Meet Natalia Chouklina. Natalia Chouklina is a life coach here in Vancouver, BC + we met on Facebook! Isn’t it wonderful how we can connect online and bring those meetings out into the world? Natalia and I exchanged a conversation over bevies at Lost + Found cafe on Hastings. Here’s what she has to say ::
1. Tell me about how you got into coaching + what you love about it.
I stumbled into life coaching after years in a successful but ultimately unsatisfying career in corporate sales. For years I waited for the satisfaction to arrive but no matter how many times I changed my job, my boss, or a product line I was responsible for, I couldn’t shake off the feeling that something was missing.
One day, during a meeting with my boss I told him I didn’t know why I was getting out of bed. What was this all for? Being a great manager, he looked at me and said: “Well, you better find out. Get yourself a life coach because that’s exactly what they do.”
I did exactly what he suggested, and after a few coaching sessions I realized that I could have the conversations I always yearned to have and get paid for it. The rest was history.
2. How would you describe your approach to coaching? What’s your process?
This is a great question!
To tell you the truth, I don’t have a particular process that I use and I’m not interested in fitting my clients into my ol’box of tools.
Instead, I focus on meeting them where they are at, working with them on addressing their immediate challenges and equipping them with a set of tools and skills they can use long after our work is done to continue to grow and expand.
When prospective clients ask me questions about what I do, I respond that I create a safe space for them to explore their deepest truth and, once we know what that feels and looks like, we strategize on how to integrate this experience into their day-to-day life. This process is completely unique for each individual.
3. What’s the biggest challenge you have to owning your own business? How do you overcome it?
Hands down, my biggest challenge was learning how to trust myself. Why was this so important? Many times I found myself caught between the advice of the “experts” and my own gut feelings.
I was just starting out and I didn’t know squat. So when I heard an expert say “Do X, Y, Z and you will be happy,” I did it even if deep down I felt differently.
How did I overcome it? I stopped listening to everyone. That simple. I figured that I didn’t have much to lose and it couldn’t get much worse, so I started a yearlong experiment in which I consult myself, and myself only, when making decisions. Big or small. So far. So good. For starters, I’m more at peace with my choices.
4. Are there any trends in coaching that you think need debunking?
I have tremendous respect for coaches, coaching industry and everything we are doing in service to humanity. However, I’ve noticed a couple different trends emerging that piqued my attention ::
One of these trends is that change is easy and, if you just follow your heart, there’s practically no work involved. The Internet is exploding with stories about coaches and bloggers who quit their jobs on a whim and experienced success practically overnight. I can’t help but feel that something is missing here because these stories are not matching with what I’m seeing in the real world. I wrote about it here :: Darling, there’s Nothing Wrong with Having a Plan.
Another trend that I feel needs a closer look is how we relate to our fear. For some reason, we declared the fear as number one enemy of state – slay your fear, bust through your fear, tell your fear to shut up.
I know this might sound radical but fear is an important part of our emotional landscape. I see fear as a friend who means well but has poor communication skills. If its message is ignored, pushed aside or stuffed down, we risk finding ourselves in the same situation over and over again. When my clients express fear, my approach is not to dismiss it as senseless gibberish but to lean in closer and listen. This I know to be the truth, when we bring awareness and clarity into any situation, it stops being scary.
5. What are you reading right now? What are you learning from this?
I’m reading Women, Food and God by Geneen Roth, homework for my CCTP coaching program. Geneen, the author, examines how our relationship to food is a microcosm of how we relate to life in general. She states that “the way we do one thing is the way we do everything,” and I agree. Our relationship to food is a doorway into more knowledge about who we are, so is an intimate relationship, a job, a hobby and so many other things. Basically, pick your doorway and use it go deeper. Until then, you can change job or diet till the days till cows come home, you will not be happy. Highly recommend this beautiful read!
6. What is the best piece of advice you ever received?
So many to choose from! Here’s what my dad said to me years ago: “You have to love money for it love you back.”
An oldie but a goody. I didn’t get it when he shared it with me but now that I have my own business, I can’t help but smile. He was right.
7. Is there a quote that’s resonating with you at the moment?
This one. It pretty much summarizes the message of my recent eCourse, She let go… ::
All any feeling wants is to be welcomed with tenderness. It wants room to unfold. It wants to relax and tell its story. It wants to dissolve like a thousand writhing snakes that with a flick of kindness become harmless strands of rope.
:: Geneen Roth
8. What’s in the works for you in the near future?
Lots of life coaching, collaborative work and… a wedding!
This year, my focus is on working with individual clients, as opposed to doing many group sessions last year. So, if you’re looking for a life coach and this is resonating, let’s talk!
I’m also in process of prototyping a new program with another coach – super excited. Without giving away too many details, we’re going to take the common the messages we hear in the industry like “It’s about the brain!” and “It’s about the heart,” and say – “It’s about both!”
And, I’m getting married to a wonderful man in October. Can’t wait!
9. What do you love most about Vancouver? What are three of your favourite places that anyone could visit?
Again, so many things to choose from!
I love that Vancouver for its size. It’s big enough to be a home to many diverse groups of people doing and creating amazing things. And, it’s small enough so that when you want to get away from everyone, it’s so easy to do.
My faves ::
Stanley Park – I live steps away and I swear to God, this place is magical.
Thierry Chocolates – What can I say? I love dessert!
Nelson + Seagull – In my opinion, it serves the best poached eggs in town!
*** Vancouver Neatos is a weekly series where I interview neat people in Vancouver. If you know of someone doing something neat in Vancouver, email me their deets + I’ll add them to my list.