Relationship and time-management coach Daria Ermolenko speaks about figuring out what her clients need, and how AI could come into coaching

Welcome to Professional Opinions, the series exploring the mental health and wellbeing landscape in 2023 through a collection of interviews with professionals from the Happiful directories.

This week, we’re speaking to Life Coach Directory member Daria Ermolenko about meeting clients where they are, and the importance of continuing to grow as a coach.

Daria is a relationship and time-management coach, who helps clients get ‘unstuck’, gain a sense of clarity about their plans, and enjoy more meaningful relationships.

Tailoring her approach to each client, Daria aims to become their ‘thinking partner’, helping people to build routines that are sustainable for them long-term. But some of her favourite approaches include time-management coaching, character strengths coaching, gratitude work, emotion recognition and regulation coaching, and minimalism and decluttering coaching.

So, what’s her professional opinion?

Hi Daria! Why did you decide to join your profession?

As a teenager, I realised that my biggest strength and passion was being able to hold a space for people as they talk through the difficulties they face, and then helping them come up with solutions.

Years later, I discovered coaching as a profession. Facilitating forward-focused deep conversations is my best shot at making a contribution to society, so I’m really glad I was able to complete the postgraduate degree in coaching psychology and start my journey as a practitioner.

Since you began, what have you found to be the most surprising thing about the work you do?

You don’t have to have all the answers. It’s amazing what you can discover if you give somebody your full attention instead of worrying about what to say next. People open up and come up with their own solutions when you give them the time and space to talk, and when you are relaxed enough to ask them the right questions.

What do you like about your profession?

I love that I can walk alongside people as they grow into the best versions of themselves. I love it when people’s eyes light up as they begin to see solutions and opportunities that they couldn’t see before.

What are some of the challenges that come with your line of work?

It can be challenging when clients turn up to a session and they clearly aren’t in the right headspace. Sometimes they don’t want to talk at all, and other times they want to talk about things unrelated to coaching.

The coach’s role is to facilitate the session in a way that moves the client forward towards their goals, and sometimes it can be hard to do that if the motivation and enthusiasm aren’t there on the other side.

How do you address some of the challenges that you face?

I remind myself that people aren’t static and that one session can be very different to another, depending on the circumstance of a client’s life.

I also dedicate a day each week to continuing professional development (CPD). It’s important to keep learning and researching things that come up for clients.

What do you think could be done to improve the profession for you and for others?

I think much more awareness needs to be raised about coaching among the public. Often people come to me as a result of referrals who never knew what coaching was, but after a session or two tell me that this is exactly what they needed.

At the same time, many people think they need coaching but, in reality, another kind of intervention would be more appropriate for their needs.

What do you see being some of the major challenges your profession will face in the next 10 years? How do you think the way you will operate may change?

AI. People say that coaching is one of those professions that won’t be impacted by AI because of the person-to-person quality of the interaction. However, I’ve already seen some pretty good AI coaching conversations, so I’m sure it will keep improving. We as coaches will have to step up our game and be clear about the benefits of what we offer.

What advice would you give to others in the profession?

Keep learning. Whether it’s research into topics that come up for your clients or marketing tips and strategies for your business. Also, don’t forget about networking.

Daria Ermolenko

BA English Literature with Psychology, MSc Applied Positive Psychology and Coaching Psychology.

Find out more about Daria on the Life Coach Directory.

The Happiful directories are
Counselling Directory, Life Coach Directory, Hypnotherapy Directory, Therapy Directory, and Nutritionist Resource. Find out more, and start your journey with us.