The outbreak of COVID-19 has thrusted the world of business into a period of real uncertainty, with office doors remaining closed in a bid to curb the virus. 

However, many business leaders suggest that lockdown has given them the time and space to look inwards, with personal development becoming a key feature of working life over recent months. 

In an interview before the outbreak, Michelle Connolly sat down with Fiona Molly of FM Coaching, to talk about how executive coaching can help a business grow. 

Check it out and don’t forget to subscribe to ProfileTree’s Business Leader Series for more industry-leading insights!

Life Coaching
Life Coaching

Life Coaching as a Vocation

As we open up the discussion, Fiona Molloy introduces herself and takes us on a brief walkthrough over her personal and professional background before embarking on a life of business and entrepreneurship. 

life coaching executive coaching personal development fiona molloy

FM coaching was established in 2015 after Fiona built over 25 years of experience in the community and voluntary sector. “I had a lot of experience in social enterprise development and helping community organisations. A lot of that would have involved coaching, even though I didn’t have the relevant qualifications for that at the time,” she remembers. 

The more Fiona learnt about coaching, the more she realised how relevant it was to the work she had been doing over the decades. From that point, she went on to complete a Level 5 Diploma and gained full accreditation through the Association of Coaching. 

In her current role, Fiona works as an executive and life coach as the founder and facilitator of FM Coaching. “This was probably the vocation I never knew I had – and I truly love what I’m doing”.

Fiona suggests that the key to becoming a successful executive or life coach is to have some real life experience behind you. “Just getting to this stage in life helps me to help others,” she explains. 

Indeed, Fiona brings to her a role a lifelong interest and curiosity in human nature and the behavioural factors in decision-making – as well as what motivates people. “I’ve been able to attach a formalised skill to that, asking the right questions to find out what people really want for themselves. It’s about helping people find out what their purpose is,” she adds. 

Every single one of us can benefit from life coaching, and not just business leaders, says Fiona: “Really, you can reap the benefits if you are personally open to the benefits, and anyone really can benefit from life coaching. But you have to be open to that change. It can be coaching for a range of scenarios – you might just want to discover your skills and what should come next for you. In all of those situations I think coaching is really appropriate.”

fm coaching logo
FM Coaching is a Belfast-based coaching business built on the expertise of Fiona Molloy who has over 25 years of experience in supporting others. Image credit: FM Coaching

Facilitating Positive Change

The process of coaching can create that necessary space for a focussed discussion that they might not get elsewhere. 

“It’s not like you’re just talking to a group of friends, where you’re getting floating bits of dialogue and bits and pieces of their opinions here and there. The process facilitates that focus – coaching assumes that the answers are within the individual, and that person is the expert on their own future. That is one of the core skills I learnt in coaching training – it’s about asking the right questions,” she adds.

How does coaching differ from mentoring? Fiona explains that there are differences between the ideas, although many concepts of coaching and mentoring tend to overlap with each other. She outlines that coaching typically avoids recommending a particular path or action, instead waiting to facilitate the right answers through patience and asking the right questions. 

“I can cross between the two, because sometimes people do need signposting. Because I’ve worked across many sectors, I can give mentoring where it is required. I also offer free mentoring for women in business, and I really can bring a lot to that.”

One of the core aspects of Fiona Molloy’s work is in helping her clients build resilience – an essential skill in today’s demanding marketplace. “In terms of resilience, there’s a lot around trusting yourself in situations that you can’t normally deal with. People don’t give themselves enough credit for the difficult situations that they actually came through really well. That conditioning of shame makes us persecute ourselves, and that’s what we remember,” she concludes. 

“The process of coaching will focus on the successes, and will help you bring those successes to the fore. It will teach you strategies to prioritise those successes in your mind, avoiding negative thoughts and giving yourself credit where credit is due.”

