3 Coaching Tips to learn from Life Coach SRK in Dear Zindagi (Dear Life)

They say movies are a reflection of our society. Some movies have meaningful messages, some are for pure entertainment value and some are not worth talking about. Time and again you come across a movie from which you can take a thing or two meaningful messages out to relate to. Recently I watched Gauri Shinde directed, Indian Hindi feature film Dear Zindagi(Dear Life) starring Shah Rukh Khan and Alia Bhatt. What made me like the movie was its second half. The film is about, a Life Coach and a free-spirited psychiatrist helping a young girl to gain a new perspective on her life and start believing in relationships. Nothing new. Similar stories have been said earlier.

However, this was different, not because of the star cast, pace, its woman director, but because of the way the coaching techniques were demonstrated. I am sure different people would find different interesting aspects in the film or some may not like it at all. For me personally, I found three meaningful coaching tips which anybody and everybody in a position of leadership should practice. It is not limited to a Life Coach. I would call them the most fundamental principles at the core of coaching Process — The Three P’s of Coaching.

Patience -

Coaching is quite different from training, though both involve learning process, the approaches are different and they serve different purposes. In simple terms, it is more facilitating a task, by helping one to find answers, than giving one. One of the key things required in the process is listening to the coachee. Not just hearing, but listening carefully and ask relevant questions to help the coachee discover something more meaningful and important. That requires patience.

In the film, the life coach Jehangir Khan played by Shah Rukh, just does that, and that’s an important aspect of being a coach. If you don’t listen, you won't build enough trust in your coachee and will not help someone learn or discover something new. There are several moments in the second half of the movie which show how important Patience is for a successful coaching session and how that helps Kaira to open up to her coach.

Perspective -

The most important aspect of coaching is to understand that, coachees are not necessarily dysfunctional and have most of the things required to succeed. The coach helps to unveil what they already know but are unaware of the knowledge. That's why Perspective is critical. As a coach, one should be able to bring in a different perspective to the coachee in the path of self-discovery.

This can be done either by sharing a different perspective or asking meaningful questions. It does two things. First it helps to shed the baggage of past experience and look at things in a new way. Second, and probably the most important, it helps the coachee to be absolutely fine with self. After all the process is not to make someone a different person, but help to do different things, help to discover new capabilities. Thereby helping someone to develop a new Perspective. That can happen only when the Coach has different Perspectives. The coaching sessions in the movie show exactly that. The life coach giving different perspectives at different times and helps to see the perceived problems or different situations in a whole new way.

Push -

Coaching isn’t meaningful if nothing actionable comes out of it. A coach must help to identify some actionable items with a specific result in mind. It's all in the process of helping one discover what he/she knows or may be, to get a different perspective.

The life coach Jehangir Khan in the movie does exactly that with Kaira. Be it in the scene where he asks her to talk to her parents for 10 minutes every day or asks her to forgive her parents. These are actionable items. However, what is noteworthy here is that most often if not always, they end up pushing one to an uncomfortable zone. The coach can not do anything himself/herself. It’s the coachees responsibility to act. That’s why Push is important. The coach must push the coachee to do some things required or necessary for the overall benefit, despite them being uncomfortable at times.

However, the tasks should never be meaningless without any definite outcome. Then it's no more a push, but force, and that doesn’t work. Different coaches use different styles to apply Push for an actionable. Some do it by asking questions and helping the coachee to visualize the result, some do it by the means of calling it homework, some do it by suggestion. One should do what deem fit on a given situation. But it’s important.

These are not the only things one requires to be a successful coach. But one can’t be a good coach without them. Try and look around, see in your experience, you will be able to identify these key aspects in every successful coaching process. I thought the movie laid out these tips beautifully through some nice dramatic sequences.

One more thing…

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