We’ve all heard of a ‘personal fitness trainer’ at your gym who helps you with your workout and achieve your weightless/ fitness goals. While we devote a lot of time, money and effort on our physical fitness levels and weight loss programs, we seldom realise that a lot has to do with our internal wellbeing as well – especially at an emotional level.
If you haven’t heard of the term ‘Life Coach’ yet, we at The Lifestyle Portal are happy to showcase the power of a life coach program where anybody can benefit from be it a homemaker, a professional or a student.
We caught up with 38-year-old Manisha Panwar from Delhi a Life Coach with over 12 years of experience in Human Resources and four years in Executive Coaching.
Apart from a Masters in Human Resources from Symbiosis Institute of Management Studies, Pune, she’s also a certified coach from Results Coaching Systems (Affiliated to International Coach Federation).
Combining Coaching with Emotional Intelligence, she has coached over 345 executives for furthering their professional and personal goals.
So if you’re wondering how to get in touch with a Life Coach and how it can benefit you or you wish to pick it up as a career choice, read on…
It all started in 2001, when Manisha was working with a recruitment consultant in Mumbai, her boss always felt that she was a natural in understanding people’s needs and dilemmas and could support them.
“At that point in time, it was just a “positive feedback” on my appraisal; however, when I came back to the same organization after a gap of five5 years in 2006, I was encouraged to look into Coaching, a concept fairly new, by the same boss. It was not before 2009, that I finally decided that this is what I wanted to do as I saw myself feeling energized whenever I could be of any support to another person,” recalls Manisha.
However, starting with absolutely no credentials would be detrimental and hence she underwent the three month exhaustive Intensive Coach Training Program with Results Coaching System (currently renamed as Neuroleadership Group), an Australian training organization.
Your inspirations of being a coach
There are many – David Rock, Marshall Goldsmith, Daniel Goleman, Anthony Robbins, Robin Sharma – each of them are big names in their own specialized fields of Coaching and reading or hearing them inspires her to adapt some of their techniques.
“My biggest success has been combining Coaching with Emotional Intelligence, a model developed by Daniel Goleman
Manisha explains, “Having undergone the program, I realized that Coaching is a scientific and structured method of asking a series of questions that help a person think through his issues. A coach avoids giving “solutions” and is someone who “pushes” people to their potential by asking them to “stretch”. The biggest myth that a coach is needed only for people with “troubles” was broken.”
Coaching is mostly one to one and for teams one can have Group Coaching which is limited to a smaller group of people. It is not a one to mass kind of training program where one can impart a skill – technical or soft. It is an engagement where each person’s unique issues are addressed.
Having said that, Coaching is individual whether the person comes separately or at the corporate level. At the corporate level, one engages individually or with a team of not more than 4 to 5 people. At both levels, the objective is to set specific goals that they want to achieve and the idea is to support, help and push them to achieve the same in the time line pre decided.
Various aspects of coaching
The first thing is to understand that the Coachee is open to the idea of being coached; and for this, many coaches engage in first session on a pro bono basis. The spectrum of coaching is very wide. Whereas, the objective remains the same, one can be coached specifically for Performance, Skills, Team, Business and Life.
As for Manisha, she has coached people on Performance, Skills and Life.
Getting in touch with a coach
“It is not for me to decide whether the person needs coaching or not. Simply put, everyone at any point in time needs a Coach. Even the Coach should be a Coachable Coach. For a person seeking Coaching, he / she can start with looking at websites like the International Coach Federation (ICF) that has a list of affiliated coaches and get in touch accordingly,” says Manisha.
A coach’s work is mostly meted out through word of mouth and hence this seems to be the best way to get in touch – through one’s own work! It has worked for her and for a large number of coaches around the world.
Duration of a coaching program
She further adds, “Coaching engagement as we call is mostly structured as per the client’s requirement and what is it that they are looking at getting out of the session. Whereas, a typical engagement is about three months with one session every week, the engagement can be customized.”
At the corporate level, there could be internal (people who are working within an organization mostly the team in HR) as well as external coaches. Depending on the need, a corporate may engage an internal coach for a longer duration or an external coach for a shorter period of time.
Professionally, a background of working directly with people helps, hence Human Resources professionals, teachers and trainers. However, any person who has the intrinsic ability to connect with people, empathise and be able to support, guide, mentor, push and stretch without being emotionally involved so as to achieve the desired goals, can look to become a coach.
There are a number of institutes that run Coach Training Programs worldwide and the ICF regulates them. An ICF accredited or certified coach is someone whose credentials help in becoming a Coach.
How does coaching help professionally and personally?
Coaching facilitates a person to develop professionally and personally; and since each individual is different, their hurdles cannot be common.
“Having coached over 300 people, I have seen people break out from their comfort zones and push themselves to achieve what they thought would never be possible. Whether it was an annual holiday, or a new language, buying a house or increasing the sales revenue. The one that inspired me the most and from whom I personally took away more than the coachee was a Coaching engagement with a single father who had lost his wife to a terminal disease and was left to look after his 2 sons aged 8 and 5. The beauty of a coaching engagement is such that even after the time period is over, there is a relationship that is made for life. It is not just the coachee but also the coach who is pushed to his/her limits to better understand and empathise,” adds Manisha.
Everyone needs a coach at any point in time. However, many do not engage in a structured way with a professional Coach. Whereas, Coaches are being hired in plenty at the corporate level to tackle professional issues, every individual mentioned above need and should experience what Coaching can do for them. In the end, it is about how much trust the coachee has on his Coach and how he can benefit holistically to see his graph consistently going up and not allowing it to plummet.
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