07.05.2020 – Stories & Specials | State of emergency

‘Everyone from prostitutes to financial directors are asking me for help’

Interview: Eva Hediger

Shortly after lockdown, posters started popping up around Zurich: individuals offering to help with shopping or other errands. One particular note appeared in almost all districts across the city: instead of a delivery service, this man was offering ‘free life coaching’. We wanted to know who was behind this poster and got in touch with ‘Jeff’ ourselves.

Jeff, you usually work as a coach in a group practice. This practice is closed at the moment. What has been your experience of lockdown so far?

It’s actually been quite nice. I have been feeling that society needs to change for a while now. We live in a system that is too heavily reliant on economic growth. This often comes at the expense of societal and social aspects. This became clear to me when I read Utopia for Realists. In this book, author Rutger Bregman makes the case for a 15-hour week and an unconditional basic income. I think the lockdown is encouraging more people to think like this. This shift in perspective is making people more mindful and prompting them to focus on essentials. I want to support this..

Who has taken you up on your offer of coaching so far?

At the start, only two or three people got in touch. Now there are more every day. Some callers are recommending me to other people they know. There are generally more women. Ages range from people in their mid-twenties to over 70. The social mix of people has also been interesting: I have been contacted by a prostitute and by a financial director for a major Swiss firm.

‘Ages range from people in their mid-twenties to over 70.’

Do people want to talk about corona-related concerns?

Not necessarily. Most callers have probably been thinking about getting some coaching for a while. They have usually been feeling some degree of dissatisfaction or a mental block for some time. But it is natural for people to question their lives more during a crisis. For example, there was a nurse who I spoke to. She is 60 years old and hasn’t had a good relationship with her daughter for a long time.

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How does the consultation work?

The conversation lasts between 60 and 75 minutes. It takes place digitally and can be anonymous if preferred. The person talks. I ask a few questions throughout and then offer my personal feedback at the end. Thanks to my vast wealth of experience, I can provide specific tips, ideas and potential new solutions. When I was in my early forties, I took a two-year break to focus on my personal development. This greatly increased my quality of life. During this time, I also explored shamanism. This now flows into my advice, which comprises a mixture of psychology, physics, spirituality and everything that I have learned from coaching training.

What if you aren’t able to take a two-year break?

There are other ways to get to know yourself better. For example, you can simply mix up your daily routine. Other people, unfamiliar paths or new hobbies or literature can provide new inspiration and ideas. When we experience a small change, it can often affect all areas of our lives.

‘It is natural for people to question their lives more during a crisis.’

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How do you explain that?

I believe in the law of resonance: like attracts like. For example, when you are newly in love, you often have other positive experiences and successes. On the other hand, when you are depressed, you will often attract other negative situations and people. I believe this is also linked to my own consciousness and therefore my attitude: Do I see something as a problem or a challenge? In other words, something that I have to endure – or something that I can and want to master?

Is this your view of the corona crisis?

Yes. Of course, people are worried about the consequences of the lockdown. But I have also noticed that people have a greater zest for life. There is more solidarity and a greater sense of community. Globalisation has led to huge economic growth in recent years. Many people found themselves trapped in a hamster wheel. This has suddenly stopped and we have been given a moment to reflect on what is truly important in life.r wirklich wichtig in meinem Leben?