How Provocative Coaching Can Help You Achieve Success in Your Life


Today we give a warm welcome to husband and wife, Mohammed Rafi and Sareena Ikbal of who have written this very special guest post.

You are good for nothing and that’s why you’re reading this article.

You are a willing learner and that’s why you’re reading this article, I believe.

And please excuse me if I provoked you with my first sentence.

It was just to give you a picture of the provocative style that was initiated by Frank Farrelly and carried over to the rest of the world by Sue Knight and Ashok Subramanian.

And are you wondering how it is going to help you? I will come to that in a bit.

Before that, my 2 cents advise to you. Please be patient and kindly avoid speed reading, if you want to get the full essence of this style and article.

I met Ashok Subramanian for the first time in Sep 2012 and I consider that meeting to be the biggest turning point of my life.

We spent 5 days at Atheeth Ashram, which is on the outskirts of Bangalore City for my NLP Practitioner Program. It was a truly enriching journey because of the ambiance, the people, the food, the nature, the weather and if you let me go then I will keep on going.

It’s for you to experience if you want to achieve success and lead a well-balanced life with full of joy and happiness.

For every question I asked, Ashok would give me a corresponding question which was provocative in nature. However, it was given with a coating of love and honesty to make myself realize the problems and find solutions. It has hugely benefited me in seeing the points that I have ignored in the past.

These days I provoke my colleagues, friends and family members to help them lead a happy life. They had the same feeling that I had with Ashok; they were able to see the point after I provoked them.

I kept on asking questions to Ashok right from the first day of our NLP program. He never gave me any answer that was convincing to me. On day 3, I asked him why he was not giving answers to my questions, to which he asked me to keep quiet for a while.

I got angry at him because of the way he responded to me. But after going to my room I did a deep introspection which gave me a compelling answer. I was talking too much and if I kept quiet and looked deep down in my heart, I would get answers to all my questions.

That was the time that I realized the value and understood the meaning of Ashok’s provocative coaching style which he learned from Frank Farrelly and Sue Knight.

I was a completely different man after the program was over. With those beautiful memories I boarded the bus to God’s own country, Kerala, the place where I and Sareena live our life.

Sareena (my wife) will tell you what happened after this and you will be surprised to see how a wife handled a supposedly mad husband..!

Rafi was for sure tired, but I could sense some difference in him.  Of course he has shed some weight, but I sensed a positive energy radiating from him. He is usually a calm person but I felt that he had become calmer.

He spoke much less and started saying sorry and thank you frequently, for whatever I did for him. This was shocking and I thought he was mad..!

I just asked him to stop all this nonsense and behave normally. However, he just smiled at me and said to keep quiet for some time and calm your mind.

I started thinking all sorts of negative things. I thought of calling Ashok and asking him “what have you done to my love? I want my Rafi as the same person.

Rafi, who is brilliant in reading my thoughts, hugged me, sat beside me and said “I am your same old loving husband dear, but now I have started loving you even more”. I was at sixes and sevens at his comment.

He then told me about the provocative NLP training, about the great human being Ashok and the transformation he had undergone. He told me that Ashok made him realise that his heart was becoming tougher and he provoked him to make it more loving and lighter.

This increased my curiosity and I decided to attend Ashok’s training along with my husband.

Ashok’s dress was not very impressive to me and I told him the same.

Now, you will see the first provocation that he posed at me.

“If you don’t like the way I dress up, then it’s your problem because you want me to dress up the way you want to”.

My first NLP learning and yes, for sure, now I was impressed by this man.

The only thing that I didn’t like about Ashok was that he never gave answers to our questions. When I asked him something, he just responded by asking a counter question and this was frustrating for me.

However, now I realise the benefit of those provocative questions. It led me to ask more questions to myself and find the answers.

Provocative love may seem frustrating, but effective. It will lead you to discover your true self.

Now, Rafi will tell you the 5 main benefits of Provocative Coaching and Provocative Love.

1. You will do a self-introspection

Let me ask you a question!

Why are you reading this article?

I guess you are looking for tips to achieve success.


The beauty of provocative coaching is that it will prepare you to find answers from within, rather than searching in the dark.

Most people seek guidance from others for their problems. But if you provoke a person coated with love, then they will find their own solutions and they will thank you for this.

2. You will stop asking questions

When something good happens to you, do you ever ask – Why me?

Then why do you ask – Why me? when you are posed with a problem.

