Helping Others Find More To Life

Samina KhanLife Coach Samina is thrilled to have joined the New Life team, where she has the opportunity to help people find happiness. She had been working in the corporate world for household names such as Tesco and HBOS and although she was teaching their staff about how to be more efficient as human beings, the skills were about customer service and motivation, and geared towards improving the bottom line. It wasn’t the stuff she really loves to do, which is working with people on a very deep level, so when an opportunity at New Life came up she knew she had found her ‘sweet smell of success’.

How did you find your path into coaching and to New Life?

I was in the perfume industry for many years, starting off as a trainee perfumer. I travelled the world doing presentations and meeting customers and to start with I really loved it. I’ve got a trained nose so it was a real delight to work with perfumes and it was also wonderful to travel and meet people as I’ve always been interested in people and trying to understand how they work.

I had done a degree in psychology but that didn’t do anything for understanding [how people work]. Then, in 1997, I went on a weekend workshop called Life Training [which is now called More to Life] and it completely blew me away. It was the first time in my life where people were honest and open – without their masks and their protections – and my heart was just completely flung open. From that point there was no turning back.

What’s your definition of life coaching?

The main difference between a life coach and a therapist is that a life coach looks at future goals, what you want to create in your life, and helps you get there whereas with a therapist the focus will often be much more on the past – what’s happened to you, your family of origin, all that kind of stuff. However, when you are coaching and trying to get someone to where they want to go, you do need to look at the obstacles to that path and those things do tend to be things from the past so it kind of merges.

How do you view your work?

I see it as helping people become more in line with reality – for me that means being able to open your heart and soul. Heart energy is vitally important, it’s what makes the world go round in some ways, clichéd as that is.

What techniques do you like to use?

I have so many different influences and techniques and that’s something I really enjoy – being eclectic and having lots of different tools in my tool bag. Which tool I use depends on what comes in to the room. It can be that I just need to listen. The most important thing is that everybody needs to be validated, to know that they make sense and that what they are going through matters.

Can you give us an example of a couple of the tools you use?

The “More to Life” training is based around Rational Emotive Behavioural Therapy, which looks at how your thoughts, beliefs and emotions are linked.

As an example, if you are thinking and believing ‘nobody likes me’, it’s going to warp your feelings. So you examine the thoughts, ‘is it really true that nobody likes me?’ By challenging the thoughts and bringing them in line with reality, you change the feelings.

I also really like using Gestalt theory as it is very much about the here and now. Today I worked with someone on some interactions they had just had and because it’s fresh, it’s real and it’s alive. Once something is in the past it becomes the story – i.e. we have put it through all the lenses we filter things through in our head. So today I was able to unpick what the person had been through and asked ‘okay, how else does this apply in your life?’ – it’s like the microcosm of the macrocosm and  looking at it can tell you about the bigger picture.

How do you strike the balance between being vulnerable for yourself in your personal development and being strong for your clients?

I don’t think there is a line between them. I believe being vulnerable is part of what makes you able to do your job properly. More and more I am aware of when people present, that whatever they are going through is a reflection of my own process so when I am talking about potentially useful tools for them, I’ve also got my ear in to myself thinking, “how can I apply that, how can I use that”.

What do you enjoy most about coaching?

I love seeing the change in people. Yesterday I worked with someone who came in distressed, really low and beating themselves up, by the time they left they were transformed. That was an ideal and I was very aware that it was the absolute ideal but it was so satisfying being able to help somebody out of a pit into something different and seeing new possibility. I love it.

Any lost causes?

No. I think it’s just a matter of time. Different things come at different times. I think you have to be aware of impatience as well – we all want it now, want it here, and things take time.

What is the biggest barrier to recovery?

People’s unwillingness to look. There needs to be courage and trust. The courage to really explore the places we are scared of and trust in the process and the person you are working with, those are essential.

What message do you have for future New Life residents?

Come, do it and be open. You have an amazing opportunity here to make a huge difference to your life for the better.


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