Saturday, July 31, 2010

Blogathon Interview: Amanda Miller

Amanda Miller is a Certified Life Coach for "women of a certain age" that I had the good fortune of meeting at a Downtown Women's Club event.  Not only did she just have a presence that made people feel good in just being around her, she also loves horses!  So, I'm doubly happy to introduce you to her during the Blogathon!

Thank you, again, Manda, for being part of the Blogathon.  Your website, Smart Steps Life Coach, has a great explanation of what life coaching is, and what to expect.  What inspired you to make your life path coaching - particularly for middle aged women?

I really had outgrown the role I had been in for almost 15 years as a corporate trainer, and I didn’t enjoy working for the company I was employed by at the time, which was one of Britain’s biggest banks.  My husband had the chance to relocate to the Boston area, so I jumped at the chance to escape the existing job. I had just finished my bachelor’s degree at the grand old ageof 41 and wanted to explore human development and psychology further.  Life coaching seemed to fit the best parts of training with personal development.  The ‘Women of a certain age” part came after about six months of starting the coaching buisness as I had no previous experience of marketing my services, and every marketing guru always said you had to find a niche.  I initially thought that it would be ‘confidence coaching for women’, but after working with a couple of clients I realized that there is a certain point in our lives (after about age 35) when we go through a transitional period because of career change (like myself), relationship breakup or just no longer knowing who we are or what we want.  I then had a client who used the ‘aha moment’ phrase after I had asked her to reflect on an issue in her life, and that just felt like it summed up what I wanted to provide for all my clients.

What is your favorite part of life coaching?  What do you find the most challenging?

I love problem solving with people, so finding that key “aha” question that sparks off new ideas for my clients is always really rewarding.  I also love preparing group coaching sessions so that I can share some of the key coaching solutions with small groups of people, and experience their interactions.  The most challenging part, which all coaches say they were unprepared for, is actually getting your name known, and having clients find you – marketing snd self promotion.  It is very time consuming.

You were also trainined as a Color and Image Consultant.  Among my blog readers are many writers and "geeks" (used as a positive endearment) like me who fear fashion.  What advice can you give us to make handling our appearance less terrifying?

Find out what your base colors are to wear – a color consultant can do this for you, but if you have a tight budget, rembmer that no one ever looks bad in navy blue, and you can always wear colors that are similar to your natural hair and eye color.  Too many women choose to wear black, which often overpowers them and makes them look tired.  Buy classic items that suit your body shape and you will always look good, and you can accessories inexpensively with colored scarves and jewellery.  I’ve always felt that fashion can be left to the under 21 age group.  You do not have to wear the latest fashion to look sylish and well turned out, and you can never look geeky when you are well presented.

What are some of the tools and services that you offer online?  I know you have a great blog, newsletter, and you were working on webinars?  Can you tell us more - and how to sign up?
I write a regular blog giving hints, tips and reminders on how to be your own life coach, and support this with a monthly newsletter that is sent to my subscribers.  You can read the blogs and past newsletters on my website and I would be honored if horseloving readers of this interview would join my subscribers from the link on the site.  I have a teleconference on August 2, entitled “Conquering your Inner Critic”, which is about dealing with that voice in your head that tells you that you are “not good enough”.  This will form part of a six part group telephone coaching program that I will be offering shortly at an affordable price – if fanyone is interested in getting further information on dates and times, please drop me an email at  I will also post updates in the newsletter.  There are also two face to face workshops that I am delivering in September, in collaboration with an Image consultant, which we are calling “The Magic of Midlife”, and a skin care expert which we are refering to as “The Cinderella Series”.  Both will be helping women with confidence, personal goals and image, and will be in Wellesley.  Again, email me for dates and further information.

What is the greatest lesson you have learned in your journey?  Which lesson do you find most women have to learn or face in their life?

That if you have a goal or a dream, and keep focused on in, you can achieve it.  I use my manifestation of my first pony as an example, since I wanted on for about 6 years when I was young (that was half my lifetime at that point!)  I coach my clients on establishing what their goals are, writing them down and finding pictures of the things they want to have in their lives, which is a bit like being a pony mad child and collecting pictures, books and ornaments of horses, and drawing and writing about them as I did.

I have found that most women need to face two lessons.  The first is that they should spend time to nurture themsleves and give themselves permission to do what they want – they don’t need to solve the problems of everyone else in the family first – it just makes them exhausted and bad tempered.  The second is closely related in that they need to find some balance to be able to focus on the issues that are important to their goals, dreams and wellbeing, not just the everyday duties of running their household or career.  This is one of the activies that I am focusing on in the September workshops.

Can you share a little about the horses in your life?  What is one of your favorite stories to tell?  And what did you learn from the horses in your life?

My first and long awaited pony was Mercury, a 13.2 dapple grey with a lovely temperament.  I always say that he was my first love, and I still think about him 30 years later. Sadly, I outgrew him, and my parents couldn’t afford to let me keep him.
Mercury is involved in one of my favorite stories, because in the summer when I was 12, I taught my best friend to ride on him.  Once she had mastered walk, trot and canter, we went our for trail rides. I was riding a 16.3 ex-racehorse (visualize the scene of two 12 year olds riding a small pony and an elderly racehorse).  We were having a slow canter along the side of a field, and when I stopped and looked around to speak to my friend, neither she nor Mercury were in sight.  So I trotted back along the path we had followed and saw Mercury looking into a ditch, just as my friend was climbing out, as if he was asking “What are you doing down there?”  She had her first fall.  She wasn’t hurt and was able to get back on – but I am sure Mercury had an amused smile on his face for the rest of the day.

I think that Mercury and the other horses I have had in my life (Lady, Filly and Cyril) have taught me to enjoy my own company and that I can always find peace, patience and the ability to live in the present moment when I am around them (not necessarily when I am sitting in the saddle though!).  Horses have no guilt about the past or worry about the future.  Nowadays, I have found this in the cats that I share my life too.

What question haven't I asked that you wished I did - and what would the answer be?

Maybe - what would you do if you had a spare million dollars? The answer would be to set up a shelter for any domestic animal that needed help or a home.  I have an image of everything from horses, donkeys, goats, pigs, chickens, dogs and cats.  But I would probably need an extra million to pay people to do that much work – I know how much energy is needed to maintain one horse or pony!

Lastly, what are the ways people can contact, follow… or otherwise positively stalk you online?
Visit my website – http://www.smartstepslifecoach.comand leave me some comments on my blogs if you find them useful
My facebook page is, where I have some group coaching special offers for my followers.

And again, please sign up on the website for my monthly newsletter, (I need to finish this months as soon as I have completed this!)

Again, thank you very much for your support of the Bay State Equine Rescue, Amanda!
Please follow some of Manda's links to find out more!  And if you enjoyed this interview, consider joining her in supporting the Bay State Equine Rescue.

Click the apple to donate now to help the BSER horses!


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