In a world filled with of growing ambition among the youngsters and middle-aged, it is easy to become overwhelmed with all your responsibilities, activities, and career projects. When this happens, it can be difficult to step back and see the whole picture which can result in feelings of frustration, inadequacy and disillusionment. We may feel unsatisfied with one or all aspects in our lives and constantly desire for more happiness, peace of mind and passion yet at the same time, feel helpless to do anything about it. Our family and friends have their own goals to attain. In such a complicated time, some of us need all the assistance we can get, a person who will be able to help us figure out our lives and be our sounding boards - anytime, anyplace. This is where life coaching comes in handy.
Malti Bhojwani,38, is one such life coach. Born in Singapore, raised Sydney and presently living in Mumbai, Malti has gained many clients, been featured in a Sydney TV show and interviewed for her experience as a life coach. She first became interested in personal development when she had to face the trials of an early divorce, financial troubles and the challenges of being a single mom. These obstacles led her to seek answers for herself, to understand why and what was happening to her. When Malti heard about life coaching just as it was starting to become known in the States and Australia, she decided to train with The International Coach Academy who are accredited with the ICF (International Coach Federation). After she was certified, she coached and wrote about co-parenting after divorce. (Her now,18-year-old daughter lived in Sydney with her and has just started University in Sydney) and her research article on the same was translated into 12 different languages and used to help couples in similiar position all over the world.
Rachana Mirpuri interviews Malti Bhojwani about life coaching, how it differentiates from professional therapy, and what some of the responsibilities are...
How did you know that this was the career for you?
My personal soul searching brought about the realization that when I focused outside of just myself, I felt better, was a better person and mother to be around and I was joyful.
It was then that I knew what my life had to be about. Inspiring others to have faith, trust the laws of the Universe, take action and go after what they most desire. To look the way they want to, to replace disempowering habits, cultivate strong and intimate connections and relationships, get over phobias that have held them back, to change their career paths. My favourite personal quote inspired by both Ralph Waldo Emerson and Paulo Cuelho is, “Once you decide to take the first step toward your success, the universe magically rearranges everything to make it all start happening for you.”
Can we begin by having you tell us just exactly what a "life coach" is? A life coach will firstly involve you in an exploration to stop and ask you probing questions to assist you in discovering what you really really want. This person will guide you in identifying the wants, and the underlying desires that drive these wants. She would then work out a realistic time frame by which you want to achieve these "wants" and then work backwards with you to work out strategic steps to get you there. Life coaching can be a very confronting and spiritual experience. Whether you change small or big things, the experience is introspective and will leave you with tools to use all throughout your life.
What are some of your responsibilities to your clients as a life coach?
Cheer them along the way, nagging them with incessant emails and text messages, encouraging them and questioning their excuses, but above all, the most important thing the coach offers you, is that they will hold you accountable to doing what you say you are going to do. She is your partner in achieving personal goals, your champion during a turnaround, your sounding board when making choices, your motivation when strong actions are called for, your unconditional support when you take a hit and your wake-up call when you don't hear your own.
How is it different from being a therapist, shrink or consultant?
Therapy works from the past and life coaching starts from the present. Counselling, for example, may be needed following a single and clearly identified trauma like bereavement, serious accident to self or family, divorce or redundancy. Life coaching however, is based in the present and the future. Most coaches do not advocate giving advice to clients, preferring to work as a catalyst in helping the client define their own way forward. Life coaching has absolutely no connections with psychiatry. Should a life coach suspect that a client might have a need for such specialist attention, they should firmly and gently tell the client to consult their doctor to diagnose and to recommend psychiatry or other treatment.
What are some of the reasons that people would benefit from life coaching?
The top three goals or desires are around these areas:
1) Work or money – to earn more, change career, assert self at work, be more productive, be happier.
2) Physical appearance – to lose weight, dress better, gain muscle tone.
3) Love and relationships – to find love or that dream partner, to communicate better in relationships, to end toxic ones or to be happy in current situation.
How are your rates (along with those of others) at?
My rates are approximately USD 1,300 (Rs. 60,000) for 3 months coaching or USD 2,200 (Rs. 100,000) for the 3 months plus a 9 months maintenance program. Certified coaches rates vary from USD60-500/hour. Malti’s “live-time” coaching costs approximately USD 200/hour but it includes all the call charges and the unlimited support between the calls by email/SMS/BB.
Sindhis are known for being independent and self-sufficient - do you coach Sindhi people? What do you feel they would need work on?
In my experience, Sindhis are often concerned about the confidentiality aspect. I sign an agreement and I am bound by my ethics to always maintain it. We Sindhis, as you pointed out, love to feel that we can do anything and everything ourselves without any help. We all could use someone who dedicates time every week just to listen to us. Friends and family buy our bullshit and help us make excuses for ourselves and other people - a coach will not. A coach would spot your excuses and your limiting beliefs and work ways with you to enroll you into effective action. As a community, without stereotyping too much, we hesitate from looking for help – more of us need to accept and believe that it is really OK to ask for help and support.
Special for Beyond Sindh Magazine readers: To decide if Malti is the coach for you, contact her to book a 30-minute trial session for a nominal fee of USD$20 to try it out first.
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