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Q&A with Iris Smyth

We collaborate with some incredible consultants and coaches here at Dapper, so we decided it was time to introduce and celebrate them all in a series on our blog.

First up is Iris Smyth one of our dynamic facilitators who also happens to be an amazing career coach.

  1. What do you do? 

I work with successful professionals, entrepreneurs and business leaders who have achieved a lot, yet feel dissatisfied and like something is still missing. I help them to achieve a greater sense of fulfillment, and move forward with purpose and authentic alignment. 

  1. What is your communication style? 

Curious, empathetic, honest and direct: I prefer to ask questions rather than to speak, so I always ask tons of questions. This helps me to understand the other person better, and allows me to put myself in their shoes before saying anything. When it’s time to speak, I tend to be empathetic, yet direct and honest. I know when it’s necessary to say it as it is (with tact), and although it’s not always easy or comfortable, I won’t shy away from saying what needs to be said. 

  1. What is your style of coaching?

I sometimes explain myself as a detective. I believe the answers a client is looking for are there already, they just need some help to find them. I, as the detective, have my methods to help them search in the right places (so to speak). These methods are based on scientific research, as well as my years of experience and professional training as a career coach. 

An important note here is that a lot of the work my clients and I do is about experimenting and learning ‘in the real world’. Inner reflection is a small part of it, but the most significant gains are made by the actions my clients take in between our sessions, and the insights they gain from this. 

So, to sum up, I think my style of coaching can be described as inquisitive, founded in scientific research, with a strong focus on taking action. 

  1. What is one thing, in your view, someone should know before they embark on coaching? 

It’s a process of co-creation. What I mean by this is that whilst the client is being led by their coach with expert guidance, the client has a proactive role to play too. It’s their journey, and the more ownership they take for it, the better their results will be. If they just ‘sit back and relax’, and expect their coach to do all the work, it’s simply not going to work. The coachee has to put in the work too. It’s that synergy of the work that both parties put in that really makes the difference. 

  1. How do you know when you’ve made a breakthrough with a client?

Such a good question! There are of course different breakthroughs a client can make, but the most important one is when the fog has lifted for them. Most clients come to me confused and lacking clarity or direction, and they go round and round in their head asking the same questions… not being able to find the answers.  That moment when the fog lifts is so clear to spot, as they will stop being in their head so much, asking all these questions, and shift their focus on taking action. They might not have all the answers yet, but they’ve realised that the answers won’t come by asking the same questions over and over again, but instead by going out in the real world and taking action. 

  1. Who is your ideal customer? 

Someone who is self-motivated, open-minded, and is happy to take action rather than to over analyse things. 

  1. What coaching qualifications and experience do you have?

I’m an ICF-accredited Certified Professional Coach, Certified NLP Coach and Practitioner, and Certified Practitioner of Hypnotherapy. I’ve also completed courses in Positive Psychology and Mindfulness. 

  1. Tell us a bit about your career to date?

I’ve had quite a varied career! I started my career as a Management Consultant, specialising in Marketing. I then made the jump over to Marketing, working both agency side as well as client (in-house) side. By my late twenties, I had severe burn out, and left the corporate world. Since then I’ve carved out a path for myself as a career coach focusing on career changes and finding fulfillment, working with clients on a 1:1 basis, as well as teaching guest lectures at universities, and (co-)facilitating workshops for other organisations. I’ve also recently started a business called Blake & Grayson, designing and making statement halo crowns and sunglasses for festivals and special occasions. 

  1. What brings you joy/ energises you?

Spending time in nature. Mountain biking, surfing. Zwift. Having my first coffee of the day in the sun. Making halo crowns. Facilitating workshops, connecting with other humans. Playing/ splashing in the pool with my two young sons (4 and 2 years old). Bike rides with my eldest son (the youngest can’t ride just yet). Going to music festivals, and dancing the whole day /night. Sitting around a boma with friends, with a good glass of wine. Watching the stars.  

I come to life – at a different level – at AfrikaBurn. I’ve only been twice so far, but I’ve fallen in love with the place, the energy, the people. It’s a magical place where one can step away from ‘normal’ life for a few days, disconnect, connect, and express yourself in any way you like. 

  1. What do you enjoy about collaborating with Dapper?

Emma is such a joy to work with, and we’re very much aligned in our thinking and approach. It’s fun, easy-going, and impactful at the same time. 

I also love what Dapper does, and stands for: showing up authentically in one’s professional life. Finally, their clients have all been brilliant. Open minded, keen to learn, and all with such positive enthusiasm. 

  1. What type of workshops do you and Emma co-facilitate?

We facilitate half and full day workshops for entrepreneurs, business leaders and their teams to equip them with the tools and knowledge to authentically elevate their personal brand and professional presence. 

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