006: The Human Responsibility of Creating with Nadezhda Mihaylova

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How to get in touch with Nadezhda

Nadezhda’s LinkedIn Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nadezhda-mihaylova-4396521/

Nadezhda’s recommendations

A free online tool for creating interactive coaching wheels, initiated by Nadezhda herself: coachingwheels.com

Simon Sinek – Find Your Why: A Practical Guide for Discovering Purpose for You and Your Team https://www.amazon.com/Find-Your-Why-Practical-Discovering-ebook/dp/B01CZCW3ZA/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1549544575&sr=8-3&keywords=find+your+why

Simon Sinek – Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action https://www.amazon.com/Start-Why-Leaders-Inspire-Everyone-ebook/dp/B002Q6XUE4/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1549544575&sr=8-4&keywords=find+your+why


Fabian Luetzig: Welcome to the Global Campfire of Coaching, an ongoing discussion between coaches, coachees and anybody else interested in the Art and the Science of coaching, spreading information and exchanging opinions so that we learn and grow together as a community. I’m Fabian Luetzig.

Before I introduce today’s guest, I would like to share with you that you can be a part of this show: If you have a comment on something that was said in an episode, if you have a question for one of my guests or for me or if you want to share a success – getting your ACC, taking the next step in your business, finding an amazing coach for yourself – get in touch on Skype by either typing or, even better, leaving a voice mail.

Joining us at the Campfire today is Nadezhda Mihaylova. Nadezhda coaches both individual and corporate clients and has experience in leadership, productivity and work-life balance development. She leads corporate coaching programs and team coaching sessions focused on vision and mission elicitation, motivation and inspiration, planning and solution-focused thinking, ideas generation and decision making.


Additionally, Nadezhda is among the leading personal development and leadership trainers in Bulgaria with over 14 years of experience . She is a devoted Erickson International Facilitator of The Art & Science of Coaching Program leading courses on-line and in person. 

Nadezhda played a key role in the development and growth of the coaching community in Bulgaria by introducing The Art & Science of Coaching program in the country as the first ICF accredited coach training program delivered locally.

Passionately committed to enhancing the coaching conversations, she initiated the development of Coachingwheels.com – a free on-line tool for creating interactive coaching wheels.

On a personal note, she is a mother of four, a life-long learner through experience, daring to pioneer, exploring spirituality and in love with traveling and flying.


Nadezhda Mihaylova: It was 2008; at that time, there were not more than four to five people in Bulgaria who knew anything about coaching. Out of this four to five people, two happened to be my colleagues that I’ve been working with. I must confess, at that time, I was very skeptical about this approach in working with people. It took me nearly two years to decide to enroll in a coaching training following their example.

Fabian Luetzig: What was it that made you skeptical about it?

Nadezhda Mihaylova: Well, you know what, actually the easiest thing to reject is something that you don’t know well enough. At that time, I had certain perceptions about what coaching is and what coaching is not. One of the perceptions was that coaching uses some approaches that mingle in people’s brains. I didn’t like the idea of somebody mingling with my mind.

Fabian Luetzig: What made you come around? How did you get to that point of saying “I’m actually going to enroll in a coach training”?

Nadezhda Mihaylova: As I started out, my relationship with coaching wasn’t love at first sight. It didn’t start with liking at all. When I decided to get enrolled into coaching training, I actually wasn’t convinced that much about coaching. It was like “ok, I will give it a try…”. And the reason I decided to say “ok I’ll give it a try” is because I was convinced by my former manager, somebody who influenced my development greatly, and I’m very, very grateful to her for that. At that time, she urged me as part of my professional development plan to enroll into coaching training. So I went out there searching for a training course – still skeptical and not really believing I’d find something that would suit my requirements. Surprisingly, not only did I find something that suited my requirements but, when I realized in the very few days of my first coaching training what coaching really is, then I fell in love. What really got me in, it started with the headline of the training that I attended. The program was called ‘The Art and Science of Coaching’. Those are two words that have deep meaning for me: ‘Art’ I associate with beauty; ‘Science’ I associate with logic, with something that’s meaningful and can be explained. That suited my curiosity, I enrolled in that particular program and it really proved to be a wonderful discovery of both beauty and logic working together in a way that helps people create, in a way that turns people into who they’re meant to be: creators. So that’s what got me in.

