Q&A with life coach Kate Taylor

20 April 2017 by
First published: 4 September 2016

Discover how to de-stress and achieve more in this Q&A with life coach Kate Taylor.

How did you get into life coaching and how did it become a career?

I hit a time in my early 30s where I was questioning the minutiae of my life at every level. I had a successful career in the advertising world, but I didn’t know if this was what I really wanted to be doing with my life; I was married, but not sure that it was going to last in the way I thought it would; kids…did I want them, didn’t I want them? It was a constant battle and my head swirled with unanswered questions 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It was exhausting. I didn’t trust myself to make any rational decisions, and it all felt like one big mess of confusion and overwhelm. No amount of talking it through with friends over (copious) amounts of white wine helped. I was getting nowhere fast. It was exhausting just existing day-to-day. Someone had mentioned that she had worked with a life coach to talk all of her ‘brain drain’ through, so I gave it a go. It literally saved my life. Along with my coach we worked through the quagmire going on in my head, and made sense of what I needed to focus on, and what I could leave behind. The experience was so profound, that I knew I had found my calling.

Through doing the work, and the more conversations I was having with women of my age, I realised that I was not the only one. The other women I was working with, and those around me, were constantly questioning themselves, their careers and capabilities, as well as their choices. It was having a detrimental impact on their sense of self and their confidence levels. I knew that if coaching could help me get out of that rut, then it would also have a positive impact on other women like me. So I re-trained as a personal performance and NLP coach, that’s where Up Coaching was born, and I haven’t looked back.

What is something a lot of people don’t know about NLP?

Well, some people have no idea what it is, and other people may have experienced it, but at a very entry level, which means that they haven’t been able to benefit from its true power. NLP stands for Neuro Linguistic Programming. It is a powerful change technique, described as the technology of the mind, or the study of success. It works to identify limiting thoughts, behaviours and habits which cause negative patterns, and eliminates them by creating more resourceful behaviours. NLP combines re-coding through language patterns and some hypnosis techniques to achieve positive change.

What people often take for granted is just how much language can affect us positively and negatively. NLP works with language patterns; including verbal language, body language and self-talk to change up the dialogue to be much more resourceful. It’s like a secret weapon against all the crap you need to get out of the way to live a confident and positive life. It is my go-to practice for my clients if there is something that is holding them back in their lives. I know it works because I have used it myself, and it has literally changed my life!

Why do you think so many people now have difficulty balancing work and life?

There’s very little switch off between our work life and our personal lives these days. We’ve become more and more married to our work, and the responsibilities that come with it. This is fed by two things: technology and the fear of losing our jobs. Technology means that we’re ‘on’ 24 hours a day, so it’s nothing to pick up your ‘phone first thing in the morning, or last thing at night and check in on emails. This impacts either the way your day is set up, or the quality of sleep you get. The struggle is real, or at least the brain thinks it is. I work with so many clients who are on the brink – or who have crossed over – into full emotional and mental burnout because the inability to draw the line between working and switching off. What’s terrifying is that we receive the same stress/fear response to a notification on our devices that we would have had coming face-to-face with a sabre-tooth tiger back in the caveman days.

Then there’s the workplace pressure. Working longer hours is often seen as a badge of honour. I work with so many of my clients who feel that if they’re not seen to be last in the office that it will count against them. There’s definitely the perception that working harder equals getting more done, but the reality is that it’s the complete opposite. Working longer hours, doing more and multi-tasking simply makes us busier, and less effective, at the same time. It’s a mission of mine to bring better productivity and people practices to workplaces so that we can live well and work well. I work with some amazing workplaces who understand that people are there most important resource, and really care about looking after them in the fullest sense.

What do you think is one easy life change we can make that could help?

Put your own oxygen mask on first. It’s a mantra that I live by, and I encourage my clients to do the same. This means working out what makes you feel good, what makes you happy, and doing more of that. It’s a non-negotiable practice for living a full and rounded life. It’s what I call living creatively on your own terms. We often believe that we may be seen as being selfish for calling out the things that we most want to do, and then doing them. Why wouldn’t you, is what I say? Life is too short to not live it fully. When we start looking after ourselves in the best way that we can, and striving to achieve the things we most desire in our lives, then there’s a positive effect on those people that we’re close to. I consider this to be one of the most important parts of the work I do with my clients.

How does exercise help with stress management?

Stress has an overwhelming negative impact on both the mind and the body. The ongoing effects of stress and overwhelm literally cause wear and tear on the body due to increased spikes in adrenalin and cortisol (the stress hormone). Over time, this can cause fundamental damage to the entire body. But most significantly to the heart, endocrine system, stomach, immune system, as well as causing problems with fertility. It’s bad news.

Exercise is an excellent way of reducing stress hormones. Even 30 minutes a day doing any kind of physical activity that you enjoy doing will mean that your body is flooded with endorphins, which are the mood-boosting, feel-good hormones. Exercise also increases your energy levels, so it will get you up and out, rather than wanting to hide under the duvet. It’s also a good distraction technique to work through any emotional challenges you’re faced with. Keeping healthy through exercise and eating well will make you less susceptible to the effect of stress over time too. I am lucky enough to live by the sea, so if I need to clear my head I will take a long walk on the beach, or take a class in the local gym, which looks out over the sea.

You’re also a Qoya teacher. What is it and how can it help with stress management?

Qoya is a movement based practice for women. It’s based on the idea that through movement we remember that as women we are wise, wild and free. Wise is the wisdom of yoga, wild is the creative expression of dance, and free is the freedom to be able to slow down and connect into the feminine flow of our bodies. I absolutely adore it, and so do the women who come to dance Qoya. I call it ‘coaching using the body’, because it allows you to really tap into what it is to be you at your deepest level, and removes the layers of crap that we may have built up around ourselves over time. It helps us to get back to our most essential selves, and what it is to truly appreciate life in its most simple and delicious way.

I find Qoya perfect as a stress-busting technique because it invites you to slow down and connect back into yourself. It’s never about what it looks like – which can often cause us second-guess ourselves – it’s only ever about how it feels. In Qoya there’s no way that you can do it wrong, and you know you’re doing it right when it feels good. So, when you’re able to bring more flow into your body, release what’s not serving you, and feel the joy of movement through dancing into your life, then there’s no place for stress and overwhelm to live.

To find out more about Kate and her work visit upcoaching.co.uk

Join Kate for a week of Qoya, coaching and Kundalini yoga at Blush Love Retreat, Portugal, 22-29 October 2016. For more information, go to blushloveretreat.com