Coach in the Spotlight: Kelly Campino

We speak with Kelly Campino, a leadership, career and wellbeing coach, who’s on a mission to help leaders live authentically and thrive at work.

What was your journey into coaching like?

Before I started coaching full time, I worked for more than 15 years in large international organisations in both Australia and Switzerland in the fields of Corporate Communications, Employee Engagement, Change Management and HR.

Within my corporate roles, I was fortunate to be able to use and develop my coaching skills as a business partner to senior leaders.

My previous career had many highlights and wonderful moments. However, it took me being on the brink of burnout and the resulting months of therapy and coaching to learn that the work I was doing was absolutely not aligned with my own values, strengths and personality.

This experience inspired me to help others to find careers that were better suited to them, helped them feel more fulfilled and supported them in being healthy.

While I already had coaching qualifications and experience, what I needed was specialised training and tools to help me support clients to move into more fulfilling work – and the Firework course gave me exactly that!

My period of depleted mental health ignited a desire to support others by proactively developing their own psychological resources, so that they can better manage difficult situations and prevent a decline in their mental health.

I ended up studying a Masters in Applied Positive Psychology and Coaching Psychology, which has given me invaluable knowledge and tools – in addition to the Firework training – that I now apply both within my coaching and for myself.

Positive psychology is essentially the science of happiness: each aspect of physical, emotional and mental health. My studies combine positive psychology with coaching – it’s the perfect marriage!

My approach is holistic, bringing together evidence-based tools and strategies to support my clients primarily in the context of work.

 

It took me being on the brink of burnout to learn that the work I was doing was absolutely not aligned with my own values, strengths and personality.

 

Who do you work with and how do you typically work with your clients?

There are two main strands to my work: my private coaching practice and my work as an associate coach.

Within my private (one to one) coaching, I work with ambitious and self-aware leaders who want to develop and enhance their own positive and authentic leadership identity; perform at their best and engage their team; or progress with their careers – all in a way that’s exactly aligned with who they are.

I also support my clients to define what fulfilling work means to them and be happier and healthier at work.

I enjoy using positive psychology coaching and associated tools to help them make sustainable improvements to their wellbeing – specifically focusing on reducing their stress and overwhelm and strengthening their physical, mental and emotional health.

[If you have an interest in positive psychology, you can find papers freely available on Researchgate, Noba Scholar and Google Scholar and there are also some great textbooks available on Amazon.]

I work with clients across the world and all of my sessions are online. I find that meeting every two weeks (rather than weekly) allows for life and other priorities as well as keeping up the momentum of the coaching progress.

In addition to my private practice, I’m also an associate coach for a global outplacement organisation. My role there is to coach participants as they move through career transitions within their current organisation or to their next opportunity, whether that is a new job, career change or creative retirement.

From September, I’ll also be hosting the ‘wellbeing at work’ group within Strengthen – a new wellbeing coaching membership. We are a group of coaches with a positive psychology background but with different specialisms or niches.

Our vision as a coaching community is to be a welcoming and encouraging space where people can access affordable and online wellbeing, mental fitness and personal development support.

I like that this is a collaboration and not something I’m wholly responsible for driving, but I can bring in what I’m passionate about, which is wellbeing at work.

Coaching isn’t affordable for everyone and so this is what’s great about these online communities – people can tap into powerful content for a small investment – and for those who are a little unsure about working with a coach, it allows them to get a sense of what the benefits are and get to know and trust different coaches before deciding to work with them.

 

I work with clients across the world and all of my sessions are online.

 

What has your training with Firework helped you to achieve?

I absolutely love the toolkit of exercises, within the roadmap of the three Firework phases.

Even after completing the training way back in 2016, I’m still gaining value from my initial investment.

With my clients, I always take a customised approach, so it’s been very valuable to, for example, go through the whole Explore process for one client, then an exercise or two out of Discover for another.

The whole toolkit is so flexible and versatile. I even suggested to a friend the other day that she start her own Ideas Bank for the next stage in her career!

 

What sort of results have you helped your clients to achieve?

The single most important impact has been increased confidence.

Simply having space within coaching to learn more about themselves, clients have felt better placed to go to job interviews, or speak up in meetings at work or even focus more on themselves in terms of their wellbeing.

One assessment I regularly propose that my clients try is the PERMAH wellbeing measure. This gives them a snapshot of different aspects of their wellbeing, their: Positive emotions, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning, Accomplishment and Health.

So, when they set goals like getting a new job or delegating more, I always get them to add a goal that's related to their wellbeing.

These goals might be about ensuring they do more activities that they really enjoy, taking time for physical exercise or bringing in more mindful activities.

Often, just introducing and embedding a small wellbeing-related change has had a huge positive impact.

Of course, it’s great to see the clients achieve tangible results, like a new job, promotion or even a new career, but I find it so satisfying to see the wider impact of what’s going on – the increased confidence, improving relationships with their partner or family, or a sense of self-acceptance so that they can bring their authentic selves into work.

My aim is to provide each client with tools and strategies to help them so that they can use them in a sustainable way long after they’ve finished their time working with me.

For me, the most positive results are those that tend to be less tangible but are often the most long-lasting. So for example, helping the client to develop ways of minimising stress in their lives, create a better work-life balance, increased confidence and psychological resources.

I worked recently with a leader who was really overwhelmed.

After climbing the corporate ladder, she'd accumulated a lot of responsibilities and ended up with a very heavy workload.