This method will teach you to seek answers rather than questioning everything. You will develop a new perspective about life and you will embark on a new journey, which is what I am doing now.

3. You will learn the art of receiving and giving feedback

When you empty your heart and brain from perceptions, you will start accepting feedback and people.

Receiving negative feedback with an open heart is the hallmark of great people. Provocative coaching will help you to take negative feedback with an open heart and make adjustments to achieve success in your life.

You will also learn how to give feedback to people and help them towards their journey of excellence.

4. Importance of giving attention to details

People are used to giving importance to the big stuff. But they neglect the minor ones.

Simple stuff like saying thank you and sorry can play a huge role in your life.

I also learned to express my love towards my wife, friends and family members. Before this I never used to express my love.

At times you need to let people know that you love them. You will understand the importance of helping your wife in cooking or cleaning the home.

5. Helps you realise that you are the best and the worst

This will teach you to hope for the best and prepare yourself for the worst.

Provocations can tell you that you are capable of achieving everything in life.

At the same time, it will tell you that you are just a negligible piece of atom that can disintegrate at any point of time. Basically, it will help you shed your ego and helps you realize that you need to be more human.

If you wan’t to know more about provocative style then you can connect with me at

We sincerely thank Hiten for giving us the opportunity to write this article for you.

Over to You:

What do you think of the provocative style of coaching?

Have you ever used this type of communication to help other people?

Have you ever had anyone use this type of communication to help you?

Please share your valuable thoughts, views and experiences in the comments box below.

Please also share this post on your favourite social networks.

About the Authors:

Inspiring Citizen

Rafi and Sareena are born for you and for each other. If you want to lead a happy, healthy and wealthy life then we are here to help you. Like you and Hiten, we are ordinary human beings with an extraordinary heart. So you will find it easy and beautiful to connect with us. We can also help you explore the world of NLP, Fire-walking, Blogging, Social media marketing and more importantly how to lead a happy life, which is what you strive for. Please visit our website and read our article on dealing with difficult people.

Photo Credit: RDECOM

  1. Dear Hiten,

    Thank you very much for giving us the opportunity to be a guest in your blog. We owe you a lot dear friend.

    Rafi and Sareena

    1. Dear Rafi and Sareena,

      You are very welcome, my friends.

      It’s truly a pleasure and honour to have both you over at the blog and thank you both for writing such a brilliant, high quality and empowering post.

  2. Welcome Rafi and Sareena to Hiten’s blog 🙂

    It sure is a wonderful surprise to see you here 🙂

    Oh yes…I was just about wondering what I was headed for with your opening sentence, but understood soon after what you meant – a nice way to provoke and make us understand. 🙂

    Wow! So now I understand why you prefer asking questions! I guess the program at Ashok’s place was surely an eye opener for you. And Sareena I can well understand what you must’ve felt seeing a transformed husband return home! And that too with a good transformation as he was saying all those very words that you always wanted to hear!

    But yes, like you, I too would wonder as to why he never answered any questions even though it was with an aim to make us think on those very same questions or what he asked – deeper. I liked the benefits you mentioned Rafi, and yes, coming to think of it this provocative style will surely bring out the best in us.

    I for one, have never come across this type of a coaching, though yes know of people who ask a lot of questions when you ask them one, and they give you no answer. They make you think for sure and it’s more of an introspection that you do to find out what it is they were wanting you to see within.

    Thanks for sharing this style with us, which I’m sure is going to help many of us. 🙂

    1. Hi Harleena,

      Thanks so much for leaving your great comment!

      I have to admit, when Rafi and Sareena first sent their guest post over to me, I too was taken aback from the opening sentence. As I continued reading further it began to make sense.

      I think the area of provocative coaching is very interesting and I can definitely see the benefits of it when used appropriately. A big thanks to Rafi and Sareena for introducing us to this approach.

      Once again, thanks for commenting. It’s great to see you here. 🙂

  3. Hi Harleena,

    What makes you type long comments?? : ) 🙂 This is not provocative and its a genuine question..

    Let me thank you sincerely for taking your valuable time to go through every bit in detail and give your valuable thought provoking comments on each of the areas..:)..

    This is our first guest post and we sincerely thank Hiten who kept the trust in us and he didn’t lay too many rules. This made us open our heart and write in a manner that can give you maximum benefit.

    Its heartening to see that you loved the benefits that this style can give you and yes, I am trying to achieve your benchmark with regards to comments..!


