[Day in the Life of a Coach]Interview with ICA Coach, Sorina Cucuta – Popa
(Executive Coach, ROMANIA)
Coach training is just one of the many skills and experience Sorina Cucuta-Popa brings in support of her senior level management clients.
Founder and managing partner of New Link Consulting Group, a Bucharest-based consulting company, Sorina integrates her many years of human resources and project management experience with her knowledge of numerous industries.
Sorina has such a long list of accomplishments that it is impossible to give them each their fair share of space! Suffice it to say, she has successfully held a range of executive positions, most of them at Board level, across project management, academia, marketing, PR, human resources and general management.
Oh, and she, along with a very enthusiastic Romanian-American team, started the first Executive Master of Business Administration Program in Central and Eastern Europe, offered by University of Washington in cooperation with the Academy of Economic Studies in Bucharest.
In this interview she talks to ICA Training Director, Merci Miglino about how she came to coaching.
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Interview with Merci Miglino
Merci: So today, it’s Sorina Cucuta Popa. If that doesn’t sound like music, I don’t know what does. But today we’re talking to Sorina about the Day in the Life of a coach and she is talking to us from Romania.
Sorina: Thank you.
Merci: Sorina, is an ICA graduate and she has an incredible background. I’ll let her talk a little bit about it too. 20 years of experience in education and training and human resources and management. She’s got an incredible academic background. And she is the founder and managing partner of New Link Consulting Group and she’s established the firm on 2009. So tell us a little bit about how you came to be trained as a coach and to be a coach.
Sorina: It’s a story like we all have all our stories. In 2006 an executive MBA colleague of mine asking me if I was interested in attending a coaching course. I always want to learn new things so I said “Why not, let me see what it is all about”. He went to a course in the US and we planned to go together at the coaching training. It was an amazing experience because the approach in the coaching class is slightly different from the classical training approach. It was the first encounter I had with coach training and coaching and is was a very interesting things for me. My colleague who knew me me from previous projects said “but you are already doing that.” I was creating training programs and facilitating personal development and organizational development programs for a couple of years and I just didn’t know that it was called coaching. So it was for me, it meant a lot to me that they were the ones noticing that I had been doing coaching and that gave me a little bit of courage in seeing that maybe the approach I had was the most appropriate one and if it’s called coaching, I want it to go further and see and understand a bit of it more and see how I can learn new things to support what I was doing.
Merci: Yeah, I really find it extraordinary. Your background is incredible and I had no doubt as I was reading it that you have been using some of the competencies of coaching to help those who you coach and consult with. It sounds like you’ve done project management and so many things that a coach approach has been curious and non-judgmental.
Merci: And listening to people. In order for you to be that successful, you have to be doing that.
Merci: It’s great to hear that because a lot of people think that coaching is something that’s completely different and it’s not really, it’s good, effective communication.
Sorina: Yeah I would agree and I have to say that it’s true that each of us if we want that we can make these trip inside ourselves and we can find out what we can be better at. I had the chance of getting to know a lot of people because I started the first executive training program in South-Eastern Europe in 1992, in cooperation with the University in Seattle. This allowed me to get to know a lot of executives, a lot of businesses different type of companies and their structure and the way in which they were tested through a smaller or more serious crisis. I saw the way in which they best over those, and I learned from all of them in order to be able to give that experience back in different ways. Being part of the start up program gave me a lot of insight and understanding of complex areas, people as well as organizations. And I think that was helpful.
Merci: Yeah, I’m just curious, what is coaching like, what have you noticed over the years about coaching from your vantage point, from Romania for example.
Sorina:Well, coaching is a method and its quite new in Romania and there are people that are considering it but there are many people still looking for “recipes” / quick fixes. There are also people who are trying to bring their experience and different points of view to support their clients. Obviously I can say that it’s evolution because we started with ICF Romanian chapter in 2006 and we were three of us and now there are 50 members I think.
Merci: Wow! So what’s a typical day in your life like Sorina?
Sorina: Well I was thinking about this and I have to say that I don’t have a standard day. I don’t know why by the way.
Merci: [Laughing] You might need to get some coaching around that.
Sorina: Right. It’s not because I wanted it to be like this or because I didn’t want it to be like this. Its just the way it is. So I’m trying to put some rigour in the morning but these days it take me ten to thirty minutes of gymnastics and not to skip them but I was just realizing that what’s going on before starting the radio in the morning, I’m thinking, so what am I going to do today? What do I have to do today? Sometimes those things are not all the same.
Merci: Right right, exactly.
Sorina: Then trying to catch up with emails, getting to my office with my cup of coffee and going to the meetings, or sessions with my clients when I have them. Or it could start with just looking through the interesting materials that are coming my way from different sources, not only coaching, I have to say, but all organizational development and management consulting sources and trying to make some connections in between dealing with clients which is what we are all doing. All those elements have their role. I am trying to celebrate a little at the end of the day, some of the things that I succeeded to do.
Sorina: I’m not doing it enough.
Merci: I know that feeling. It’s like sometimes you know, the shoe maker’s children have no shoes. So I think we’re at times so caught up, and loving what we do that doing it take time away from it and is something we have to work on. So I will definitely join you in celebrating more of our success. I was listening to you Sorina. So you’re still consulting, you have your own company, and since you have done the coach training, what do you noticed? What’s the biggest thing you noticed about how you work now compared to before the coach training?.
Sorina: It’s an interesting question, I took a coaching course and then I decided to go on to relationship coaching. The relationship coaching is totally different to team coaching, and that was interesting discovery. Having here the challenge of international community and platforms. This was my challenge when I decided to do the training, how does it work? Can you get results?
Merci: I know, I had a similar experience. I think that coaching skills definitely enrich you whether it’s face-to-face or one-on-one. It’s certainly enriched everything I do from training, and training of coaches, but also training in the workplace. Interestingly enough, I have improved my overall relationships, with my daughter, my friends, and my husband. So it’s one of those things that I think people don’t realize, can be something that really changes you as a person in a very good way.
Sorina: Yeah, because its supporting you and getting to know yourself and also the impact that you can have.
Merci: Yeah, that’s a great way of looking at it.
So anything you want to add to that as we come to the close of our interview today. What else would you want to tell the world about coaching.
Sorina: Uhm, it sounds a lot to say to the world. [laughing]
Merci: Well they’re all listening to us. So go ahead.
Sorina: I would just say that I see coaching like one of those opportunities or occasions where you can have impact on someone’s life without influencing or directing it. We are there to support each other. I’m supporting that other person to make the journey that they want to. And at the end of the day, they get from A to B with me that means that what I’ve done helped them.
Merci: Well thank you so much Sorina. I really appreciate getting to know you and I sure you know, we’ll be talking again about the journey that you’ve journeyed on and we wish you all the best.
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