When she came to me, she'd not been looking after herself and recognised that she needed support to reduce overwhelm and stress.

Together, we looked at how we could create a more strategic role for her that worked to her strengths and determine what she could delegate to free up more energy for her main responsibilities.

We also looked at wellbeing, including ways that she could start her day more positively, wind down in the evening and how she could develop her emotional intelligence, using the evidence-based exercises that I shared with her.

I tend to find it easy to gain the trust of a client, getting them to be open about what’s going on which really allows them to move forward.

And often with the work I do, I hear feedback from my clients’ organisation. It’s wonderful to know that the client I’ve worked with has transformed in the eyes of their leadership team and other colleagues.

This is what I love about working with leaders – the ripple effect of coaching can be powerful and can impact many of the people that the client comes into contact with.

 

Often, just introducing and embedding a small wellbeing-related change has had a huge positive impact.

 

How have you built your coaching business? What have you found to be the most effective ways of attracting clients?

Since starting my business almost four years ago I’ve experimented with different ways of attracting clients.

But what I’ve found has worked well for me – and feels most authentic – have been Google ads, referrals and associate contracts.

The good thing about advertising on Google is that you receive enquiries from potential clients who are actively looking for what you offer and are more likely to be ready to do the work that’s needed for them to get the best results from coaching.

When a client who has worked with me shares my details with someone else who they think may benefit from working with me, it’s another very effective way of attracting clients who are ready to make a change. It makes me feel like they’ve given me a gift!

I also work on an associate basis for a global outplacement organisation as one of their career transition coaches, supporting participants to get back into the workforce again, with strong levels of confidence and wellbeing.

Although associate work was something I’d been considering exploring for a while, this particular opportunity actually came out of the blue via LinkedIn.

The clients have all been professional, motivated and involved and a pleasure to work with. I honestly believe I could work with them until I retire! I really feel lucky.

I absolutely love this combination of independent coaching work and developing my own business; as well as being part of a collaboration, such as with Strengthen, and a larger organisation – I feel like it gives me the best of both worlds.

 

I absolutely love this combination of independent coaching work and collaboration – it gives me the best of both worlds.

 

How has your work changed during the pandemic?

I’ve always worked online so this hasn’t caused any issues for me.

The topics that clients bring to our sessions, have evolved a little, however, particularly right at the beginning of lockdown.

Wellbeing has become increasingly important to discuss, particularly for my clients who were working from home.

They found it helpful to have me as an accountability partner to help them set the boundaries they would previously have had, such as commuting to work instead of setting up an office at the breakfast table, as well as ensure they look after their physical health and get out of the house each day, which creates a positive work-life balance.

 

How will your work evolve in the future?

I think that I’ve found ‘my’ coaching niche. I absolutely love utilising evidence-based positive psychology coaching in my work with leaders.

One thing that will definitely change though, are my qualifications.

It’s very important for me to be the absolute best coach I can be and to provide my clients with the best possible support.

So even though I’ve almost completed my MSc in Applied Positive Psychology and Coaching Psychology, which has improved my knowledge immensely, I’m currently looking into the pathway to becoming a Chartered Coaching Psychologist.

This is another personal challenge for me which will likely mean more study of psychology – perhaps even a professional doctorate – which I’m already excited about!

 

It’s very important for me to be the absolute best coach I can be and to provide my clients with the best possible support.

 

What other tools or resources have helped you build your business or enhance your coaching?

For coaches who are wanting to establish their own business, I wholeheartedly recommend working with a business coach.

I did this when I was starting out and it helped me immensely!

I knew about coaching and communications, but I honestly had no idea how to go about setting up a website and branding for myself, managing my business finances, or creating a business plan.

So this investment really helped me to understand the ‘how’ of starting my own business, while at the same time making sure that it reflected my strengths and who I am as a coach.

This experience helped me to present myself and my new business authentically.

Being part of a community of entrepreneurs has been a great source of support.

Working independently can be very lonely, so having a group of like-minded and kind people to turn to has been valuable.

Holding an ICF credential has given me a ‘stamp’ of quality. I know that many organisations do require their coaches to hold a credential from an external coaching body. I’ve today passed my 500 tracked hours and will be applying shortly for my ICF PCC credential – a big milestone!

To ensure my coaching continually develops and improves, I work regularly with supervisors (one is actually a Firework coach) and would recommend all coaches to consider doing the same.

It’s been important to have that time for reflection and input from highly-experienced coaches. I’ve definitely seen the positive impact it’s had on my confidence and my professionalism.

 

Working independently can be very lonely, so having a group of like-minded and kind people to turn to for support has been valuable.

 

What are the most rewarding aspects of coaching for you?

Firstly, I truly believe that I have found a career that is absolutely in alignment with my personal values, strengths and interests.

This is already extremely rewarding because I know how it can be when work is misaligned with who we are.

I also very much enjoy and appreciate the application of science to my work as a coach, combining this with good instincts.

But, very simply, observing how my clients move towards their personal and professional goals brings me so much energy, joy and satisfaction.

 

Kelly is a licensed Firework career coach, with a passion for positive psychology and wellbeing, who works with clients from all over the world. Originally from Brisbane, Australia, Kelly has lived in Switzerland for the last 16 years with her husband, two daughters and much-loved dog, Leo. Find out more about Kelly at www.kellycampino.com.  Image by Analu Photography