About Rachel
Rachel portrait

All my experience as a business leader, coach, forester – and human being, has taught me that we grow and develop best when we are in the right nourishing environment, and learn how to compassionately accept who we are (‘the good, the bad and the ugly’).

Yet so much conventional personal development work inadvertently feeds our sense of inadequacy, frustration and self-criticism.

Yes, striving for goals, challenging ourselves, driving on – it will bring the illusion of success for a while, but one day we wake up and feel like we’ve somehow lost our soul.

There’s so much I can share that I’ve learned from my own journey from doubt to certainty, confusion to clarity.

And even more that I’ve learned from the incredible clients I’ve worked with. So if this resonates at all, or you are simply curious, let’s have a chat.


Coach, social introvert, mum, wife, business owner, leader…oh, all the labels and identities we can assume, none of which really capture the essence of who we are!

But let me try to give a better sense of me, what I do, and what I stand for. 

My forestry roots


Once upon a time, many years ago, I grew trees, not people – yes, my first career was in Forestry. It was more than just a job choice; I felt it was my calling. Working in nature, and challenging the norms (there weren’t many female foresters!)

At 23, I got my dream job as Chief Forester, but it ended up a real wake-up call. Many of my colleagues had risen through the ranks, after decades in the Forestry Commission, so they didn’t take too kindly to a young graduate, and woman to boot, landing straight into a more senior role.

Added to this, every Monday, like clockwork, my boss would summon me to his office. Instead of guidance or mentorship, I faced barrages of criticism, much of which was for issues totally beyond my control. My self-esteem nosedived, and self-doubt grew unchecked.

From then on, I felt pressured to act ‘tough’, to be different to my natural style and instinct. To try to conform to the expectations of others in order to gain more respect, whilst fighting an uphill battle to be accepted in a mans world. But in reality, all I was doing was losing self respect.

After many years, the final straw came when a (male) colleague and someone I regarded as a friend was promoted as a result of work we had done together. He became my boss…and it felt like overnight he went from being my biggest advocate to my biggest critic, piling on the expectations and pressure.

Already fragile, my self esteem and mental health plummeted. After one particularly gruelling call with him left me overwhelmed and in uncontrollable tears, I finally sought help from the doctor – who signed me off work. Mortified and ashamed, I remember thinking, ‘OMG, I’ve got a week to sort myself out – ‘cos something HAS to change!’

Rachel Anderson - forestry background

The beginnings of Tea & Empathy


Of course, it took a LOT longer than a week, but I started reading self-help books, hoping for some guidance. They had some good insights, but something was still missing. Then I heard about coaching. I gave it a try. And my world changed forever.

The coaching helped me to understand what I could change, and what was beyond my control. And that I wanted the freedom and flexibility to be my own boss.

Having experienced the transformative power of simply being listened to, deeply and with compassion, I wondered if I’d be able to give that gift to others too; to just give people a little ‘Tea and Empathy’. I didn’t have to wait long to find out, as out of the blue I was approached by the MD of the coaching company who had helped me to see if I wanted to do some freelance coaching for them. Oh, the stars were aligned that day!

Rachel Anderson - coaching facilitation

Only 6 months later, in 2008, I left forestry and set up my business. After 18 years with the FC, it felt like stepping off a cliff. It wasn’t easy. I made so many mistakes – I knew so little about running a small business. I fell into many of the same old traps – trying to be what I thought I “should” be, doing what everyone told me I “should” do to be successful (I even came under pressure to change the name Tea & Empathy, because some ‘gurus’ thought it too airy-fairy for executive coaching).

The power of Radical Self-Acceptance


But I finally started to learn to trust myself, invest in myself, hold my boundaries and accept who I am – and who I am not. And Lo! The more I did, the more my business grew.

The power of Radical Self-Acceptance.

It turns out being congruent, compassionate and curious goes a long way in running a successful business – and in enjoying a fulfilling life.

Now, after 16 years, I’ve clarity that Tea and Empathy goes far, far beyond just me and my coaching; it represents a philosophy of Ownership, Acceptance and Kindness (OAK) that radical self-acceptance is rooted in; the nourishment of this approach leads to natural, sustainable human growth and development.

Rachel Anderson - Tea & Empathy

Tea & Empathy is not another standard, goal-driven, ‘strive to be more’ coaching practice. We want to help you see, feel and appreciate all of who you already are – to know you are enough. Because then, you can’t help but grow.

And we want to make personal development available for everyone. Which is why our products provide different levels of support to meet you where you’re at, so you always feel supported, connected, and inspired to discover, accept and integrate your full, natural self.

You can get started on your own journey to Radical Self-Acceptance with our free Scorecard.

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