Updated: May 1
I had the pleasure of talking with certified and accredited Coaches Supporting Coaches - Dubai member, Jihen who runs XpandCoach, an executive Coaching, and Leadership Consultancy practice. She is passionate about thriving in uncertainty, guiding leaders and teams dealing with new challenges to move forward with energy and focus and get the results they want.
You can watch our Coffee Chat on YouTube, just search for Donna Burfield Coaches Supporting Coaches or go to https://youtu.be/slx3PGWq1H0
Can you tell me a little bit about your coaching journey and what motivated you to become a coach?
I’ve always been intrigued by how the mind works and how we create our results in life. So, it made sense that my coaching journey started with me being a coachee:)
I was at a period of my life where I had an important decision to make, one with a big impact on my corporate career and my personal life. I went to a coach to have clarity and to be fully aligned and accountable for the decision I’d make. I didn’t want to have regrets later on or to blame others/circumstances.
I found the experience to be so valuable that I wanted to learn even more about myself. So, I took a coaching certification. And I was hooked. The training included Life coaching techniques, Neuro-Linguistic Programmation, Hypnosis...A whole new world opened for me.
I discovered that change can be easy and quick. It felt natural and exciting to share this with others with a focus on my previous corporate tribe. i.e.: High achievers who want to master their A-game and perform even better, in times of challenges and uncertainty.
Is there a particular moment or memory of your coach training that stands out for you?
There were so many! It was like a whole new world opened in front of me. Fascinating, Intriguing, Exciting. My previous experience as a coachee was about answering questions and connecting to my inner wisdom. But this training was different and blew so many boundaries for me.
I’m an engineer by education so I tend to be very rational. In the training, I saw transformations that I couldn't explain rationally. Transformations in core beliefs, core values, physical symptoms. I realized that the mind is a wonderful tool to understand the world but it’s not the only one. That there's so much more out there to allow us to experience this life on a different level.
How would your friends and family describe you?
It’s interesting to think that our friends and family would have a common, accurate perception of who we are, isn’t it? I don’t know, so I asked them. So here it is “reliable”, “the person I go to when I want to share something”, “funny”, “serious”, “outgoing”, “quiet”, “positive”, “smart”, “hard-working”, “easygoing”, "tough" “generous”, “curious” ...
What opportunities has Dubai given you, personally and professionally?
I did my coaching training here in Dubai so it was the opportunity to meet some amazing people with a fascinating, diverse set of sensitivities. This city is also so full of entrepreneurs, inspiring women that are making an impact, creating, failing, and creating again. I’ve been blessed to encounter so many of them.
Becoming an entrepreneur after 21 years in corporate is not easy! It can feel very lonely. But Dubai offers so many support groups from Female Fusion, To Coaches Supporting Coaches, Ellevate and so many others, it’s amazing! There’s an easiness to set up a business that you can't always find elsewhere. It’s a city of movement, you can’t stay still or be stuck. One needs to be conscious though to focus and make conscious choices to move in the right direction
What would you like people to know about you?
I love the energy of ease, innovation, challenge and fun. I notice that when I take life too seriously, that doesn’t work for me:)
Imagine yourself in three years. What do you hope will be different about you compared to now?
I hope for:
- even more impact (more established in B2B and in volunteered mentoring),
- even deeper connections (more time with friends, family, and impactful business partnerships),
- even more creation (programs, coaching, and consulting).
- New discoveries.
I hope I would be surprised! By something I would not have expected now, in a good way:)
Tell me about a time you took an unexpected initiative
This is quite recent. While I enjoy coaching, I felt I could contribute even more by sharing the experience I gained in the Oil & Gas market, in Supply Chain, marketing and Sales. So, I reached out to different organizations to volunteer as a mentor.
I’m thrilled to partner with ZedWomen as a mentor for women in Benin interested in starting an electric motorcycle taxi and delivery business. Always in the world of movement, in any shape or form:)
Briefly tell me what have the highlights of the past 5 years? What has been your biggest growth lesson?
That I am not my job, my position, my intellect, or even my experience and my story. Even though I was aligned with my decision to get out of my career in corporate, disconnecting from that identity wasn’t easy.
And that was the biggest lesson: I am much more than that. To discover what I am capable of and what I can be, there's only one way: to explore the unknown. That’s uncomfortable and that's ok.
What are you really good at?
Seeing and pointing to the bigger picture. Reframing, expanding the perspective, exploring so other options emerge.
What would you like to get better at?
Be more comfortable presenting my value. I know I still refrain from being upfront about proposing my services. I’m curious about what would change for me once that is no longer a problem.
Tell me about your coaching practice
My coaching practice is focused on serving leaders and teams to thrive in challenging times.
I work on 2 aspects:
1. the inner world: mindset, emotions and thoughts- developing the Inner Mastery to make their mindset work for them
2. the outer world: creating the results outside: performance, communication, engagement, and other leadership traits.
I call this Master the “A” Game because we go through different approaches depending on the depth of transformation required:
- Building Awareness (through powerful questions, psychometric assessments, knowledge sharing);
- Action & Adjustment (through coaching tools to get the behavioral changes, inner drive).
I offer speaking engagements, webinars facilitation, group, and one-to-one coaching.
How do you prepare for your coaching sessions?
Within the initial free session, I get an overall idea of the results desired by the client. Based on that, I craft a bespoke multi-sessions proposal, with a structured approach.
Before any session, I always review the notes from the previous ones and make an outline of how we’d progress on this.
Then I let go of my attachment to this plan.
Then I take 10 to 15 minutes to ground myself. The aim is for me to enter the session fully present with my client and his/her needs.
To let go of any attachment to my plan and be there to serve them best.
When you started your coaching business what was the biggest challenge for you?
2 main challenges. 1: How to find clients. 2: To get guidance: on business setup, how to handle clients, coaching struggles, learnings.
Can you describe how you were feeling when you coached your first client and what did you learn from that experience?
I was so excited, and terrified! What if it doesn’t work? What if I’m not doing things properly? and what I learned is once I start coaching, I’m fully in as long as I’m focusing on them, not on how I will be perceived as a coach. Doing the best I can is all I can do at any point in time. And that is enough to make the magic happen.
How did you feel when you got your first paying client?
Over the moon! I started by doing free sessions and then this client insisted on paying me, and that felt awesome.
Till now, when I get clients signing up after a price increase, it’s like an external validation of what my coaching is worth. It always feels good.
Can you tell me of an achievement or contribution that you are most proud of?
An improvised session on the beach. The transformation was magical! Plus, I’m proud that I was brave enough to go for it without planning it and for my client to have played along. She surprised me with the depth of the change she created, and her energy was absolutely wonderful to experience.
What attracted you to Coaches Supporting Coaches - Dubai?
The genuine desire to support, the diversity of profiles, and the structure and vision behind CSC. It’s well-intended, well-executed, and I love the boldness of just making it happen.
If you are interested in finding out more about Coaches Supporting Coaches – Dubai then grab a coffee and book a FREE call with me, Donna Burfield (Founder), via my Calendly link below