IS A LIFE COACH THE SECRET TO EMPOWERMENT?
THREE EXPERTS REVEAL WHY WE COULD ALL USE A LITTLE MORE LIFE COACHING
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