In Conversation with Shagufta Patel – Our Prolific People Development Specialist

Behavioral Coaching is not for everyone but some manage to nail it with their passion and quest for the knowledge of human mind and its functioning, to help us find a better and a changed person in ourselves. One such soul is Shagufta Patel, our in-house Coach and Holistic Living Techniques practitioner who found her calling in and around people development.

Shagufta is a Certified Image Advisor, Life-Skill & Success Coach, NLP Practitioner and a Consulting Hypnotist and believes that what sustains and propels people forward are the internal & external mannerisms and the Emotional Intelligence that one possesses.

At ICCA, she facilitates the Work Experience Placement training for student-chefs. It was an enlightening afternoon well spent with Shagufta discussing the holistic way of living and her journey into the world of people development. Let’s see what more she had to share with us.

Q. What initially sparked your interest in Holistic Living Techniques and took you down this career path?

Back in India, when I was working with Femina magazine, I was introduced to Image Management; a concept developed to build and manage a person’s image, much like building a Personal Brand.

Having realized that human behavior and our internal thought process effect and are an integral part of one’s Image, I found the idea of altering one’s behavioural patterns to create the best version of oneself quite interesting and at the same time also very challenging. I was intrigued to know more about the human mind and its many mysteries and that curiosity led me to Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) and Hypnotherapy.

Q. What exactly is NLP or Neuro Linguistic Programming?

Neuro represents how you’re taking in information from the environment through your senses and how you interpret those things to organize your thoughts. Linguistic stands for the language patterns we use to communicate with others and ourselves and the resultant internal programming is our Behaviors.
Using language as a tool to re-programme your mind is what NLP is all about.

NLP has a technique to help with almost everything. Whether you have thoughts and beliefs that are limiting you, want to rid yourself of low mood, anx­iety or phobias, want to communicate more effectively, wish to work through emotional issues and so much more, NLP can help.

Q. Could you please share your experience so far as an NLP practitioner?

I became a certified NLP practitioner in 2015 and since then I’m loving the transformations and change work. It is exhilarating when you know how to turn things around quickly and shift mind frames in an instant. I have been able to overcome my fears, phobias and emotions that were limiting me and holding me back from progressing. It is even more phenomenal when you’re able to help others in improving themselves in their own journey.

Q. How do you use the principles of NLP with your students at ICCA?

I make use of my coaching expertise and NLP, empowering them with the right mental makeup along with the skills they harness at ICCA to create their own path to success in the culinary industry. Getting a job is still easier compared to keeping or progressing on the job which depends entirely on our attitudes and coping mechanisms.

NLP is all about managing your state of mind and learning to change states on demand; from feeling nervous to confident, from feeling tired to energetic, from feeling stressed to performing your best.

Q. What is a typical session with the students in the school like?

The entire program is focused on getting Work Placement and the sessions are designed in accordance beginning with an overview of the hospitality industry, followed by coaching, mock interviews and trade-test preparations. And if I see that someone needs extra help, I work with them separately in one-on-one sessions. I usually have weekly sessions during their three months here which covers many aspects such as NLP, Image Management, with a little bit of Mindfulness as well. With all of these combined, we get them ready for the industry.

Q. How does the WEP program work?

In the WEP or Work Experience Placement program, when the Professional Diploma Program students are halfway through their course, the school reaches out to the industry by sending out their resumes and coordinates with the HR team to conduct interviews for the students. From the scheduling, the selection and final onboarding of the candidate, the entire placement process happens through the school.

Q. Do you get emotionally difficult students? How do you work with them?

Yes, mostly every batch would have one or two students who have got something going on within, that restricts them from performing optimally, and it’s kind of easy to spot them because they wouldn’t have the right attitudes and behaviours. That is when I usually have the one-on-one sessions with them.

Q. Wouldn’t this kind of sessions take some time to show results?

No. That’s the beauty of NLP and Hypnotherapy; it’s super quick and almost magical compared to counseling sessions that take months and years to show results. With NLP & Hypnotherapy we are working at the subconscious level addressing the issue directly, which is where all the behavioural patterns come from. Much like a computer program where a single change in the coding can result in totally different outputs; here the output is our behaviors.

Q. From the glitz and glamour of Femina to the holistic living ways, how did the transition happen?

At Femina, I was taking care of the production process of the magazine and every month I was doing the same kind of routine work. Of course, Times of India is a wonderful place to work and the people were amazing too, but it got repetitive after a while. I need some challenges at work to keep me motivated that were not to be found in my scope of work. So I was looking for options which would gratify and evolve me in the process, and that’s when I came across Image Management. As I mentioned before, working with the human mind is not only a challenge but a much deeper world in itself.

SR: GulfHost is almost here, and we heard you will be speaking at the event. Could you please tell us something about it?

SP: GulfHost is Middle East’s biggest ever hospitality and food services expo event being launched this year. Being introduced during Dubai International Hospitality Week, it is a meeting ground for hospitality industry professionals from across the world.
You could read up more on GulfHost by clicking on the link here

Also taking place during GulfHost is the Restaurant Development Conference covering the A to Z of the restaurant spectrum. I will be part of a Panel Discussion on Day 2 of the event sharing stage presence with eminent personalities and dignitaries like HE Dr Naji Almahdi (Chief of Qualifications & Awards in Dubai, KHDA, Member VETAC & NQA), Mr.Tony Degazon (Regional Manager at City&Guilds) , Mr. Ramzi Solh (CEO of King Abdullah Economic City’s Commercial Business Unit), Mr. Ragnar Fridriksson (Managing Director, WorldChefs) and Mr. Sunjeh Raja (CEO at ICCA).

The topic under discussion will be “The Government on Building a Smarter Workforce and Skill Standardization.”

SR: You did NLP & Hypnotherapy, what’s in line for you next?

SP: This year I have done a few more programs such as the Goulding Sleep-Talk which has its basis in Hypnosis and is mainly for kids, Success Coaching and now before the year ends I want to do the mBIT program. Multiple Brain Integration Technique is a powerful new field that advances the fields of NLP and Personal Development and will serve me to help my students better. The learning should never stop to improvise and to re-invent yourself. There’s a quote by Bob Dylan that I live by – “If you’re not busy being born, you’re busy dying.”

Shruti Raj

A simple writer, with hands on experience in Public Relations and Communications. An ardent lover of food with a natural flair for culinary arts, who loves to write anything and everything about food, with a career background of more than half a decade invested in various communication fields. Now being a part of ICCA Dubai Digital Marketing team, she intends to showcase her professional expertise in web & print content development and food photography, and adapt to learn more with the team.

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