Based in the UK, primary teacher Cherie Cowan-Smith is establishing herself as a parenting coach. In this interview she explains the rewards and challenges in making the transition.
This is one of a series of posts featuring careers after teaching.
How do you describe what you currently do?
Currently I am building my “Cherie – The Parent Coach” business. I run courses and workshops for parents for the local borough and in my community. These courses include:
- Raising Confident Children
- Calm Parenting, Calm Children
- Parenting Two Year Olds
- Supporting Your Child’s Education in the Primary Years
- Single Parent to Blended Family
- Ditch the Guilt
I also support parents through the challenges of parenting to become confident and calmer through individual and couple coaching. I am still working part time as a primary school teacher.
How did you get to where you are now?
I have worked with children and parents for 30 years, initially as a nursery nurse and then as a primary school teacher for 26 years. In 2016 I qualified as a Personal Development Coach with a distinction. I gave up my permanent job of seventeen years in 2017 to focus on building my business.
I have also been a married, single, divorced and step mum. I have a daughter of 24 years, a son of 21 years and a stepson of 21 years. This is one of the reasons why I set up my business; I would definitely have benefitted from the support of a parenting coach, as non- judgemental sounding board.
Why do you do what you do?
I love to support people and after 26 years of supporting children with their education I am enjoying working with adults and support them through the challenges of parenting to enable them to be calmer and confident parents. I love the flexibility and variety that working in this way gives me. It also gives me the freedom to do the things I enjoy outside of work such as travelling to my home in Spain, walking the dog, reading, spending time with family and friends and learning street dance. This type of work gives me the headspace that being a teacher didn’t allow me to have – to plan and think about what I want to do to make the most of my life.
What has been one of the highlights of your career?
Gaining my Personal Development Coaching Diploma, whilst teaching. I was so pleased that I had managed to learn something outside teaching and it gave me the confidence and opportunity to do something other than teaching.
What were some of the problems you faced?
Having to promote myself and my business, which is something that you do not do when you are employed. You go to work and are paid regularly. I also found that I had to be really positive and promote what I am good at, something I found difficult as a teacher as we are often told our areas for development and as a result focus on negatives rather than what we are capable of and good at.
What has been the most difficult thing in your career?
Building up the career from nothing and doing everything for my business – creating a website, marketing, administration, understanding how a business works, managing finances, promotion and going out to find the work. Having supply teaching as a back up when things are quiet is a god send.
If there was one thing you could change in education what would it be?
The narrowing of the curriculum, the focus on assessment and less opportunities for the whole child to be developed. As a result, primary school is less fun, children are under exam pressure and there are less opportunities for children to develop their creative skills.
What would be the top three things someone should know if they are considering doing what you have done?
- Invest in a coach or mentor.
- Accept you may have to teach for quite a while whilst you are building your new business or ensure you have another source of regular income.
- Be mindful of the fact that it will take time and just go for it!
What would you suggest as the best way to get started?
- Do some market research around the career or business you want to pursue.
- Have a time line of what you want to achieve and when.
- Join a local group related to your career or business. I have learnt so much from others.
- Enrol in a business course.
Contact Cherie at:
- Website: CherieTheParentCoach.co.uk
- Instagram: @cherietheparentcoach
- Facebook group: Parent Coaching – Cherie The Parent Coach