April’s – ‘The Gratitude Issue’ – Download Now
The Hundred Wellness Centre’s Emotion & Relationship Coach, Roh Hafez, reveals exactly how she guides people through their journey of self-awareness and gratitude
Can you talk us through your career?
My career spans over 20 years. I graduated with a BA in International Business and Marketing and my first job was in a consultancy that provided training and consulting services focused on Human Development. I then joined one of the largest multinationals worldwide, in the oil and gas sector and progressed until I managed Customer Feedback in Africa and the Middle East region. It was a time of so much learning and almost exhilaration at coming to outcomes that minimized and eliminated recurrent problems. That was the time when I first tapped into my passion for understanding and tackling root causes and effectively achieving the desired outcome.
Twelve years ago, I personally worked with a coach on what turned out to be an inspiring and gratifying self-exploration journey that propelled me towards my next move, a plunge into the human psyche. I studied Neurolinguistic Programming and coaching and completed an MA in Psychology with an emphasis on Marriage and Family Therapy. In parallel, I joined another consultancy and provided character building and leadership programs to hundreds of participants in both the private and public sectors.
I am on a journey of continuous learning and have along the way incorporated many new tools and approaches to my toolbox.
What goes into being an Emotion & Relationship Coach?
It takes a lot of academic knowledge, life experience, intuition and capacity to attune to be an effective Emotion and Relationship Coach. We all know both human emotions and human relationships can be overwhelming. Coaching emotions involves creating the holding space for emotions to come out of their hiding places so we can get to know them, understand them and accommodate them. I love working with human emotions and meeting my clients on that deep level where masks are shed, and true selves are most welcome. Coaching relationships, including the relationship with oneself, involves creating the interpersonal safety and connectedness that allows patterns of behaviours to be understood and for helpful tools to be taught and employed to create well-balanced, healthy, and fulfilling relationships.
How do you help people find purpose in their lives?
I help people by guiding their self-awareness journey. When people know what they truly value and gain insight into their true strengths, talents and natural preferences, their vision about what they want for themselves becomes clearer. The journey of finding purpose can and needs to be an enjoyable and exciting one. When we get to know ourselves better, we are more likely to choose paths and destinations that we are excited about, and the excitement drives us. My role is to guide my clients in navigating the path by clarifying and correcting patterns of thinking, beliefs and behaviours.
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What are the benefits of emotion & relationship coaching?
Clients of emotion and relationship coaching benefit in various ways such as enhanced self-awareness and self-management resolved psychological wounds and traumas, healthier relationships, higher self-esteem and a rich repertoire of life and social skills. My clients generally feel supported and guided through their unique journeys towards goals that we set together in the beginning of our work and regularly revisit.
What advice would you give to people to practice gratitude in their lives?
For gratitude to be experienced, we need to be present for ourselves. In the rush of our daily lives, we often go on autopilot mode, and although it helps us tick off to do’s on our endless lists, autopilot deprives us of experiencing the moment as it happens. We miss out on simple pleasures and hardly take time to reflect on the good things that happen all the time. My advice is to slow down enough to be able to experience the moment as it happens and to take mental notes of what you experience. Make it normal to speak to yourself like an excited child. You can tell yourself things like “I am really enjoying the taste of this sandwich” or “It feels so good to lie in my own bed at the end of the day”. The more aware and present we are, the more we can capture moments and experiences that we are grateful for. Keeping a gratitude journal is a great way of keeping a record of the things we feel grateful for.
What are the hurdles people face when going through this type of coaching?
I think the main hurdle is usually a kind of resistance and it is perfectly normal. We all have parts of us that want things to stay as is, familiar even if it were uncomfortable or even painful. It is what we know and that part of us wants to keep it this way. In the process of coaching, change happens, change in beliefs when they are clarified and challenged, change in thinking patterns, in behaviours and ultimately in feelings. Whenever there is change, there is a degree of resistance. It is a hurdle, but it’s not insurmountable. In my work, I welcome resistance as a natural protective part of my client and work with it as long as they are willing to show up for our sessions.
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Can you outline the main issues people come to you with?
The most common complaint I come across is being “stuck”. People come to me because they feel are stuck in a mood, in an emotional state, in a situation, in a relationship, in a job, career or in a phase of life. Although being “stuck” is a common complaint, every individual and relationship is unique, and we treat it from this standpoint.
How do you go about helping them?
The first step in helping my clients is always getting to know them and understanding their context, their life, family, work, support system and so on. I then go on to learn more about the issue they are coming in hoping to address. Enough time is dedicated to understanding the issue, and once that is clarified, we work together to define the goals we want to work towards. Once the goals are clear, a high-level plan is set in place that would include interventions that would benefit this specific client bearing in mind personality and context. My intention is always to create a safe holding place for my clients and to effectively support and guide their journeys.
Your top three tips for people to ensure they stay grounded and grateful.
Practice mindfulness as you go about your daily life. Create experiences and situations to be grateful for. Keep a gratitude journal or jar and regularly revisit for reminders and inspirations.
This is ‘The Gratitude Issue’ – how do you practice gratitude in your life?
I stay present and anchor myself in the here and now. Noticing the colour of the sky, a laughing stranger or a helpful friend. I also work towards goals aligned with my values, my progress gives me opportunities to be grateful. Lastly, I use a rosary to count my blessings, with every shifting bead I would mention one thing I am grateful for and it can turn into a long list. Those lists can go on and on, and with every shifting bead, comes a positive shift in how the world and life appears in that specific moment, and all those tiny shifts create lasting impact.
April’s – ‘The Gratitude Issue’ – Download Now
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