Coach Interview Series: Sahar Eric Pinkham

by Brandon

Sahar Eric Pinkham

Life Coach and Hypnotherapist

Our main objective here at the National Coach Academy is to enable aspiring coaches to reach their full professional potential. One of the most effective ways to educate students about the world of coaching is by offering them a window into the world of real, practicing coaches and showing them all the different ways coaches make a difference in the lives of their clients.

We hope today’s interview adds another insightful glimpse into the dynamic world of coaching.

Today we are interviewing Sahar Eric Pinkham. Sahar is a Life Coach and Hypnotherapist based in Sebastopol, CA.

NCA: Can you describe your coaching practice and the kinds of clients you typically work with?

Sahar: My coaching practice is for the most part, talk therapy, which is what I find most people want. Most people want someone who truly sees them, who gets them for their strengths, their weaknesses, their shadow — meaning their blind areas — and can speak it back to them in a way where they feel the gratitude and relaxation that comes from being seen and fully accepted for who they are. That they’re not broken, they are beautiful. They have the skills within them to meet whatever is in their life. That’s what I find most of my clients want.

Although I’m a hypnotherapist and a third-degree Reiki practitioner, the majority of my sessions are coaching. It’s to feel into who they are and be able to speak this to them in a way that supports them in recognizing their own vast resources. I ask them questions regarding their motivation: What is it that motivated them to reach out to addiction? Together we regress to the moment they chose that. What did they feel in their body? What did they feel emotionally? And what were they thinking?

Hypnotherapy effectively supports my clients in recognizing the wisdom of their body and emotions. Our bodies have a cellular memory. The body retains all of our experiences.Through regression we can access them. We have a vehicle through which we can access the old conditioning stories that we learned in the first seven years of our lives.

We get in touch with that conditioning, through regression. We return to situations early in their life. To access those often repressed memories from their past, we reflect on recent similar experiences. What they felt in their body, what they felt emotionally, and the thoughts they were having about themselves become a guide that take them back to their early childhood. This is a very powerful way to recall these memories as they become much more real. They get to relive these experiences more deeply; more holistically. They re-experience physically, emotionally, mentally, and energetically those significant moments.

During our childhood, we developed strategies towards getting love. To get attention from others. In the end, it doesn’t give us self-love. It just perpetuates the belief that the only source of love is somebody else. It perpetuates the belief that we are undeserving of love.

While in regression my clients re-experience the moment they made a decision to think and behave in a way that perpetuates their survival. These decisions are based on surviving, not thriving. During our sessions they deeply feel the emotion: the grief, the fear, the rage. Next, they express it in a healthy way. Pound it out. Dance it out, scream it, — whatever way is their most effective way to express and then release the emotions that have been trapped as cellular memory. You see e-motions are energy in motion. When healthy, we allow them to be felt and expressed.

On occasion, I invite my clients to drum. And in that very powerful expression comes the initial empowerment. An extraordinary means to circumvent their thoughts and deeply feel their body.. NCA: It seems like you’re drawing a really clear distinction between those two — the sensations that you feel in your body vs your mind.

NCA: It seems like you’re drawing a really clear distinction between those two — the sensations that you feel in your body vs your mind.

Sahar: I’m really glad to see so many somatic therapies. It’s an awesome transition that I see happening. Previously, we placed our intellect and our memory as the main tools through which we access our conditioning. Our mind and memory can fool us in a million different ways. Throughout our lives our mind comes up with all kinds of scenarios, many of which are exaggerations or minimizations of the real events as they occurred.

But our body and our emotions never fool us. And in somatic therapy, we get in touch with the emotions, the physical sensations — those are real. That’s locked-up energy. Emotion is energy in motion. If we can get that energy moving — be it the cellular memory or the emotion itself — it’s so freeing. It’s so empowering. So yes, huge distinction. I appreciate you mentioning that.

Follow your bliss. If it’s your bliss, your passion, it brings you life, go for it. Trust that bliss. Trust the fire that is that passion. And the more you follow it, the more of it you’ll have in your life.

NCA: What initially got you interested in this career path as a coach and all the other work that you do and what kind of training or degree or certifications did you need to complete, if any?

Sahar: I’ll start with the simple one. [laughing] The simple one is the training. I’m a certified hypnotherapist and I got my certification in the mid-80s. I am also a third-level Reiki practitioner.

The coaching actually goes back to when I managed, studied and taught in a residential meditation center, or ashram. I got certified as a Teacher of Meditation and Yoga. It was so awesome to lead groups that were primarily focused on a deeper awareness of themselves through eastern mysticism.

Eastern mysticism recognizes that our consciousness is all-powerful. Our consciousness is vast. It gives us access to the infinite energy of creation.

What inspires me is feeling into that in myself. I had a profound experience at age 15 where I experienced infinite consciousness; unlimited by time and space. By this body. I felt completely free and infinite. Having now experienced the truth of my (and everyone’s) consciousness, I was super inspired to work with groups and one-on-one. To support them in seeing their inner resources. To access them by feeling into those moments in their lives when they also felt that potential.

NCA: With regards to the work that you do with your clients, what is the most rewarding part of that whole experience? What do you enjoy most and on the flip side of that, what is the most challenging aspect of the work that you do?

Sahar: It’s really interesting because what I learned with that is sometimes, they’re one and the same. When I sit with people who are in despair, who feel helpless, the challenge is to support them in feeling deeply into the place(s) in their body where they might be numb or empty. It’s seemingly impossible to feel into it. And that’s the challenge.

And yet what can be seemingly miraculous is that once they can feel beneath that surface, they start moving the energy of grief, despair, rage, futility. They start moving those emotions, feeling them and expressing them. They get that energy moving which frees it up, allowing them to live with greater vitality and aliveness. And whenever we release something, we have greater access to our potential for fulfillment in all ways.

Much of the reward for me is in witnessing my clients’ courage as they pull themselves through this deeply transformative process. It’s life-affirming. So that’s both the challenge and the incredible reward.

Another challenge is — and I’m really glad this has only happened twice that I can recall — to sit with people who are just dead set against looking at themselves. They will look at everybody else as being the source of their problem. They’re committed to that and they just will not breathe deeply. They will not listen or move. And both of these people I’m thinking were actually referred by somebody else. It was not them saying, “I need help.” Someone else thinks, “Oh, maybe you ought to.” It’s got to come from our own willingness for greater self-awareness.

NCA: What is one piece of advice you would give to somebody just starting their coaching career?

Sahar: There are so many kinds of coaches. When you feel into your desire to coach others, what’s your motivation? Is it money? Is it approval from someone else? Is it because you just love it? Because you’re passionate about it? Because it brings you on fire and it’s life-affirming for you? [laughing] So you can see that’s what I’m rooting for.

If it is your passion, your joy, it brings you alive — absolutely go for it. Follow your bliss. If it’s your bliss, your passion, it brings you life, go for it. Trust that bliss. Trust the fire that is that passion. And the more you follow it, the more of it you’ll have in your life.

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