Tell us about yourself.
My name is Michèle, I will be 50 next spring and I live with my partner and my 16 year old son. I studied at Cambridge University.
I am a coach, psychotherapist and trainer. This means I spend my time working with individuals to support their growth and development, facilitate groups to enable them to work more effectively together, and train organisations in a number of subjects, including Disability Equality.
I used to be a performer, writer and director in the theatre but I don’t do so much of that now, although I do occasionally perform stand-up comedy and sketches with a friend who is a very funny woman.
Why did you decide on this career?
The training emerged from my own studying to be a teacher and my strengths as a communicator. It grew organically until it became pretty much a full-time job. I began to realise that there were aspects of my passion that I wasn’t using in my work and decided to train as a psychotherapist. Recently, I have developed that area of my work by training also to be a coach and I am enjoying exploring the place where coaching and psychotherapy meet. Even when I was working in the theatre, and when I was doing mostly training, the thing that gave me most pleasure and excitement in my work was when I saw people make connections, realise things and develop self-awareness. The psychotherapy and coaching is a way of offering that more explicitly to people.
What are your 3 favourite things about it?
I am self-employed and I love the flexibility that gives me: on the days when I am working at home, I can see my son off to school, then go and have a swim because I don’t have to get to an office by a certain time. I swim, have a coffee, read the paper and I can still be at my desk ready to start work by 10.30. Then I do as much as most people do in a full day in the office by about 4…
I also love seeing people realise things about themselves. I love creating the conditions in which people can feel safe enough to risk looking in, see their choices and make changes. It’s an exciting journey to accompany people on, and a real privilege to be there with them.
I also love the fact that I get to travel. Over the last twelve months I have worked in many places in the UK as well as Sweden, Kosovo, Serbia and Albania.
What are the 2 or 3 least favourite things about it?
It’s very tiring. I believe strongly that, to be a good trainer takes energy so, after I have delivered a day’s training, I feel exhausted and sometime don’t feel I have very much spare for my family.
Apart from that, I can’t think of anything.
Have you ever changed your career? If so: why?
My career has been changing organically ever since I began it! I started my working life in a computer shop, an Apple dealer. So I saw the very first Macs every to come in to the UK. In fact, I was allowed to take one home in order to familiarize myself with the operating system and the bundled software (MacWrite, MacPaint for those that remember!!). Only, the Macs came with transformers because they were direct from America and used the American power system. One evening… yes, I forgot to plug the computer through the transformer: maybe I was the first person in the UK to blow up a Mac!!
I have changed what I do to go with the flow of the times, to go with my lifestyle (for example, three years as a single parent when my son was first born) and to go with my passion.
Who is the most interesting person you have met in your life?
What makes this person interesting for you?
Tricky one. I can’t identify a single individual. But what I find fascinating in people is simply the way we work, how we are each so very different from anyone else and yet of utterly equal value.
How do you relax after a hard day?
Red wine and chocolate help! I watch trash on the television, I take photographs and work with them in my ‘digital darkroom’, I’m learning to fence, with my son…
What or who helps you when you are feeling really down?
Music. My partner. The sea. Sunshine. The cat. Remembering that I have been here before and it won’t last forever.
If you could be someone else (for a day or week??), who or what would you choose?
A man. Any man. A large, physically strong man. How strange that must be!!
What do you think, makes you strong?
Self-awareness, the memory of survival, relationships, red wine and chocolate, finally starting to learn that who I am is of far greater importance than who anybody else would like me to be.
Do you have a motto?
No, but I do have a few favourite quotations. One of my current favourites is from Dolly Parton, of all people: “Find out who you are, then do it on purpose”!!
Which book, movie or music would you recommend to our readers?
Ooh, book: The Night Watch by Sarah Waters;
music: for a good boogie, you can’t beat Cry to Me by Solomon Burke, for some tortured self-reflection it would have to be Albinoni’s Adagio and for sheer fun, Dancing Queen by ABBA!
What do you first spot when meeting another person?
Do you have a secret talent?
Well, if I told you it would no longer be a secret! Secret talent? No, if I can do something, I’m afraid I’m not shy in letting other people know about it!! I play the soprano sax and the mandolin but neither of these is, by any stretch of the imagination, a talent – keeps me happy but doesn’t entertain anyone else, sadly.
Anything else you would like to tell our readers?
I’ve just started to explore the world of Steampunk: fascinating, and fun. If you don’t know what it is, google it!!
Do you have a website you would like me to promote?
micheletaylorcoach is my website and you will also find my blog pages here.
Picture by Michèle Taylor.
When you enjoyed the interview, than have a look at Michèle’s wonderful website and read some of her inspiring blog posts.