    1. 🙂 Long comments…I guess I would have to write a post about that really soon. 🙂

      Well, to be honest, I really like to write and when I do, I do it from all my heart, which never stops my flow of words – it’s as simple as that. 🙂

      Ah…congratulations on your first guest post too- that’s surely a feather in your cap! And that’s something I still need to start. You couldn’t have found a better place than Hiten’s wonderful blog to start.

      Wishing you all the very best in your new venture and the training program too. 🙂

      1. Hi Harleena,

        Don’t wait too long..Please write it asap because I feel you are one person who has done it over the years on a consistent basis.

        Moreover many people have not touched upon this topic and when I was discussing about your commenting style with Rahul Kuntala he was also telling me that we should learn from you..:) 🙂

        And thank you once again for all your encouragement and support you have been giving yes. Yes, Hiten is the best man and his blog is the rite place to start your guest post..You can start here as well..

        With all your help and support we intend to take our fire-walking and nlp training using provocative style to a new level..

        Have a lovely evening, Harleena..Yipee..:) I am slowly catching up with you..Yes, you are rite when you write from your heart the words just flow..

    2. Hi Rafi,

      Yes, Harleena is famous across the blogosphere for her longer comments! They are like mini-posts full of nuggets of advice and wisdom. 🙂

  4. Rafi and Sareena,

    Thank you for an interesting post. It seems like this approach encourages deeper thinking and challenges traditional beliefs or roadblocks. Challenging perspective may open up for new insights.

    In a way, mindfulness accomplishes the same thing in a different way. Whether it is from focusing deeply inside or through mindful listening by others, we get at the core of purpose or tap into new insights.

    Interesting method and appreciate your sharing this! Jon

    1. Hi Jon,

      I agree that challenging limiting views with an underlying tone of care and compassions is definitely an interesting way to help people bring about change.

      I loved what you wrote about mindfulness and agree with you wholeheartedly. It is an approach that when used to explore what is happening within us, can activate all kinds of new insights, while listening intently to others objectively, allows us to truly understand other people without judgement.

      Thanks for leaving your thought provoking comment and showing your support to Rafi and Sareena.

    2. Hi Jon,

      Thank you for sharing your views on Provocative Coaching.

      You are right, provocative coaching helps us to think deeper and gain new insights on life. This approach will also help us to think deeply on various matters by just being an observer and listening to others.

      I too loved your thoughts on mindfulness and agree to it. Whatever be the approach, be it concentrating deeply on oneself or listening to others will ultimately lead us to explore new avenues of life and uncap the true purpose of life.

      Thank You once again for your valuable feedback Jon!!

      Rafi and Sareena

  5. HI Rafi and Sareena,

    Great to see you on Hiten’s Blog.

    The first line of the post is the real killer and I could make it out after reading the post like what you intend to achieve through your first line. In this case It has worked for sure.

    Your training at Bangalore I feel brought the real transformation and Sareena’s perfectly mentioning the transformation converts that into LIVE CASE STUDY.

    This style of coaching is something which is very new to me and I hope it can serve your purpose and that can bring the transformation in everyone who are touched by your practices.

    My Best of wishes to both of you.

    Hiten – Thanks for bringing the Provocative coaches on to your blog and helping everyone around.


    1. Hi Sapna,

      Indeed, the experiences that Rafi had during the training and the way he had changed when he came back from the course were truly amazing. And it had a great impact on Sareena, once she understood what had happened. I appreciate both of them sharing these amazing experiences with us all.

      Many thanks for leaving your great comment, Sapna! 🙂

    2. Hi Sapna,

      Thank you for liking the post and giving your honest feedback!!.

      You will be able to see life upside down or reverse or any form once you experience provocative coaching and will try to find answers to all your queries of your own. This will make your life more simple and beautiful.

      The transformation that Rafi and I had undergone was impeccable. Today I am able to see life in a different perspective and to be honest, I feel life has become more beautiful when I stopped asking unnecessary questions 🙂

      Thank you for stopping by Sapna!

  6. Dear Hiten,

    Thank you very much for giving us this wonderful opportunity to write a guest post for your blog. We take the pride that our first guest post is for The Empower Blog 🙂

    You are a genuine person my dear friend 🙂

    Rafi and Sareena

    1. Hi Sareena,

      You are very welcome, my friend and the pleasure is all mine.

