Banker turned career coach offering her expertise to Wharfers

By Beth Allcock on March 7, 2014 12:33 PM |

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People don't really know what career coaching is," says Nathalina Harrison, a former banker who has switched sides to help unhappy Wharfers tackle stress riddled, high-pressure roles in finance.

"Most executives in the City work with a coach but many people don't think about that possibility. When they get stressed or fed up, they look for other ways to treat the problem, like acupuncture or yoga."

The experiences of the former JP Morgan technology programmer, who worked for the firm in the City and Canary Wharf, could strike a chord with many frazzled Wharfers.

Signed up to a graduate scheme fresh out of university, Nathalina "fell into" working in a bank - a career that would span 13 years.

But it was volunteer work and a mentor position helping senior JP Morgan graduates prepare for promotion that prompted her to bin banking for good four years ago and focus on turning her hobby into a profession.

Her business, Ayama Coaching, started three years ago in West India Quay's Cannon Workshops offering a confidential service to Wharfers and City workers frustrated with their current role.

She saw people who felt they had been held back by management; who were struggling to juggle a work-life balance; and who were facing redundancy without a Plan B.

"I was disillusioned and I heard about career coaching," she said.

"I was looking for an opportunity to change and it felt like the right time.

"Everything is urgent in banking and it's constantly changing, there's constantly someone new at the top and brand-new ways of doing things.

"That's why, at some points, it pushes people to their limits.

"They start to ask 'what am I doing here, is this the right career for me?'

"Some people manage it very well and there is an opportunity for you to manage your career like that.

"But it's having that possibility to think 'I can do something different'."

She said improving self-esteem and confidence was high on her clients' wish lists.

Securing a host of NLP training qualifications has also allowed the 38-year-old to help clients prepare for interviews, find a new job or set up business on their own.

All this, in addition to opening another practice in Fleet Street next month.

"I was successful in my career, I had a long career, and a lot of clients have said to me they like me because I have managed to transition out successfully," she said.

"I haven't bounced back into banking - which a lot of people do.

"Why wouldn't anyone want to develop themselves, find better ways of doing things and manage their career and not let the company they work for manage them?"

■ Sessions cost £120 per person or £650 for a block booking of six. Clients can opt to meet Nathalina in her Cannon Workshops base on a Monday, or elsewhere.

Go to ayamacoaching.co.uk.