You’re a coach, but do you know it?

Hello, I’m Dina. I’m a life and career coach to creatives and career changers.

I coach individuals wanting to find a fulfilling and meaningful job, and I help creatives level up. 

It sounds like my job is a million miles away from what you do, but I’m here to argue for the other side. Your job and mine, have a lot more in common than you may think, but there are 3 coaching guide lines I live by that have saved me that you may not be aware of. But first, let me present my case for our similarities:

  • Do you get paid by the hour? 
  • Do all clients you take on sign a contract?
  • Do your clients also find you through personal referrals?
  • Do your clients come in with a problem and your work is to get to a solution?
  • Are your clients often going through an emotional time and cry in your sessions? 
  • Do you end up sometimes knowing more about them than their family or friends do?

It looks like coaches and Family Lawyers aren’t too dissimilar after all. Who knew?

That training has been incredibly useful. Unfortunately it’s reserved for therapists and coaching psychologists, but 121 sessions happen in so many other industries. Think about how much gossip and drama gets offloaded from clients onto hairstylists? Poor guys. The hairdresser chair may as well be Freud’s couch. 

Without proper training, the provider in the 121 may be feeling emotionally exhausted at the end of the day. There may also be guilt and doubt about whether they did enough or not enough for when their clients got emotional, unknowingly taking on clients’ anxiety or even feeling frustrated with the client for making the ‘wrong’ decision. 

However I’ve had considerable psychology and coach training to prepare me to be able to show empathy, provide psychological safety whilst at the same time being professional and ensuring we stick to the case at hand and don’t go off on tangents. Which long-term saves me from taking client’s troubles home or suffering from emotional burning out. 

Why does this happen? 

Having an hour of someone’s undivided attention is rare nowadays, so when it happens, it feels great…for the client. The client feels heard and valued when they have your attention.  Multiple sessions across time builds trust and puts the client even more at ease. You become someone that’s reliable, consistent and dependable over time. 

What happens when a client trusts you and is at ease? They bring more of themselves into the session. 

This is when the boundaries start getting blurred. You’re friendly now, but you’re not their friend, but do they know that? Their expectations of your relationship and you may have changed, but these aren’t ever made explicit. So you’re navigating invisible rules. At times this closer relationship speeds up work, at other times you’re not sure what role you’re playing in their lives – friend, therapist, coach or lawyer? Either way it’s confusing what to do and can be emotionally draining. 

Let me help. Here are 3 caching tips that you can use today and will hopefully make your professional lives easier and lighter. 

1) Remember: For the alliance to work, the strongest relationship should be you as the professional, not as a friend. 

You are far more useful to them as a lawyer than you are a friend. They have plenty of friends, but you are probably their only lawyer. 

It can be tough because you’ve seen someone over a period of time, through maybe the worst times of their lives, and they’ve confided in you – you build a trust, rapport and a friendship.

But what happens in friendships and relationships over time? A lot is not talked about. As soon as there’s a friendship, there is a relationship they may not want to lose.  They will therefore hold back on telling you critical things in order to keep the friendship. 

They value your opinion as a friend and will start treating you as a friend first, lawyer second. Communication may get easier but your job will get harder.  

How do you keep your roles clearly defined? With my next two points: by teaching them how to best use you and by contracting at each session. 

2) Importance of contracting at each session. 

By contracting, I don’t mean getting your client to sign a contact. Instead this is a verbal introduction to the session, like outlining an agenda for a meeting. 

Starting the meeting with “Before we start, I wanted to outline how this session will flow and remind you, as always, that everything said here is confidential. I will be time-keeping and give you a 10 minute warning before the end to make sure we cover everything we need” 

This gives them transparency and an element of control from knowing what’s ahead, which contributes to psychological safety. 

Don’t hold back on repeating and reminding key things like confidentiality and session structure. People forget and sometimes that reminder is timely and unlocks something. This formality and set up reminds them that this isn’t a free flowing chat. It has a beginning and an end bookmarked by you. It makes them feel reassured that you’re on their side, you’re working collaboratively, but ultimately you will be steering the process. Setting yourself as the time keeper who will make sure you keep on track, gives you the permission to keep conversation to the goal at hand to ensure a timely end. Clients may be leaving something until the end, so the 10 minute prompt will make sure if gets covered within the hour. 

