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Sharon Lobo

IWB Blogger

Life Coach Namita Sinha On Why Work-Life Integration Is Better Than Work-Life Balance

  • IWB Post
  •  April 14, 2018

A certified success coach, a life coach by profession, a writer by passion, a public speaker by choice, with 12 years of full-time corporate experience, Namita Sinha, is nothing short of a superwoman on a mission to transform the lives of people!

She is a contributor to Thrive Global and International Coaching News. Her aim is to help everyone unlock their infinite potential and build a purposeful life. Her passion for assisting individuals to discover their talents and strengths is very much visible in the animated way in which she spoke about it. She genuinely hopes that with her help, people would be able to pursue the right education and right career.

Her purpose is to not get on an advice-dispensing spree, but instead guide people into finding the solutions to their problems on their own! It does sound interesting, and in this conversation with Indian Women Blog, she has helped us understand more about her work which is her passion. Excerpts from the discussion:

After 12 years of fulltime corporate experience, what prompted you to embark on this shift as a life coach?

It was more because of my motherhood and family reasons. I have a 7-year-old daughter and she was around 3 years old when I decided that I needed to become more involved in motherhood and that’s when the idea of starting out on my own generated. I have always been grateful to have had a family who has been supportive. But despite having the family around at all times, I could feel that my daughter was missing out on having a friend in her parent. That was the reason I decided on switching, but even then I had not decided that life coaching was what I wanted to pursue. And in the initial couple of years that I was testing the waters, I realized that I felt strongly about empowering myself and in the process learn the art of empowering others. And this is why I became a life coach.

 What is a “Life Coach”, and what do they do?

Normally people tend to mix up the terms such as coaching, mentoring etc. that exist in the world of personal development. My reason for embracing this profession is the fact that it talks about people discovering their own solutions. It is to do with people taking up ownership of their own transformation. 

It is not about advising or showing them a certain way. What we basically do is engage a person in a conversation, at the end of which he himself has figured out his own capabilities, shortcomings and solution to his own perplexities. We never counsel a person but encourage him to figure things out on his own. We help him to take up ownership and not simply rely on a set of advices, so that he can always follow it throughout his life.

Namita Sinha

When does an individual identify that it is time for him to visit a life coach?

The idea of coaching is to build that kind of awareness, where a person can take charge of his own beliefs, examine his own predicaments and understand his purpose. For instance, in a professional set up, an individual might be glad about the work he is doing, but somewhere there is a prickly feeling of ‘what next, after this’. 

Also sometimes people are unable to give credit to themselves for the work they do, often crediting it to sheer luck or another person’s intervention. These are examples of people who are not in charge of their own life. So when such people undergo a session where there is someone, who is gradually helping them become aware of their own self, then that someone is coaching them take charge of their own life. Life Coaching helps clients see for themselves and understand where exactly they stand, where they need to go, and what can they do to bridge this gap. It also helps clients build action plans and act on the same.

Moving on to the specifics of life coaching, more focus lately has been given to a person’s Emotional Intelligence Quotient. Could you tell us more about what it means?

Emotional Intelligence Quotient or EQ is one of the areas that I constantly work in. To sum up, briefly, EQ is more all about self-awareness. It is about understanding the impact that you have on others. For instance, the EQ of a person shows how well can he understand another person’s point of view, empathetically. As we get into more relationships, both personally and professionally, it becomes more imperative to understand what we are going through as well as consider the other person’s point of view as well. It is only when we are able to bridge the gap between these two aspects that we can build proper understanding based on the foundation of strong communication. That is why so much importance is given these days to developing a person’s EQ. It has many other aspects and far-reaching implications. EQ is also about embracing and being aware of one’s feelings and emotions rather than suppressing them.

You have voiced your belief in work-life integration, rather than work-life balance. Tell us more about it. 

As a coach, I focus more on alignment than balance because our life is never an isolated part of only our career or only our family. At any point of time, our life is and always will be a mix of more than two elements – careers, family, passion, causes we care about etc. A person has different aspects to his existence. So based on the priorities that we set one aspect gets more attention than the other. 

We tend to view our work as not just a means of livelihood but as a part of our own personality. When we talk about balance, people try to treat their work separately from other aspects of their life. Rather if you can do something where you can get both of them together. So there is no harm in a person sitting at work trying to manage his home responsibilities, or a person at home trying to talk out his problems at work. So I evangelize the idea that all aspects of our life travel parallel, where everything needs to come together so as to co-exist. That’s my philosophy behind work-life integration.

Namita Sinha

The concept of a ‘coach’ was pretty much nonexistent more than a decade ago. What is the reason that the need for a life/executive coach is so rampant in present days?

Fortunately, we have reached a stage where technology has given us the necessary awareness to want a better quality of life. We have understood that having a mundane life is just not enough. That’s why people are looking for any and every possible avenue that can extend them a support, which can help them maximize their potential. Today we have reached a level where we are looking to constantly better our prospects and life in general. And this is probably the reason why the demand for life coaches and mentors have increased so much.

Every person is different, but is it possible to identify a common pattern and categorize their needs and the way in which a coach deals with them?

The very first thing that we deal with, irrespective of whether we are coaching professionally or personally, is to help get a clarity about what is it that someone wants resolved at that point in time. Most of the times, it so happens that a person is unaware of what they truly want. For instance, a person might be of the opinion that his most immediate goal is to gain financial stability. But it is only when we sit down that we realize that it is not money that would bring contentment, but some kind of comfort and appreciation. Maybe they are truly in the quest for a sustainable life. So that’s the essence of life coaching to help them realize what he or she really wants and then start addressing their specific context and help them devise their own action plan.

What have been some of the challenging coaching experiences that you’ve had, especially with women in Corporates?

I have never felt any direct pangs of discrimination as such, but I do address cases of gender parity. I have also come across situations where women themselves do not understand the difficulties of other women. Women themselves who have reached leadership positions should take up the cause of building more sensitivity for other women coming after them.  So it comes down to how sensitive the management can be towards issues of hiring, appraisals, promotions, sabbaticals etc, and that’s one of the aspects I professionally coach in.

Namita Sinha

What do you have to say for all the women who are trying to balance the joys of motherhood with the demands of the workplace?

It becomes a difficult phase if the woman lacks family support, and she doesn’t have the freedom of flexibility given to her from her workplace. Firstly, parenting has to be well-planned is what I would say. Because more then the stress of managing time, it is about being emotionally present. Problems intensify when your feeling towards child and work is not reciprocated by others. Motherhood can be one of the most joyous and fulfilling experiences of life when one exercises her power of choice to navigate this transition

Lastly, any advice for students who are going to transition from campus to corporate?

That is again a very sensitive area, and my only piece of advice is that students need to educate themselves about the plethora of options and career choices all around them. Also, things are not always black and white, so be open-minded and non-judgmental in your approach. Finally do not be afraid to make mistakes, because that is the most effective way of gaining experience in life.

 

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