Jo Killgallon, Founder of Orchid Coaching & HR
Supporting small to large businesses (or their senior leadership team) to reach their full potential
I fell pregnant with my second child whilst I was on maternity leave with my first. I’d worked in corporate HR throughout my whole career. I knew balancing a demanding senior job with family life was going to be difficult, so being made redundant was a blessing. It freed me up to leave an organisation where I’d worked for 14 years and do something different.
I’d decided to become a consultant; then an old boss convinced me to move 200 miles away to Cheshire and take a job with the Co-op. For the next three-and-a-half years, I struggled to balance my home life with a high-pressured role at a company going through a difficult time. Cramming a full-time job into part-time hours, I was constantly firefighting.
For the first time ever, I became stressed and anxious. By December 2016, I was so low I felt incapable of doing anything; then my GP called on Christmas Eve to say my already-underactive thyroid was out of kilter. I had a moment of insight: ‘Things had to change’.
After a very adult conversation with my boss, I agreed to stay on whilst she restructured; then leave in the summer. I was able to fund my advanced postgraduate qualification in Executive Coaching & Mentoring through my exit package. As I’d missed the 2017 intake, I used the next 12 months to balance my home and work life – being with the kids and working at a local shop.
I qualified in June this year. Throughout all my years of coaching in HR, I’d been expected to give people the answers. The course taught me to put ego to one side and facilitate them in a different way. Twelve months after launching my business, it’s going from strength to strength. My goal for 2020 is to tip the balance from HR consultancy work towards more coaching. It feels exciting and achievable. I draw great strength from engaging with and helping people in the networking group I run.
I’m starting to love myself more and to give myself credit for the things I have and can achieve. What I know now is hugely empowering. Just like my coachees, I’m on a journey.