Whilst you both know the ultimate goal of your work together, it’s good to outline the goal for the session. Coaching is client-led so we get the client to establish the goal “I wanted to ask you what main goal was for this session?” or “What is the best use of our time here?” . However, you can lead with setting the goal, but make sure to check in with the client to see if they’re happy with it and if there’s anything else they’d like to add. This reconnects them to the goal and gets their buy-in so they too will work from their end to make sure you get there.

3) Teach them how to use you

Never assume a client knows how to best use your services. This goes for most service providers. No one knows instinctively how to use a coach or a lawyer. I therefore scope out their experience when we first meet by asking if they’ve had coaching before and if so what their experience was. This conversation will save a lot of misunderstandings in the future – you don’t know what the lawyer was like before you. If they haven’t experienced coaching, I ask them about their expectations of coaching. This will get any myths and false assumptions out in the air. Once that’s done, give an outline of what your role is and what it isn’t, then follow up with an email so they have it to hand. 

As your sessions unfold they may start using you as a friend or a therapist. As soon as you feel it venture into that territory, establish boundaries with phrases like “This sounds interesting but I wanted to check in to see if this relates to our goal for this session. If it does, we will give it the air time it needs. If it doesn’t, may I suggest we focus back on what’s important for us to cover in this session”. The first times you do this may feel like you’re cutting them off and being cold, but you’re actually showing yourself to be even more trustworthy and reliable. They’ll know they can’t push your boundaries, and therefore, other people can’t. Your consistent firmness in role and time boundaries will give them psychological safety and emotional calm. They know where they stand with you. 

These 3 simple guidelines have been a professional lifesaver to me. Sticking to them has ensured clients trust me, come back to me and send me referrals, and most importantly, I don’t feel emotionally drained at the end of the day. I hope they will do the same for you too!

Dina Grishin – your straight-talking coach




TALK TO ME:  +44 (0) 7930483660

Is ‘loan’ still a dirty word for HNWI finances?

Marcus Holburn, Finance Director @ Ampla Finance

Historically, the word ‘loan’ would send shivers up the spine of many steady, solvent people, conjuring images of red-letters and bailiffs at the door.  But whilst the steady-eddies of the world were living within their means, others were leveraging their assets, using available finance to take advantage of investment opportunities and accumulating wealth as a result.

Increasingly, niche lenders are making it possible to use capital assets as security, to unlock new opportunities or de-risk investment decisions, a prime example being funding for legal expenses, particularly in divorce and litigation.

You might say, if you’re a private investor or High Net Worth Individual, why would you need funding for something like legal fees, surely there’s plenty of available capital to pay the costs outright? But this may not be the most financially savvy option and there is an increasing realisation that a low-interest loan from a specialist lender could prove a better investment decision in the long run than drawing down on other asset pots.

For those seeking to claim a share of wealth owed to them but, as a result of their circumstances,  don’t have access to ready cash,  this sort of lending is proving a vital lifeline.  

When facing unforeseen costs, such as legal fees, there are a few considerations to make, particularly regarding maximising profit and minimising loss from investments.

Firstly, beware the hidden costs – you may need more than you think. Divorce is notorious for cutting into the finances of High Net Worth Individuals and the more complex the case, the more the costs are likely to mount.  Try to avoid adding complexity or unnecessary acrimony to the proceedings, as this will only serve to increase the fees incurred.

It’s also critical to make sure the balance sheet adds up.  Remember that “hard” debts (bank loans, mortgages and litigation loans) are considered as joint liabilities during the division of assets and divided between the parties accordingly.

In comparison, liquidated investments used to pay for legal fees generally aren’t considered on the balance sheet as the costs are already incurred.  Likewise, “soft” loans from family and friends are generally considered non-repayable, so may not be accounted for in the overall calculation. Also be aware that liquidated investments may be easier to value than invested assets, so think smart about how the assets and liabilities stack up when listed out side-by-side.

