“You see them change who they are as people, and it is down to the BAAM course.”
Anger Academy Alumni: Linda Boland
Linda completed her Anger Academy training in 2004, and soon anger management became the focus of her work with private clients, prisons and the probation service. She’s coached in the middle east and on tribal reservations in New Mexico.
Why did you decide to train in anger management coaching?
“I was running a drop-in centre for young people in Hampshire; we offered a little informal education and there were a lot of requests for anger management. I took it upon myself to do some sort of training before I counselled anyone in that area. I looked at five different Anger Management courses and Anger Academy was the organisation I settled with.”
What made you choose Anger Academy?
“From the start it was made clear to me that my motivations had to be genuine. So to qualify for Anger Academy I’d need to undergo BAAM’s Weekend Intensive Anger Management course. I consider myself proactive and interactive, so this approach really appealed to me. During his introduction on the first morning of the course Mike Fisher stressed that all of us there training as coaches must be interested in examining our own issues, or we might as well leave. I thought this was an impressively bold way to begin the coaching experience, and demonstrated quite how authentic the Anger Academy coaching is.”
What else set the Anger Academy course apart?
“Mike Fisher’s and BAAM’s approach is so successful because it addresses the areas behind anger such as shame, and shadow work which is essentially people projecting their areas of shame. Anger may be the ‘presenting problem’ but shame is the issue. Look at Brene Brown and how shame has become a public discussion; it’s widely acknowledged. But anger hasn’t gone away as a catalyst. Emotional pain like shame is the ‘boulder in the road’, and we’re bypassing it through drink, drugs, work… and self-defence anger.”
How did you find working with Mike Fisher and the training group?
“Mike is a gifted and dynamic facilitator. The course was very well run, and very well rounded. It was such a stimulating, fascinating, interactive group. I think that when you’re training in an area of personal development, you need to be with other human beings as that’s when we hone our own personal skillset rather than simply learning from a book.”
“I’ve learned that there’s no such thing as a stereotypical angry person.”
After graduating from Anger Academy, what was your journey to establishing yourself as an anger management coach?
“I used the tactics explained in the marketing module of the Anger Academy course. I made as many contacts as I could. I followed up leads. I attended networking meetings. I did as much reaching out as I could, whether it was to schools, medical professionals, or other organisations. I took on work sometimes that was very genuine, but not wonderfully paid – or at all. It was certainly piecemeal at first.
One of the things I was asked to do was provide some quotes for a women’s magazine article. A Few weeks later, I received a letter from a female prisoner serving a life sentence; a professional in the prison had seen the article and referred her to me. She had no money to pay me, and neither did the prison back then, but they asked if I could help. I offered an eight week program, not only for her sake but so the prison could see what I could do. And not long after they recommended me to the probation service, who asked me to set up an anger management group for women. So that eight-week programme led to eight years of income.
As a business entrepreneur you’ll have to apply yourself, and take all the options you possibly can – even if you’re not quite sure what they’ll lead to. I’d certainly advise you to strike while the iron is hot and respond rapidly to opportunities.”
What are your impressions of the client group – ‘angry people’?
“I do work in the probation service now, so I’m working in the an obvious arena for any threatening behaviour, three days per week. And I’m doing exactly the same work with my clients, who are in very well to do circumstances. I’ve learned that there’s no such thing as a stereotypical angry person. We wouldn’t expect a little elderly middle class lady to be angry, but I’ve certainly met plenty. But they and the archetypal ranting middle-aged man are both human, and have the same issues.
My fear of physical or verbal attack has never come to pass. The vast majority give off no sense of threat whatsoever. I have sensed threat that is never carried out, and it’s minimised towards the coach.”
“You have to be passionate about people and wanting to see the best for people.”
What are the most challenging and fulfilling aspects of the Anger Academy course?
“The challenge is that many people you’ll be working with are growing to bring their depth to you, the most difficult and unmanageable parts of themselves. You need to have some ability to meet them in that space, not shy away or be disgusted. You must have something you can offer them that will give them hope and change.
You have to be passionate about people and wanting to see the best for people. You’ll find the practice itself difficult if you’re not motivated, or have the skillset to understand how the complexity of human emotions can undermine work and relationships. If that’s always been your intention, to understand it and do the best, that’s the right attitude. And if you already have the skillset you can take it forward.
We know how difficult it is to change habits. These are emotional habits of a lifetime, entrenched attitudes formed and reinforced over many years. The challenge is to be with all types of people of all types of backgrounds and not be overwhelmed by them.”
Why are more women discovering Anger Management, both as coaches and clients?
“Traditionally men are seen as having more anger issues. I need to debunk that. I’ve worked almost exclusively with women for ten years. 80% of their offences are connected to emotional mismanagement. Men commit less crimes due to emotional mismanagement.
Anger management is not necessarily for people who over-demonstrate their anger. But women have not been allowed to be so expressive in the past, nor have they been so much in the spotlight. Now they are more visible. They’re being seen. We also forget about passive aggressive anger, which is being more easily identified.
‘Power Management’ as much as ‘anger management’, and equality is the next step. We need to be taught how to use the power we have as individuals. Less ‘power over’ more ‘power with’. I recommend the book Women of Courage, Women of Destiny – From Fear to Faith to Freedom by Dr Anita M Jackson.”
“They have changed who they are as people, and it is down to the BAAM course.”
Have your anger management qualifications improved your working life?
“It’s been incredibly flexible. Eventually coaches get a name and receive word of mouth referrals. BAAM is already known and that’s an attraction for many clients.I’ve taught anger management in Kuwait, and on the tribal reservations in New Mexico. It was only because of my anger management qualifications that I did that. Do anything you can to keep improving your mental practice.”
Can you share a case study from your work?
“I was contacted by a man who was divorcing. In the time between booking the course and it starting, he changed his mind. He’d lost hope, decided his marriage was over and he was a lost cause. Emotions are fickle. So emotional management is fickle.
He did come on the weekend because it was hard to refund him, and the three-day course had a dramatic effect. He related to it so implicitly that he realised the issues weren’t just with his wife, they were with his father, his mother. He became hopeful to change things with his family and his wife.
He went to one to one, and his wife saw such a change that she came to see me too. She did the three-day course and undertook personal sessions. They got their marriage back on track and ten years on they have had a third child. The family has turned around. They contact me every two to three years and we have an advisory call. They have changed who they are as people, and it is down to the BAAM course.”
The next Anger Academy course starts in September 2021. Find out more details here. [Link to course details]