In July 2013 I was sitting on the 33rd floor of a very glossy building, waiting for my coaching client to arrive. I was staring out of the sheet glass window marvelling at the mix of buildings and lives I could see going on below me and did what I always did before a coaching session. I tried to still my mind so that I could be fully there for my client. For some reason, on this day it was difficult. I became aware of a growing anxiety inside me.
Like many of my clients, he was seen to be ‘at the top of his game’. He was at the most senior level in a global organisation, earning millions of pounds a year with at least two beautiful homes that I knew of. To the outside world is life looked pretty perfect. But through our coaching, it had become very apparent that that was not the case. His marriage was falling apart, he had recently been told by the school that his daughter was self-harming, he lived in constant fear of losing his job and he had started to have chest pains on a very regular basis.
Our session began as they usually did, with him listening, with a growing sense of doom, all the things that were going wrong in his company and life, until about twenty minutes into the session he stopped talking and just stared at me.
“What’s wrong?” he asked. “Are you ok?”
“Me? Yes, why?” I replied.
He was right. Tears were literally streaming down my face.
As I sat there, with the one tissue I had becoming a sodden scrap, I realised something had to change.
I was crying out of frustration. My client did not need to be this unhappy but he had never been taught to figure out who he really was, who he wanted to be and how to get there. He had never been shown the way to find an inner confidence that stayed with you whatever you faced. He had never understood the secrets to creating a truly successful life and, things had had to get pretty bad, before he had even started to look. Why the hell did no one teach us this stuff sooner? What the hell were we waiting for?
And that was the day Ivy House was born.