A Research Paper created by Dina El Nahas
(Youth Educator, and Family Coaching, EGYPT)
You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover is yourself. – Alan Alda
Would you like to go though a journey of your intuition?
Would you like to have the amazing feeling to step out of your comfort zone, try new things and learn new skills about yourself?
How would going to an exciting self-discovery journey sound to you?
What if you discover a unique skill to master in your life?
In this article, I would like to share with you my personal experience that allowed me to learn more and discover more about myself. I’ll reflect on the positive effects that self-discovery has on the clients during their coaching journeys. In addition to relating the motivation theory to the self-discovery journey and comment on the connection that links motivation with self-discovery. Moreover, I’ll recommend some tips to guide my clients to enrich their self-discovery journeys toward becoming better people who will be able to make positive differences in their own lives and in their beloved ones. Lastly, will explore the ways in which clients can lead and direct their lives.
Long time ago, I worked in several fields and tried different cultures and different professional roles with tasty varieties of responsibilities. I was looking for mastery of skills, knowledge and experience. I was looking for dealing with different types of characters; I was looking for my reactions in the challenging situations, and yes, I was learning, growing and developing. I was busy to look for myself. I know I have unique qualities, skills and experience, which proudly made me who I am today.
Although all these unique skills that I master but I was looking for my unique persona. I had a belief that what will satisfy me is the place which I work in, the people I deal with and situations that I need to challenge. I started my paradigm shift by joining the career of Education. I found it very fruitful career. I am amazed when I plant the seeds of knowledge and allow my students to go through the experiential learning process, I find it inspiring when I see the fruits are harvest and collected by my students.
Furthermore, being an educator gave me the desire to develop in my skills more, and again I was looking for myself until I found my own and professional voice. Yes, I found myself…
I went through a self-discovery journey to search for the better me. I went through a self-awareness journey to know more about me. I discovered my unique persona through the coaching journey. What a remarkable and mind-blowing journey.
Coaching is the partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potentials, as defined by the International Coaching Federation (ICF). Coaching is the transformation of the clients’ from a stage to another stage decided by the clients. Coaching is a partnership agreement between the coach and the clients.
For me coaching is my “Coach Express” that takes my clients in a visualization process where they pretend they are the passengers going through a coaching journey using my “Coach Express” coaching model, where they stop at four main stations till they reach their final destination.
It wouldn’t have been a successful journey if I didn’t practice all the amazing skills and tools on myself first. It wouldn’t have been a unique journey if I didn’t design my comfortable coaching model “Coach Express”. It wouldn’t have been a distinctive journey if I didn’t create my special power tool “Are you directed or lost?”
Coaching is all about essential needed skills like visualization, planning, self-awareness, acknowledgment, discovery and many more skills. But what’s most important is that coaching is about change, and in order to change the clients must have the desire to change and must be acknowledged and motivated towards achieving their set targets.
Motivation and Theory
As for the main important element in coaching that leads to change is the motivation. When I searched for the famous theorists in theories of motivation I found that Abraham Harold Maslow (1908-1970) was the pioneer of the humanistic psychology movement and he was the theorist, who created the theory of human motivation, claimed that all human beings have intrinsic nature; this nature might be good or at least neutral regardless of culture or environment.
Maslow’s human motivation theory is called “general-dynamic” theory because it combined all the positive traits that were driven by other theorists. It combined the functionalist tradition of James and Dewey, combined with the holism of Wertheimer, Goldstein and Gestalt psychology, in addition to the dynamics of Freud and Adler (p.371).
Maslow stated that there were five basic needs that need to be fulfilled in the human’s life. He declared his theory of human motivation by stating the 5 needs on a hierarchy. The five basic needs are physiological needs, safety and security needs, belongingness and love needs, esteem needs, and self-actualization needs. Maslow declared that the gratification and satisfaction of the basic needs would lead to neutral positive motivated humans who can achieve their desired goals and can reach their self-actualizing personalities, in contrast to the lack of gratification of the needs lead to spiritual illness, psychological disturbance.
Therefore, Maslow referred to the physiological needs as the base of the basic needs to motivate humans. The physiological needs are essential and required for survival similar to the need for food, water, oxygen, sleep and rest. Maslow referred to fulfilling these needs as the process of ‘hunger-satisfaction’ (p.373) for those who strive for hunger; there are no interests in their lives than to fulfill these needs but food.
While the second basic needs in Maslow’s hierarchy are the safety needs, which are presented in a form of security and safety from danger, freedom from threat, and the need for protection. Maslow focused on infants and children when presenting the safety needs, stating that sudden illness, sudden death, quarrelling, divorce, or even separation might result on “unorganized or unstructured world’ (p. 377). The matter that might draw the attention in school for students who lacked these needs, such as living an unsecured life might result in anxious unsafe students and ‘badly brought up’ children (p.378).
As a result of gratifying the physiological and safety needs, the third level of basic needs immediately emerge in a form of love and sense of belonging needs. These are the needs of being accepted and loved by others, the needs to belong to a group, needs to love and be loved by others. Humans when searching for these needs are hungry for affection, affirmation, and reassurance to reach their goals.
