Feb 1, 2024

Navigating Professional Growth: Reflections from WeLead's Coaching Sessions

As part of the EU-funded multi-beneficiary capacity development project “WeLead,” we offer the participants professional coaching sessions. These structured one-on-one sessions help the next-generation leaders and policymakers from the Western Balkans boost their communication, planning, and decision-making skills. They are also an opportunity to reflect on their professional relations with other stakeholders and their ability to coordinate and manage them. We are happy to share some reflections by professionals who have benefited from this transformative experience.

Together with a professional certified coach, all participants defined their desired goals and looked for alternative problem-solving approaches that would help them perform better in their personal and professional lives. However, the coaching sessions go beyond goal-setting and problem-solving by providing ongoing guidance and support. As Emir Hrustanović says, “The coaching process was not just about problem-solving; it was about personal growth and self-discovery. I have gained the ‘step back and don’t act on impulse’ strategy that has not only enhanced my professional life but has also positively impacted my relationships and overall well-being.”

Similarly, Andrijana Lazarević recognizes that having a support system in place in the form of coaching is crucial for navigating challenges and maintaining momentum toward achieving one’s goals. “Working with my coach, I experienced a unique blend of professional growth and personal fulfillment. Her method of maximizing individual strengths resonated deeply with me, offering a fresh perspective on navigating the complexities of career development. The sessions were not just about professional advice; they were about understanding and harnessing my potential in ways I had not imagined. The journey with my coach has been marked by moments of clarity and growth. Her ability to offer practical advice, coupled with thought-provoking questions, has consistently pushed me to explore new dimensions of my potential,” explains Ms. Lazarević.

Another important aspect of the coaching sessions is to offer guidance and support in developing confidence, focus, resilience, and self-belief. Njomza Rochi Djeladini is convinced the coaching helped her gain self-awareness and confidence, “I was able to identify my strengths and values, and set realistic goals. It provided me with feedback, guidance, and accountability to assist in exploring new perspectives and opportunities,” concludes Ms. Rochi Djeladini. Similarly, Kimet Kurtishi and Mirjana Ivanović echo this reflection. “By participating in coaching, my self-confidence, creativity, and self-improvement increased a lot. I must say that coaching has made me understand that change happens when you become what you are, not when you try to become something that you are not. The change becomes when you stop trying to be what you want or think you should be; when you fully accept and feel what you are.” says Ms. Kurtishi. While Ms. Ivanović adds: “Starting my own company was a journey filled with challenges, but the coaching sessions were a game changer. They provided me with invaluable insights and tools that not only guided my business strategy but also fueled my personal growth. I'm grateful to CEF and my coach for this transformative experience and highly recommend it to anyone embarking on an entrepreneurial journey.”

As experienced by Ljiljana Djuric and Dije Rizvanolli, coaching sessions may sometimes be uncomfortable, as they challenge the participants and their belief systems, pushing them outside their comfort zones to explore new perspectives, ideas, and approaches. Experienced in a safe environment, discomfort is, however, a natural part of the learning process and leads to personal and professional growth. “It is not always easy, but my coach guides me to acknowledge my emotions, do the self-command, and accept my imperfections. This has been a kind reminder that I constantly need to improve myself mentally, manage my stress level, and not get personally affected by situations that surround me. Not every situation requires a reaction,” says Ms. Djuric. Ms. Rizvanolli complements this thinking by stating, “The sessions, often challenging, started with several insightful questions, and concluded with a valuable lesson. One profound reminder that kept re-emerging during the sessions was the uniqueness inherent in each of us, invalidating the notion of universal answers to personal goals. As such, it has encouraged me to investigate the roots of my thoughts and feelings before strategizing with an empowering ‘I can’ and ‘I will’ mindset.” 

Ms. Neli Rasovic and Mr. Hrustanović also testify to the long-lasting benefits of the coaching and claim that the sessions provided positive changes in their lives. “The sessions, tailored to my unique needs, equipped me with practical tools to navigate challenges with resilience and purpose. I am very grateful for the profound and lasting impact these coaching sessions have had on elevating both my professional trajectory and personal fulfillment,” says Ms. Rasovic. “The tools and techniques I learned are not just quick fixes but enduring solutions that continue to serve me long after the coaching sessions have concluded. I am immensely grateful to the CEF for providing such a valuable and impactful program,” adds Mr. Hrustanović.

We are thankful to Emir Hrustanović (Office of the Government of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina for European Integrations), Ljiljana Djuric (Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Srpska, Bosnia and Herzegovina), Andrijana Lazarević (Institute for Political Studies, Serbia), Njomza Rochi Djeladini (Secretariat for European Affairs, North Macedonia), Dije Rizvanolli (Ministry of Finance, Labor and Transfers, Kosovo), Neli Rasovic (Ministry of Interior, Montenegro), Mirjana Ivanović (WeLead Alumni, Montenegro), and Kimet Kurtishi (Ministry of Finance, North Macedonia) for sharing their valuable insights into their experience with the coaching sessions fostering positive and transformative changes.