Murinzi (second name withheld on request) was expelled from school under unclear circumstances. He says his antisocial nature raised suspicion, as many times, he was found ‘hanging out’ on his own. Unfortunately, rumours of drugs and other bad habits followed, as no one understood why he always wanted to be alone.
He had been bullied for the first year of high school, something that may have had an impact on his character and conduct.
“I felt like everyone was against me, and that I was going to end up alone,” he says.
After his expulsion, one of the very few people Murinzi talked to approached him and recommended a ‘life coach’, or a modern-day mentor.
With four visits a week, it was a life-changing step, Murinzi says, referring to how he regained confidence. And he attributes the change to the increasingly common path in society — mentorship.
“Initially, I was sceptical about it. I thought that everything I was going to share with the mentor would be revealed to my previous school and I didn’t want that to happen. I guess it is because I wasn’t happy with the way things had turned out,” he says.
“But after a couple of months, she (the life coach) started getting through to me, breaking it down for me and showing me where I could have done better.”
“She also made me realise that there was no need to compare myself to other people, or search for approval or acceptance,” he explains.
She encouraged me to complete school, and even go to college. She highlighted the benefits I stood to gain and how success was within my reach.
The 23-year-old is now pursuing a bachelor’s degree in general veterinary at Kigali Christian University.
Many people associate the ‘life coach’ service with people looking to advance their careers, but Murinzi is of the view that it is extremely helpful to anyone in need of it, especially the youth who are easily misguided.
According to Vanessa Gakuba, a school co-counsellor, it is important in life to find someone skilfully trained to help people maximise their full potential and reach their desired goals.
She adds that a life coach, or personal mentor, encourages and counsels people on a range of professional and personal issues.
“Life coaching is not just advice, it is consulting, counselling, mentoring, and administering therapy. They are normally consulted regarding professional projects, personal goals and transitions.”
“Also, a life coach helps you grow by analysing the current situation, identifying limiting thoughts, and various potential challenges to help someone achieve specific outcomes in their lives,” Gakuba says.
Norbert Sugira, a 25-year-old mentor, is of the view that life coaching is a widely important approach.
He says people that use a personal mentor or life coach are often short of confidence and find themselves devoid of achievement.
“Their self-worth is low and the challenges they face are deemed too high. A life coach essentially seeks to reinstall an individual’s faltering confidence and ensure they have it within themselves to live up to their full potential,” Sugira says.
Needless to mention, life coaching can help with virtually any aspect of someone’s life. Whether it is in their professional or personal life. Sugira says.
Elias Kurgat who has been a coach for more than five years at Nu-Vision High School says that many young people seek this kind of coaching due to the influence of social media.
“Today’s generation leans mostly on social media as their means of connection to the rest of the world.
“I had a client once who had over 4,000 followers on Instagram but she didn’t have anyone in her life to confide in when she really needed it,” Kurgat says.
One of the most common questions, Kurgat says, is ‘what should I be in life?’.
“I laugh when young people come to me asking how they should live their lives because you hardly know anything when you are still a teenager.”
He adds, “Your life’s purpose is meant to evolve overtime, and that question should be asked more than once. Many young people feel dispirited when they don’t get what they want in a specific period. They forget life requires patience.”
Kurgat is one of the few local coaches who approaches his clients with a deeper understanding of the issues they face. And in particular, focuses on young people since he once had similar concerns.
He also believes that coaching should be unregulated. “Although I personally have qualification, I think that anyone can be a coach. And should be willing to help a friend in case they see them struggling with a burden.
“I always tell people who approach me that they should not be deterred by age.
“When I started I had clients who were much older than me, but age has nothing to do with it. It is about your experiences and what you have learned. They didn’t care how old I was and neither did I.
“We live in a society where people are in need of help. If you can help lessen the problems, I believe they will change and also do the same for others.”