Ofentse Tsipa is a South African-born life coach and speaker based in Kenya.
Tsipa presents keynotes, webinars and workshops on self-development and helps her clients achieve transformational results in their lives. She has worked with various multinational companies including Truworths and Givaudan.
How does one become a life coach and speaker? Is there a course to study? Do you sometimes coach yourself? Does a coach have to have a coach?
Well, there are coaching courses and speaking courses, but there are also self-taught coaches and speakers who are naturally gifted. Even though it came naturally to me, I did get training for both and I am grateful because it polished my rough edges.
Yes, self-coaching is definitely a thing and every self-respecting coach needs to engage in it every now and then, but it does not substitute the value of having a coach. I have a life coach myself, and I meet with her every two weeks. In my opinion, a coach who is not getting coached is of questionable integrity.
Why did you move to Kenya? Why did you decide to switch from working for a global company to life coaching?
I moved to Kenya for a corporate job in a global company but when my tenure ended, I decided to stay in Kenya because it feels safe compared to South Africa. The weather is great, the people are lovely and there was a lovely change of scenery. Plus, I’ve always wanted to live the e-nomad life.
I decided to make the career switch because I had been certified as a life coach for a year already and I had just had my daughter. I chose life coaching because then my schedule would be flexible enough for me to be there for her at the most critical stage of her life while pursuing my purpose, which is to help people attain self-actualisation.
We’ve seen your face on a few BBC interviews talking about issues that affect women. Would you consider yourself a feminist?
Yes, yes, and yes again! I am passionate about women and a proud feminist. In Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s words, being a feminist to me means believing in the social, economic, and political equality of the sexes.
Growing up and seeing how differently women are treated from men just because they are women really irked me. Whenever I get a chance, I will always advocate for women in this world. Don’t get me started honey!
What can you recall, in your coaching practice, as a breakthrough that you helped a client with that you felt really proud of?
I have coached women who were going through divorce or break ups. I think one of the most exciting breakthroughs they have experienced is going from struggling with their self-image, self-love, and confidence after divorce, to being self-assured and confident. These qualities have helped them attract love, and manifested as success in their careers and freedom to pursue their passions.
My clients’ wins genuinely feel like my own. As someone who has experienced the devastation of divorce and the loss of self-esteem that comes with that, I’m so grateful that I get to help other women recover and glow up in less time than it took me.
Many find it difficult to let go of their past and their feelings of inadequacy. A lot of things in life are neutral events and we give them positive or negative meaning. That meaning is what people refuse to change or let go of, especially when it’s a negative meaning. I find that this is because many people are addicted to familiar negative feelings from their past like shame, grief or anger, and when I ask a question that challenges that addiction, they most often will answer with “I don’t know”. This is my personal pet peeve.
The truth is that most of us know how to get out of feeling stuck, but it calls for us to experience new feelings (like peace, joy, and happiness) that we may not be used to. The most courageous thing to do is to let go of addictive negative feelings, acknowledge the role you played in perpetuating them in your life then deciding to walk in the new feelings that allow you to grow into your potential.
What does a transformed life look like to you? And what would you tell our readers who feel stuck?
A transformed life means someone who is satisfied, not in an “I don’t have to do anything else, I’ve arrived” kind of way but in an “I am enjoying this life journey so much” way.
Life is all about expansion and we never ever finish what we came to do but when you are at peace with yourself and learn how to unconditionally love yourself, then life becomes blissful despite the hardships.
To someone feeling stuck I’d say, start by doing one thing that brings you joy, then focus on gratitude for all that is going well in your life. Lastly, help others. When you stop focusing on your own issues, you gain perspective, and I guarantee that you’ll feel a lot better.