Hello! My name is Karen Crawley and I’m a development coach. But I wasn't always this...
After 25 years dedicating myself to a successful career as a corporate patent attorney, one day I woke up and realised that this was no longer what I wanted to do; it wasn’t making me happy and life is too short not to be happy. So what now? If I’m not that, then what am I? I don’t know how to do anything else (at least, that’s the story I told myself for a few years).
This led me to a crisis in confidence and self-esteem. I judged myself very harshly for not taking action to make a change, and yet I didn’t know what change to make and I couldn’t see a way to take action. I was stuck!
I decided to work with a coach to see if I could find some answers - and so began the transformation of my life. Through coaching I felt the power of being really heard, without judgement. Perhaps for the first time in my life I felt supported, ready and able to look objectively at my life. I articulated more clearly the things I was unhappy about and began figuring out what would make me happier.
I became aware of the reality gap between how I viewed myself (somewhat negatively) and how other people viewed me (motivational and successful). Working with my coach, I used some tools to explore my strengths, and went from being quite dismissive of them to accepting and embracing them. I discovered that many of my skills were ideal for coaching - something I'd done informally with people for years without consciously realising it.
I decided to train as a professional coach myself and I have never looked back. This job allows me to indulge my passion for supporting people’s growth and development every day!
My earlier career as a Patent Attorney in the corporate and legal sectors latterly included senior leadership roles in the legal function at GlaxoSmithKline.
I understand what it is like to study for professional exams alongside a full-time job gaining experience, and I know what it means to pass those testing exams.
I've walked the path as a newly qualified attorney wanting to make my mark and step up to stretch roles.
I've felt the pressure of managing a docket of pressing deadlines, getting late instructions from clients, drafting claims in challenging technologies.
I have lived the excitement, and the stress, of litigation on blockbuster products.
I know the challenges in managing multi-party efforts, facilitating the relationship between in-house legal and business managers, external counsel and the other party in a dispute.
I have developed leadership and managerial skills whilst maintaining a full client docket and juggling foreign travel with a private life.
I have managed attorneys, information scientists and support staff, and led matrix project teams.
And, I've felt self-doubt, frustration, an ebb and flow of confidence. I've had times when I've loved what I'm doing and felt fully in my power. And I've had times when I didn't know what I wanted from my career, times when I felt I was drowning, and times when it seemed I was just drifting along.
In other words, I GET YOU!
One of the most fulfilling aspects of my patent career was to mentor and coach talented individuals, supporting them in their development and success. A natural progression for me, therefore, was to pursue formal coach training to combine with my corporate and legal background to help others fulfil their personal and professional potential. I coached many leaders internationally before leaving GlaxoSmithKline for my own coaching practice.
I’m an accredited member of the International Coaching Federation (ICF), and adhere to their Code of Ethics and competency guidelines.