13 Questions With Sophie Cliff AKA The Joyful Coach

Sophie's mission is to help people live their most joyful lives. Find out how she made the move into coaching, writing, podcasting and helping people.

First of all, how are you and how are you coping in lockdown?

I’m good, thank you! Like most people, I’m finding some aspects of lockdown challenging, but I’m really trying to stay focused on the positives and squeeze as much joy out of this time as possible. I think it definitely helps that I was already used to working from home, and I’m enjoying the extra time to work through the stack of books next to my bed!

Can you tell us about some of the work you do as a Joyful Coach?

Sure – in a nutshell, I help people to live their most joyful lives, whatever that means to them! The “whatever that means to them” part is important, as something that’s not spoken about all that much is how success and happiness can look different for each of us. 

I do this in a number of ways – through 1:1 coaching with clients, through group programmes and workshops, and through the free content that I produce, including my podcast, Practical Positivity

When and how did you start working as a Joyful Coach?

This has been a fairly recent pivot for me, as I spent the first 8 or 9 years of my career working in sales and marketing roles at big corporates, like The Walt Disney Company. Whilst I enjoyed aspects of my work, I never felt truly satisfied, and I always had a niggle that I wanted to do work that has more of an impact.

The parts of my old career that I really loved were building relationships and helping my team to develop and grow, so in 2018 I made the decision to retrain as a coach and start building my own practice. I chose to focus on joy because previous experiences have taught me just how short life can be, and there’s no time to waste doing anything that doesn’t light us up!

Can you tell us about your podcast Practical Positivity?

Practical Positivity does exactly what it says on the tin – it provides practical tools and techniques to help you live a happier and more positive life. When I started the podcast I found that a lot of the content available in the field of positive psychology was either very academic or very vague, and so I wanted to create something that was both practical and relatable. 

There are now over 80 episodes in the archives, covering things like positive affirmations, defining your own version of success and finding joy in the everyday. 

You’ve even written an e-book called Joy School! How did that come about?

Joy School actually started out life as an e-course – I was learning so much about joy and how to invite more of it into our lives, and I wanted to create a platform to help people focus on this subject that I’m so passionate about. 

I’ve been running it as a course for the last year or so, but when our current situation hit, I knew I wanted to make the content even more accessible. I decided to turn it into an e-book and offer it as a pay-as-you-feel product, with 15% of all sales going to The Trussell Trust, that supports the food banks here in the UK. It was my way of spreading a little much-needed joy, while also supporting a cause I care a lot about. 

How do you stay inspired and motivated?

It sounds a bit cliched to say, but I’m always inspired by the brilliant clients I get to work with – watching them make positive improvements to their lives and become happier and more confident is so rewarding, and that gives me a real boost of motivation to keep spreading the word and helping even more people.

I also make sure that I practice what I preach and take plenty of time for self-care and non-work related activities that make me happy, like reading, exercising and spending quality time with my friends and family. Having that time for myself helps me to stay creative and excited about my work. 

What has been the highlight of your career so far?

Being able to leave my old corporate career and take my coaching practice full time was a definite career highlight for me. I never take for granted how lucky I am to spend my days doing work I truly love!

What are you currently working on?

I’m spending a lot of time at the moment working with my 1:1 coaching clients – I think that lockdown has provided many of us with more headspace, and so it’s been a brilliant time to help my clients figure out what positive changes they want to make in their lives, whether that’s in their work or their personal lives.

I’m also working on a brand new group coaching programme called The Joyful Business. It’s designed to help small business owners find the joy in their business again by streamlining their processes, reconnecting to their values and improving their mindset. 

Who are some of your current favourite follows online?

I try to keep my Instagram feed full of plenty of positivity, here are some of my faves:

Ellie at – her mission is to make enthusiasm cool again, and she does it in such a fun way! She’s also just released a cracking podcast under the same name.

The lovely Lucy at @lucysheridan, who has been sharing some brilliant practical advice and wisdom on her coaching all dayers.

Jo at @madandsadclub, who talks about taking care of your mental health at work, and always reminds me to prioritise the things that look after my mind.

Tea at @teadayblogs – her feed is full of colour, sparkle and relatable wisdom. 

Oh, and I’ve been loving the @psyclelondon IGTV barre workouts – especially the ones with Rod who is such a laugh!

What do you always carry with you?

I always have my phone and a pair of headphones to hand so that I can listen to my favourite podcasts on the go. I also like to have a notebook to hand at all times, because you never know when inspiration is going to strike! Oh, and a snack, because I definitely suffer with hanger… 

What does your perfect weekend look like?

Ooooh, it would probably start with a lazy morning in bed reading my favourite books. There would definitely be lots of good food involved, a long walk in the countryside, and plenty of time spent with friends and family too. And Sunday evenings are always spent on the sofa watching trashy telly with my husband and my cat – the perfect way to end the weekend.

If you could only eat one meal again what would it be?

I think I’d have to say my Mum’s chicken roast dinner – her homemade gravy and crispy roast potatoes are second to none!

If you could give one positive message to our followers what would it be?

When you focus on the good, the good gets better! I’m such a huge advocate for gratitude for this very reason – when we focus on everything we already have, we’re less likely to compare ourselves to others, and we invite a lot more joy and contentment into our lives!