Monday, September 6, 2010

My first coaching session

So I've recently discovered something amazing that has really had a substantial impact on my life - coaching. While I've become quite a strong proponent of NLP as you've read in my earlier posts, coaching is something I've stumbled upon quite by accident.

A couple of weeks ago I was having a serious dilemma about whether I should move into a place of my own in the suburbs vs sharing a flash place with someone in the city. I was torn - do I value my independence more or the lifestyle of the city? I vacillated back and forth for a few weeks prior to that - quite literally flip-flopping between the city and the burbs... I was beginning to get increasingly frustrated with myself for not being able to decide and commit to the decision for more than a few minutes.

In any case, one of my friends had recently just certified as a professional life coach in Johannesburg and it did not take long to convince me to test it out. I had heard about it before but quite frankly I had thought the whole thing was a bit too Robin Sharma kitsch for me - nothing could have been further from the truth! I had a session that lasted for about 35 minutes and it was completely different from what I expected.

Firstly, there was no advice or suggestions - only questions - and lots of them at that. Most revolved around clarifying for myself what was important to me and some were certainly not easy to answer. The process was amazing though - I felt as though I had pretty much led the session with my friend simply guiding me with appropriate questions. The proof was certainly in the pudding here - after the relatively short session (stand aside therapists!), I just "KNEW" exactly what was right for me with respect to the decision. It was like self-discovery on steroids!

From a customer service perspective it was super - I got to take home the few pages of paper we had worked through the challenge with - certainly more as a souvenier of the process rather than for the actualy content. For those of you who would like to move forward with decisions in their lives and are really feeling quite stuck - I highly recommend Pratish as a coach.. give it a try and you will not be disappointed!

Friday, April 30, 2010

The Power of Negative Thinking

Back from my lovely vacation and rarely to go once again. I attended a course on neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) last month which was quite fascinating. I didn't realise how what we say and think actually influences our actions. I still reserve judgement on whether principles like those discussed in The Secret are actually valid (i.e. that you bring everything on yourself - good or bad). The psychology and benefits of maintaining a positive attitude definitely make for a happier life.

So why the title above you may ask. Well, it relates to South African president Jacob Zuma's hopes and 'willing of the universe' when he went for his HIV test on the 8th of April this year. No doubt he and a number of affected parties waited with bated breath to see the outcome. I guess in his case, the power of negative thinking certainly helped his cause!

The debate as to whether he should have disclosed his results is quite contentious - some claim that it is validating to the youth that his promiscuous behaviour is acceptable. That the media is actually only hyping up the risks. This follows after numerous reports on his unprotected encounters, including the one recently with the daughter of his friend Irvin Khoza which raised significant controversy in local South African media.

I have to say I think Pratish has really outdone himself with his latest satirical sketch on the recent disclosure of Jacob Zuma's HIV status on his cartoon blog.

It's interesting to note that the comments on the more negative posts on that blog exceed by an order of magnitude the comments on the postive posts. I wonder why that is? Perhaps it's just human nature to embrace to negative thoughts rather than positive ones. Sad, but it appears to be empircally true!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Public Relations training

Hardly exciting work developing training material for Public Relations but I've finally managed to get my act together. I was working with a local community college on a joint venture of sorts to get a PR course of the ground.

The course was targeted at new entrepreneurs in and around the Soweto area. Many of these young minds have the talent and ideas but when it comes to marketing and execution their skills are lacking. We divided the material into two parts - one that focused on developing the basic marketing skills through the use of case studies.

The second part of the course was much tougher to develop. We wanted a practical component to the course that addresses local issues that the young entrepreneurs would face. Challenges included securing funding, understanding practically how purchasing media space works, tracking an monitoring of campaigns, and finally the basics of actual creative design and branding. I'm off on vacation for a while soon and will teach the first run of the course in May - it was tough to develop but I think it's going to be much more fun to teach!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Thank God it's 2010!

2009 was certainly a year to remember for me - lots of trial, trauma and tribulations on a number of fronts - work, health and relationships. I'm glad it's over now and that 2010 is finally year. I'm well aware that life doesn't operate in discrete chunks of time like that but for the pure psychological value of it not having to write 2009 in the immediate future does provide some mental relief!

Health-wise things have improved quite a lot over the last 2 months - with having found a lump to be benign was a physical relief I cannot even begin to find words to describe! Considering the family history of cancer and the like and I am most grateful to the powers that be.

In terms of work - my PR company is taking off nicely despite having lost some money to 2 horrible companies I had done work for and that have subsequently fled without paying me a penny :( Not nice. I am hoping to continue my efforts to promote the Wonkie cartoon blog - I've not had much time to work on it recently because of work pressures and setting up my own venture but it's definitely on my list of to-dos as part of my 2010 new year resolutions.

In the meantime, I shall try to be more regular from now on with the blogging - both on my own blog and my guest appearances on a number of South African politically oriented blogs. All the very best for 2010 and I sincerely hope it is the best year you've ever had!