      I’m delighted that your joint guest post with Rafi is getting such a fantastic reception! 🙂

  7. Hi Harleena,

    I think its high time I learn the art of writing long comments from you, Harleena 🙂

    We are really happy to know that you liked the post and new way of coaching.

    “Provocative Style” coaching may seem to be little frustrating initially but in a long term it will definitely reap the real benefits for those who apply them in their life.

    Thank you Harleena for your support and encouragement and yes we couldn’t have a better place than “The Empower Blog” to start our guest post 🙂

    Rafi and Sareena

  8. Wow-a great summary of how we get deep learning and transformation in life and in our work. I ‘m a great believer in seeking answers these days and staying open and curious so step 2 really hit home with me. It’s so funny how when we allow ourselves the freedom to explore rather than close down how we see opportunities that we once dismissed and how we see others differently too.

    1. Hi Kath,

      I’m really glad you could resonate with Rafi and Sareena’s joint guest post.

      Just like you, point number 2 hit me with a bang. I think Rafi’s first two sentences for this point are very powerful.

      Indeed, as you say, it is very interesting how things change for us when we suddenly starting looking for opportunities in everything.

      Many thanks for leaving your great comment and adding further to Rafi and Sareena’s post.

  9. Hi Hiten,

    What an interesting post from Rafi and Sareena. I’m not familiar with either of you so I was kind of taken back by that first sentence too. I stopped by Hiten’s blog because I always read the posts of the people who visit my blog. That’s why I’m here and what an unusual surprise.

    I’ve never been through any type of training like that but I’m a very blessed person so thank you’s and appreciation flows from my veins constantly. I’m also a very good listener.

    I have no doubt though that I still have tons of learning to do. I do my best to never be close minded to things so if you’ve benefited greatly from this then that must mean something.

    Thanks for sharing your experience and the lessons you learned.


    1. Hi Adrienne,

      It’s great to see you here, my friend! 🙂

      I loved what you wrote in your comment. Your ability to easily express gratitude and appreciation and listen intently is absolutely brilliant. Being able to say thanks to others makes us feel good and also has a positive impact on others.

      I really appreciate what you wrote about always trying to be open-minded. It is when we are open-minded that we can be truly understand the differences that exist in the world and be kind to ourselves too.

      Many thanks for sharing your experiences and insights, Adrienne!

  10. Hmm, I’m not familiar with this type of coaching, but it sort of reminds me of a tough love approach in that it holds the questioner accountable and lead the questioner to make his or her own discoveries. Am I right about that? The story of how it successfully affected your life was impressive. Thanks for exposing me to some new ideas.

    1. Hi Galen,

      I loved the way you explained this type of coaching. I agree it is like a tough love approach. I think communicating like this with love underneath is very important, so that our compassion is still evident.

      I think Rafi and Sareena could explain more about this.

      I agree the transformation that Rafi went through was brilliant!

      Many thanks for leaving your comment and for supporting Sareena and Rafi.

      1. Hi Galen,
        Thank you for asking us whether your understanding is correct. Yes, you are absolutely rite..The touch love will provoke the person to ask questions to himself and seek the answers..There will also be guidance from the coach on a regular basis..

        Hope I have answered your question.


  11. Hello Welcome Rafi and Sareena, it’s nice to see you both here on Hiten blog, I think it’s safe to see we all was a little surprise at your opening sentence but a good point made.

    I would think if use correctly you could surely get a response from people that visit your blogs. Being open minded to new ideas will always have an effect on the way we conduct our self’s online.

    Thanks so much for the post, Hiten how are you doing my friend? have a wonderful day

    1. Hi Rob,

      I’m doing well, thanks! How are you? Hope you’re well.

      I’m really glad you enjoyed Rafi and Sareena’s post. Indeed, as you say, this type of communication can also be used in an interesting way when producing content for our blogs.

      Many thanks for adding another fascinating dimension to how we can use this kind of communication.

      It’s great to see you here, Rob! 🙂

  12. Hello Hiten, Rafi & Sareena,
    Questions are at the heart of our learning and understanding. Asking the right ones will allow for personal growth. Thankyou for this posting.
    Be good to yourselves
    Life Coach. Listener. Life Lover.

    1. Hi David,

      Thanks for leaving your comment at Sareena and Rafi’s guest post. Much appreciated, my friend.

      Indeed, as you say, the right questions are at the centre of learning, understanding and growth. A correctly framed question has the potential for the creation of all kinds of new insights.

