AAEAAQAAAAAAAALVAAAAJDBmMjdkZTZjLWRjMzEtNDJkYi1iYTQwLTY5ODljYzg0NmVkMwI started my sessions with Henna more than a year ago. The reason why I started coaching is that I got promoted at work and for the first time I had to manage a sales team and recruit people. I wanted someone to give me direction, to coach me on how to become a good leader as I had experienced a lot of  average managers and did not want to repeat this with my team. I knew no one in the organisation will have the time to coach me and I was scared I would fail.

I thought coaching was going to be more about techniques on how to manage situations, people, etc. I did not expect to learn so much about myself as I did. I did not expect to learn that the best way to lead a team is to be your authentic self and that I would go on a self -discovery journey. Every session with Henna was an awakening and left me reflecting for weeks. We worked with an agenda, I usually prepared a sheet with the objectives for the session and wrote what success looked like to me at the end of the session.

I was surprised on how quickly Henna picked up on things we discussed and how she helped me unveil the real issue. I learned how to see things through different perspectives, how to understand the assumptions we make that might condition our interactions with others (without us realizing this), how to have real and authentic conversations, how to solve conflict, how to motivate, how to create a team culture where everyone engages. And we did all of this and more while having a lot of fun!

Before coaching I was not comfortable with who I was. I thought that in the corporate world you need to be ruthless, tough, confident, take what you want and play a lot of politics. This was definetely not who I was.  So I thought I had no chance and that I would fail. To my surprise coaching opened up a new world. I suddenly felt comfortable with being my authentic self and adapting to situations and challenges  when I had to. The result was that my team was the top performer of the year, they were very successful and therefore so was I. Nothing seemed a struggle for us as a team, we created this culture where every downfall became an opportunity.We got a lot of praise and I received the highest performance rating you could get – not only in terms of performance but also in terms of the values I demonstrated while achieving targets. And that was something very important to me because respect, caring, helping others to grow and love are part of my personal brand (something else I discovered with Henna).

So yes I have learned a lot and will continue my journey. I encourage everyone to embark on a self-discovery and authentic self trip, you will not be disappointed. What does success looks like to me? It is being able to go to bed each night with your soul at peace. (Paulo Coelho).

Magdalena Lezama – International Manager – HSBC Bank – Dubai, United Arab Emirates

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