Understanding the costs of cashing in investments


Bricks and mortar are often considered the stalwart of prudent investment.  An Englishman’s home is his castle after all; but those who have invested in property, especially over the last few, politically tumultuous, years know all-too-well that there are few short-term gains to be made.  If property makes up a large part of your asset base, then you understand the losses possible if forced to sell when the market is weak, just to cover immediate legal costs.

And that’s not to mention the tax implications.  If you’re a higher or additional rate taxpayer, you’ll pay 28% on gains from residential property that is not your home, including buy-to-let (investment properties), business premises and land.

Assuming your property portfolio is generating income through being rented for either residential or commercial purposes, you may also need to consider potential financial and legal penalties for breaking contracts with tenants, not to mention the time and hassle of doing so.

Stocks, shares & ISAs

Depending on the structure of your investment portfolio, the asset classes and risk appetite applied, cashing in your investments may come with a range of penalties, complexities and implications for achieving a return on investment. Two main costs to consider are:

  • Tax

In the UK, you may have to pay Capital Gains Tax if you make a profit when you sell shares or other investments.  This excludes shares in an ISA or PEP, but can include equity shares, units in a unit trust and certain bonds.  As with property, as a higher rate taxpayer, the 28% rate applies in this case.

  • Opportunity cost

If your investment portfolio was set up for the long-term, then cashing in early can certainly hurt.  Common belief dictates that you only want to play the stock market when investing for a time horizon of 10 years or longer.  In that horizon, you can weather the market ups and downs and still make a profit.  Suddenly cashing in your shares to fund an unexpected cost may end up costing you dearly in unrealised opportunity cost.

It’s also not uncommon in managed funds to have investment minimums or withdrawal restrictions and penalties.  All these factors will have a significant impact on the ultimate return on your investment, so simply selling up may not be the most effective way of releasing capital when you need it.


It may be tempting to cash in a pension to release funds for unforeseen costs now, however this Is not only risky for your future, but may also incur significant cost, levied by HMRC.  If you were to release the whole of your pension pot in one go, you would pay income tax on 75% of the whole amount.  If you’re a higher rate taxpayer, this could mean paying 40% or even 45% on your pension, which is certainly something that requires careful consideration.  Not only that, releasing your pension early could also affect your entitlement to benefits later in life.

Specialist lending could be the answer.

It may not seem obvious but staying in the market, using your investments to leverage your position and borrow for unforeseen costs, could well be the way to answer your immediate cash requirement, whilst seeing through the long-term investment opportunities. 

In fact, in the case of a divorce, the balance of a loan used to pay legal costs can be wrapped into joint liabilities with your partner, splitting the debt after separation of finances.

There are many niche lenders who offer bespoke loans, tailored to specific needs and situation, so considering the right option for you in the circumstances may be the best investment decision you ever make.

Divorce Day – What you need to know

Whether you believe in ‘Divorce Day’ or not, many Family Law firms report a spike in divorce proceedings on the first working Monday after the winter break.  

That said, although separation applications are traditionally expected to rise in the new year, recent statistics released by The Marriage Foundation reveal that current divorce rates in England and Wales are falling fast, with the divorce rate in the first 15 years of marriage dropping to 22.5 per cent for those who tied the knot in 2017. Compared to a rate of 31 per cent for the same group in 1992, the impact of Divorce Day may be fading as the number of divorces drops.

Sir Paul Coleridge, the former senior family court judge leading the report, suggested that these findings reflect the more positive societal attitudes being taken towards marriage and divorce, outlining how the next generation are undertaking marriage with “a degree of serious commitment not seen for decades”. Regardless of rates dropping, however, a key issue remains unaddressed that affects both those exploring divorce and family law professionals: the difficulty of funding a divorce.

Those making the already difficult decision to divorce often face the added pressure of juggling the financial costs of proceedings alongside the emotional costs. What’s more, the number of financial choices available can often prove daunting. As such, there are several financial and legal courses of action couples should consider when entering into a complex, high-risk divorce.

First steps:

Many couples may be tempted to use the new year as the catalyst for a fresh start, but it is important not to rush into separation proceedings without talking to someone who is familiar with the divorce process. By seeking reputable, practical support from a lawyer or trusted financial adviser, couples can receive informed and objective advice from a qualified professional before entering into what can often turn out to be a complicated, emotional process. 

