By Altaf Shaikh

509I worked with young people living on the streets of Mumbai for almost 20 years, but it wasn’t until I started my Coaching for Transformation certification training that I realized what I was doing was called coaching.

But there were still so many lessons to learn.

One of my first practice coaching experiences as a coaching student was with a 14-year-old boy. I was all out to do something different. I knew this was a time to challenge myself. I didn’t want an easy client. So out of the blue, I started coaching a teenager. I thought it would be fun but as soon as we started talking, I realized I did not have the vocabulary for a 14-year-old. Everything went to dust.

From our initial conversation, I learned that I needed to let go of all the jargon. I realized I had picked up a “coaching language” which had words and expressions that were not commonly used. I fell flat in terms of delivering but I gained a lot. That was when I started shifting and realizing I needed to do it my way, in my own voice.

I also learned that as a coach, I must believe in people’s potential and be a part of their journey. Trying to fix problems isn’t the answer. It’s about helping individuals go deep down and discover what they want on their own. Before, if there was connection, it was a mentor relationship. As a coach, the relationship shifts to being a partner.

Coaching is a lifestyle for me now. I don’t have to be in the role of a coach but instead I can live my life in the principals. It’s much more meaningful. I realize coaching shows up in everything I do. From conversations with the young girls living on the streets to those in the youth leadership program to relationship coaching, I see my coaching learnings consistently applied in each setting.


About the author:

510As a relationship coach, Altaf Shaikh (CFT ’12) works with people who are facing a challenging time in their relationships either with family, partners or friends. Altaf also has a background in leading behavioral and development programs, ranging from transformational leadership to sensitivity training. Altaf has a passion for food and cooking, travel, adventure sports and enjoys bonding with his 13-year-old son, Amaan Ali.