      Many thanks for adding further to this post, David.

  13. I agree that I would be annoyed if someone didn’t answer my questions when I posed them. I could see how this maybe could be beneficial, but I think different approaches work for different people. For me, the opposite of provocation will work. I think because I had a very difficult life as a child and I look at provocation as a negative thing. This is just a personal preference, though.

    1. Hi Anne,

      Great to see you here, my friend!

      Indeed, as you say, different approaches will work for different people. That’s why the provocative style needs to be used with care. I think it’s important that a strong undertone of care and compassion is obvious to avoid making a person feel bad.

      I think in a one-to-one coaching setting, a coach will know whether it is appropriate to use this style or not depending, on the particular person he or she is working with.

      Thanks very much for leaving your comment, Anne! 🙂

  14. Hi Rafi and Sareena
    It is looking nice to see you both on Dr Hiten’s blog I like the post of yours and I am requesting Dr Hiten to have one guest post from Harleena who is more experienced and hope I shall see this early.

    1. Hi there,

      It’s nice to meet you and thank you for commenting. I’m glad you liked Sareena and Rafi’s guest post.

      Indeed, I will be inviting Harleena shortly to write a guest post.

  15. I totally agree with this article in that I need to stop asking questions and begin looking within myself more. Thanks for this very inspiring pick-me-up.

    1. Hi Jason,

      I’m really glad you could resonate with Rafi and Sareena’s post! I agree it’s a very inspiring read.

      Thanks for dropping by and leaving your comment. It’s great to connect with you.

  16. I truly enjoyed reading about your experience, Rafi and the affect you and consequently Sareena. I’m someone who has learned the hard way (!!) that each of us must find our own answers to the questions life asks us. I’m glad you learned this earlier than I did. I’m hoping to attend an NLP course at the end of this year and look forward to all that I can benefit from it.
    As I told Sareena this morning, I have a lot of catching up to do with both of you and I look forward to our connection.

    Hiten – thanks for having this lovely couple over on your blog.

    1. Corrine, its really great inspiration for us to know that you liked the article and more importantly people are seeing a big point, that you need to ask yourself for most of the problems in your life..

      I would be glad to do an NLP workshop for you and your friends in Mumbai if you could arrange for a closed group and I will give you a bonus…This is free for a group of 8 people and you only need to take care of my travel and accommodation..We can also get Hiten to join the party if he is coming down to India sometime in 2013..

      As Hiten once said, its always beautiful to exchange as many thanks as possible in this lovely world and I thank you and Hiten for giving us to write our first guest post..

      1. Hi Sareena,

        Your offer of a free NLP workshop is Mumbai sounds amazing! Thank you.

        Indeed, I am planning on coming to India this year so will keep all our friends out there informed about this.

        It’s a real pleasure and thank you Sareena. Your joint post with Rafi has had an awesome impact on people.

    2. Hi Corinne,

      It was a real honour to have Rafi and Sareena over at the blog. Their joint post was a delight to read.

      Indeed, as you say, each of us has to find our own answers to questions that present themselves in life. By doing this, we develop wisdom which continues to serve us for the rest of our lives.

      I hope you enjoy the NLP course later on in the year.

      Thanks a lot for commenting and for supporting Rafi and Sareena.

  17. I was here to look for some ideas on workshops and literature. But I did get caught up in your post as it was great! I have been reading Ronald Cooper’s How to Win in Life in a Greater Way and it has really motivated my thinking on success, not to mention getting to the core of why I may not feel successful! It’s been a great read, I recommend it, Again great post, I need to catch a workshop such as this! Thnaks!

    1. Hi Chandra,

      Thanks so much for dropping by and leaving you comment. It’s great to connect with you.

      I haven’t heard of Ronald Cooper, so appreciate you mentioning him and his book. It sounds
      excellent. I will take a look at his website.

  18. Hello Rafi and Sareena,

    Great post and thoughts. I believe value and grow comes from getting feedback from those around us, both good and bad. We should seek the feedback from others because it has the potential to help and add value to our life.

    1. Hi Dan,

      I’m really happy you enjoyed this husband and wife special!

      I loved your comment and you added some excellent further points to this post. As you quite rightly said, we need to seek both good and bad feedback. Bad feedback can be hard to take, as we let our egos get involved.

      It’s important to take on board feedback with is critical, as it allows us to focus on those areas where we can really make improvements.

      Thanks for leaving your great comment, my friend.

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