Where does the future lie for Fiona and FM Coaching? The personal development expert reminds us of her passion for helping women in business, sharing her plans about taking part in a Stormont initiative to assist women in politics. “I’m also interested in working with organisations across the board to help them communicate more effectively and strengthen the local economy. So, I invite all businesses and organisations to reach out and get in touch.”

fm coaching team
The FM Coaching team helps others realise their true potential and set achievable goals that will support them in the long-term. Image credit: FM Coaching

For more, check out our full interview with Fiona. Those wishing to learn more about the value of executive coaching and the various services offered by FM Coaching are invited to learn more about the business by visiting the company’s official website. Interested parties and those wishing to book appointments and consultations are also invited to reach out to Fiona Molloy directly via LinkedIn.

SEE ALSO: Personal Development in Your Workplace.

Delving into the World of Life Coaching:

Life coaching has emerged as a popular tool for individuals seeking personal and professional growth. But what exactly is it, and how does it differ from other similar services? Let’s delve into the world of life coaching, exploring its origins, principles, and the role of a life coach.

Origins of Life Coaching:

The concept of life coaching emerged in the 1970s and 1980s, drawing inspiration from various disciplines like psychology, philosophy, and business coaching. Early pioneers like Thomas J. Leonard and Miles Downey laid the foundation for the profession, emphasizing personal empowerment and goal achievement.

Core Principles of Life Coaching:

  • Focus on the present and future: Unlike therapy, which often delves into past experiences, life coaching emphasizes setting goals, overcoming current challenges, and planning for the future.
  • Client-centered approach: The coaching process is driven by the client’s needs and desires, with the coach acting as a facilitator and guide.
  • Action-oriented: Life coaching is not just about talking; it’s about taking action and implementing strategies to achieve desired outcomes.
  • Holistic perspective: Coaches consider various aspects of a client’s life, including career, relationships, finances, and well-being.
  • Empowerment and self-discovery: The core goal is to equip clients with the tools and confidence to navigate challenges and achieve their full potential.

The Role of a Life Coach:

A life coach is not a therapist, counselor, or mentor. They act as a supportive partner who:

  • Actively listens: Coaches create a safe space for clients to express themselves openly and honestly.
  • Asks powerful questions: Thought-provoking questions help clients gain clarity, identify limiting beliefs, and explore new possibilities.
  • Provides feedback and encouragement: Coaches offer constructive feedback and celebrate client successes, fostering motivation and accountability.
  • Develops personalized action plans: Working collaboratively, coaches help clients set SMART goals and design action steps to achieve them.
  • Holds clients accountable: Coaches support clients in staying focused and committed to their goals, providing ongoing guidance and encouragement.

Life Coaching vs. Therapy/Counseling:

While both life coaching and therapy/counseling aim to improve individual well-being, there are key differences:

  • Focus: Life coaching focuses on personal growth and goal achievement, while therapy/counseling addresses mental health concerns like anxiety, depression, and trauma.
  • Qualifications: Life coaches have diverse backgrounds and may not be licensed mental health professionals. Therapists/counselors hold specific licenses and receive specialized training.
  • Techniques: Life coaches use various tools and techniques, like goal setting, accountability, and positive psychology. Therapy/counseling employs evidence-based interventions like cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and psychodynamic therapy.

Life coaching isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution, but its versatility allows it to address a wide range of areas where individuals seek growth and improvement. From navigating career uncertainties to fostering healthier relationships, here’s how life coaching can empower you across various aspects of life:

1. Career Development:

  • Challenges: Feeling stuck in a job, finding career direction, preparing for promotions, managing career transitions, coping with work stress.
  • Coaching can help: Develop career goals, explore opportunities, strengthen job skills, build confidence, manage career anxiety, negotiate effectively.

2. Relationship Management:

  • Challenges: Communication issues, navigating conflict, setting healthy boundaries, building self-esteem in relationships, fostering stronger interpersonal connections.
  • Coaching can help: Develop effective communication skills, practice conflict resolution techniques, improve self-awareness and empathy, set and maintain healthy boundaries, build fulfilling relationships with partners, family, and friends.

3. Work-Life Balance:

  • Challenges: Juggling work demands with personal life, setting boundaries, combating burnout, managing time effectively, achieving greater efficiency.
  • Coaching can help: Prioritize effectively, manage time efficiently, establish boundaries between work and personal life, reduce stress and promote relaxation, identify self-care strategies, achieve a more balanced and fulfilling lifestyle.

