Shilpa Shah
(NLP Life Coach & Trainer)

This is a summary of an interview with Shilpa Shah, a Neuro-Linguistics Programming (NLP) Life Coach and Trainer at Inside Out Consultancy.

In this interview, Shilpa shares how a personal challenge started a journey to find her ideal career and business. This journey led her around the world and ultimately got her settled back in Kenya, which is also where she grew up.

This was more than an interview because Shilpa demystifies NLP and provides a plan for creating and maintaining your ideal life without losing out on business.

She also shares how she made a decision to embrace her personality and build her business around who she is. Finally, Shilpa challenges businesswomen to take care of themselves financially and though work-life balance.

There is a wealth of information and motivation in this interview. So much so that I downloaded it to my phone so that I can listen to it whenever I want to. It’s yet another interview that I highly recommend you download and listen to now, during your free time, or on your commute.

Click here to listen to the interview or read the summary below. 
You can also connect with Shilpa on Facebook and her blog.

“I know there is a way…” ~ Shilpa Shah

Background information

Shilpa’s passion is coaching women. She’s also a certified NLP Trainer, which means that she trains NLP coaches, NLP Practitioners, and NLP Master Practitioners.

She started off with a career in marketing, in a job that she hated. She’d thought marketing was about connecting with people. Instead, she ended up in front of a screen for 14 hours a day which led to repetitive strain injury.

She told herself, “There’s got to be something else…” and switched to teaching English as a foreign language. This new job also gave her an opportunity to move from the UK to Thailand for 2 years before moving back to the UK.

Shilpa fell in love with teaching and being in the classroom with teenagers. So when she went back to the UK, she trained as a languages teacher. She taught French, Spanish, and English for 10 years before moving to Moshi in Tanzania and then back to Kenya, her childhood country.

In Kenya, she joined the British Council where she taught adults English as a foreign language. When the British Council closed down the teaching centre, Shilpa got into personal development training.

This led her to coaching and she started her business in 2009/2010.

It’s been a 26-year journey career-wise but Shilpa still remembers her first job in marketing and how much she hated it. She’s come a long way and loves what she does so much that it doesn’t feel like she’s working.

Structure of the business

1. Location

Shilpa runs Inside Out Consultancy from Westlands and also coaches online. You can find more information, resources, inspirational posts, and interviews with her clients on her websiteFacebook page, and LinkedIn.

2. Core programs

  • Life coaching for women.
  • NLP training for NLP Coach, NLP Practitioner and NLP Master Practitioner certifications.
  • Specialist training for organizations like the Young Presidents Organization (YPO) which is for young CEOs.
  • Round table forums and workshops e.g. for spouses of the CEOs.

Shilpa’s coaching clients are mainly women though she does get a few men in her programs. The clients include among others:

  • Business leaders.
  • Mothers.
  • Working mothers.
  • Entrepreneurs.
  • People who are in full-time work looking to break out on their own.

3. Business ownership and employees

Shilpa runs the business on her own. This was a deliberate decision after having been in different collaborations.

She had worked with organizations as a specialist trainer, had joint projects with individuals, and trained with her trainer when she started her own NLP training. When she started her business, she had an assistant.

With time, she realized that people either can’t keep up with her or they limited her creativity. So she made a decision to work alone because it’s easier and she’s in control.

Shilpa’s take on business partnerships

Independence and freedom are huge values for Shilpa. Each time she collaborated or worked with someone, she’d start off excited. However, she’s also impatient and likes to do things her way and be creative in her own way.

So things wouldn’t work out when she stayed with other people for a long time because she was bursting to change her ideas. She’d be working with someone and between one meeting and another, the idea has shifted and evolved into something else on her side.

She’s decided to only collaborate with others for short-term projects and no longer goes into longer partnerships. Even with the collaborations, she has to be in charge and take the lead and responsibility.

Shilpa notes that while it can be lonely on your own, it’s not easy to work with partners. Partnerships can be painful when things change due to personal or business-related issues or delays. 50-50 works in an ideal world, but it hasn’t worked for her.

She addresses solopreneur loneliness by seeking other people through:

  • Being with friends.
  • Having coffee with girlfriends.
  • Going to networking events.
  • Sharing with and learning from others.

NLP Demystified

NLP stands for Neuro-Linguistics Programming:

  • Neuro for the mind.
  • Linguistic for language (both verbal and non-verbal).
  • Programming for software.

NLP combines self-discovery and empowerment. We can say that NLP is the science of communication excellence so that you can achieve what you want in life.

