Finding the right guidance and support can make all the difference when leading an organisation. So, at Homeless Link we’ve developed a coaching service to match people working in the homelessness sector with qualified coaches. Recently, we sat down with Coach, Tanya English, to dive into her coaching style, what drives her, and how she helps leaders in the homelessness sector overcome challenges and reach their goals.
Tell us about your working life before you became a Coach?
I’ve worked as a leader in the charity sector or over 20 years - including over a decade within homelessness, as an Executive Director leading on Fundraising, Communications and Policy at St Mungo’s. I worked across service provision, policy, fundraising, communications and campaigning – for organisations small and large.
Why did you decide to become a Coach?
Actually, I decided to become a therapist – but I chose the pioneering professional qualification from UEL that integrates across counselling and coaching, and realised I really enjoy the coaching side and was missing working with charity professionals!
What approach do you take to your coaching work?
We all have different outlooks on life and different work challenges. Integrating from a suite of proven coaching theories and methods means I can tailor my approach to each individual circumstance. As a qualified counsellor, I can confidently explore any issues holding a person back. I enjoy working with clients from a wide range of job, ethnic, gender, sexuality, (and mental health) backgrounds.
What else informs your work?
I have substantial experience of Boards, line management and team building. Most recently I spent 5 years as a transformative Chair for Anti-Slavery International.
What do your coaching sessions look like?
Key to coaching is the ability to build a space where people can be totally open about their weaknesses and troubles, as well as their strengths and goals - alongside the ability to ask really good questions - questions that move things forward. This might be through free-flowing dialogue - or one of a number of coaching exercises that really open things up.
So recently I’ve helped one CEO review their dynamic with their Chair, and work out what is getting in the way, and how to improve things - totally confidential off-loading a little, but also looking critically at what still connects them.
With another CEO, we’ve unpicked their newly proposed SMT structure - what is really been going on for them personally that is motivating their proposition that up till now was a bit hidden from them, what has been clouding their judgement here and why, and which elements are worth arguing for, and why.
Frankly it is often lonely at the top - and coaching is a really unique space in which to get bespoke support, to develop, and flourish.
What Tanya’s coachees say about her
Tanya has coached a number of leaders working in homelessness through Homeless Link. Here’s what some of them had to say about her coaching style:
“Tanya is a warm, considerate and thoughtful coach that I have hugely enjoyed working with. She listens intently and asks clear and insightful questions that have prompted shifts in thinking that I have really valued. As a CEO, I particularly appreciated her capacity to both empathise and to challenge when necessary, which allowed me to think about organisational issues that I had been wrestling with in new ways.”
Rachael Williams, CEO, Streetwise Opera
“Over the course of six sessions, Tanya helped me achieve remarkable progress towards my initial goals of building confidence and understanding my leadership style.
What impressed me the most was Tanya's ability to identify and highlight my skills and strengths. She made me realise just how much I already bring to the table - from my resilience and hard work to my unique way of thinking and staying solution-focused. Through their guidance, I gained a deeper understanding of my own abilities and learned to appreciate the value I bring to my work and team.
Tanya's communication and listening skills were exemplary. She actively listened to my concerns, provided insightful feedback, and created a safe and non-judgmental space for me to explore my thoughts and feelings. Every session felt like a conversation with a trusted confidant, allowing me to open up and delve into areas I had previously overlooked.”