Fabian Luetzig: Beautiful! And now, that you’re on the other side and you know what coaching is, what it means to you, and it’s actually beautiful to you; what would you tell somebody who says to you: “That coaching stuff, that meddles with people’s brains… I don’t wanna do that!”

Nadezhda Mihaylova: I actually wouldn’t tell them anything; I would just invite them to try it out. I’ll ask “What are some important areas of your life that you want to explore, that you want to develop, that you want to grow in?” What I would literally do, I would take a piece of paper, I would draw a coaching wheel and would start a coaching conversation. Somewhere at a point where that person really gets that excitement, that sense of “Hmm, I’m becoming curious about who I am, where I’m heading, what’s possible…” At that point, I’ll make pause and say “And that’s what coaching is.”

Fabian Luetzig: So, for you it’s more about demonstrating, about showing and experiencing it, rather than describing it.

Nadezhda Mihaylova: Yeah, we spend a numerous amount of days trying to learn what coaching is and it’s absolutely not possible to explain it in ten minutes. We can only help people experience it.

Fabian Luetzig: If you could explain your personal style of coaching, to us who know, basically, what coaching is; we have a common frame of reference: How would you describe your personal style of coaching, what influences you in that?

Nadezhda Mihaylova: If I’m to name my style of coaching, I’d like to call it ‘Empowering Coaching’. What people say about what they get with me: They feel better than when we started the conversation and they feel much clearer and more structured; they also mention ‘empowered’ and ‘inspired’, which is my ‘wohooo-moment’

Fabian Luetzig: Speaking of those ‘wohooo-moments’, what is one of your favorite coaching success stories?

Nadezhda Mihaylova: Hm, many of them. I’m working with a lady who came to me with the request that she wanted to make a total shift in her life; she wanted to get rid of her current business, because it was inherited and it has nothing to do with who she is, with her values and what she believes in, what she wants in life. At the same time, she said “I have no clue what to do after that…and until I find what to do, I can’t really dare abandon my bread-winning business.” We started working with her through different coaching approaches and experiences and exploration. She came up with the idea of who she wanted to be, what she wanted to do for a living and how that is relating with who she really is. She got that inspiration, the inspiration was very specific, it was a particular business idea she came up with.

The reason I call it a success story is not because we started at Point A and then we got to Point B and that Point B happened to be exactly what she wanted to get as a result of our coaching relationship, but because this was one of those occasions when I had the privilege of working with somebody who was utterly resourceful. In the MCC requirements “allow the client to create their coaching process for themselves”. I’m not quoting it correctly, I’m summarizing my understanding. That was the experience that I had with that client. She was utterly plunging into everything that I was suggesting as a coach and then building up from there and making it her own, as if making a piece of art, as if making an art performance. I was asking a question and then she was getting from there, asking herself more and more questions; not only that but answering them. At one point, I felt as if I’m the one who is to pay for that, because she was really getting her way through to her dream with her own means and resources. Now that I’m talking, I’m having all those visions of her plunging into the future and creating it with wonderful ease. That’s why it’s a success-story for me, because it is one of my first examples for partnering with a client.

Fabian Luetzig: Beautiful! What was it that you contributed to this masterful experience?

Nadezhda Mihaylova: Curiosity. Curiosity and initiating conversations with questions she hadn’t thought of herself. Plus, inviting her to experience throughout the sessions; not only asking her “What do you think might happen?” but inviting her to imagine she’s at the point of success and experience it as if it’s real. In the coaching school I trained in and that I’m working for right now, we call this an ‘as-if shift’: “Just suppose it’s real”. I noticed that this shift of reality is what really made the difference for many more clients after that.

Fabian Luetzig: I can recognize what you said before, about your style being ‘empowering’. It sounds like you’re trusting that your client has that potential and empowering them to recognize that and to run with it.

Nadezhda Mihaylova: Yeah, if you could name it, you could own it. If you could see it, that’s the easiest way to get it. We coaches are artists, we co-create with our clients to make the picture of their success crystal clear. The job of a coach – I’m quoting a fellow friend and coach here – the job of a coach is to accompany our clients to the journey of finding who they really are, finding their inner truth and living that truth with integrity. We are integrity builders.

