach in 2000.
In 2001 the first edition of my book, Ready Set Goal was published. In later editions it has become Be Your Own Goals Coach and now comes with a bonus chapter to help coaches use the principles with their clients.
After 20+ years of one-on-one and group coaching, I decided it was time for a new direction to be of service, so I created an independent information website for new and aspiring coaches, Life Coaching Professionally, and also started providing tips for coaching and practice-building through subscription to my Life Coaching Accelerators.
As life coaching is not regulated, I guess my purpose/passion now is to do what I can to preserve the integrity of life coaching, in that people who call themselves life coaches are properly trained professionals.
4WRD: Who is your biggest inspiration? Who is your #1 supporter?
Wendy: Sir Richard Attenborough, he is doing what he loves, and serving humanity and still going strong in his 90s. My number one support is my husband of 30 years, soulmate and sometimes coach Paul.
4WRD: How would you define goal setting?
Wendy: Simply – it is about carefully choosing what you want to have more or less of in your live, or what you want to do or have and setting a goal, checking out its integrity and devising a plan for achieving it.
“Your goals are a journey of discovery, not just a destination. Sometimes you have to go down a blind alley to discover the best path.” – Wendy Buckingham
4WRD: What is one goal setting tip you would give to people just starting their goal(s)?
Wendy: That’s a hard one, I have so many! So, I’ll give you just three.
- Make sure your goal follows the SMART formula to which I add two more making it SMARTEY. (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic – Exciting and Yours!). Many goals fail because this formula is not followed.
- Make sure you are complete and not carrying any negative energy around old, failed goals that will hold you back. Acknowledge and celebrate what you learned from what you didn’t achieve. Those are mistakes you now don’t have to make again.
- Remember it’s your goal to do with as you wish. Goals should not be set in stone, never to be improved on or changed. You can change the wording, change the deadline, and even give it up if you find it is not what you really wanted after all. Your goals are a journey of discovery, not just a destination. Sometimes you have to go down a blind alley to discover the best path.
4WRD: What would you tell those struggling to find their purpose?
Wendy: I actually think too much emphasis is put on having a big life “purpose” and too many people feel bad if the feel they don’t have one. If an inspiring purpose is not apparent, then maybe there is no need for one. Stop stressing and just let it go or make it “To be the best I can be at whatever I choose to do next”.
Also, you need to appreciate the difference between a purpose, which is an overall life aim and a direction or a goal which is about clarity and change.
4WRD: How would you encourage those who are losing momentum and motivation to achieve their goals?
Wendy: Go back over the SMARTEY goal formula and check out your goal against it. Then remind yourself WHY you wanted to achieve this goal, what will the benefits be, and make sure those reasons still inspire you enough to keep going. Also make sure the time frame you have set is not too tight and is realistic.
4WRD: What’s one challenging goal you’ve set for yourself and what was that journey like? The good, bad, and ugly.
Wendy: I had what I call a “someday goal” To do the five-day trek from Cusco to Machu Picchu for my 60th birthday. I can best tell you about this in excerpts from my book.
Someday I’m going to walk the Inca Trail – I first learned about the Inca Trail and Machu Picchu in Peru when I was at school. “I’m going to walk that trail,” I said to my classmates. And over the years, every time I came across a picture, article, or film, or had a conversation on the subject of Peru or the Incas, my intention surfaced again.
“Someday I’m going to do that.”
But nothing ever happened.
It was always the wrong time, too expensive, too far away, I’m not fit enough, etc. When I finally realized time was running out took it out of the someday box and set it as a firm goal, my subconscious went nuts. There were these familiar negative little voices coming back at me. ‘Yeah, I’ve heard that before. ‘Left it a bit late, haven’t you?’ ‘Do you really need to do this now?’ ‘At your age?’ ‘That’s such a selfish use of money’ and so on.
Remembering and acknowledging how long that someday goal had been hovering around really helped put that negative mind chattering to rest. For me, achieving that particular goal has become an inspiration and metaphor for everything else I really want to do and have been putting off. And there were lessons to be learned along the way – I was the oldest and certainly the least fit of the group. It certainly wasn’t all plain sailing.
For instance, I could usually see the next peak or pass in the distance: my immediate goal on the way to the big goal of completing the trail.
As I started to walk, the peak would disappear from sight. I’d plod along, tired and breathless from the altitude, discouraged, grumbling, feeling my age, and even wishing I had opted for three weeks in the Whitsunday Islands instead of putting myself through this stupid exhausting trek.
I was carrying on like this when the guide made me stop, turn around, and look back down the trail to the starting point for the day. Way down in the distance the red caped porters were just little dots as they packed up the previous night’s camp.
I was amazed to see how far I had come and how steep had been the climb. It was worth some serious acknowledgement and the celebration of a chocolate bar.
After a short rest, I got going again with renewed enthusiasm, knowing I had already achieved much and that the goal of the next peak would soon come into view again, and be much closer.
Acknowledging and rewarding ourselves for the achievements along the way to the ultimate goal reinforces our self-esteem and helps makes today as successful and memorable in our minds as the tomorrows we are reaching for.
4WRD: What goals have you set for yourself in 2021?
Wendy: To create products, in addition to my book, to assist coaches getting the best results with their clients and set up a shopping cart to sell them from my website Life Coaching Professionally.
To exponentially grow my mailing list and subscribers to my Life Coaching Accelerators.
4WRD: What goals have you set for yourself in 2021?
Wendy: Don’t compare yourself with others, just aim to be the best you can be at whatever you choose to do.
We want to thank Wendy Buckingham for sharing her story. If you’re looking for resources to become a life coach, check out Wendy’s site: Life Coaching Professionally. Also check out Wendy’s book, Be Your Own Goals Coach, which is about so much more than setting and achieving goals! It is a clear, easy-to-follow, path to identifying your goals and outcomes and living a life the way YOU choose. It comes with a bonus chapter to help coaches use the template with their clients.