Humans who attempt to fulfill the previous needs are automatically upgraded to the fourth basic needs, which are the esteem needs. The esteem needs are the essential needs to gain respect, appreciation, and recognition from others. These are the needs that would give the sense of self-enhancement to humans if are satisfied or gratified. Once gratified or satisfied, a great feeling of self-confidence, strength, and power are projected on humans. Lack of these needs might result on discouragement, or neurotic trends. (P.382)
Finally, to reach the top of Maslow’s hierarchy of basic needs, humans should reach the self-actualization stage. These are the essential needs for growth and development to the humans’ unique potentials, talents, and skills. Gratification of the self-actualization needs gives the humans the purpose for their living and allows them to leave a legacy in their lives by finding their missions in their lives. It gives humans the power to discover their unique talents and skills, to raise their self-awareness on their strengths, and to be capable of becoming what they desire through discovering themselves toward being better humans.
Self-discovery and Coaching
The term “journey of self-discovery” is defined in the Wikipedia as “the travel, pilgrimage, or series of events whereby a person attempts to determine how they feel, personally, about spiritual issues or priorities, rather than following the opinions of family, friends, neighborhood or peer pressure. A related term is “finding oneself”.”
An inspiration sparkled my coaching path when I was going through the self-discovery journey. I watched “Kung Fu Panda – I” movie. This American animated movie was initiated in May 2008, directed by John Stevenson and Mark Obsorne. The cast of the movie was full of famous celebrities like Angelina Jolie and Jackie Chan.
The action comedy movie was produced by Dreamworks Animation and distributed by Paramount Pictures. The movie was very inspiring and motivating. It is all about the motivation towards changing current attitude to another positive attitude to reach the destination of the self-belief. I related this movie to the coaching so much and find it very appealing and truly authentic to the values and skills that I am working on with my clients towards reaching their true and unique selves.
It was really stimulating when Kung Fu Panda had the underlying believes that the magical scroll that has secret ingredient for the needed power to make Panda the special and strong warrior to save his country from danger. But apparently there wasn’t any secret ingredient for power and success. When Kung Fu panda opened it, he saw a reflection of his face. He didn’t find any source of power nor treasure; he just found his face reflected on a mirror. The message, which Panda received, was to believe in himself and believe in his capabilities.
Moreover, when Panda’s teacher, Master Shifu, wanted to teach Panda some of the challenging tricks that will support him in his journey of saving his country from the danger, Master Shifu decided to motivate Panda. Panda was motivated by food, as it’s the only thing in life that pushed him toward his end in mind. And, YES! It worked very well with Panda. This approach raised the confidence in Master Shifu when dealing with Panda and triggered the challenging spirit inside Panda, which lead to the powerful Kung Fu Panda, the warrior of his country.
When Panda realized that it’s all inhibited inside him, it made him think and view life differently. It’s all about his self-awareness and self-esteem. It’s about the way he viewed himself and believed in his capabilities and abilities. When panda was motivated by his master and was acknowledged by his teammates for his great effort, it gave him the power that he didn’t notice before.
What’s really amazing about the coaching and the movie, that I see clearly the positive impact of the self-discovery, which connects the movie to the coaching process. I believe that Maslow had a long vision when he organized his hierarchy according to the essential needs of humans. Maslow believed that humans would perform and excel at the top of his hierarchy after being motivated to gratify all their basic needs.
Leading through Self-discovery
When I searched the book “Total Life Coaching” that’s written by Patrick Williams and Lloyd J. Thomas, the authors discussed 8 main parts to enhance the life coaching in their clients’ lives. They had a special focus on self-discovery in their book when discussed tips to create personal identities and to develop spirituality and life purpose for their clients.
Williams, P. and Thomas L. offered a variety of exercises for their clients to help them discover more about themselves. One of the great exercises I use from their book to make the clients be the leaders of their lives through creating their life purposes or their mission statements. Examples of some of the powerful questions that lead to powerful mission statements are: what motivates you? What energizes you? What brings you the most pleasure and satisfaction? What do you really want in your life and how do you reach it?…and many more powerful questions that trigger the self-awareness within the clients to be the leaders of their own journeys toward themselves.
As a wrapping up, if you know yourself very well you can read what’s not said and can hear what’s not heard from you and others as well. Coaching helps you and supports you through this essential stage in your life. You can’t reach this level of awareness or discovery, unless you are ready to change and leave your comfort zone. If you are able to change and try new skills and discover more about yourself, then congratulations! You are the leader of your special destination. You have taken action steps toward your better persona that will make a difference in all your beloved ones in life.
Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced. – Soren Kieregaard
Maslow, A. H. (1943). A theory of human motivation. Psychological Review, 50(4), 370-396. doi:10.1037/h0054346
Williams, P., and Thomas, L. (2005). Total Life Coaching: 50+ life lessons, skills & techniques to enhance your practice – and your life. USA, New York: Norton and Company, Inc.