NLP works through a bundle of powerful tools that have been borrowed from different forms of therapy. These tools can also be applied in business, institutions, coaching, parenting, and other areas.

When you get coached using NLP, you should be ready for miraculous results. You’ve got to be ready for a big shift in your life and dare to go for your dreams.

You also need to be ready to get rid of people and internal obstacles that are preventing you from getting what you want. You’ll deal with relationships and manage yourself to create balance.

So you can expect to experience relief, emotional balance, and fulfilment. This helps you see a positive future.

Unfortunately, NLP books are boring and very technical. The best way to see how useful it is for you is to experience it practically. Therefore, Shilpa offers discovery coaching sessions to give people a feel of how powerful NLP is.

Personal challenges lead to ideal career and business

Shilpa had challenging experiences when she was younger. She lost her job, got divorced, and had to leave her home as she couldn’t afford the mortgage on her own.

These events led to depression and her doctor gave her 2 choices: take antidepressants or go for counselling. She chose counselling which, unfortunately, only made her feel worse.

Finally, she told herself, “…Counselling is just rubbish. What is going to help me because I know there is a way? And I will heal myself and I will work through it.”

Something inside was telling her that she will find her way and that she was not going to take drugs. So she looked around for a solution.

She worked on her spirituality, did yoga teacher training in India, and took meditation courses and empowerment workshops.

Entry into NLP and coaching

One day someone introduced her to a Danish woman who was practising NLP.  Shilpa had 2 sessions with this woman and her whole world and outlook turned around.

In Shilpa’s words, “I think I dropped the depression that day and I could see clearly my future and where I wanted to go.” These two sessions gave her the confidence and courage to move forward in her life again.

5 years later, Shilpa was working at the British Council and enjoying her work. One of her colleagues invited her to sign up for NLP life coach training. Shilpa met the NLP trainers and she signed up for the program in order to improve her training skills.

Slowly, she started moving towards working with individual clients. She also attended advanced NLP training. The transformation she went through as a student of NLP helped her with her life’s challenges, which included:

  • Her divorce.
  • Health crises.
  • The trauma of having an emergency cesarean section.
  • Issues and challenges in her marriage.

She’s now moving towards doing more 1-1 coaching. Coaching can be challenging and tiring. But it gives Shilpa more fulfilment knowing that she’s making a difference in someone’s life by helping them see their own potential and taking back their own power.

Challenges encountered in business

1. Under-charging

Initially, Shilpa loved the work and was charging really low fees. The work wasn’t paying her bills and she had to do other work e.g. training because it paid her more.

Luckily, she was able to bring NLP into all the work she was doing because NLP is about communication excellence.

The hard part was to earn enough especially when she decided to become an NLP trainer. Her current income was not going to pay for her training, travel, and accommodation.

So she had to change and become a businesswoman as well as a coach. This meant that she had to make the business work and become more profitable.

2. Overwhelm

A couple of years ago, Shilpa was very busy. Starting a business requires letting go of other priorities. However, Shilpa wanted to keep up with all her priorities.

So she was running about 3 other businesses while trying to be the best mum, wife, daughter, daughter-in-law, etc. She was trying to do it all and overwhelmed herself.

Her work also involved a lot of travel abroad, but she wasn’t enjoying the travel because she had no time to enjoy the places she visited.

How Shilpa overcame the challenges (with useful advice for women and coaches)

1. Charge what you’re worth

Shilpa signed up for the Biashara Threesixty Business Breakthrough coaching program. Her business coach helped her stop giving her work away for free or giving huge discounts.

This program also helped her realize that:

  • Her work as a coach and trainer was valuable.
  • She had to charge what she’s worth.
  • She had to be able to receive money as well.

The first step in her coaching was to set how much she wanted to be earning in one year. That amount felt crazy because, at that time, Shilpa didn’t know anyone who was earning that much as a coach.

She attended NLP Trainer training in America, where she met many average coaches who were charging 5x or 10x more than she was. Again, NLP helped her build up her confidence, self-worth, and ability to find clients at a higher fee.

2. Invest in yourself

Shilpa realized that as she asked for higher rates, it also empowered the women she coached to invest in themselves. By paying high and investing in herself, she dares to ask the same back from her clients too.

With just the simple act of paying a high price, you’re investing in yourself. You’re telling the Universe, “Listen, I’m worth it. I’m doing this. I’m not gonna mess around and sabotage myself anymore…I’m ready for this.”

The investment in yourself pays itself back. Each time Shilpa invests in herself, she quadruples her income and attracts better quality clients.

Interestingly, it’s not the clients that change. They just get inspired at a subconscious level when they see her growing.

