This week Vivid Minds Vivid Futures interviews Gretel Khan from Greteljane Coaching. Gretel helps women transition and thrive beyond separation.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I had a fabulous childhood! We moved around a bit, but we lived in Sydney for school and work. Once I graduated from university, I travelled around the world for five years until I met my husband in London. We moved to Sydney, got married, and had two children.
My parents retired around 12 years ago. They were considering moving to Tasmania or Armidale and chose Armidale due to family ties to the region, including a family farm and my grandfather, who served in the area as a locum. After separating from my husband, I lived in Sydney trying to make ends meet with work and my two children at day care and school. I just kept going backwards financially though. It was utterly exhausting doing it all on my own and the kids were at school 13 hours a day!
About three years ago we moved to Armidale to live with my parents just out of town – and it’s been the best thing ever. We’ll never go back to Sydney. Here, the lifestyle is amazing, the countryside is beautiful, the people are friendly and my mother and father are close by.
What does Greteljane Coaching do?
I help women to transition and thrive beyond separation. I work with newly separated women who are in the confusion and emotional turmoil of the initial “What the hell am I going to do now?” stage. I also assist women further on from separation, where issues keep recurring, or they need help navigating a new relationship.
I currently run a 12-week one-on-one program incorporating three distinct stages of the journey beyond separation. The initial stage, “triage”, is working out where they are at, what they need to do, and getting things to a stage where they are ok and it doesn’t feel like life is going to fall off a cliff. The second stage is all about healing and understanding. The final stage is focussed on rebuilding and moving calmly and confidently into the next phase of life that they love, having healed the subconscious patterns that hold them back.
It all starts with a cuppa and a chat to determine what each woman needs. Sessions are run online or face-to-face depending on convenience or where clients are located.
When did you start your business?
That’s hard to answer, as it has all been very organic. Recovery from my own separation has involved a lot of personal development and as I learned more, it slowly became a strong interest. It was about 12 months ago, I guess, that I started the ball rolling by completing a qualification in coaching. Then 6–12 months ago I started to get more serious about it. What had essentially started out as a passion project looked more and more like it could really work, including flexibility around the kids and earning a living from something that I love doing. I realised that what I have been through provides me with some deep insights which allow me to help other people.
What have been some of your challenges in starting a business?
Finding the time whilst working and raising two children on my own has been rather challenging. I have done lots of working in the evening after an exhausting full day at work, and on weekends. When I started, I wanted to match my current income with my previous job, and that took a lot of time and some hard days, but I got there. I’m proud of that.
What do you like most about running your own business?
Doing something that I absolutely love and that I can build myself. I’ve always had that entrepreneurial fire burning within me. I enjoyed the job I was doing, and making that contribution, but this is my passion. To be able to do something that you love makes it easier to get out of bed in the morning – it doesn’t feel like work. And the flexible hours also mean I can be there for my family and my kids and be able to look after myself better too.
What advice would you give a business just starting out?
Keep it simple and focus on what’s important. Tackle one thing at a time as it builds and get some support. It can be really overwhelming initially, especially when you have lots of ideas and you want to do all of them. Getting a business coach or business mentor can really help with the focus and momentum. I’ve got two, each focusing on different areas. They have been invaluable to my business.
What inspires you?
The resilience of the human spirit. The people who come and talk to me are often struggling, hurting and confused. To be able to help them to see that they have the resources within themselves already is huge. The client is the expert on their own life, and I’m just the guide to uncover what they can’t see and realise that they can get through it and build a life they never thought was possible. That blows my mind each time they get there and it’s such an inspiration.
What’s next for Greteljane Coaching?
Further development of a group program, based around the 3-stage system that I have developed for the one-on-one sessions. I want to foster strong partnerships with other professionals who can contribute to this program, such as a legal expert or financial advisor who would be able to provide their top tips for handling the legal and financial obligations of separation and look at future planning. Or possibly a psychologist or counsellor with expertise communicating with young children or teens could provide tools to tackle some of these challenges head on.
Group participants would have the invaluable opportunity during weekly Q&A sessions to get the answers they need to some of their burning questions in the area from people they would normally have to pay to see. They would also have the opportunity to engage with the experts if they wished. I would love to be able to provide that opportunity because I know that is what I wanted after separation, along with help processing the emotions and feeling more ready and able to move forward.
Making those connections is the next thing and really finalising the details of that program, which will possibly be finished and ready to start as early as next month.