Sometimes you just instantly connect with someone. I came across Nada’s profile on LinekdIn and just knew I wanted to meet her. A very energizing and inspiring chat followed.
And she was actually the reason I decided to start this interview series and soon to be launched Podcast. I realized so many aspiring coaches and people in general can learn from these stories and experiences.
When I ask her about her roots she tells me she just recently understood how where she comes from defined her. Born in Croatia into a mixed Serbian Croatian family, growing up during the civil war in Croatia as a little girl she could not wait to be 18 leave.
That pushed her to work very hard to get a scholarship for an Italian University. From that point on she continued a nomad lifestyle exploring different countries and cultures and finding what in each works for her. Experiencing how different norms and cultures can shape us. Right now living in Amsterdam with her partner and two kids.
I ask her what that’s like: starting over again and again. And she always had this big urge to begin again. Her LinkedIn profile actually reads ‘begin again’. It is her core believe that we are constantly beginning again.
I am curious how Nada’s coaching journey started.
Do you remember when you had this first thought or feeling about coaching?
She tells me she recently went through on online program and had to ask 5 people: ‘what do you think we would be like as children’? ‘Everyone answered something along the lines of: inspiring people.’ She realized there was an innate urge to help and to serve.
‘Consciously I started doing that with my first job, at 23 years old. I realized to have to motivate someone you have to know them and their intrinsic motivation. Getting to know them as people. That immediately gave results. People where opening up.’ Her career continued in a different direction for 15 years. But this idea to connect and invest energy, sitting down having 1 and 1, figuring out what is behind the roles: that always gave a certain kind of energy.
She asked herself ‘What if I could start focusing on what do I really want to leave behind? What is my purpose?’ The answer to this question: 'to create a more courageous and conscious world, 1 conversation at a time'. ‘Consciously create these conversations where there is room for Courage, love and acceptance. With every coach conversation I always create that space and people feel that.’
What do you do to create that? ‘A rigorous coaching program gave me the tools to do and articulate that: Creating a foundation on which you can do it together. And also bringing my whole self to a conversation.’
Is being a good coach something you are born with or can you develop it?
Did the training it make you a better coach?
‘It made me a coach. The instinct and desire was there, the positive attempt also. However I had no clue how to really have a conversation. I was oblivious to how powerful certain tools are when used in the proper way.
I definitely advice strongly anybody who is considering becoming a coach to do their research and do the right coaching course that give the good tools.
There is too much ‘doing it on your own’ out there. There is a lack of cohesion in the quality of service and that puts down the industry. There needs to be a certain level and stamp as quality. I have been continually educating myself for years. You are dealing with people who are opening up their hearts. It is my plead to take that as seriously as possible and to invest constantly in education.’
There is an overwhelm in coach courses: how did you find yours?
I started clueless. I talked to someone who was already a coach. That helped a lot. I wanted a course that was:
· Internationally recognised
· Not easy
· Enables me to say ‘I am a coach’
‘I was recommended the co-active coach training that has several levels: fundamentals, intermediate and certification level. I was completely intimidated! How can I ever stay with such strong emotions? Most colleagues say it was love at first sight for me scare at first sight.’
She understood she had a lot of work to do on herself. Before continuing the next level if training she took a coach and worked on her own issues deeply for almost 6 months. One of her believes she shares (and I love and agree with): ‘You can only take your clients as deep as you are willing to go yourself.
Do you remember the moment you first felt ready to start charging? ‘No. I remember putting myself in a situation where I was consciously pushed to do that. That was a scary thing to do. I choose a certification process that had that as a requirement. To be a certified coach by the CTI you have to have 100 paying coach hours. There is no walking around it. It needs to happen. Choosing that certification was the scary thing to do for me. Clients paying, setting up a contract, recording: that requirement was helpful.
Is that an advice you would give? ‘No, It’s individual. I knew I needed that to gain confidence. I meet coaches that do not need that. That is also fine. I would say call in on your own inner wisdom.’
How did you take it from there/ how did you grow your business? It was quite organic. In that process clients started referring me. Once I was committed to coaching and I was able to say ‘this is who I am and this is what I am dedicated to’ something shifted in me that enabled me to show up in that way. The more I was stepping into it the more people where seeing that and coming back to me. I still have referrals coming from these first clients.
BUT that I stepped into it does not mean it was EASY. It took 1,5 years of re-examining , questioning my choice. I did not see at first that it could give me the same financial reward as my corporate job did. Making the decision over and over again to stick with that is what made my business what it is today. A series of saying YES: This is what gives me aliveness. Anything else would be a compromise.
Who are your clients? Young professionals age 20-40. Topics generally are career, career change, stepping into management roles etc. But coaching is not about coaching a topic, it’s about coaching a person.
Was your ‘audience’ a conscious decision? In the very beginning I was willing to coach anybody. I wanted to experience the diversity. And after some time I realised which people gave me the most energy. There was just a connection with these people. In the process of coaching just everyone: with some clients I felt I was working really hard an draining and with others it flowed and was energising. I observed myself.
Do you use social media for attracting clients? No, There is a challenge with being a mom, entrepreneur, friend etc. So I have to be clear on what I say yes to and no to. When I got clear on how much time I had I choose to pick 1 channel (LinkedIn) and be persistent in that.
I would like to be omnipresent but at this point other choice.
Do you have a ritual before and/or after a session?
Yes, 10 minutes before I make cup of tea and sit and meditate. Ground myself and be present with what is. In the beginning I was over-preparing: Notes, questions etc. Now, with more experience is know being fully present is enough. I trust that I will remember what I need to remember. I am present and trust that what needs to emerge.
After the session I take notes and write very short follow up to client with key learnings and insights.
What advice do you have for aspiring coaches?
· Make sure you choose a renowned great coaching certification process.
· Get support, especially in the first 2. Years. Surround yourself with people who can hold, inspire, encourage you. Having these friends who know what you are going through. Encouraging each other is very important.