For most of my working life I have either been managing, coaching or teaching. Both my parents were teachers so some of their skills must run in the blood. I enjoy passing on my knowledge, skills and experiences through showing and not telling. I try as best as possible to provide just enough scaffolding around an idea, technique or process in order for the recipient to reach their desired outcome using as much of their own brain power as possible.
My style of learning was especially drawn towards finding patterns and continuing with a pattern until it failed. At the failure point, learn the reason why, identify a new pattern and carry on.
I succeeded best through doing and not through theoretical learning. This stood me in good stead as teams I managed typically performed above everybody’s expectations. People learn to do things well by doing them and not solely reading about them. People also have very different styles and approaches to how they learn. My success as a manager came from understanding this, identifying these learning styles and approaches and utilising them effectively in order to pass on my knowledge and safely pushing people to unexpected levels of performance.
I cannot motivate people directly. Motivation is an extremely personal trait. I provide an environment within which people are able to remain motivated through the good times and bad.
Financial markets move quickly and the pace of work can be just as quick too. Dealing with complex products, thoughts, processes and ‘difficult’ personalities within this environment can be challenging at best. By breaking down complexity into smaller more understandable chunks I was able to process and understand (and subsequently coach my team) more than was expected of me. By taking time to learn how people think I was able to break done these ‘difficult’ personalities and work with them not against them.
I created working environments where we could challenge and be challenged by each member of the team: especially myself as the leader of the team needed to be constantly challenged. Within that safety net we were able to fail amongst understanding people and never judged on failure. No one is perfect least of all me. So I try to provide the trust, support and aid so that people I am responsible for feel able to test their comfort zone without fear of being solely judged on that failure and thus expanding their skills, knowledge and prowess in dealing with ideas, processes and people.
Within this kind of environment motivation flourishes and success results.
Why do I write all this? It is very much my working philosophy and the more I looked in to teaching English the more I understood that how I had managed people in the financial world could be transferred across to the English learning environment. However, there were some eye opening realisations during my training process. The majority of English language teaching is done in large classes with standard text books following a syllabus based upon when it is believed that certain grammar points are ready to be taught irrespective of whether the student is ready to move on or has the current capacity to even take on more knowledge. That was not how I learnt English and based upon the research that is available on how second languages are acquired, it is not in line with the research observations either.
So, even though I qualified in 2018 as a Teacher of English as a Foreign Language I was not stepping out in to this new career teaching the textbook lead way in front of large classrooms. All my working life I learned by doing. I learned English by doing. I learned banking and finance by doing. In 2019 I stepped away from the financial industry for the final time. I am now starting the second half of my life and look to do so coaching people to become fluent in English and at the same time lead them to places and goals that they never thought they could get to.
At Akikana English Coaching I strive to ensure that you ‘do English’ and not ‘learn English’. Sure, I’ll happily teach some grammar in context or when it becomes a sticking point but otherwise our paid time together is primarily spent doing English through the output of your own time input. What does that mean?
Input: Reading and listening
Output: Writing and speaking
In your own time you should reading as much English as you can. I will guide you towards materials which can specifically aid this once you sign up to be coached by me. There is going to be plenty of free English on this site which over time will cover a whole host of subjects. So make sure to follow the blog and sign up for the newsletter.
You should also be listening to as much English as you can. I will provide self-produced materials as well as links to third party materials which can help here. An hour spent on YouTube can now be treated as learning if you are spending that hour watching suitable English language programming.
Once you decide to work closer with me then I’ll certainly provide more focus and guidance on your input needs as these will be used for output within our scheduled time together. During output sessions I’m there to guide, coach, teach, challenge, affirm, congratulate, correct and much, much more. Based upon your language goals I’ll design a bespoke syllabus for you and guide you through that syllabus using language naturally and in natural situations. No textbooks. No exams. Real materials. Real situations.
Our time together will be in an environment where you are motivated to learn. My skills as a coach will be measured against the goals you set and your ability to surpass them. Our on-line sessions will be scheduled at times that are suited to you. You will be in a location which you are comfortable to be in (i.e. the comfort of your own home). Over time your goals will change as your language skills improve. Our journey together will have a number of pit-stops where progress towards these goals are measured and fine tuning is conducted. It will also be an opportunity to evaluate my performance as your coach and where I need to work better for you. Once you reach the chequered flag my work will have been successfully completed. I will endeavour to get you to that chequered flag and so you excel fluently in English quicker than you expected.
Given my career background, I specialise in coaching English acquisition for those primarily in or related to the financial industry. However, I am well read and comfortable to operate in a whole host of different areas, industries and situations. I strive to keep learning so a client in an industry I’m not familiar with will be an education for me too. I can also offer English for special purposes such as survival English if you are moving to an English speaking country. I work in British English but have much exposure to other forms of English so I am able to point out differences when encountered. In theory I’m happy to coach anyone who wants to excel fluently at English.
I provide One-2-One coaching or coaching to groups of no more than four people. Which would be better? It really depends on your own goals and ambitions. Whilst working One-2-One will achieve faster results you only get to practice with me. Working with other learners of English can prove to be more beneficial as you potentially get more opportunity to speak in different roles and situations. Groups are created based upon participants having similar goals and needs. Perhaps you want to learn with friends and colleagues so if you all have similar goals and language ambitions then the group dynamic can add an extra layer of motivation. Perhaps you want a mixture of each. Everyone is different and I try as best as possible to cater for that. The important thing is that the time you pay for is spent with you doing as much English as possible so you can excel fluently.
If price is the only driver in how you learn then I don’t think we would work well together. There is plenty of free input material on this site and I’m more than happy to share that with my audience. Output is where my role comes in to play and that does come at a cost. I’m not only challenging and correcting, I’m guiding, coaching, providing insight, pointers, further materials of interest and aid, curating a bespoke syllabus to progress your English language skills. I’m leading you to excel fluently. My prices are comparable and in many cases better than the big name schools out there on the street.
What differentiates me from the named brands is that personal touch. Treating each client uniquely and the centre of the relationship. I take the time to understand your needs, wants and goals. I care. I care that you achieve and exceed with your language ambitions. Your time is valuable. Your money needs to be spent effectively. I will coach you to excel fluently in English through using the language, not learning the language.