First First First !!!

In the course of our lives, we have many “firsts” .The day we take our first step, our first day at school and of course our first kiss. But how many people can say they were the first in their own country to do something? Now that really is a first.

This year, Tatsiana Rybalkina became not only the first Neurolanguage Coach in her home country of Belarus but she also did the Advanced, the Professional and the Teacher Training course. She reached the highest level that anyone can reach in Neurolanguage Coaching and she did it all while working, as a wife and as a mother to two small children.

Tatsiana, welcome to my interview and please could I ask if you are Superwoman?

Hello Sharyn, and no, I am absolutely not Superwoman, but I always try to be a superhero and do as much as I can to help myself and other people. I am passionate and dedicated and so proud of what I have achieved so far. I feel my head is bursting with newfound knowledge and I can’t wait to pass it on to my fellow Belarusians.

Your passion is very evident. So where did your love of English originally come from?

Well, I was born in the town of Pinsk which is near to Poland and Ukraine and about 300 Kilometres from the Belarus capital of Minsk. My parents were both teachers and I often had to attend classes with them as we didn’t have an extended family to take care of my brother and me. I strongly believe that it was during those early days that I started to absorb the teaching process. For as long as I can remember I have wanted to be a teacher. My mother worked in a school which specialized in languages and so it was natural for me to go there and from my very first day, we started speaking English. By the time I started university I had a really good level of fluency.

 I understand that you went to Minsk State Linguistic University and I am totally jealous. My university had a linguistics department but to go to a university which only specializes in languages would have been my dream.

Yes, it was great. I majored in linguistics and in my third year I took Italian and by doing so I started on a path which would change my life in many ways. In the summer holidays, I volunteered to help take a group of children to Italy. However, what I wasn’t aware of was that these poor children were orphans from Chernobyl. When I first met them at the airport in Minsk I cried. They looked so poor and skinny and unhealthy and my heart went out to them. It took me over a week to stop crying every time I saw these wonderful but very needy children. I did this same trip three years in a row and I loved it but then my own children came along and I had to stop. It was an experience which has influenced my life so much.

Did you do a masters after university?

Yes, I did and it was fascinating. I compared how English native speakers and Russian speakers expressed their positive and negative emotions. Surprisingly, there were a lot of differences and I would love to explain them here but it would take a long time.

Well, maybe you could write an article about it for the magazine one day?

I would love that. I didn’t realise it at the time and of course, I had no way of knowing, but this curiosity about our emotions and what happens in our brains when we express emotion was probably the foundation for my interest in neuroscience and Neurolanguage Coaching. It was all linked in my brain, in my subconscious, but I wasn’t aware of it.

 Yes, sometimes our brains are way ahead of us. What did you do after your Masters?

I had started teaching at a university even before I graduated and so I just carried on. I also took the Celta exam and you might have thought that that might have been enough to sustain a good career in language teaching but there was always something nagging at me. I couldn’t put my finger on it but I felt that there was a gap in my teaching skills. I just wasn’t content; I felt that there was something missing. So, if you believe in cosmic ordering then you will believe this. I sent a message to the universe asking for something unique, something which would help me to feel fulfilled as a teacher and educator. Then one day, while surfing the internet I found Rachel Paling and her course in Neurolanguage Coaching. This was it, this was what I had been subconsciously searching for and as far as I was concerned, my cosmic request had been answered. I had found some support for my personal vision.

 And then you discovered that there were no Neurolanguage Coaches in Belarus!

That’s right. Looking on the world map on Rachel’s website I discovered that there wasn’t even one Neurolanguage coach in Belarus. This was something I could rectify. If I needed to know about coaching I was sure other teachers would want to know too. Neurolanguage coaching was just what I had been looking for; it gave me permission to connect my own language to others, it confirmed what I had suspected, that it wasn’t necessary to stick to a textbook so closely, it introduced me to neuroscience and it brought me into contact with teachers from all over the world. I became part of an international community. But all that came later. You can’t believe how excited I was. That first night, I couldn’t sleep thinking about the coaching and my husband and I spent hours talking about it.

 How would you describe the training?

In one word, Magic. Transformational. That’s two words but it’s true.

Rachel has changed my life and I will never regret the steps I have taken. Could I also, at this point, say a massive thank you to my husband who supported me one hundred percent throughout the whole process and gave me and continues to give me as much help as he could.

Yes, everything is so much better with support. So where are you now in your life?

Well, last month I took a giant step and gave up all my teaching at university. I quit    !!! I am now completely self-employed. As the one and only Neurolanguage Coach in Belarus, I am breaking new ground and that is a challenge. I gave my first webinar online in October and that was another first for me. There were more than 100 participants which I thought was incredible and so I am starting to spread the word. By the time this article goes to print at Christmas, I will have done at least one more.

Tatsiana, thank you so much for these insights into your busy life in Belarus and I know you will keep going and make a name for yourself. You were the first and no one can ever take that away from you. I wish you a wonderful Christmas with your family and all the best for a prosperous Neurolanguage Coaching year.

Thank you Sharyn it has been a pleasure to meet you and talk to you.