4. Confidence Building:

  • Challenges: Overcoming self-doubt, fear of failure, impostor syndrome, negative self-talk, assertiveness issues.
  • Coaching can help: Identify limiting beliefs, challenge negative thoughts, develop self-compassion, practice positive affirmations, learn assertiveness skills, build self-confidence for personal and professional endeavors.

5. Goal Setting and Achievement:

  • Challenges: Setting SMART goals, staying motivated, overcoming obstacles, developing action plans, tracking progress, celebrating achievements.
  • Coaching can help: Define clear and meaningful goals, develop actionable steps, identify and overcome roadblocks, stay accountable, build persistence, celebrate milestones, achieve desired outcomes.

Additionally, life coaching can support individuals in areas like:

  • Personal Finance: Managing debt, creating a budget, achieving financial goals.
  • Health and Wellness: Developing healthy habits, managing chronic conditions, achieving fitness goals.
  • Personal Growth: Exploring personal values, developing self-awareness, finding life purpose.

Remember: The specific areas where life coaching can benefit you are vast and personal. Consider your unique needs and aspirations when exploring how this empowering practice can help you navigate your journey towards a more fulfilling and successful life.

Understanding the Life Coaching Process

Life coaching is more than just a conversation; it’s a structured collaborative process designed to unlock your potential and achieve your desired outcomes. Let’s delve into the typical life coaching process, highlighting key elements that pave the way for lasting transformation:

1. Initial Consultation and Goal Setting:

  • Building Trust and Rapport: The first step involves establishing a safe and trusting space where you feel comfortable sharing your aspirations and challenges. The coach actively listens and seeks to understand your unique situation and goals.
  • Goal Exploration and Prioritization: Through open communication, you’ll explore various areas of your life where you envision growth and define SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound).

2. Action Planning and Strategies:

  • Breaking Down Big Goals: With your coach, you’ll break down your overarching goals into smaller, actionable steps, establishing a clear roadmap for success.
  • Identifying Resources and Tools: Your coach equips you with relevant resources, tools, and exercises to support your progress and overcome potential obstacles.

3. Accountability and Feedback:

  • Staying on Track: Between sessions, you’ll implement the action plan, holding yourself accountable for your progress. The coach provides ongoing support and feedback, keeping you motivated and focused.
  • Regular Coaching Sessions: Sessions, typically held weekly or bi-weekly, offer a dedicated space to track progress, discuss challenges, celebrate wins, and adjust your action plan as needed.

4. Monitoring Progress and Celebrating Wins:

  • Measuring Success: You and your coach will establish metrics to track your progress, allowing you to see tangible results and stay motivated.
  • Acknowledging Achievements: Celebrating your wins, big and small, reinforces positive behavior and keeps you moving forward on your journey.

5. Ongoing Support and Adjustment:

  • Flexibility and Adaptation: The coaching process is adaptable. Your coach adjusts the approach based on your progress, emerging challenges, or evolving goals.
  • Lifelong Learning: Coaching empowers you with valuable skills and self-awareness, fostering continued growth and development long after the formal sessions end.

Key Elements for Success:

  • Open Communication: Honest and open communication with your coach is crucial for creating a productive and supportive environment.
  • Accountability: Accepting responsibility for your actions and progress is essential for achieving your goals.
  • Ongoing Support: The coach’s continuous guidance and encouragement fuel your motivation and keep you on track.

Remember: The life coaching process is a partnership. Take an active role in setting goals, implementing action plans, and celebrating your successes. With dedication and collaboration, you can unlock your full potential and create a life filled with purpose and fulfillment.

Finding Your Perfect Match: Choosing the Right Life Coach

Finding the right life coach can make a world of difference in your personal growth journey. While the coaching process offers immense potential, selecting the wrong coach can hinder your progress. Here’s a guide to help you navigate the selection process and discover the perfect partner for your transformation:

Understanding Your Needs:

Before jumping into the search, introspect on your specific needs and desired outcomes. What areas of your life do you want to improve? What challenges are you facing? What are your overall goals for coaching? Having clarity on these questions will guide your coach selection.

