Conversations with Life Coaches

Two life changing conversations, with Sayali Kelkar and Josianne Robb!

Life Coaches, researching their business hypotheses.

On both occasions, all they asked for was my time and my stories. Time, I own enough to explore and stories, I own enough to exploit. They would collect some unbiased data for their research, and I would gather some clarity out of my life events – that was the understanding, and that is how it went.

Their questions stopped me in my tracks. I am guessing a coach is as good as the questions they ask. With the caveat “What one sees depends on how one sees”…let me share with you the crux of the two conversations.


One asked me which situations in my life gave me a sense of control. The other asked me which situations gave me a sense of change and re-invention.


Surprisingly, both questions had the same answer – all the situations where I stood up for myself. All the scenarios where I made a hard decision in favor of my own self swam up in front of my eyes. Contrary to the general thought process, putting me first did not make me feel selfish or less worthy.

Other than some immediate positive results, over a long term these life-points shaped me into an individual that I like, love and respect.

  • Scenario 1 – Level DramaBollywood

An hour after I had delivered my baby, I knew something was wrong. From where I lay helpless, I sent my husband running to the nurse-station. The nurse came and examined, and she decided everything was normal. I knew she was wrong, but I was drifting in and out of a dream-like stance. When I next thought straight, I sent G again. With the same urgency, with the same results.

As the nurse was re-assuring me with practiced empathy, I broke through my sense of complacency. I broke the alarm box next to my hospital bed. Rather, I started breaking it, and when my husband realized what I was up to, he took over and completed the task. The hospital was now forced to follow protocol.

They did find that I was very near to bleeding out…that decision to sound the alarm saved my life by minutes.

  • Scenario 2 – Business As Usual – Mothers wanting More

When I decided to pursue my life long dream of higher studies. I had found the perfect course, the perfect pedagogy and the perfect institute. And it could all be knit into my life, without over-extending any resource other than my endurance. After some initial hesitation, I went after it, “ruthlessly” (my Dad’s words).

In the city of Mumbai, for two years, I traveled most evenings from Ghatkopar to Ville Parle. For those 6 hours, I left my two little ones under the care of a helper lady. I left my life behind – and entered an arena of learning. A small, modern classroom – some great professors and industry experts – information plus wisdom.

My spouse was shuttling between Mumbai and Shanghai most of these 2 years – on a very challenging project. Mumbai being a stop-over for many of our friends and relatives, there was not a single week when we did not have someone or the other staying over with us. There were two major health crises in the family – one hit my mother and the other, me.

Some minor incidents, like my son gone missing for a few hours and me coordinating the search on Watsapp groups. Because that would be faster and more efficient than me rushing back. I remember the air leaving my lungs like a deflated balloon when he was finally found. Another night when the calling bell of our flat short circuited – firefighters saved my kids and my helper.

It would have been very easy to give up on any of those days – but I completed my masters with a 3.26 CGPA – and learnt so much that I was happy with my growth as an individual after a long time.


As a note to my future self, here are some outcomes from these two monumental conversations.

  • Realizations

I realize I gave myself full marks for standing up and showing up for myself. These were the life-points which forged me in a way I appreciated. Pushed me to make more intentional decisions and not drift. My procedures and perceptions changed.

  • Concrete Changes

The first one – on control – made me open up to take up challenging training assignments, some out of my city. I was declining all those offers believing my kids needed me more. But Sayali pointed out I was not doing justice to anyone. Their little universe had everything in hand – I was no longer the be-all in their lives. It was me too scared to let go – once I did that, we were all happier.

  • Work-in-Progress

The second one – on changes and re-inventions – happened last week. Somewhere, Josianne’s questions made me stop and analyze my direction. To be precise, am I aligning towards entrepreneur-ship or self-employment ? How much of a risk am I willing to take with my training career ? What are the ways I am willing to invest beyond giving my best in each session ? When and how will I stop being the product and become, truly, the entrepreneur ?

Cycling Back to the Coaches

These two extra ordinary Life Coaches made me examine my life and learn from it.

An experience I recommend to all, as

  • We are not all trained to dissect clean and learn neat these kind of incidents in our lives
  • We rarely hold ourselves accountable to our own (add adjective/invective) selves
  • We do not even think of ourselves as our own friend

So, once again, Thank You for raising the right questions and making me work on the answers!

The right Life Coaches are Torch-bearers – Here’s to Sayali Kelkar and Josianne Robb!

May your tribe grow.

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