Fabian Luetzig: We’ve talked before about how you doubted as a whole in the very beginning; I’m curious, has there ever been a time when you have doubted your own abilities as a coach?

Nadezhda Mihaylova: Always. Always, because that’s the only way to grow, that’s the only way to develop. If I get certain in my coaching abilities, that’s the end of my coaching development and growth. I’m always curious: “How could I have done it even better?” There is always moments in the conversations, which could have benefitted from, let’s say a different way of questioning, a different way of silence, a different tonality, and probably from a deeper provocation.

Fabian Luetzig: Do you have a process for that after each coaching session or when is the time for you to ask yourself these questions?

Nadezhda Mihaylova: I don’t follow it rigorously, but very often, when I catch myself in this inner dialogue of “Oh, I could have done it better!” or “Ah, I wasn’t as good of a coach as I could have been”, that doubt that you’ve mentioned. When I catch myself thinking like that, I usually spend some time with myself, replaying in my mind the coaching session and thinking “How could I have done it differently here? What makes me not satisfied? What I commit to with this particular client next time that we meet? Who shall I be for him or her next time? I’ve noticed that when I make it that specific, it usually works. My clients give it as feedback after the next session, that they noticed something shifted; or they say I had more of this style.

Fabian Luetzig: How does the client’s impression of how the session went or what they created for themselves, how does that influence whether you go through that process or not? Specifically, what I’m aiming at is, if the client says “Wow, I got so much out of this session, this was so great!”, but you have the feeling “…could have been better; I could have dug a little deeper there”. Does that trigger the process for you or do you take the clients word for it because they’ll know best?

Nadezhda Mihaylova: Yes and no, because I never really ask the value question - “what’s been the value? What have you created for yourself?” – I never really ever ask it with the intention for it to be feedback for the session. Whatever the client says, it’s their perception of what they have created for themselves. That’s not a feedback for me whether I did a good job or not as a coach. For me, it’s part of the coaching session itself, where the client is doing their recap, their summary and they’re saying to themselves the benefits of that time spent in coaching. So, I take it as they say it and I appreciate that. It’s not informing me in any way whether I have done a good job as a coach or not; that’s a different story. Me as a coach, I know the principles; I know the mechanisms of coaching and when I’m doubting whether that was a good session or not, I’m checking that against how coaching works, not what my client says that they have gained.

Because I know from personal experience that the coaching never ends when the session ends, when the conversation with the coach ends. It actually continues and it can continue for days; those questions keep coming back and the client keeps thinking on those questions, especially those powerful questions. I actually often say that the real coaching session happens after a good coaching conversation, when the client contemplates what he has said, what he hasn’t said, what else he can add and observes himself and life from this perspective of this new awareness. That’s true coaching for me. I’ve had this experience myself, I’ve been coached on how to get an exam. It was a really powerful coaching session where I would see some of my fears and I also saw what they call the best version of myself – I must say, it was a really wet session; I cried a lot. I continued to ask myself questions and ponder the questions I’d been asked during that session for a day and a half, which was an amazing experience for me. I wish that I’m creating the same for those people that work with me, an ever growing awareness.

Fabian Luetzig: That’s a really important point that those questions linger and they continue to stretch the client. I think it’s really useful that you tell your clients that ahead of time, if I got that time. I’ve heard from students coming and getting the feedback that they coached somebody and then their coachee came back a week later and said “Actually I came up with it by myself!” Because they had an idea two days after the coaching session and they didn’t attribute that to the coaching session at all. They attributed it to their own genius - which might be true – but I think usually, like you said, the coaching process goes on after the coaching session. Telling people that ahead of time, I think, is useful if we’re talking about “What is the value of coaching? How do you make that known to people? How do you make people aware of it or how do you help people appreciate it?” That can be very important in a client relationship, to see whether a client stays on with you or not.

Nadezhda Mihaylova: Well, we very often as coaches tend to think we are responsible for the end-result and the outcome. But that’s not really our responsibility. Our responsibility is to trigger the creativity process, that’s what our responsibility is. We are experts in how the brain works and as experts in how the brain works, we really know how to trigger that creativity in a human mind. I do believe that being creative creatures is the ultimate responsibility of every human.

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