Don’t Shrink Away

Life coaching is the latest buzzword in counselling. Whether you’re looking for motivation, direction or personal fulfillment, life coaching is the “in” thing to sign up for. From IIMB founder-director NS Ramaswamy, who will be delivering a talk this Saturday, to companies like Landmark Education and Inner Challenges, as well as psychologists-turned-life coaches, all are offering these sessions to transform our lives. According to experts, the increase in demand for life coaching is largely due to the change in attitude towards seeking professional help. 

Psychotherapist and life coach Dr Vinaya Prabha Baligar explains, “The mental block against seeing a psychologist has certainly come down. Earlier, the common notion was that you had to be ‘mad’ to see a ‘shrink’ but today people are much more aware and open to coaching. I have been practicing in Bengaluru for 10 years now and I have observed a 20 per cent increase in the number of clients coming for life coaching in the past couple of years.”

There is of course, a big difference between psychotherapy and life coaching. “You go to a psychologist when you have a problem and you want to set it right. But, you don’t need to have a problem in order to change your life.” Dr Vinaya, who runs the Centre for Self Awakening in BTM II Stage, adds, “A life coach helps in various aspects like relationships, career, personal growth and empowerment. It includes management techniques like decision making, problem solving, and people skills. But coming from a professional, there is also a better understanding of human psychology. The goal is achieved when you feel more confident, happy, and fulfilled.”

Senior project manager Sridhar OS couldn’t agree more. The IT professional, who completed a group life coaching programme recently, tells us, “My wife and I both attended the course and it has worked wonders for us. For me, it has been a journey to self-discovery. I have been able to identify and change the negatives in me. Smita is a housewife and she has learned confidence and independence through the course.”

Another glowing testimony comes from engineering student Harsha Vardhan, who recently completed a life coaching programme. “I just wanted to get to know myself better, find out what more I can do. I wanted to expand my horizons,” says the youngster, adding, “After completing the three stages of the programme, I feel a decrease in negative energy and I’m able to perform better.”

All this could come with a hefty price tag. The above programme, for instance, costs Rs 23,100. Group sessions can also be arranged. But for personal, one-to-one coaching, a psychologist would be the right choice. With fees starting at about Rs 1,000 per hour, these are much more accessible too. 

Ultimately, the most important choice lies within you, and you can be on your way to a ‘new you’.

Published in Deccan Chronicle, Bangalore Edition, 14th June 2010.Link:’t-‘shrink’-away-006