This week on my interview series I am talking to Jenni Donato, who has just launched her new coaching business, Chance Coaching, where she specilises in life coaching and supporting families.
With a young family to take care of and a daughter with a life-changing condition, she is truly inspirational in how she is managing to fit it all in. She has an amazing vision for her business and wants to help others going through a challenging time.
I stayed at home full time with my young family, my daughter was 5 and at school when we decided to set up our business so I was able to work during school hours and still be there for pick-up and after school chaos. It amazes me how well ladies like Jenni manage, I am not sure I could.
Please do take a read and find out a bit more and Jenni is offering a discount to readers of Fifty & Fab so if you would like to find out more or know someone who might benefit from chatting to Jenni then do please share this blog post!.
Tell us a little bit about yourself?
I am a wife, a mother of two adorable children, a sister, a daughter and a hard worker, and I’m passionate about helping families to find - and live - the life they want.
I left my career as an Environmental Consultant to start a family, however things didn’t go as planned and after my daughters life changing diagnosis I spent the next few years going through some very challenging times. However, throughout all the turmoil, I met some truly inspiration people and I am more determined than ever to raise my children right whilst following my dream to become a life and family coach.
And tell us a little bit about your business venture and what inspired you?
Choosing to have a family is one of the most life-changing experiences we can undertake. However, we get no official training and can never fully prepare ourselves for exactly how much our lives and relationships will change.
It is not then surprising that family life is filled with surprises and challenges, which even the strongest of us sometimes struggle to navigate.
I have recently set up a company called Chance Coaching, who offer life and family coaching to families struggling with unexpected challenges.
I also work with families whose children attend Chance to Dance, a dance school dedicated to giving children with additional needs the chance to participate in dance classes, summer camps and stage performances.
To hear more about my story click here
What does an average day look like for you?
At present my average day consists of an early wake up from a hungry 6 month old, who normally then doesn’t go back to sleep until my 4 year old shouts “It’s daytime playtime!”.
My mornings are then filled with food up the walls, mess in the house, football and swimming classes and general chaos. But also plenty of fun, cuddles and laughter until my daughter goes off to preschool for the afternoon and I get a valuable 3 hours (of relative quiet) with my baby boy.
Once school pickup is done, it’s then the daily rush of dinner and bedtime before I can relax and see what I need to do for my new business venture.
Evening are currently spent sorting paperwork, chatting to business partners and clients and applying for funding to be able to provide my services at reduced rates to families within certain eligibility criteria. My biggest aim is to be able to provide my services free of charge to families going through crisis to help them through their own challenges and create a better life for themselves and their children.
What has been your biggest challenge?
By far my biggest challenge was coming to terms with my daughters diagnosis. She was diagnosed with hip dysplasia at two and a half and went through a major operation to build her a working hip socket which would last as long as possible, hopefully giving her a pain free childhood where she could take part in all the things any child should.
During her treatment I suffered both emotionally and physically and, at one point, undertook counselling to come to terms with everything that had happened and what her future could look like if the treatment didn’t work.
This experience really made me reevaluate my life and pushed me to hire a life coach. This was the best thing I’ve ever done and - along with other inspirational people I had met through my daughters treatment - gave me the drive and encouragement to follow my dream of becoming a life and family coach, providing help and support to families also going through tough times.
What advice would you pass on to someone wishing to change career in midlife?
Just do it – and obviously, hire a life coach! Seriously though, coaches are trained in scientifically proven tools and techniques to get the most out of people and really get them to focus on what they want out of life and then how – in detail – to get there.
The one thing someone said to me along the way which changed my outlook on life, was to really picture who I wanted to be once I’d achieved my goal and then wake up tomorrow and be that person! I am now the person I pictured and I’m loving every minute of it!
Do you have a signature style, an everyday look that you love?
Currently I’m loving the messy bun and whatever I grab out of the cupboard look, but that’s mainly because I normally have exactly 2.5 minutes to get ready in the morning. Once my daughter starts school in September and my son is at the childminder I’m sure I will refine my signature style into something more glamorous than the ‘just been pushed through a bush’ look!
How do you balance your business with family life?