Assessing Credentials and Experience:

  • Formal Training: While formal certifications aren’t mandatory, look for coaches with recognized training programs (e.g., ICF, IAC).
  • Specialization: Consider coaches with expertise in your specific area of concern, like career coaching, relationship coaching, or executive coaching.
  • Experience: Choose someone with adequate experience and success stories relevant to your needs.

Exploring Coaching Styles:

  • Direct & Action-Oriented: If you thrive on structure and accountability, consider a coach with a direct and goal-oriented approach.
  • Supportive & Empathetic: If you prefer a nurturing and encouraging environment, choose a coach who prioritizes empathy and active listening.
  • Collaborative & Partnership-Based: If you value joint exploration and co-creation, seek a coach who emphasizes collaboration and shared decision-making.

Finding Common Ground:

  • Personality Compatibility: Look for a coach whose personality resonates with you. Feeling comfortable and understood is crucial for open communication and trust.
  • Values Alignment: Consider your personal values and choose a coach whose values align with yours, creating a sense of synergy in the coaching relationship.
  • Communication Style: Ensure your communication styles mesh well. Choose a coach who listens actively and expresses ideas in a way that resonates with you.

Stepping Up Your Life: The Transformative Benefits of Life Coaching

Life coaching isn’t a magic bullet, but it can be a powerful tool for self-improvement and achieving your desired outcomes. By partnering with a skilled coach, you can unlock immense potential within yourself and experience a variety of life-changing benefits:

1. Enhanced Self-Awareness:

  • Unveiling Your Values: Through self-reflection exercises and coaching conversations, you’ll gain deeper insight into your core values, motivations, and desires. This newfound self-awareness serves as a compass, guiding you towards decisions and actions that align with your authentic self.
  • Identifying Personal Strengths and Weaknesses: Coaches help you uncover your strengths, empowering you to leverage them for success. They also assist in recognizing areas for development, empowering you to work on them with greater clarity and purpose.

2. Improved Decision-Making:

  • Clarity and Focus: Coaching clarifies your goals and values, allowing you to make decisions with greater confidence and focus. You’ll gain a deeper understanding of what truly matters to you, eliminating distractions and indecisiveness.
  • Overcoming Limiting Beliefs: Coaches help you identify and challenge limiting beliefs that may be holding you back. By replacing them with empowering beliefs, you’ll approach decisions with a more positive and proactive mindset.

3. Enhanced Motivation and Accountability:

  • Staying Inspired: Life coaches support you in staying motivated during challenging times. They offer encouragement, celebrate your wins, and hold you accountable for your actions, propelling you forward towards your goals.
  • Developing Actionable Plans: Coaches help you translate goals into concrete steps, making them feel less overwhelming and more achievable. This fosters a sense of momentum and progress, keeping you motivated and engaged.

4. Greater Sense of Fulfillment and Purpose:

  • Living Your Values: Aligning your actions with your values leads to a greater sense of authenticity and personal fulfillment. By living authentically, you’ll experience increased joy, satisfaction, and purpose in your life.
  • Achieving Personal Growth: Through continuous learning and self-discovery facilitated by coaching, you’ll experience immense personal growth. This newfound capacity and confidence empower you to live a more fulfilling and impactful life.

Success Stories to Spark Your Inspiration:

  • Sarah, a corporate executive: Feeling unfulfilled and stuck in her career, Sarah sought life coaching. Through coaching, she discovered her passion for entrepreneurship. With her coach’s support, she developed a business plan, launched her own company, and now thrives as a successful entrepreneur, living a life aligned with her values and passions.
  • Mark, a young adult: Struggling with self-doubt and anxiety, Mark sought life coaching to improve his self-confidence and relationships. His coach helped him develop communication skills, overcome limiting beliefs, and build healthy relationships. Today, Mark is a confident young professional with strong connections, navigating life with greater ease and self-belief.

