Friday, 10 April 2009

Getting Back On Track

Negative stress – in short, the opposite of positive stress, which helps us to achieve – can debilitate, even kill its victims. For example, one UK study found that severe anxiety caused by workplace harassment for over two years led to more symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder than a comparison group of UN personnel recently returned from a war zone.(1) And recent research has found new evidence linking anxiety with the onset of dementia.(2)

No longer a soft subject for the hopelessly idealistic, the search for contentment and self-fulfilment is ever more clearly allied with the difference between life and death.

Having experienced negative stress myself, as well as knowing several people who have suffered from it to the extent of needing medication, I was drawn to a small article in my local paper entitled “That eureka moment is incredible."

It was about a young West London professional Tamer El Sheikh (pictured above), who is a newly trained “life coach”. He took up the training when he found himself at a crossroads in his marketing career. Clearly enamoured with his new profession, I felt inspired to call him for a chat.

The Missing Piece - even for guys
His practice – the Chiswick-based Missing Piece LLC – has been up and running for over five months. Tamer says the financial rewards as with any new business start-up are expectedly small but that his passion for the work is unabated. He also believes that the enterprise will continue to blossom due to the high demand for life coaching, which he says continues to be a fast-growing industry worldwide. (3)

“Life coaching is socially acceptable and seeking a life coach does not carry the same social stigma once associated with therapy, especially amongst men who don’t usually like to admit they have a problem. Consulting a life coach is almost quite fashionable.” says Tamer.

Clients come to Tamer with a wide range of problems including negative stress, career, relationships, sexuality - and even for parenting tips. But finances are also an area he tackles. “With the credit crunch, both individuals and small businesses have asked me for help with regards to resource management and allocation,” he says.

Simple But Powerful
So what is it that he has found so rewarding about life coaching? “I was initially bowled over by how simple the process is and yet how effective it is. Life coaches don’t offer you solutions – they shouldn’t. Life coaching is about empowerment and guidance – we are not therapists and do not encourage psychological dependency,” says Tamer.

“We are there to get the client – many of whom are successful and capable people - back on track. We can lose track of our goals and visions, a life coach is there to help remind you of what you once wanted to achieve, and also provide you with the guidance on how to go about achieving it. Or if you find that your life is hectic and chaotic, again, a life coach can give you the guidance to get things in order.”

The Psychological Bit
However, psychology does play a key role and is often the first port of call for a life coach. “Many of my clients actually find that they have minor mental blocks that are stopping them from finding contentment, and a life coach can easily help unblock them. But, some clients do have bigger psychological issues that require referral to a qualified therapist before the life coaching process can begin,” says Tamer.

According to Tamer, very simple guidance can turn a life around; and the reward of seeing people unblock their minds and life is a rich one indeed.

Tamer’s life coaching sessions of 45 minutes duration, start at £125.00. Typically, 3-6 sessions are required, but one session may be sufficient, depending on the scale of the issue to be resolved. He offers a free initial consultation.
You can contact Tamer by email:

1. “Bullying in the workplace – changes are coming”
2. “ ‘Dementia risk’ for shy and anxious” – Channel 4 News online, April 6, 2009
3. For a comprehensive overview of life coaching - and some of its high profile adherents - see Oliver Bennett’s: “Up where you belong”, The Independent on Sunday, January 5, 2003