Despite having done multiple training courses in this very subject in order to help my clients, I still find balancing the time between family and work difficult.
There is simply not enough hours in the day when you are a parent, especially if you would like some sleep!
However, my best tricks are to only focus on one thing at a time and to give myself realistic challenges for the week – and write them down (both in my home life and work life). I do this by keeping a strict to-do-list and a very large family calendar. Getting a big magnetic calendar to go on the fridge and getting input from all the family members (well, the ones who could speak) was one of the best things we’ve ever done to organise our week – and this, along with a shared iPhone calendar with my husband, which comes with a rule that if it’s not in the calendar, it doesn’t exist - has made a massive difference in minimising the stress around balancing all our activities, work, studying and hobbies!
What is your biggest achievement to date?
Having my two children has been my biggest, and best, achievement. Even when times are hard, I’m exhausted, and my daughter needs my help on the toilet whilst I’m trying to feed the baby, I try to remember they are both miracle babies and are worth every ounce of effort. Just to watch my daughter running around with her friends after everything she’s been through fills my heart with pride and now seeing my son starting to develop his own unique personality fills me with excitement of the times to come.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?
In five years time, both my children will be in full time education and I would love to be running a truly successful life coaching practice helping as many families as i can to also fulfill their dreams. I’m currently undertaking a Professional Diploma in Therapeutic Counselling and hope to be able to plug the gap between coaching and counselling in order to help as many families as possible, especially those going through tough times.
One of my current areas is families with children diagnosed with any complex health condition, but my aim is really just to be there for families who could do with that extra bit of help to really make the most out of their lives and bring happiness and laughter back into their homes.
How can we get in touch with you and find out more about you or your coaching?
All my coaching packages come with a free initial consultation in order for both parties to decide whether we are a good fit and for a coaching package to be specifically tailored.
I'm also dedicated to providing affordable coaching to all, therefore, along with our partners and funding organisations, we can sometimes provide significantly reduced packages.
However, all coaching packages can be tailored to available budgets and individual needs.
Our three example packages can be found on our website:
And you can contact me either directly through my website or through my Facebook business page at fb.me/chancecoaching
I’m offering a fabulous 30% off any package of your choice to the first three clients to contact me and quote 'Fifty & Fab' after that there is still a 10% discount off the total package price to clients who undertake four or more sessions and who quote “Fifty & Fab”.
Thank you so much Jenni, you must be a very busy lady!
I have had some life coaching in the past and I can vouch for how helpful it is with getting you to focus your thoughts and make a plan. And working together as family, whether your family are young or growing up as mine are, seems to be a very sensible idea. It can be quite challenging learning to live as a new unit after years of being single or just the two of you and I know I have had some difficult times when my children were younger and if help had been available I would have grabbed it with open arms.
My one aim for my own children has been to give them to confidence to go out into the world and do whatever they want to do. I am so proud of them both. They are independent, capable and likable, they both know what they want to do and they are out there working hard towards their goals. It never ceases to amaze me how they grow and change, my son was the nervous young boy at the school gates who would often have a few tears when I left him and I wondered if I had done something wrong, I doubted my parenting, but he has grown into such a strong and determined young man and I have every confidence he will succeed at whatever he wants to do. Give them the tools, trust them and talk and listen but don't judge. That way they will always open up to you.
Welcome to Fifty & Fab, a lifestyle blog celebrating women. I am a blogger with a passion for writing about style, beauty, health and fitness with a focus on the over 50's. I am based in Marlow but work across London and the South East.
Hi, I’m Michelle and my blog Fifty & Fab is all about my journey into and through my fifties. I share style tips, health and fitness inspiration, I talk about my holidays and days out and I tell you about my beauty regime and my lifestyle. I hope you might pick up a tip or two and get some inspiration!
Use my hashtag and tag me on Instagram #beingfiftyandfab @fifty_andfab
I’d love to see what you are doing and with your permission, share some of your images.
Join my mailing list (below) for regular updates and don’t forget to look at my social media pages too..
Subscribe to receive regular blog updates by email:
I have a Just Giving page to raise funds for Dogstar Foundation and Yawajeewa Community Learning Centre in Sri Lanka - donations can be made here.