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Back to Basics – Coaching Essentials



Neetubala Raina - Head of Talent Management and L&D, TIAA India, Pune


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Coaching makes us value our vulnerabilities. We put enormous efforts in hiding our vulnerabilities but reveal it to the ones we love and trust, so as to reinvent our most beautiful and promising version. My coach keeps inspiring me to value the beauty of basics of life, and here I am sharing a few interesting insights for your reflection.

The different phases of Life have different lessons to teach us while continuously inspiring us to move forward. Moving forward is so ingrained into our minds that we become oblivious of the trail we are leaving behind; a trail that will be read as an incident, story, tale, saga of our deeds and who knows even we may have to traverse back to relive that emotion, sentiment, feeling, memory so as to stay alive. Alas! We go far away only to realise the most powerful Life goals are about our ability to come back to where we started from. Yes! Back to basics.My coach keeps inspiring me to value the beauty of basics of life, and hereI am sharing a few interesting insights for yourreflection.


Story # 1 - No one is perfect so aren’t you but value your uniqueness!(The Deer and the deer-musk)


Most of our lifetime we live like that deer who is running around all the places searching for the deer musk (Kasturi) as that divine fragrance tempts the deer every moment. The desire to enjoy it is so strong that the Life goal is to yet possess that it preserves inside of its own being. The deer remains ignorant of its own strength, assets and is distraughtand running all the time.


Build on your strengths instead of worrying about your weaknesses. Each one of you is unique and that is your beauty! Coaching teaches you self-care and self-love are the powerful life practices to be able to infuse life in others. If you are connected with self, you are self-aware and self-awareness helps you to accept and respect even your development areas. Remember, no one is perfect!


Story # 2 - Unlock your potential, break the conditioning! (The Elephant and the rope)


Your personality shapes up based on 3Es, Education, Exposure and Experience. Experience being the most essential of all for the confidence it helps to build while evolvingyour thought process through the practical hands-on experience.


The baby elephants are tied to a small wooden peg that's hammered into the ground. As they grow the same size rope is used to tie them, as it’s enough to hold them. As they grow up, they are conditioned to believe they cannot break away. They believe the rope can still hold them, so they never try to break free. That is precisely what happens to humans!


Once we get into our comfort zone, we stop challenging ourselves.  Our convictions based on our limited perspectives hold us back so we can enjoy living in ourconfined shell we feel safe to be in and we desist any change. Break free from your conditioning, a coach could help you break it!


Story # 3 - What got you here won’t get you there! (The Tortoise and the Hare story)


Coaching process is about continuous self-discoveries to help you unleash your potential. How the secret to longevity is to keep breathing, the secret to connecting to your basic-self is to keep learning. Resting on your laurels reminds of the Tortoise and the Hare story. Overconfidence eventually does no good to your basic-self. Like how the hare lost the race, our basic tendency is not changing our Goal post expecting yet better rewards and results. Your goal-post must change if you wish to stay a lifelong learner, so as to sharpen your axe for a meaningful and holistic growth.


Story # 4 - Your perspective is your outlook!(The old Cherokee and his grandson story)


Learning efforts including coaching essentially build your perspectives and these programs for sure cannot alter our system overnight to withstand the pressures of the process of growth. Growth will come to you provided you invest yourself in this journey expanding your outlook towards life and people to learn and acquire new skills.


An old Cherokee once told his grandson: ‘My son there is a battel between two wolves inside us all. One is evil. It is anger, jealousy, greed and resentment, inferiority, lies and ego. The other is good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, humility, kindness, empathy and truth.”  The boy thought about it, and asked, Grandfather, which wolf wins?” The old man quietly replied, “The one you feed.”


So your perspective is your outlook, your choice and the decision that is driven by your convictions.


Growth cannot be superficial, if you desire rewards, your temptation to elevate and enrich your system and entity must be even stronger. One can never be over-educated (Head) and over-human (Heart), striking a balance remains important. Never stop, continue to build your perspectives that push you from goodness to happiness.


Story # 5 - It starts with you, you are built to make things last! (The Starfish story)


Be the change you want to see! Coaching reveals to you, any desired change must start with you. You are blessed with an intelligent system which you can train to accomplish even the toughest goals. While you equip yourself with newer perspectives, let the onus be on you to build an eco-system for others to grow as well. Keep reminding yourself every drop in the ocean counts!


One day a man was walking along the beach and, when he noticed a boy hurriedly picking up and gently throwing things into the ocean. Approaching the boy, he asked, “Young man, what are you doing?” The boy replied, “Throwing starfish back into the ocean. The surf is up and the tide is going out. If I do not throw them back, they will die.” The man laughed to himself and said, “Don’t you realize there are miles and miles of beach and hundreds of starfish? You can’t make any difference!”After listening politely, the boy bent down, picked up another starfish, and threw it into the surf. Then smiling, at the man, he said, “I made a difference to that one.”


Story # 6 – Stay Humane, Exercise your powers! (Ubuntu, the African tribe story)


What else can be as powerful as staying humane! Being humane is again about staying connected with your basic-self. We walk so far to reach our goals, leaving people behind, finding it difficult to re-connect and love them back.


An anthropologist proposed a game to the kids in an African tribe. He put a basket of fruit near a tree and told the kids that the first one to find the fruits would win them all. When he told them to run they all took each other’s hands and ran together, then sat together, enjoying their fruits. When he asked them why they ran like that as one could have taken all the fruits for one’s self, they said, “Ubuntu, how can one of us be happy if all the others are sad?”


Seek every opportunity to put “kind” back into “humankind”.


Story # 7 – Coaching is about establishing thoseessential connections which keep your closer to life (The Best Seed story)


Eventually you will see everything in this universe is connected.


There was a farmer who grew the most excellent wheat. Every season he won the award for the best wheat in his country. When asked about his success, he shared he was sharing his best seed with his neighbours. He elaborated if his neighbours grew inferior wheat, cross pollination would degrade everyone’s wheat, including his wheat. He said, “If I am to grow the best wheat, I must help my neighbours grow the best as well.”


That is exactly how humans are designed to enhance each other’s existence and the true value of life is measured by the lives you touch with love, respect, kindness and hope.Well! The current covid-19 situation explains how we are all connected ultimately; this geographical distance and cultural diversity is just the best design possibly that Universe could have for us to keep our eco-system beautiful and inspiring!


Yes! Going back to basics is never so basic an effort as it may sound! In my pursuit of re-discovering my basic-self, I am experiencing coaching process as a powerful medium; it helps you re-establish the unheeded and deeper connections with your basic-self and surroundings. Coaching is one such journey of our life that leads us to the most beautiful space residing inside us which is the space not so easy to reach but fulfilling to experience.


Coaching makes us value our vulnerabilities. We put enormous efforts in hiding our vulnerabilities but reveal it to the ones we love and trust, so as to reinvent our most beautiful and promising version.


Never stop to strive towards becoming your best version!