Career Academy provides a valuable resource to candidates seeking employment within the creative sector in the UK. Or those aiming to enter the creative industries.
We acknowledge the challenges involved in securing a role within the marketing, PR, creative, design, digital, communications, and social media sectors. Which is why we partner with experienced career coaches to facilitate a smooth career transition! In this interview, we introduce you to Clare Sutton, a skilled personal and professional coach. Discover her own career journey by reading her full interview below.
What do you do for a living/what’s your profession?
I support people to live their most fulfilling lives, in whatever way that looks for them. I do this through coaching. My clients are both individuals and groups.
As well as being a coach, I am a people professional in the third sector, leading management and development of volunteering, community engagement. And learning and development for charities and cultural institutions.
How did you get into that role/job/career?
Throughout my career, I have always worked in people-facing roles, that support individuals to learn, grow, and develop both personally and professionally. From being a teacher, to curating learning events at cultural institutions, to supporting volunteers and staff develop skills and professional experience. I have a wide range of expertise and skills in supporting people’s development.
So, when I discovered the profession of coaching, it felt like a completely natural fit with my skills and values. I first saw the power of coaching whilst working at a charity which supported people experiencing homelessness. I could see at first hand the life changing impact that coaches could have in changing people’s lives. It inspired me to learn more and go on to train as a Professional Certified Coach.
Coaching is one of the most powerful tools to support people to make impactful, positive, and sustainable change in their lives. What I love is that it supports people in an incredibly empowering way; – each client is taken as an individual, who is the expert of their own experience, and has all the resources, strengths, and knowledge they need to get to where they want to be in their lives. And I support them to get there, through carefully constructed coaching spaces.
Tell us a bit about your career to date?
Having a real mix of interests and passions, this comes out in my varied working career. Coming out of University with a Languages and History of Art degree, I was keen to work in the cultural sector. And worked with organisations like the National Trust, Battersea Arts Centre, and London Borough of Culture. I really appreciate the way that art and cultural experiences can bring communities together, can inspire people and spark important social conversations.
I also love working directly with people, and supporting them reach their full potential, supporting their growth, learning and development. I’ve done this in a range of ways including working as a teacher, managing volunteers, running internship and mentorship programmes, and creating learning and development programmes for staff professional development. Working in senior management and strategic roles in national organisations.
I am passionate about neurodiversity and inclusion, and I’ve delivered a lot of accessibility focussed work, as well as being Trustee for a charity that supports young people with Dyspraxia.
All this experience feeds into my work as a Coach. Having worked with a wide range of people at all stages of life, and different points on their career, coming with different kinds of barriers and challenges, really increases my skills and practice as an impactful coach.
Where do you live and work?
I’ve just moved to the wonderful Bristol, and really enjoying being in such a colourful and vibrant city. My work is predominantly remote, mixed with some travel across the UK.
Where are most of your clients based?
My coaching is mainly remote, which means people can work with me from anywhere. I’ve worked with clients from all areas across the UK and beyond, reaching as far as the US.
How do you decide on your charges/day rate?
My coaching rates consider my experience, level of coaching qualifications and accreditation, as well as the coaching industry standards.
I offer different levels of rates depending on whether people engage with group coaching or 1:1 coaching session. My rates reflect the value of the sessions to really make life-changing impact on people’s lives, that my clients experience.
Who do you get most business advice from?
I’ve built my own network of people that I get invaluable support from, including coaching supervisors, professional mentors, and coaching peers who are huge fountains of knowledge and wisdom.
I’m an avid reader, and podcast listener, absorbing all the information I can from people like Carol Dweck, James Clear, and Lauren Currie for insights into strengthening mindset and confidence in business.
The Federation for Small Businesses also offers lots of practical support, learning and useful resources too.
What networking groups are you involved in, both online and in person?
I’m a member of the fantastic Rebel Rousers group led by Meg Kissack, for multi-passionate and creative women who are doing their own thing.
And I’m part of the Women in Business Network, which offers networking on a national and local basis, both remote and face to face.
What is the best thing about your job?
For me, the best thing about my job is how rewarding it is to see the transformation that clients go through across a series of coaching sessions. Seeing people get results like getting a promotion at work, for example, is amazing. But also seeing the transformation in people themselves, like seeing a major increase in personal confidence, or getting clarity on a big decision. Or feeling a sense of purpose in their work that aligns with their values, is hugely rewarding.
Being a coach I’m also able to work in a more flexible way, and I really enjoy the freedom that being your own boss can create. I can create a balance of wellbeing alongside my work, which ultimately makes me show up as a better coach for my clients.
What advice would you give your younger self or to someone starting out?
I would say, trust yourself.
It can be very easy to be impacted and affected by what you think you should be doing. And you can give lots of weight to external opinions from other people – whether that’s your boss, your friends, your family or colleagues. But really, you know yourself best, you are the expert of your own experience, and having space to focus on what you feel is right, is the most important thing.
Sure, you can gain lots of useful information from others, but ultimately, knowing what is really important to you, and aligned to your values, will lead you to something that will bring you fulfilment. No one else can tell you what that is.
What’s your favourite type of client/work?
I love working with clients who are raring to go, who are ready to take action and make change in their lives and move towards the future they want.
Because it’s really what you put in, that determines what you get out of coaching. Besides, you are the person who will achieve the results, and I am there to support and facilitate you through that process.
And I love working with people who are curious – curious about themselves, keen to think deeply and creatively about who they are, what they want to achieve, and how to get there. It’s this curiosity that will bring about all kinds of new learning and revelations.
What’s next for you?
I am currently working to develop opportunities for people to work with me in a group capacity, as well as 1:1. This can be a nice entry point for people who are new to coaching to understand a bit more about how it works. As well as get benefit through being part of a supportive group of others. I’m developing group coaching sessions on challenges and themes that come up most often for clients.
What would be your alternative career?
For about 6 years now I’ve been salsa dancing. It’s so enjoyable, it’s exercise and doesn’t even feel like it because you’re having too much fun, and a great way to meet people. So, I would say an alternative career would be a professional salsa dancer – if I had the skills to back it up!
What’s the one message you’d like anyone reading this article to receive from you?
For anyone reading I would love them to take away the knowledge that change is possible. And it can happen right now.
It can be easy to feel stuck, a bit lost and even helpless with where we are in our lives and professions, but there is always a way forward. Above all there is always a way to unpick things and move towards the future you want. If you want to work with Clare, visit her website to book an appointment, or check out her socials LinkedIn and Instagram.
Career Academy offers resources, advice and support in your creative career – find out more here.