[Day in the Life of a Coach] Interview with ICA Coach, Nadia Themis
(Business Coach, CYPRUS)
ICA Coach Nadia Themis made her way through the corporate world of finance and business development where she enjoyed great success, especially in her dealings with clients, colleagues and the business development partners.
This success turned out to be a natural gift for coaching and for bringing out the best in others – a gift much needed in the economic challenges facing her and her country. Nadia says her father’s reminder to “…dream Nadia…always dream…don’t let anyone stop you from dreaming. Dreaming is living…” never strayed far from her mind, especially when in tough times.
Now Nadia, who also holds an MBA in Corporate Law, spends her time travelling between her home in Cyprus, Bermuda and the states and has a passion for coaching people from all over the world.
But a day in the life of Nadia would almost certainly involve her Meliselli Foundation. Founded in honor of her parents, Melis and Elli, who despite poverty made sure she was educated and supported, the foundation offers children and youth a “place of comfort” to set their own goals and chase their own dreams.
Interview with Merci Miglino
Merci: Hi! This is Merci Miglino and I’m here with Nadia Themis for another Day in the Life of a Coach. Welcome Nadia!
Nadia: Hello Merci, it’s very nice meeting you here. Thank you.
Merci: We were just talking about how amazing it is that I’m in New York and she’s in Cyprus and we’re having a chat so comfortably thanks to technology. It’s really great to know people this way and it’s really a great part of coaching because it exposes you to so many different cultures and people and clearly Nadia has been such an important part of our community here at ICA. First Nadia, you do so many interesting things. I know you came out of the corporate world and you still do some work here in addition to coaching so tell me what a typical day is like for you.
Nadia: Yes indeed I am in the corporate world for the last decade, I would say. A typical day for me is quite interesting because first of all I’m trying to divide my day in categories so I can manage everything. So I work out in the morning, get my kids breakfast and get them to school. Then I come to the office and in the morning usually I’m delegating corporate services round the business here. And from lunch time until later, I usually take a very short lunchtime, I’m focusing on coaching. Lately I’m focusing more on corporate coaching. I mean, executive coaching. I’m in the office for about 8-10 hours and then going back to the family and taking care of the children and then dinner, play around, talk. And I have to admit that my best coachees is my son, 9 years old, and my daughter, 12 years old.
Nadia: I agree. My daughter was my first coachee at 12.
Nadia: It’s amazing how many things you can learn from them actually.
Merci: Oh my goodness, yes. Right? What do you notice when you coach your 9-year old? What changes?
Nadia: The changes that I saw in him is that he became more decisive. This is good and bad for me at the same time as his mother.
Merci: Yes. [laughing]
Nadia: But he’s more strong and I have to admit that coaching helped him confront bullies at his school. And this was a very big win for him and he caught a KFC lunch for reward.
Merci: Oh my goodness. That’s great. It’s so funny isn’t it? Coaching sort of creeps into every aspect of our life sooner or later because it’s a skillset, I find, is really about communication and opening up people. Understanding and giving them the moment and time to be acknowledged. Like how your son found his own way, became more decisive.
Nadia: Yes. Exactly. I totally agree with you and I observed that it makes him use more of his critical thinking and empower the respect towards himself and towards other people too.
Merci: It’s remarkable.
Nadia: Yeah, it’s remarkable and in foundational, I think we will see that later, they are trying to pass this to young people, coaching.
Merci: So you’re day sounds similar, yet very different than when you worked as a corporate officer inside a company. What do you think are the advantages of working for one’s self?
Nadia: The advantage is that you can manage your own schedule, your own program. You have more freedom, let’s say. You can be more creative with what you really want but at the same time, it brings more responsibility. Some people that you are mentoring, they need to have a very intense self-awareness beyond your own. You need 100% more than if you’re working for someone else. But for me, it’s liberating and helped me to be more me.
Merci: Yeah. More you. That’s great. So you worked as a manager in a corporate department, you did business development and a number of other things, what was the moment that you thought about coaching in a addition to your vast array of skills.
Nadia: It was a few years ago actually when I was having a personal health problem. And I could say Merci that that time was very difficult for me, I lost my way let’s say and I wasn’t myself in business, either with my children, and I lost myself. I didn’t like this me that I became and I said that from a very young age, I learned to fight and refuse to be so hectic and accept what they would serve us. So I went to psychologist but it wasn’t for me, it didn’t work with me. So I went to a coach and I saw, in a few months, tremendous difference in my life. Everything started to be more clear. And I saw “Nadia” in there so I said, “Oh my gosh, this is working” so I became fond of coaching. And at the end, the coach said to me, you know that on the last month, you are coaching me.
