Celebrating Vanessa: Senior Partner Professional Services Firm

How to Overcome Limiting Beliefs: Vanessa’s Coaching Journey

Embarking on a transformative coaching journey can unlock new possibilities and help individuals overcome their limiting beliefs. In this case study, we celebrate Vanessa, Audit Partner and Head of People for Financial Services at BDO, as she shares her inspiring story of personal and professional growth. Through leadership coaching sessions, Vanessa discovered a newfound sense of freedom, clarity and self-belief. Let’s delve into her journey and explore the remarkable changes she experienced along the way.

First Steps to Overcoming Limitations

Before Vanessa started her coaching journey, she found herself overwhelmed and constantly saying ‘yes’ to everything. She felt trapped in a cycle of feeling too busy, achieving very little and feeling unfulfilled. Although she did recognise the need for change, Vanessa initially faced resistance to coaching.

She explained: “I thought, oh, something else to do! I have no time. I’ll never have any time, I’ll never be able to dedicate time, I’ll never make time to think about anything. And I’m too experienced, I can’t learn anything”.

However, she soon discovered that coaching offered a unique opportunity for self-reflection and growth that she desperately needed in her stressful life – and so her coaching journey began.

Letting Go of Baggage that Limits Potential

Once coaching started, Vanessa realised that many of the opinions she held about herself were not true – and this was the first step to overcoming her limiting beliefs. She talked about this as ‘baggage’ and explored how learning to shed the baggage of others’ opinions and judgments allowed her to discover her authentic self along the way.

Vanessa explained: “all these things that I felt people told me and I believed: you’re a troublemaker; you’re disruptive; you’re too colourful; you’re too loud; you shouldn’t be here; you’re too fluffy… I was walking into meetings with all this crap in my head. I’m not articulate enough; they will know so much more than me; I’ll never be as good as all the men in the room. And now I just leave my bags at the door.

With coaching support, Vanessa embraced her strengths, such as her love for people and her ability to create an awesome work environment. The realisation that she was not defined by others’ expectations freed her to express herself fully and pursue her passions.

Embracing Change and Seeing Results

A change in Vanessa became evident as the weeks progressed, and these changes became evident to both herself and those around her. Colleagues and team members noticed her newfound calmness, bravery, and increased effectiveness.

They see me as more calm, more together, maybe braver… because I don’t feel held back by fear of what will that person think of me. Now, I don’t care”, she revealed.

Vanessa’s family also experienced the positive impact of her personal growth, as she became more patient and compassionate. What started as a focus on professional development expanded to encompass all areas of her life, resulting in a profound transformation, as she shared:

“My family have found me to be calmer. I try not to judge them. And when I say things like ‘my husband’s a lazy sod’, just because I say it, it’s not true. So I’m more patient with him and I’m also nicer with my kids”.

The Power of Possibility

One of the most significant realisations for Vanessa was the understanding that anything is possible. She had previously held herself back, doubting her abilities and comparing herself to others.

As an example, during their sessions they had an interesting chat about spiders and how we tell ourselves we’re scared of them. But it’s not true. Vanessa explained the impact this conversation had:

I think I was born afraid of spiders, I don’t really know. But I was sitting at home and a spider went near me. And instead of just going mental, I literally would have screamed and left, I just went ‘I’m not afraid of spiders’. There’s no logical fear there”.

This is the power of overcoming your limiting beliefs – and then it’s a matter of applying that to meeting rooms, conversations with clients, senior leadership and other situations. Through coaching, Vanessa gained the confidence to explore new possibilities and push herself beyond her perceived limitations. She learned to trust her instincts and take calculated risks, knowing that even if she didn’t succeed, it wouldn’t diminish her value or worth.

How Leadership Coaching Helped

Vanessa attributes her remarkable growth to the coaching process and the empowering guidance she received during her sessions. The aim during all coaching sessions is to provide a safe space to reflect, question thoughts, and gain clarity. One thing Vanessa learned is that she shouldn’t call herself ‘optimist’ or ‘pessimist’ or ‘realist’… but ‘Possiblist’! So what did Vanessa’s see as possible now, that once might have seemed impossible?

I held myself back a lot, I didn’t put myself forward for things and I thought I couldn’t do things because I’m not as good as other people in the room. And this isn’t to say I wasn’t confident, because I always was. But I think when I really had to push the boat out, I’d hang back. Now, I don’t believe that. I honestly think I could do anything… just as long as it’s right for me.

During the coaching sessions, rather than Vanessa being told what to do, she was asked thought-provoking questions, which allowed her to recognise her own patterns and uncover new perspectives. The impact extended beyond her sessions, as Vanessa became more conscious of her communication, decision-making, and the importance of doing less but better. So what surprised Vanessa about her coaching journey, considering the resistance she had at the start?

She explained: “I think the realisation that anything is possible. And it’s silly to say it’s not possible. Even where I said, ‘Oh, gosh, I’ve got to do this. And this is hard’, the advice was ‘Well, why don’t we do it now? What if it wasn’t hard?’. It’s not changing, it’s just tweaking – thinking slightly differently, releasing potential”.

A Wonderful Transformation

We’ve seen how Vanessa’s coaching journey showcases the transformative power of self-reflection. Exploring how to overcome limiting beliefs can be a quick route to personal growth – and Vanessa has certainly seen great results in a short space of time. By breaking free from self-limiting thoughts, embracing possibilities, and aligning with her authentic self, she experienced profound changes in both her personal and professional life. Vanessa’s story serves as a testament to the positive impact coaching can have on individuals, paving the way for a brighter future filled with growth, fulfilment, and success. So, according to Vanessa, what are the three words that describe her coaching journey?

Amazing, enlightening and special.

Read more about how coaching has helped others change their mindset and become empowered leaders.

If you’d like to learn how to overcome your limiting beliefs and unleash the ‘Possiblist’ in you, get in touch today for a chat about leadership development coaching sessions.