Couples who have been married for many years can also run into difficulty when dividing their accumulated assets, finances and property, causing their divorce proceedings to become unnecessarily lengthy and financially taxing. In these instances, organisation and communication are key. By discussing the issues that need to be resolved by the family courts in advance, couples can save valuable time in court, subsequently cutting down their legal fees.

Legal Funding Options:

Divorce can be a squeeze on the finances of everyone involved, so it is important to be aware of the different financing options available before entering court proceedings.

One option to consider is taking out a 0% interest credit card or personal loan, which can allow couples to avoid paying interest for up to 12 months. However, with many solicitors not accepting this kind of payment, and divorces often taking longer than a year to finalise, this simple option does not always cover the necessary ground.

Some solicitors offer ‘Sears Tooth Agreements’, a legal contract that extracts any owed fees from the divorce settlement. Though these can provide an efficient solution in the case of a successful settlement, only a small number of firms are willing to take the high risks involved in STA contracts, making this a hard-to-find option.

Another route is to seek a Legal Service Payment Order, which allows the court to order one ex-partner to fund the entirety of the legal costs. These can be useful when one partner has control over the household finances and income, however LSPOs are only available if a litigation loan cannot be signed or Sear’s Tooth Agreement entered into.

With so many legal funding options out there, it can be difficult to determine which will provide the safest and easiest route to a successful divorce. Unlike most legal funding options, Ampla Finance Legal offers responsible and responsive loans based on the assessment of the estimated legal costs. By only charging interest on the amounts used, we allow our clients to stay in control of their finances without compromising their monetary security.

If you would like to learn more about our Fair Finance, please read our FAQs here. For more information on all your divorce funding options, visit the Money Advice Service.  

Know your divorce funding options

We appreciate that divorce is already a difficult time, without the added pressure of juggling legal costs too. Since legal aid cuts in 2013, an increasing number of people have had to weigh up their divorce funding options. From credit cards to personal loans, the financial choices can be intimidating and expensive.

Many people choose to borrow from family and friends, but did you know that this can risk your divorce settlement in court if you don’t sign a formal agreement? Courts may not always take into account this type of ‘soft’ loan when making the final divorce settlement. It sounds obvious, but if you do borrow from friends and family then do ensure you have clarity as to how and when you will pay them back – it can harm relationships if there is ambiguity or confusion when it comes to finances.
Another option is to seek a Legal Service Payment Order, by which a court can order your ex-partner to fund your legal costs. Alternatively, an out-of-court agreement with your ex may be made if they are willing to cover your fees.

Settling costs with your former partner not possible? It’s easy to understand why you might want to avoid further court proceedings. In that case, you could consider taking out a 0% interest credit card or personal loan, as long as you qualify with a high enough credit rating. However, the bar is often set so high that this can prove to be a tall order.

When it comes to taking out loans, high street banks don’t tend to be competitive, so this does involve a lot of shopping around and can result in paying a lot in interest. Opting for a 0% interest credit card instead allows you to avoid paying interest for a limited period of time – usually under 12 months or less. If you do take out a credit card it’s worth checking when the 0% deal runs out, as many divorces can take longer than 12 months to finalise. It’s also important to find out whether your solicitor even accepts this kind of payment, as many don’t.

Some law firms do offer a legal contract which extracts fees directly from your divorce settlement. This known as a ‘Sears Tooth Agreement’, and is usually only suitable if your solicitor is confident of a successful settlement. Few firms are willing to take the risk, making this a tricky option to rely on.
With all this jargon flying, and risks high, we decided that there should be a simpler and safer way.

We launched Ampla Finance Legal to streamline these complicated options into a simple, bespoke solution. We work in partnership with your solicitor to design a loan best suited to your financial needs. Since we offer responsible loans based on an assessment of your likely legal costs, there is no need to sacrifice your financial security. We recognise the need for a quick decision and tailored divorce loan which cuts through legal jargon. That’s why we promise fast, flexible, and above all, fair financing.

If you would like to learn more please read our FAQs here and for more information on all your divorce funding options, the following are also useful guides:

The Money Advice Service
Citizen’s Advice Service
FT Adviser