I thought of sharing the success story of Michael, a client I have worked with and guided as a coach for a few months in 2019. He is sharing his unique story of learning, career transformation, and global leadership from his own voice so he wrote his own story himself. Michael is brave and has been determined to define his unique path. You will be inspired by different perspectives and insight to start reinventing yourself in these unprecedented times. Here it goes:
My journey with U Diverse and Magali began one year ago when I left my company after a quite successful nearly 4-year run as a director, overseeing an international team of some 40 highly skilled global health experts. At the end of the day, my professional vision and work ego were no longer aligned with top management, so it was time to take another step. During this timeframe, I had settled comfortably in Europe as part of a professional arc that had made and kept me globally oriented. As career coaching was not new to me, I had some expectations of what I was looking for, but my goals were unclear.
I found U Diverse online myself, independent of my company. The website was inviting and Magali’s approach well-articulated. Her background and training indeed spelt D-I-V-E-R-S-I-T-Y, something often undervalued in the workplace and equally poorly understood. She too was a settled ‘expat’ in the Netherlands, having trained in multiple countries and with various experiences that included academic research. I particularly appreciated her focus on communication and culture. Since my next step involved a move to France for personal reasons, there was another connection. When I contacted Magali, she was quick to set up a call to see if we might be a match. I knew in the first minutes of the conversation that she had the personality and with that I sought. We set up a face-to-face meeting soon after that to ensure that we were indeed a good client fit, and if so, to establish a coaching plan. Twelve sessions later, I’m sitting down to write this témoignage or story.
As Magali is comfortable with – and even encourages – working outside of the box, she quickly established herself as a useful guide for me. Together, we set the pace and rhythm accordingly. Magali challenged me to look at and ask questions of myself, and was never shy to prompt me when I was losing momentum, but always with great respect and concern. While regression was expected and respected, she kept me moving forward through the process by reacting to my needs rather than following a scripted plan, which we never completed and which I did not want.
Her process and associated reading materials helped me to reassert those core value anchors that drive both professional and personal lives – they are the same. The lost trust and security of a single workplace was not to be my defining moment. Importantly, there were no ladders to climb except the one I was comfortable constructing. Magali supported me to reshape this work experience as a refining moment to move beyond. The aggregate of my professional expertise and positions were not to be lost, even if I chose to walk away from a 30-year trajectory toward something unexpected and unknown.
Instead of spending our sessions pondering career plans or CVs, we spoke of values and fears, and options for loosening control to allow more self-expression. Work had unconsciously come to guide too many personal decisions instead of living life, itself, being the driver of my actions. I needed to establish separation and feel comfortable once again with the distinction; balance had been lost between the two. Over time our sessions moved me further and further down the path to consider a transition to another phase – professionally and personally – labelled as ‘retirement’, at least from my current professional construct.
Having reached a journey crossroads, I am comfortable to articulate and celebrate the progress made. By putting myself in a renewed position to identify and create new networks and learning opportunities, I have established a creative way forward and without burden. Moving countries, submerging myself into a new language, and fully integrating locally are my immediate goals. Even further, rediscovering books of significance has taken priority over attention only to those publications primarily useful for the next grant proposal. If I rediscover a creative side along the way, well, that’s all for the better too.
3 March 2020
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About U Diverse’s founder:
Magali Toussaint is the founder of ‘U-Diverse’. She is a certified Talent Acquisition Strategist, an ICF-certified Leadership Consultant, a Career Coach, a Cross-Cultural Trainer, and a Job Search Strategist with an extensive career in Recruitment, HR, Diversity, as well as Education. She has lived and worked in over four countries and speaks French, English, and Dutch fluently. Read More...