3. Stretch yourself out of your comfort zone (for coaches)

When you talk to people and you’re charging low fees, they may not believe you. Because if you know how to do that then why aren’t you doing it to increase your fees?

Coaches need to be a couple of levels ahead of their clients. They also have to be experts in coming out of their comfort zones.

If you stay stuck in your comfort zone, you won’t be able to help your clients get out of their comfort zones. When you take your own medicine you can sell it easily to people because they can sense it subconsciously.

4. Pay yourself and enjoy the money

Women, in general, don’t always ask for what they’re worth and for promotions or pay rises.

If you’re a businesswoman, pay yourself first (or feed yourself first as Shilpa says). Learn to receive. Make yourself important.

There’s no point in having a fancy office and pay high rent when you can’t pay yourself enough to achieve your personal goals and dreams.

If you play small, it’s like telling the Universe you want to play small. And the Universe lets you stay small.

5. Let go and simplify your life

When Shilpa sought business coaching, she was going to build the business bigger, including hiring staff. During the coaching, she realized was that she needed to keep business simple, realistic, and doable.

This included letting go of some things so that she could focus on what she loves the most.

It was a hard process because she had become an expert and great at certain skills like training. So people would still request her for training and she didn’t know how to say “No”. Yet all she wanted to do was to coach.

She had to make a conscious decision to create the life she wanted as well as have a good business.  It took one year to move from overwhelm to getting back into balance and finding her flow and peace of mind.

Before that, she was rushing against time and had endless lists with 20 things to do. When she let go, she reduced her list to 2-3 things that are done by the end of the day.

By simplifying her life, Shilpa is now enjoying the process of living calmly, simply, and travelling for leisure.

She’s always wanted to have ease so that she no longer has to market. Clients come to her as she lives her life.

At present, she’s on a smooth journey and knows that she has the tools and techniques of NLP to help her when challenges come.

6. Create the life you want

We’re creating all the time. It’s good to have the awareness that your thoughts are creating your reality. So align your thoughts to what you desire daily. Stop blaming others for your life and work on creating your dream life.

Since we’re continually creating, you need to continue focusing on what you want and thinking ahead. The best thing about working with a coach is because the coach is one step ahead of you.

This means that the coach can see the vision of the future for you. They can then guide you in a direction that’s healthy and beneficial for you. Intuitive coaches can also warn you about potential challenges that are coming up for you.

It’s possible for you to do this by yourself when you think a little bit ahead. Don’t go too far into the future that you get anxious, just have a plan as you stay calm and enjoy your day.

Set clear short, medium and long-term goals so that you don’t live on automatic pilot. If you have challenges, set other goals, and make new decisions.

When you do this, you expand your potential and see that life is not just black and white. You’re also open to new possibilities.

Parting words for women in business

1. Support each other

  • Promote and refer each other. Business is not a competition or a race. When each woman gets empowered, all of us will rise.
  • If you have work that you can’t do, give it out to someone else. It will come back to you ten-fold.
  • Be generous with your ideas and advise.  You can share your services with like-minded people, but don’t give everything away for free.
  • It can be lonely when you’re in your own business. Find ways to fulfil yourself.
  • Cheer for each other. Like each others’ Facebook pages.

2. Watch out for criticism

Don’t criticise yourself and others or put yourself down. Put everybody up, including yourself. Say, “I’m good and I know it and I deserve success.”

Your way forward

1. Connect with Shilpa online

Visit the Inside Out Consultancy blog and Like their Facebook page. You can also email Shilpa to request a Discovery Coaching Session and experience how NLP can shift your life. Shilpa loves connecting with people so feel free to call (her number is on the website and Facebook page) and let her know what you learnt from this interview.

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4. Sign up for coaching

At Biashara 360, we help professional and business women become leaders in their industries. You define success in your own terms, chart your own course, and achieve your fullest potential. You also prioritize your focus so that you achieve greater success while working a lot less.

If this interests you, click here to request a complimentary consultation. During this call, you will connect with a coach and identify whether coaching is the right thing for you. If it isn’t, you’ll be guided as to what would work for you now.

(Photo Credit: Shilpa Shah)

Disclaimer: Some of the links in this article are affiliate links and I get a small commission when you purchase from the vendors. Even so, I only recommend books, programs and resources that have been beneficial to myself or my clients.


Caroline Gikonyo
Caroline Gikonyo

Caroline Gikonyo is a Life and Business Coach at Biashara 360. She's an avid blogger and also oversees our content creation. This ensures that we give our readers quality and well researched information and tips.

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