Assunta Cucca is the founder of Kokoro Consultancy in London and the co-host of the podcast Flowing In. We hope you enjoy this interview!
Coaching Focus: Kokoro Consultancy has the vision to help people thrive in life and business by bringing back more humanity into the workplace and everyday life. It’s a space where people can nurture their feelings and minds (kokoro in Japanese) and develop resilience.
Location: London, England
Connect: You can find Assunta online at her website, as well as on Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn. You can listen to her podcast Flowing In on Spotify.
Tell us about your journey as a coach.
I left beautiful Sardinia, in Italy, for University and later moved to England for a Master’s degree. I’ve been living here for almost 20 years now, apart from a couple of years in South Korea working for NGOs.
I enjoyed my career in innovation and employee engagement until I totally burned out…and I could not see the purpose of my job anymore. I had also just had my first child (I have two beautiful mischievous little boys), and my identity was going through a massive restructuring!
I remember clearly that Friday evening in 2017 when I asked myself: “If there were no expectations, no money concerns, what would you do?”
“I would become a coach and yoga teacher,” I answered.
EUREKA! I enrolled in both courses the next day, retrained…and embraced uncertainty. It was clear straight away that my mission was bringing more humanity to workplaces. I had been looking for that all my career, and I wanted people to be able to bring their authentic selves to work, without the need of having to fit in at all costs.
Before I knew it, I was chatting with people on the lift, at cafes, at dinners…and I started having my first real coaching conversations, and incorporating coaching into my yoga classes.
Now, Kokoro is focusing very much on conscious leadership and mental health/resilience. I am following the flow and this is where it is taking me…
What courses, programs, or certifications have you done? Would you recommend them, and for whom?
I trained as a Transformational Coach with Animas Centre for Coaching, and I had the best experience ever. Animas trains people to coach in the purest way, but it’s not just a training school—it’s an incredible community! I also trained in Group Coaching and Mindfulness Coaching with Animas, and I have been awarded the Professional Certified Coach accreditation by the International Coaching Federation.
I have since done further Continuing Professional Development courses to explore the topics I am more passionate about like positive psychology, resilience, ontology, executive and wellness, and clean coaching through the Association for Coaching. I am also trauma-informed thanks to the courses offered by PESI.
Coaching is an amazing profession that requires you to continuously learn new things and keep up to date with new research.
On top of that, I am a qualified Yoga teacher through Yogacampus, and I hold a Master’s degree in Communications from Perugia University and a Master’s in International Development from Sussex University.
What advice or perspective might you give to a new coach trying to get their first clients? Any advice they should ignore?
What I would say is stop Googling ‘how to get more coaching clients’ – ha ha ha!!
Yes, the process of getting clients might not be linear. There might be times when you have so many that you need to create a waiting list and other times when you actually (and finally) have time to think and plan what the next step is. Enjoy the flow…
I spent the first year thinking that I had to use social media at all costs, although I found it draining.
My suggestion is to find out what your core strength is and develop that. For instance, for me, it’s always been building relationships. I like talking to people and I have built my coaching practice pretty much through word of mouth and associate work. Find something that works for you, stay open, and say YES more.
Especially when you are having conversations, make sure you are not coming from a place of need. You are here because you want to help people. Be present with that purpose. The money will come for sure—after you serve people.
And lastly, but probably most importantly: always, always invest in a coach and/or supervisor. How can you get clients if you are not a client first?
What are your thoughts on “choosing a niche” as a coach?
I think we need to reflect on what having a niche means. Let’s be honest: it’s mainly a marketing thing!
Having a niche can be several things: from coaching on a particular topic, to choosing to work with a particular persona, to using a particular style, and so on.
If we think like this, it might feel less restrictive. My experience with having a niche is that a niche will find you, at some point. Pay attention to what you like coaching on, what you are drawn to, and what you spend time reading and researching about.
And if things keep changing, embrace it.
A niche will find you.
When you feel overwhelmed, stressed, or have lost your focus or motivation, what do you do?
Oh, I love this question, as I often need to rebalance during the day.
Three main things:
- Movement: Running, ideally by the river Thames! This is a bit of a lifestyle for me. I know when I feel overwhelmed, I need to experience the feeling of having SPACE and FREEDOM. So, for me, running is the best antidote. And Yoga: as I am quite physical, the best way for me to recharge often involves movement. Yoga is so unique in that it also involves meditation and breathing.
- Breathwork: 2 minutes to regain focus. I breathe in for 6 seconds, hold for 6, and breathe out for 6. Repeat. It works wonderfully.
- When I feel stuck and can’t concentrate, I try and change my place of work. I am currently writing from my favourite café, for example. It’s not ideal for having coaching sessions, but it’s great when I need to refocus, or when I am writing or working on a strategy piece.
What are some of your favorite affirmations, mantras, thoughts, and/or journal prompts currently? Why?
“Stop being the best. Be unique.”
For years and years, I aimed to be the best, to win at everything. I have an intense background as a highly competitive athlete in TaeKwonDo. Winning was a powerful drive for me.
Yet, now, winning means very little to me.
I strive to be unique and to be proud of my experience and skills, rather than wanting to be the best to feed my ego (and no, it’s not been an easy shift!)
This article was written by the Life Coach Magazine staff. We cover everything from personal development, to coaching tips, to how to grow your coaching business.
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