Coach of the Month – Jackie Smith

Smith, Jackie - Photo 2020Name: Jackie Smith

Title: Expat Transitions and Positive Psychology Coach

Business Name: Coaching Positive Transitions

Client Testimonials: https://www.coachingpositivetransitions.com (client testimonials are found on the front page of the website)

Niche/Specialties: Expats, accompanying partners, families, first-time expats, diplomatic and military families.

Expat Experience: Originally from the US, I have lived in a number of countries. I spent 15 years in the UK, having originally moved there to study for my master’s degree, and also lived for brief periods in the Netherlands and Spain. My husband’s job means that as a family we have to move frequently. For the last three years we have been living in Uruguay, but we are due to move again in 2021.

Languages Spoken: English, intermediate Spanish

Life Experience: Prior to retraining as a coach, I worked for many years in mental health, both for the UK’s National Health Service and the NGO Depression Alliance. Working directly with and being able to help people is very important to me, and transitioning to coaching has allowed me to continue working with people to help them become the best versions of themselves. As a parent to two small children, I know the additional challenges that can come when moving abroad with a young family. I am also someone that loves travel and experiencing new cultures, and have spent time in countries across Asia, the Middle East and Latin America. Every destination has something new to teach you.

Accomplishments: Although it never becomes easy, moving abroad for the first time is a particular challenge for us all. Doing this myself is definitely one of my biggest accomplishments. Leaving the US to move abroad in my early 20s, despite not knowing a soul in the UK, took a lot of courage. It was a great leap of faith to leave the comforts of home and my family/friends, but it was well worth the risk and changed my life forever. I spent 15 very happy years there, met my husband, and used the opportunity to travel all over Europe. If you are wavering about whether to become an expat for the first time, or think the challenges to taking the leap are insurmountable, I am here to help. One of my more recent accomplishments has been getting through the current Covid-19 crisis. Homeschooling a 3 and 5 year old whilst still managing my business has not been easy and I certainly consider it an achievement!

What I Love About Working in This Niche: There are a particular set of challenges that come with being an expat that only those who have experienced it themselves can really relate to. Although every experience and every destination is unique we all leave our homes and have to learn to adapt to a new environment. And, if moving because of our or our partner’s work, it isn’t always an environment that we might be excited about. Friends back home often think being an expat is like an extended holiday when you can be dealing with poor accommodation, difficulties navigating local bureaucracy, or supporting your children to transition into a new school system. I really love helping people to find the joy in being an expat: to make the most of your time in a country and enjoying your new life, rather than longing for home. For those with a family that means making sure everyone is getting something out of the experience.

Coaching Style: I’m a Positive Psychology Coach, which is a form of coaching that utilises evidence based methods to help you capitalise on your strengths and achieve your goals. I take a holistic approach to coaching, looking not just at the immediate problem but making sure to consider the entire environment in order to help you reach your goals. I also like to draw on tools and techniques from mindfulness, which I have been practising for over 10 years.

Favorite Coaching Tool: I love using the VIA (Values in Action) Strengths survey. This tool helps people identify their top character strengths and together we think about ways that each person can use their strengths in their personal and professional life to increase a greater sense of meaning, purpose and fulfillment. I’ve also found that by knowing what your strengths are, this can help overcome many challenges – especially to help with big life transitions.

Why Clients Choose Me As Their Coach: Clients choose me because of my experience and relatability. My many years experience of being an expat means I understand many of the challenges that other expats face, and can help you bring about lasting change – not just to look for a quick ‘fix’. I also tailor my coaching sessions to suit each client’s individual needs, goals and personality which ensures that every person feels understood and fully supported.

A Tip for My Niche: I’ve experienced being an expat on my own, with a partner, and as a family and each brings its own challenges. The key to making the most of your time as an expat is to ensure that the experience works for everyone, or else it won’t be the positive experience that it could be. The other tip is just because you’ve been an expat before, it doesn’t mean your next move will be without difficulties. Even though experience is invaluable, every move and every location has its own challenges. That is where coaching can really help – to examine where you are right now and help you get to where you want to be.

Contact Details
Email: coachingpositivetransitions@gmail.com
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jacqueline-smith-b7a74524/

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