How it all started…
Ten years ago, the term ‘Style Coaching™’ was nowhere to be seen. There were no ‘Style Coaches™’ to be found. Instead, there were image consultants, personal stylists, fashion consultants, and personal shoppers. So what is ‘Style Coaching™’ and where did it come from? What makes it so different to other image specializations we have seen before? And, quite simply, why should we sit up and take notice?
Back in 2004, nobody realized that in a quiet corner of the world, a revolutionary new specialization was taking shape and getting ready to transform countless people’s lives. Meanwhile elsewhere, celebrity stylists were obliterating the airwaves with popular but ruthless ‘makeover’ shows. The public would watch in disbelief as the stylists would hunt down the country’s worst dressed individuals who were desperate for help, and then proceed to invade their wardrobes with unashamed gusto, criticize and often ridicule their choice of clothes, have them strip down to their underwear in a 360 degree mirror while exposing their vulnerabilities to the masses, and usually reduce the person to tears before announcing with delight that it was time to ‘hit the highstreet’!
The participant would then trail behind the stylist from store to store, complaining and arguing like Eric Berne’s ‘Adaptive Child’, while the stylist assumed the role of their ‘Critical Parent’. The relationship would be one of dominance and submissiveness, and for viewers, the process was almost painful to watch. Of course, the ‘big reveal’ at the end represented a climatic end to the drama. We would watch the participant’s face with curiosity as they took in the reflection that had suddenly been revealed, trying to locate themselves in the image of a stranger before them. We would listen as they said phrases like, “I’m like a new person”, and “Is that really me?”
For those watching carefully, it would be at this point that we would often see a glimmer of something profound happening… a change in the person that could not be explained only by clothes and a new hair colour. Yet, this tiny glimmer of profoundness would go unnoticed, and without nurture would quietly dissolve once again. When the makeover show would revisit the participant after 6 months had passed, it was common to see that they had reverted back to their previous appearance. In these cases, the ‘makeover’ had been in vain, meaning that it came to no real purpose, it was empty and without depth. In other instances, the changes were whole-heartedly accepted by the participant and proved to be long lasting. We would then see an inexplicable knock-on effect with almost every aspect of the person’s life. It was remarkable to witness and proved how much potential there was even in a simple makeover.
So this contrast of results leaves us with some burning questions…
– When the process worked, what was the difference that made the difference?
– When it failed to be maintained, why was this so?
The origins of Style Coaching™…
For a husband and wife team living in Ireland at the time, the answers were strikingly obvious and the potential of these answers was too important to ignore. Gary and Tracey Redmond, founders of the Style Coaching Institute® had a unique combination of skills, which enabled them to view this phenomenon with a clear perspective. While Tracey was a personal stylist, she was also a certified practitioner of NLP, so she offered her clients a much more holistic service than those offered by traditional image consultants. She also believed in the fundamental importance of nurturing individuals and empowering them to reach newfound levels of confidence and self-esteem. For her, rapport and being able to align with another person’s view of the world was natural. The results she observed in her clients were astounding, so she started to explore and delve deeper into what was working and why. She did this with the help of her husband, Gary Redmond, who was an Accredited Life Coach, Therapeutic Counsellor, and NLP practitioner. Together they researched, developed, tested and documented a completely new and original formula for change that they branded as ‘Style Coaching™’.
What makes Style Coach™ training different to Personal Stylist training and Image Consultant training?
Through Style Coaching™, Gary and Tracey Redmond were able to distill and capture the essence of why even basic makeovers can sometimes prove to be life changing. Rather than this phenomenon being an ‘accidental’ and infrequent occurrence, the Style Coaching™ formula enabled the life changing transformation to be a simple, yet profound, by-product of the specific process they had defined and perfected.
In 2005, they founded the ‘Style Coaching Institute® and began teaching other people how Style Coaching™ works and how a person’s appearance can be used as a powerful starting point for much greater life changes. Graduates of the institute, known as Style Coaches™, began following the process with their clients, and the same results were observed. A new specialization had been born, and started to gain the attention of those who believed that people are much more than a reflection in the mirror. A Style Coach™ may have all the technical knowledge of an image consultant, colour consultant, personal shopper and personal stylist, but they are also experts in the key skills used in the world of life coach training and NLP.
So does this mean that Style Coaching™ is simply a formula of 2+2=4? Far from it! As coaches, we’ve all heard the buzzword ‘synergy’, but Style Coaching™ really is a prime example of it in action. It may consist of various parts, but these parts produce a combined effect so much greater than the sum of their separate effects. Authentic Style Coaching™ isn’t just image consultancy with some life coaching added in as an embellishment at the end. Style Coaching™ isn’t just about learning ‘what to do’; it’s about ‘how to do it’, and we all know that there is a distinct difference between our ‘doing’ and our ‘being’.
