Emirates Woman - - Con­tents - Words: Danae Mercer

76 The Se­cret To Em­pow­er­ment: Life Coach­ing.

It's a sum­mery Thurs­day in Thai­land and six women are sit­ting around a ta­ble dis­cussing one sin­gle idea: self-love. What is self-love? How do we find it? Why does it mat­ter? A pe­tite In­dian lady re­veals she doesn't think she de­serves as many good things as her fam­ily. A pretty blonde men­tions she feels bad about her­self most days. An­other woman speaks about how over­weight she thinks she is. Self-love seems very far off. ”Women are so hard on them­selves,” says life coach Sa­man­tha Thomas, the host of the day's talk. She says of­ten women are self-crit­i­cal and judge them­selves harshly. They say things to them­selves that would never be said to a friend – and in the en­su­ing stress, they lose sight of who they are, what they want and what makes them truly happy.

Here's where a life coach comes in. “A life coach asks the ques­tions that some­times we don't think to ask our­selves or that we're avoid­ing,” says Thomas. It's about find­ing clar­ity and mov­ing to­wards goals. “Women have a ten­dency to think we can do it all our­selves and yet I think we re­ally need to ask for help more of­ten.”

Ev­ery day Thomas works with women and men who are strug­gling. Her base is Phuket Cleanse, a well­ness re­treat in Thai­land where she moved af­ter re­al­is­ing her own highly stress­ful life was tak­ing its toll.

“Women are of­ten pulled in so many di­rec­tions. The daily grind of life, work, fam­ily and re­la­tion­ships can re­ally take its toll. Life gets tougher and stress higher,” says Phil An­thony, a coach­ing con­sul­tant who re­cently gave a Ted talk called 'how to get your mojo back'.

A good coach can help, says An­thony, by look­ing into the root causes of cer­tain be­hav­iours, habits and be­liefs. “Once that's un­der­stood, we can take ad­van­tage of coach­ing tools and strate­gies to break through neg­a­tive be­liefs. The re­sult? More space, time and en­ergy for the good stuff. And isn't that what we all want?”

Search­ing for an­swers is one part of life coach­ing. An­other is ac­count­abil­ity, says Na­dine du Toit, a Dubai-based life and fit­ness coach with Glo­ryGirl Ac­tive. She stresses the im­por­tance of cre­at­ing goals then mea­sur­ing progress to­ward them.

“That’s where the magic hap­pens over and over again,” she says. “Cre­at­ing new habits, break­ing through plateaus with new suc­cesses – it em­pow­ers you. The in­cred­i­ble in­sights em­power a per­son to leave the wait­ing room of life.”

Even with­out ac­cess to a coach, there are things women can do to help them­selves. Look at where time and en­ergy are be­ing in­vested, brain­storm what you want, fo­cus on what it would look and feel like and whom it would in­volve, all with­out wor­ry­ing about the how.

“My one piece of ad­vice is to learn to love who you are, lis­ten to your­self and your de­sires,” says Thomas.

Back in the hu­mid heat of a Phuket af­ter­noon, the group of women sit around a ta­ble try­ing to learn to do just that. As the hour wraps up, no one has found per­fect self-love — but they leave with tools, hope and a lit­tle more strength than be­fore. n

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