Bukola Ayinde : Coaching To Reinvent
Words By – Jemi Ekunkunbor
Bukola Ayinde is the CEO of Developing People & Ideas -D. P. I Services as well as the Founder, Diary of a Special Needs Mum Initiative under P4:13 Foundation.
The author of six books including Naked and Not Ashamed, a forty day journal of her experience as a special needs mum, she holds a Bachelor of Laws degree and a Master’s in Managerial Psychology.
Bukola, who started out as a litigation lawyer, went on to become a learning and development Consultant, and worked respectively in Human Resources, Marketing and Legal departments of the Intercontinental Bank and Access Bank, in Lagos, Nigeria.
The alumnus of the Fate Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme is today, a Life Coach, Storyteller, disability disability-inclusion and mental health advocate.
As individuals struggle to gain clarity on their goals and how to achieve them, I sought out Bukola to share with us how her services can be put to use for a harmonious life.
A lot of Nigerians are being exposed to coaching training in recent times. Why do you think we need coaches in our lives?
Coaching in itself is an old profession in human history. When you think of a sports coach, whether for football or track and field, we are used to that. However, when you talk about life coaching, which is, helping people move from where they are to where they need to be, this is relatively new and it originated from the USA over ten years ago.
According to Bill Gates, “Everybody needs a coach.” If you need to learn something new, instead of going to gather all the knowledge by yourself, employ a coach who has vast knowledge in that field to guide you. If you are good at something and you need to exceed your potential, you need a coach. A coach can also be like an accountability partner, holding your hand and ensuring you meet your set targets.
In what aspect of living does a man need a coach the most?
I would say in the area that a person has the most challenges. E.g., for A, it could be that in his career he is a highflier but his marriage is on the verge of collapse. That man should set priority in getting a marriage coach.
However, like I have said earlier, he can still get a coach even for his career so that he keeps meeting his career goals.
A look at your profile shows that you have your hands in many pies; what aspect of coaching are you into and which one do you enjoy most?
I will say I wear my hats…
I have written six books, I have produced two documentaries and a short film. I am a mother with a special needs child so I advocate for disability inclusion. Due to my experience as a mother of a special needs child, I have experienced mental health issues such as depression. As a result of that, I also advocate for mental health. My journey to rediscover myself was what led me to become a life coach.
A life coach can work with a client as regards the critical areas of his or her life. What I enjoy most about being a life coach is goal setting. Taking my client from where he or she is, to where they want to be. The joy of seeing my clients achieve their goals is phenomenon.
We are beginning to understand that all children don’t have the same learning capacity. Should children with learning challenges be lumped in the same class with children who do not have such challenges?
I advocate for inclusive education. My daughter has greatly benefited from inclusive education.
“Inclusive education means all children in the same classrooms, in the same schools. It means real learning opportunities for groups who have traditionally been excluded – not only children with disabilities, but speakers of minority languages too.” – UNICEF.
As an advocate for Inclusive education, how should this be done effectively?
This can be done through differentiated learning. For example, if the students are asked to solve seven sums, a person with a learning disorder can be asked to solve three. The teacher will go at his level and his questions will also take that format. In other cases, the child may also have a shadow teacher seated with him in class, to assist with learning. Another plus for the other students is that, as the teacher is making creative ways to teach the child with a learning disorder, they would also learn better.
How is coaching different from counselling?
In counselling, the counselor will need to understand his client to be able to formulate a specific solution to a particular problem; but in coaching, it is primarily present oriented. The coach may know about the client’s past, but the focus is where the client is at now, and where he wants to go. Therefore, for coaching to take place, the client must be able to move on forward from a reasonable stable base. Coaching is not appropriate for the mentally ill, drug addicts, or a person with a history of abuse.
A look at many young people in this country, one can tell all is not well with our youths. Why is it hard for many of them to clarify their goals and how can a life coach help?
If you go by the youths on social media, you will realise that many youths in Nigeria have one major goal, that is, to leave the country. Another predominant goal is to make a lot of money.
There is the issue of our belief system and our values: as a person, a family, a community and a nation. If a nation says we value hard work and integrity, they will promote and reward hard work and integrity. This trickles down to all facets of the nation, education, civil service, the family, individuals etc. A lot of youths are disillusioned about their future in Nigeria and this also affects the way they set their goals.
The best approach to this, is for each individual, each family, to decide what their belief system is, what their values are which must also be in line with the laws and regulations in Nigeria, and other developed countries. Then, set goals that are in alignment with their values and beliefs. Finally, they should put in measures to achieve these goals.
With the obvious economic hardship being faced in the country and the youth population greatly affected by the lack of job opportunities, how can their stress level be lowered so they can have peace?
The number one major stressor for many youths is social media! It’s no longer keeping up with the Joneses, it’s now keeping up with social media trends.
When I finished Law School, my first legal job as a litigation lawyer paid twenty five thousand naira (N25, 000). I wasn’t thinking about the latest clothes and the weaves. I lived at my level. I wasn’t under any pressure to compete with anybody. What I sought after was how to improve myself and my skills, and before long, I was able to earn much more than where I started from. It will shock you that there are a lot of opportunities out there but we do not have many skilled youths qualified for the positions.
I will say to that youth out there, learn an immediate skill that can earn you money like, digital skills, photography, editing etc while also working on the skills you need to qualify you for your dream job.
How can parents play their roles better in the home?
Up until the ‘80s and ‘90s, traditionally in Nigeria, the father goes to work and the mother gets a job that allows her close early or she may even be a stay-at-home mum. Things have radically changed from there to having both parents busy making money so that the family can have a good life.
When parents know their roles in the family and see themselves working as a team, then they will do all in their power to ensure that everyone on that team succeeds. When a man and a woman realise that they need to support each other and work together to nurture their children, then they have succeeded in their parenting roles.
Where there is a child with special needs in the family, women often bear the burden of nurturing and parenting. What should be the role of each parent in the life of that child?
I believe strongly that the parents should work together as a team and when one is emotionally low, the other can encourage the partner. Just like how you nurture your neurotypical children, parents should also learn to do the same for children living with special needs.
As a parent with a special need child, share with us your coping mechanism.
I often tell people that I am not a super woman, what I have is a great support system. My husband supports me greatly and together, we ensure that we have the right caregivers and therapist to work with our child per time. This enables both of us to have time for ourselves and do other things.
As a neuro-linguistics therapist, what kinds of people come for your services?
NLP- Neuro Linguistics Programming is about how to use the language of the mind to consistently achieve our specific and desired outcomes. It is a set of models, skills, and techniques for thinking and acting effectively in the world.
When a client comes to me as an integrative coach, where necessary, I deploy NLP techniques.
For example, a person who wants to set a health and vitality goal but has sugar cravings, until the sugar cravings are dealt with, the health and vitality goal will not be accomplished. I will deploy some NLP techniques to help the client overcome the sugar carvings then we can go ahead to set goals.
What can the government do to support children with special needs?
The government can do a lot but let’s start with the basics. Therapy and rehabilitation centres can be decentralised to the health centres in local communities. Financial support for indigent families who have children with disabilities will go a long way. Education of the public about people with disabilities so that people living with disabilities are accepted and not demonised in the community.