Unlike the vast majority of celebrity fashion stylists and personal shoppers, a certified Style Coach™ embodies the ethos of a life coach, and grasps the importance of self-image psychology. While many image consultants will work to create a new look for their clients, Style Coaches™ work with their clients to explore beyond the surface layer, while at the same time recognizing that the inner-self and the outer-self are inexplicably linked and powerfully affect each other. An authentic Style Coach™ will help their client to connect with their true self, enabling the unique individual to shine through with confidence and self-acceptance.
A large part of being a Style Coach™ is the ability to share guidance on which styles will enhance a particular body shape, how it is possible to illuminate our positive features and colour characteristics, how we can nurture our physical and emotional selves through personal grooming, and how to use our appearance as a mode of non-verbal communication. However, Style Coaches™ would never wish to project a fictitious image onto a person, through telling them exactly what they should wear. This is like trying to tell someone who he or she is, rather than genuinely listening and being curious about the individual. Their aim is to help a person to discover and reconnect with their best version of themselves; to see in the mirror a congruent reflection of the positive image they hold of themselves in their mind.
When fashion makeovers fail to provide long-term positive benefits it is usually because the individual’s inner self-image and outer self-image are not in alignment. The external appearance may have been changed, but if on the inside the person still sees himself or herself as ugly, inferior, less than, or worthless, then a reassertion of the external appearance will be the inevitable result. Essentially, the positive intentions of an image consultant are thwarted by an internal factor that they are unable to competently work with. They are left wondering why the changes didn’t work, and feeling mystified about what they could have done differently.
One of the magical differences about Style Coaching™ is that it offers practical opportunities for in-depth psychological theories and life coaching techniques to be explored in a lighthearted and accessible format. In the past, these theories could tend to be quite heavy, but through Style Coaching™ they can be merged into a seemingly simple process of personal styling! It is certainly true that like a person, Style Coaching™ is so much more than it may appear to be. What you see happening on the surface layer does not begin to do justice to the dimension of depth that’s simultaneously present.
Why does Style Coaching™ matter?
All business owners, managers, coaches, and entrepreneurs look for ways to achieve better results, to bring out and enhance more of our own potential. We’ve all heard that first impressions count, and that we need to ‘dress for success’, but more than this, our image can be used as a powerful tool for communication. Our appearance silently sends out messages about us, so we need to understand what these messages are and how we can design them for accuracy. If your appearance speaks volumes, then it makes sense to ensure it is saying the right things!
Style Coaching™ is proof that what you wear really can change your life. Far beyond clothes, accessories, colour coordinating and makeup, it’s about the multiple ways in which we can successfully build self-confidence, reconstruct a positive self-image, and access an abundance of self-esteem. The ability to do all of this, without needing hours of therapy, is quite incredible and makes Style Coaching™ accessible on a massive scale! Simplicity really is the ultimate sophistication and can bring about some of the best results.
Style Coaching™ opens the doors for us to move beyond previous self-limiting beliefs, and embrace our full potential on every level. It’s little wonder that in less than 10 years, authentic Style Coaching™ has journeyed from being an unheard of term, to being a trademarked formula used by over 1000 Certified Style Coaches™ in 68 countries around the world, with an International Association of Style Coaching™ now headquartered in Great Britain. Style Coaching™ has touched the lives of thousands of individuals and is having a dramatic impact on the world of Life Coaching, as well as Image Consultancy, offering both sectors a mutually transformative way of working with clients and achieving the fulfilling results that we all want – which ultimately is to improve the quality of life for the real people we work with.
“The ‘self-image’ is the key to human personality and human behavior. Change the self image and you change the personality and the behavior.” - Maxwell Maltz
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kate Cutting is a co-director and master trainer of the Style Coaching Institute® – the only training company in the world offering a Diploma Certificate in Professional Style Coaching™.
Kate also serves as VP of Member Communications at the International Association of Style Coaches™ (IASC) where she writes weekly articles and a monthly ezine, distributed in 68 countries. At the Style Coaching Institute®, Kate works alongside the co-creator of Style Coaching™, Tracey Redmond, as the co-author of the institute’s training publications. However, Kate’s greatest passion is her long-term role as a mentor to Style Coaches™ during their training, as well as throughout their careers. Because of her belief in the transformational power of Style Coaching™, she is dedicated to increasing the public awareness and continually developing the professional standards for the field.
Kate was recently honoured to write the foreword for 'Branded for Success’, a publication written by one of Asia’s leading Style Coaches™, Lionel Lim (winner of the 2012/2013 Successful Entrepreneur Award, Mister Singapore United Nation 2011, Singapore’s Most Loved Beauty Professional 2011 and Giant Stars Most Confident Smile Award 2006).
Alongside her expertise in Style Coaching™, Kate is also a licensed NLP practitioner and accredited Life Coach.
Tel: +44 208 133 9003