Research Paper By Safaa Marafi
(Transformational Life Coach, EGYPT)
This paper will explore the perception of life coaching among a small sample of Egyptian women. Evidence will be provided in the form of a case study to support the conclusion that life coaching is a cornerstone of benefiting these Egyptian clients in their desire to feel alive, or live in a state of aliveness as they define it.
The research presented here is based on a small sample of coaching clients of the author, and therefore the scope of this study cannot be generalized to all Egyptians clients. The sample consists of 21 clients who range between 20 to 56 years old. They belong to different social and economic backgrounds, and are coming from various educational backgrounds. The name of the client presented in the case study here is anonymous, and a nickname was given to the client. This is because the author is strongly aligned and committed to the ethics of the International Coach Federation concerning protecting the privacy and confidentiality of clients (ICF, 2008). Oral and/or written permissions were given to the author to discuss the clients’ cases with anonymous names in research papers, case studies and other publications.
Life coaching with a sample of Egyptian women
Spreading Awareness among Egyptian Clients about Life Coaching
The perception of life coaching among the Egyptian clients was comprehended as therapy or counseling in the beginning. Few were aware of what life coaching really is. Therefore, the first step was bringing awareness among those who misunderstand what life coaching is by explaining to them in details how it works. In some cases, they were given the link provided by the International Coach Federation in the initial conversation to understand all about life coaching. As clients became more aware of what life coaching is, they became interested to be coached.
How Life Coaching Benefited these Egyptian Clients
The author’s coaching model, Path to Aliveness, was used while working with these Egyptian clients. Several coaching techniques were used with clients to bring awareness about being alive and achieving their desired goals as shown in the case study presented later in this paper.
Path to Aliveness
Your life will be good and secure when aliveness will mean more to you than security; love more than money; your freedom more than party line or public opinion (Reich 1974, p.121)
The Path to Aliveness coaching model, shown later in this paper, is structured around the concept of ALIVENESS; in whatever way clients defined it based on their own insightful meanings, and how it is aligned with the general basic description of the concept known generally in dictionaries, for instance, “full of activity, or active” (The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, n.d.).
Aliveness as a concept must have meaning for the client and with her own values and goals. The variety of aspects defining Aliveness gives the concept rich diversity and shows that each person is creative in giving her definition for the concept of aliveness.
Each client is guided in defining what aliveness means and how it is integrated with her own values and potential goal(s). It is vital for coaches to determine this definition with every client through different sorts of questions, such as powerful questions, open-ended questions, and exploratory questions.
Another coaching method, visualization, also helps some clients in coming up with their own meanings and definitions for aliveness. This method enables the coach and clients to learn how the different values of clients are linked to their potential goal(s). The role of the coach is to keenly help clients to reach their desired goal(s) while being fully alive which, in turn, is based on the client’s own definition of aliveness.
Coaching Path to Aliveness
It is important to establish trust between the coach and client as the coach and client go through a journey of exploration. What does Aliveness versus Just Living mean to clients? After exploring this, the coach and client move to the next step which is setting the desired goal(s) and discovering if it fits with the clients’ values. Then, the coach strongly supports the client and works with them to create their OWN Unique Action Plan fueled with their Aliveness. Clients are supported to reach their desired goal(s) in each step of this journey.
Having a harmonious atmosphere between the clients’ values and their goal(s) help them to work on their action plan while being fully alive. Taking steps toward achieving the desired goal(s) can be smoothly and positively suitable and effective for some clients. However, some clients found they had some blocking issues. This provided a positive chance to bring further awareness about their blocking factors/underlying beliefs. Once those blocking factors were explored, clients were supported to recreate their action plan, or modify it or continue working on it, depending on each client’s desire.
Safaa Marafi’s Path to Aliveness Coaching Model
In this case study, Nada, the coachee, became aware of the advantages of life coaching. After she understood what life coaching was, she was keen to discuss her issues around relationships and stress at work. Nada is from the middle class in Egypt and is very well educated. She wanted to break constraints and stereotypes around being not married, as she is around 35 years old. In Egypt, if a girl is not married at this age she is stereotyped as aness (which means she is not desired or wanted as she is above age of marriage). The word aness is imposed by the Egyptian society because social norms dictate that potential and ideal brides should be in their 20s. Adding to that, Nada was in a love relationship with a man who is similar to her age but he was controlled by his mother. And thus, Nada was frustrated with this potential groom.
Coaching Techniques: Power of Visualization
Through imagination, we can visualize the uncreated worlds of potential that lie within us.(Covey, 2004, p 103).
Visualization was used as a powerful tool (Visualisation, 2012) to support Nada to get a clearer vision of what she truly desires in love and a marriage relationship full of aliveness.
Nada was encouraged to visualize, at ease after the session, her life after marrying the person who she is in a relationship with, and on the other hand, visualize another man or potential groom, who she desires. In the next session Nada surprised the coach with a quick action step she took as she broke up with the man/groom she was in love relationship with. This is because when Nada visualized her life with him in the future as a husband, she found that their life would be manipulated and controlled by his mother because he lacks self-confidence. In this case, the visualization, as a coaching tool, helped the client powerfully and quickly to gain awareness and take action.
The Power of Positive Thinking and Being Alive
Because we already live with many scripts that have been handed to us, the process of writing our own script is actually more a process of “re-scripting,” or paradigm shifting—of changing some of the basic paradigms that we already have. As we recognize the ineffective scripts, the incorrect or incomplete paradigm within us, we can proactively begin to re-script ourselves (Covey, 2004, p 103).