Nadia: And I said, “Really, I didn’t notice that.” And he suggested that “I think you should think about it.” And I said to him, “You know I have always been very open and discuss with people. Many time I was helping them with their problems but I’ve never thought of it as a profession.” Then when the time has come that I was thinking of coaching, it’s to become a coach myself. Then I started looking around for academies.
Nadia: In my country, there wasn’t any professional academy for my standards as I would see them. So I ended up at ICA and it was the best thing that ever happened to me because really, in ICA, I found my family, my coaching family. And what we said in the beginning, I felt that there was no distance. I felt that I was in a class. I was having the coaches, the students. And really, it’s like I’m in the academy for real.
Nadia: I think this is, I don’t know if it’s the degree, because I have done other degrees. I have done Master in Law, and all that but it wasn’t the same.
Merci: It’s a really great community. It still mystifies me sometimes how it comes together and feel very comfortable and in some ways, even more intimate than face to face because you have that little bit of anonymity that allows us to trust. People do speak their minds authenticity. Even if that’s not always pleasant but it’s always great for learning. So it’s really a very interesting dynamic. I find it the same way. And I want to acknowledge your persistence and your strength around seeking coaching when you had a health issue and appreciating that maybe, well this is something that I would really like to do. So I have to ask you about the Meliselli foundation you started. It’s so interesting what our coaches are up to. It’s just so interesting that they’re so diverse in addition to coaching. So tell me about this foundation.
Nadia: I had difficult years when we were growing up. And I was very sensitive to children and poverty. So Meliselli actually, it’s my parents’ name. It’s dedicated to them. They’re still alive but I wanted to dedicate the foundation to them because without them, I wouldn’t be who I am today. It’s Melis and Elli, their names in Greek so hence, Meliselli. So in Meliselli, the main activity has to do with youth and has to do with poverty. We want to try eliminate poverty not just in Cyprus but worldwide. We will have an event in spring time here about helping water in Ghana for children. They die everyday. 1,400 children and they die everyday because they don’t have clean water and sanitation. I mean, things that in our day to day life, in Cyprus in the States, in all over the world, it’s so simple but for some people it’s a matter of being dead or alive. Meliselli is dedicated to the empowerment for the young people because many people, they don’t have the money or the resources to help themselves and you find many people at the age of 15, 16 to have depression and don’t have dreams. You ask them, “What do you want to do when you grow up?” and they say, “Nothing, just finish school. I might go work and find something.” They don’t have vision. And my vision through Meliselli is to create vision for any people. Many people confuse vision with being a CEO of great companies and all that, it has nothing to do with that. Vision may be to become a farmer. The point is for us to be able to discover our own vision. Whatever that is. And my vision is to create happy people. And people to, at least you will fight for what you believe either you will succeed or not but I believe that if you believe enough, there’s no way that you won’t succeed.
Merci: Beautifully said. Yeah.
Nadia: Yes. And everything that I say and I do, believe me Merci, it’s based on my own experience. I always wanted to travel and I managed because I had it always in my mind. And I said, my life, I want it to be combined with traveling because I wanted to know people, have this global search. I don’t feel that I’m a citizen of Cyprus. I feel like I’m a global citizen. You know?
Merci: I totally identify with that. I have always, even despite. Maybe it started as a dream more than something I knew how to get to.
Merci: I think what you described is kind of like a calling. A vision is what you’re called to do. Not what you think you should do from an ego or an external place like. “Oh, people think I should be this.” It’s really what calls to you, what lights you up. I think you used the word, what’s your paradise?
Nadia: Yes, yes, exactly. And you said it much better than I did. It’s like a calling because sometimes, I was saying to myself, what were you doing? Something inside me, my instinct was telling me that this is the correct way. This is what you should be doing. And I reached after 7, 8 years and I was doing what I thought I was called to do and I still had a longing inside of me but this is why I love coaching because through ICA, of course, all my horizons are open. I feel that in my brain, my mind, is not round. It’s all over the place and I see it and this is very enlightening for me. I’m not sure if that is the correct word. I don’t have the word to describe it.
Merci: I think it is an enlightening experience. So this sort of comes to our question, if you could tell the world one thing about coaching Nadia, what would it be?
Nadia: Freedom. Freedom from underlying beliefs, from passions that other people around us create for us. Even freedom from ourselves. And I believe that if we feel free, and not guilty of dreaming of fighting for what we want, then we can really be happy and do as we want.
Merci: Yes. Freedom. That’s great. So thank you for being free enough to chat with us today and I really appreciate all that you are doing for the coaching community and it’s so exciting to learn how people bring their past profession, educational experience to coaching and what a typical day looks like for them so thank you for sharing that with us today.
Nadia: And thank you Merci for having me. It was a pleasure.
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