Elfreda Manahan-Vaughan Confidence Coaching, Training and Consulting


Tips and thoughts on how to have a great life.

view:  full / summary

Exploring Authenticity

Posted by Elfreda Manahan-Vaughan on July 26, 2019 at 7:05 AM Comments comments (0)

Firstly, I want to apologies for the lack of blog posts recently. I know many of you have been very supportive in the past reading my posts. This year has been taken up with study for my MSc and so my usual time spent writing on a Friday has been spent reading and researching instead. Anyway, here’s a little pondering for you this week.

I had the pleasure of participating in some new research into authenticity in coaches and coaching. Although the results of the research won’t be available until next year it did get me thinking about authenticity again and as I spoke to the researcher it helped me to clarify some of my own thoughts about my own experience.

One of the key questions asked was 'how do I know when I am being authentic?’ As I answered the question, I began to realise that I am more aware of when I am not authentic than when I am. Which reminded me of the answer I often get when I ask clients what they are thinking about when they are in the moment or are not feeling stressed or anxious. The answer is always ‘nothing’. This is the same for me when I am authentic. For me to be authentic means I need to be fully present in the moment. If I am projecting my thoughts into a situation, or if I am trying to project an image that may be perfect or knowledgeable then it pulls me out of the reality of who I am. When I am authentic, I am present warts and all. I know only so much, and I am aware of how much I don’t know. It has taken me years to be able to accept myself with all my flaws and successes.

To be genuinely authentic one needs to be able to admit your mistakes, take responsibility for your actions but most importantly know that you are enough. Being and feeling that you are enough allows us to present the truth of who we are, as we are no longer afraid of the judgements or opinions of others. For me, it also an ongoing journey. I need to be mindful of the moments of when I slip back into old patterns of defending or trying to be something I am not. I love that I am awesome and crap all at the same time.

I was asked if I had any tips for being authentic for new coaches and my answer, is the same answer I would give anyone. To be authentic you need to continually work on understanding yourself, on accepting who you are and overcoming the misguided assumptions you make about yourself and others. You need to free yourself from blame and be able to sit with the sad, angry and crappy parts of yourself. You have to thrive on the feedback that tells you who you are, even when it means you have to admit that some problems or difficult relationships are as much your fault as they are others. You also have to be present. Get out of your head and the stories you tell yourself about the world and other people. As long as you stay in a place of judgement and assumption you will miss the beauty of the moment and wonderful lessons it may bring. Working on your self-awareness, whether it is through meditation, yoga or emotional intelligence practices, is so important. If you don’t know who you are, or why you do what you do, how can you be authentic even with yourself.

It was an illuminating and inspiring conversation as we explored my thought for the research. It’s funny when we talk about things out loud how much insight we can have, I guess that is why coaching works and why I love it. I’d love to know your thoughts on authenticity and how you know when you are authentic and when you are not. Please post in the comments.

Thank you for reading. If you want to get in touch or have any questions email, phone 00353868373582 or PM.

I hope our paths cross again in the future,



The 5 Domains of Post-Traumatic Growth

Posted by Elfreda Manahan-Vaughan on May 3, 2019 at 10:40 AM Comments comments (0)

What Leads to Post-Traumatic Growth?

I doubt there is a single person on the planet, or any one of you reading this blog post, who hasn’t experienced some type of traumatic event in their lifetime. Oftentimes, when we think of trauma, we think of the more known ones such as abuse, bereavement, illness, accidents or the threat of losing a loved one. However, we can experience trauma with less extreme events, as trauma is an event that causes us to feel threatened in some way, either physically, emotionally or mentally and one that makes us feel fearful, unsafe and insecure or afraid for our own life or that of a loved one. For a child, moving house, or having a loved one move away, or seeing something frightening, even in a film, can be traumatic. One of the most fascinating things about trauma is that a huge number of people recover afterwards and move on with their life. Whilst studying Positive Psychology for my Masters in Applied Positive Psychology and Coaching Psychology, I have been drawn to the whole field of Post-Traumatic Growth and what the ‘difference that makes the difference’ is, when it comes to growth.

According to Tedeschi and Calhoun, highly stressful events have a major impact on individuals that range from numerous psychological problems; anxiety, depression unpredictable emotional states, negative thinking, fear as well as physical problems such as aches and pains, muscles problems, gastrointestinal problems and fatigue, to name but a few. These problems can last for years, after the event has long passed, as well as unwanted memories of the trauma, flashbacks, regret, guilt and feelings of not being able to move on with one’s life. It can be especially challenging when other people appear to have moved on and you feel like you are stuck in some kind of limbo between how the past was and how it is now. I know this from my own personal experience after the death of my parents when I was in my twenties. For many years, research into trauma has focused on those individuals who ended up in a therapeutic setting because they were suffering severe psychological effects from highly stressful events. However, Tedeschi and Calhoun chose to look at those individuals who had experienced growth after a traumatic event which is why Post-traumatic Growth (PTG) is part of the field of study of Positive Psychology.

One interesting aspect of PTG is the fact that the trajectory of growth is more advanced in individuals who are younger because as we age, we have already had much life experience as well as having developed greater levels of resilience. However, anyone can experience PTG at any stage of their life. Adolescents and individuals in the in twenties often demonstrate the greatest levels of growth whilst older individuals often display higher levels of hardiness and therefore their ability to cope with major stressful events reduces the potential for growth.

Tedeschi and Calhoun in their research discovered five domains of PTG, which are the changes that occur in an individual when they experience PTG. They are as follows:

Personal Strength: the feeling that you can cope with life’s adversities and have more wisdom and maturity as well as feeling stronger for the experience

• Closer Relationships: knowing the value of close relationships as well as having a greater sense of who the important people are in one’s life

• Greater Appreciation of Life: feelings of gratitude, hope, kindness towards others, love and teamwork

• New Possibilities: working towards goals, prioritizing values and time commitments and greater understanding of friends and family

• Spiritual Development: readjusting beliefs to encompass the trauma or revising spiritual beliefs altogether.

I am sure many of you already identifying with these aspects of your own growth. If you haven’t experienced this yet, there is still plenty of time. PTG can take time as it is necessary to go through the emotions associated with the stressful event and move towards a place of recovery. There are, however, also a number of factors that can support you in moving towards growth after a traumatic life event.

• Brutally Honest Optimism: believing that you can be ok and that you have the power to get over this experience

• Perception of Control Over Events: taking action after the event, as well as reframing it into a context that makes sense.

• Coping Style: having an active coping style that leads to problem solving rather than an avoidant coping style that leads to denial and impedes recovery

• Strong Sense of Self: having a purpose in life and a healthy narrative that makes sense of what had happened to you and prevents you from repeating some of the mistakes that may have been made by others that lead to the stressful event.

One of the most important things to remember when you are going through an intensely stressful life event is to get the support and help you need. If you are struggling with your mental health then working with someone who can diagnose what you are experiencing, especially when it comes to Complex PTSD, PTSD or Personality Disorders and provide you with the right kind of therapeutic support. If you are feeling it’s time to make changes and move forward in your healing then working with a coach who can help you work on your ‘New Possibilities’ as well as help you to develop a healthy narrative around your trauma is an excellent way to move to a more healthy place in your life, or what Positive Psychology calls flourishing.

Of course as always, if you have any questions that I can help you with or if you want advice about the kind of support you, or your loved may need, then please get in touch via email: or via phone: 00353868373582. I see clients face to face and online and can support you using Coaching Psychology, Positive Psychology, NLP, Hypnosis, CBT and Mindfulness.

Thanks for reading.

I hope our paths cross again in future,