Remember: Life coaching is an investment in yourself. The benefits extend far beyond achieving specific goals; they encompass personal growth, self-discovery, and ultimately, a more fulfilling and purposeful life.

Choosing Your Path: Online vs. In-Person Life Coaching

Life coaching offers flexible options to suit individual needs and preferences. When navigating the online vs. in-person debate, it’s crucial to understand the advantages and disadvantages of each approach to make the best decision for your personal journey.

Online Life Coaching:


  • Flexibility: Schedule sessions around your life, regardless of location, time zone, or physical limitations.
  • Convenience: Avoid travel time and participate from the comfort of your own home.
  • Accessibility: Connect with coaches internationally, expanding your options and potentially finding the perfect match for your needs.
  • Cost-effective: Often more affordable than in-person sessions due to reduced overhead costs for coaches.


  • Less personal connection: Building rapport and trust can be more challenging in a virtual environment.
  • Potential distractions: Home-based environment may lack the focused atmosphere of an in-person session.
  • Technical issues: Internet connectivity challenges or technology mishaps could disrupt sessions.
  • Non-verbal communication limitations: Subtle cues like body language may be less accessible online.

In-Person Life Coaching:


  • Stronger personal connection: Face-to-face interaction fosters greater rapport, trust, and emotional engagement.
  • Focused environment: Dedicated coaching space minimizes distractions and enhances focus.
  • Non-verbal communication benefits: Coaches can read and respond to your body language and energy for deeper understanding.
  • Sense of accountability: Meeting in person can increase accountability and commitment to the coaching process.


  • Limited flexibility: Sessions require fixed times and locations, potentially challenging with busy schedules.
  • Potential accessibility issues: Travel time and cost may be barriers for some individuals.
  • Geographical limitations: Coaching options may be restricted to local availability.

Ultimately, the ideal approach depends on several factors:

  • Personal preferences: Do you thrive in virtual environments or value face-to-face interaction?
  • Lifestyle and schedule: What level of flexibility do you need?
  • Learning style: Do you prefer visual cues and non-verbal communication?
  • Budget: Consider the cost implications of each option.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Life Coaching:

1. Is life coaching right for me?

Life coaching can benefit individuals seeking personal growth, improved well-being, and goal achievement in various areas of life. Consider your goals, challenges, and budget to see if it aligns with your needs.

2. How much does life coaching cost?

Costs vary depending on the coach’s experience, location, and pricing structure. Expect hourly rates ranging from $75 to $250 or session packages with discounted rates.

3. What happens in a typical life coaching session?

Sessions involve goal setting, action planning, discussions, exercises, and feedback. The coach creates a personalized approach to support your progress.

4. How long does life coaching last?

The duration depends on your goals and needs. Some individuals work with a coach for a few months, while others choose ongoing support.

5. Can I find a life coach online?

Absolutely! Online coaching offers flexibility and accessibility, connecting you with coaches worldwide. Consider both online and in-person options to find the best fit.

6. What are the benefits of life coaching?

Potential benefits include increased self-awareness, improved decision-making, enhanced motivation, greater sense of fulfillment, and achieving personal goals.

7. How can I find a good life coach?

Research coaches, read reviews, schedule consultations, and prioritize someone who aligns with your values, goals, and personality.

8. Is life coaching confidential?

Yes, reputable life coaches adhere to strict ethical guidelines ensuring confidentiality and privacy throughout the coaching process.

9. What if I don’t “click” with my coach?

Open communication is key. If you don’t feel comfortable or supported, discuss your concerns with the coach or seek another coach who aligns better with your needs.

10. Is life coaching a magic bullet?

Life coaching is a collaborative process that requires your commitment and active participation. While it can be a powerful tool for growth, it’s not a quick fix; success depends on your dedication and effort.

Conclusion: Investing in Yourself

Life coaching is an investment in your personal growth, well-being, and future success. By understanding its potential benefits, addressing common concerns, and making an informed decision, you can embark on a transformative journey towards achieving your goals and living a more fulfilling life. Remember, the most significant investment you can make is in yourself.

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