I'm Charlotte, Founder and CEO of The Talking Tree and
The Talking Tree Coaching CIC.
As Lead Coach I feel it's important for you to know that I have been coaching for some 14 years as well as having a background in Education both in the UK and Tanzania.
Accredited (PCC) and Certified (CPCC) I hold credentials with the International Coaching Federation (ICF) as well as having an Enhanced DBS check and being Safeguarding trained.
Growing up in Sutton Coldfield I was fortunate to have access to a host of sporting and community activities, I've always been passionate about people and community. I've been working with children since I was 16 and had no idea that I would choose to continue working with them, let alone in a coaching capacity (having been around coaching myself since I was 15!).
I travelled the world at 18 having 'failed' at making a success of working for a volunteer organisation I had fundraised and prepped for throughout 6th Form. Taking a stand against (other) adult's wishes at 18 and fresh out of school was tough, and laden with guilt... after all I was choosing to walk away from something I'd spent the best part of 2 years working towards and talking about. It wasn't a logical decision, and as a very pragmatic woman it wasn't that I didn't hear the logic, or the voices of the adults around, I just had this inner sense of knowing it wasn't right for me. It felt uncomfortable - and that wasn't just the the culture-shock screaming loudly! My body knew.
2 years later having embarked on a global trip and having attended University for 18 months I chose to leave as I no longer wished to pursue a career in sports therapy. I had also just undertaken my first Life Coaching course at 20 years old which enabled me to value the knowledge my whole being had, not just my conscious mind. That summer I set off for 2 months volunteer work in Tanzania knowing next to nothing about the country. On my first day there I fell in love with what I had experienced of the country and its culture, something in my body just knew. I can't tell you more than that, only that it was this real feeling of ease and peace despite the chaos of the streets of Dar es Salaam at rush-hour and the cockroach riddled fridge I was greeted with.
My 7 years in Tanzania saw me experience the ultimate highs and lows of life, both there and in the UK. I lived through love, loss, illness, death, challenge, hardship, success, friendship and community. There's something about being immersed in a culture different to your own that creates space and allows capacity for the whole human experience to not only exist but be witnessed with real rawness. My curiosity never faltered, I'd remind myself to be present with beginner eyes and to listen, listen deeply. Life in Tanzania has entirely shaped who I am as a woman and as a coach.
During my time at an international school in Tanzania I had one father ask me to 'tell him straight about the bad news'... that his son was not top of the class. I remember looking at this father's somewhat disappointed yet accepting face and stating "I'd really like to share with you how incredible your son is, if that's okay with you?". The surprise and curiosity morphed into pride as I regaled him with heartfelt snippets of how I experienced his son in our classroom each day. That he brought joy and humour to us all, that his creativity, descriptive writing and ability to shock his audience was second to none as he'd share a carefully crafted story designed to draw in any audience he had as he possessed such an ability to connect with people.
My first experience of Education from a professional standpoint was working with a 6 year old who had endured more by the age of four than I wish to in a lifetime. He struggled to connect with people, adults and children alike. He was wary and defensive, and they were scared of his displays of anger and frustration and equated that to be him, not simply his behaviours expressing some of the emotions and experiences that lay below the surface. We connected. I completed my coaching training during the two years I worked with him - as well as undertaking a Childhood and Youth Studies degree with the OU - I've no doubt that paired with my natural ability to be with this child, the coaching skills and tools I learned and applied enabled me to have this child learn to see and believe his own potential, be held accountable and ultimately our work together empowered him to make more positive choices and build healthy relationships that he was choosing. I held an expectation for him throughout which others often didn't, which of course had an impact on his self-worth and confidence. His Foster Mum wrote upon my departure:
"Charlotte has a genuine fondness for children and we are confident that she will devote herself wholeheartedly to helping your child. We have been amazed by the leaps in our child's social, emotional and developmental growth."
All it takes is one person to believe in us in order to change a life, no matter our age.
It was working with this child that later inspired me to create The Talking Tree. The power of being deeply listened to is invaluable to young minds in-particular. As individuals at any age our experiences are unique and as a child or young person this can feel hugely isolating. Coaching offers a safe, consistent and trusted environment for kids to show up wholly, be seen and be heard. From this place, confidence, resilience and empowerment build so that positive action is possible.
Coaching 1:1 in The Talking Tree is absolutely my passion, whether for the initial 12 week programme or those that extend beyond that, a few even up to 2 years now where a weekly coaching session is a space that they can rely on no matter what else may be going on in their lives. I am committed to each and every child I work with and always endeavour to have them and their parents be a part of our extended talking tree where open conversation is always encouraged and individuality embraced and nurtured.
Personally my core values are Freedom, Connection and Tranquility...those of The Talking Tree:
Curiosity, Communication & Courage
I live these values in each and every coaching session and in doing so in-still them in each of the children I work with.