“Helping clients see their true self-worth is number one,” says Tanya Unkovich. It’s a foundational principle at her flourishing new counselling practice at Parnell Natural Health.
“To enable another person to see their true self-worth opens the door to developing true self-respect. Once they have that, their decision making process is very different. They will choose differently and they will behave differently.”
It sounds simple yet comes from a place of true wisdom that’s been earned the hard way: from a combination of specialised training, personal experience and a decade of coaching success.
Tanya is an accomplished author, professional public speaker, business mentor, personal trainer, qualified life coach and counsellor with a third book currently in the pipeline. Whether it’s mentoring around sustaining weight loss, surviving grief, deciding on a career move or transforming a rocky relationship, Tanya works on her client’s core beliefs. Her focus is on creating change and championing new behaviour so her client’s experience a fresh perspective, enhanced decision-making skills and increased confidence.
“What I desire the most is to live an extraordinary life and to assist others to do the same.”
It may involve supportive listening, or setting homework to reinforce communication skills through to helpful advice on nurturing self-care (exercise, eating behaviours, breathing properly and sleeping).
While the approach may be varied depending on the client’s situation, one problem is constant.
“It’s a common situation to see people that haven’t properly dealt with an issue which is self-sabotaging and stopping them from actually succeeding or moving forward.”
She assists through one-on-one individual appointments or open group sessions to resolve limiting issues so that her clients can live, “an extraordinary life,” which she feels passionate about.
As a result, Tanya has seen; women leave abusive relationships, employers deal with a toxic employee, addicts change behaviour and people come to terms with grief.
Although she’s attained a myriad of professional certifications, Tanya’s pursuit of professional knowledge isn’t static either. Last year she completed a New Zealand Certificate in Personal Training through the New Zealand Institute of Health and Fitness.
“It’s specialised knowledge that I use to help women in the area of weight loss, particularly for those in their fifties who want advice on how to exercise without having to go to a gym environment.”
Tanya is also a professional speaker about topics ranging from grief to a recent popular presentation on ‘the discipline about being self-employed’. However, it hasn’t been an easy ride. Pain has been a very good teacher, even for this dynamic coach.
The “death of a dream” caused by her own personal struggle with fertility and being widowed unexpectedly triggered a complete career change from accountancy to study counselling which she says, “turned me literally inside out.”
It was all part of a “bigger plan” she now nods. Tanya’s beloved husband was diagnosed with cancer at the same time she was in the latter stages of finishing her diploma in counselling.
“I’d watched both my parents suffer from cancer and then Phil. Once he was diagnosed he kept a detailed journal about living with cancer. Five months later he sadly passed away and I knew deep down that he wanted his story told.”
“By offering my combination of life coaching and counselling skills I can help a client unpack the past, come to terms with the present and give them the tools to improve their decision-making going forward into the future.”
As part of honouring his legacy to help others and fulfilling his final wish, Tanya wrote the book, Unplanned Journey. It immediately opened up a door to unforeseen opportunities.
She was successfully signed by an American publisher and then offered a rare opportunity to appear on a popular United States television chat show, The Hour of Power, which is syndicated worldwide to an audience of millions.
Over the show’s 45 year history, only two Kiwis have ever been invited to appear; singer and UNICEF Ambassador, Hayley Westenra and in 2009, Tanya Unkovich.
Although she has “priceless memories” of chatting candidly off-camera with the television host, Dr Robert Schuller about his friend, Viktor Frankl, (the celebrated Austrian psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor), receiving an email at the time from a reader helped by her book was what really made her “heart sing”.
Call it synchronicity. Call it validation. It signalled to Tanya that she was on the right path. Over time she discovered too that although clients initially came in for business-type coaching (particularly self- employed people) they actually responded to personal coaching and in some instances a bit of counselling, “but they probably weren’t aware of it”.
Tanya believes that it was really helpful to have those conversations as it helped them move forward to finally achieve their business desires and goals.
Fulfilment is a huge motivator for Tanya. “Whilst it’s great to be able to be successful in what you do. For me true success is about being fulfilled. That means contributing to something outside myself and helping others.”
When not busy advising clients in clinic, you’ll often find Tanya on the back of her racy Ninja 300 sport motorbike or filling up her ‘own tank’ of motivational knowledge in coaching sessions with US self-help guru, Anthony Robbins.