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International Coaching Federation Switzerland

Coach in the Spotlight

Interview with Dmitry Milashchuk, ACC    

Co-Chapter Leader of the Suisse Romande Chapter of ICF Switzerland 



Good afternoon everyone, it’s our pleasure today to interview Dmitry Milashchuk for the Coach in the Spotlight Interview series.  

Dmitry is the Suisse Romande Co-Chapter Leader of ICF Switzerland from the beginning of this year. Thank you, Dmitry, for being our leader in the Suisse Romande area and for contributing to the world of coaching.

Welcome to the Coach in the Spotlight interview.

Thank you, Carmen, thank you Lenka for having me during this evening for this interview. It's really my pleasure and privilege.

First, we would like to start by asking where you are from and what is your background?

As you can judge from my accent and from my family name, I am Ukrainian by origin. I've grown up in the mid-size industrial city called Kremenchuk, in the central Ukraine. During my career I've been working in Ukraine and in 2006, I moved to Serbia for three and a half years. In 2010, after completing my assignment in Serbia, I moved to Switzerland, and I've been working and living in Geneva for the last 11 years and I believe this is my home now. As you can see, I do love traveling. When I was a small kid and during my adolescent years, we've been traveling the world as a family, both within Ukraine and internationally. This is the reason why traveling is one of my passions. Up until now, I have visited more than 70 countries, feeling and enjoying the beauty of every country. As per my professional background, I've been working during my entire career in a variety of domains of human resources management, helping people to develop, grow and change for the better. This is really my second passion.

Thank you for your answer. I see that you are a true citizen of the world and you’ve lived in many countries. This made me curious to know when you became interested in coaching? What led you to become a coach? What do you love about coaching?

It happened here, in Switzerland. My interest has grown tremendously in the recent years. Like many other people, initially I was very skeptical about coaching, it seemed that it was just “another” management tool to make people work better and perform better. It all changed when I decided to find a coach for myself. Somehow, it was clear that I needed and wanted to try it. In 2017 I started a coaching program with an excellent coach; her name was Anita. She delivered such nice coaching sessions using powerful and to-the-point questions, with subtle interventions and self-reflection practices that left me deeply amazed. This coaching program with Anita ran for several months, it transformed my life and as a result of it I became a believer in coaching. Since I've been working all my life with people, helping them to develop, I thought “this is an excellent combination, I can become a coach myself, I feel this power, and I know that I can help others to grow and to change, the same way I have changed”. This is what I really love about coaching, you don't need to give advice, you don't need the direct them or give recommendations, but rather ask subtle questions, propose right techniques, practices and self-reflections. By doing so, you can help people discover their “new” self, and with your help and support their growth.

Taken together your background in Human Resources and your insightful experience with Anita, I am wondering how did you choose what coaching training to do? I cannot recall the exact moment how I made the selection of the particular coaching program I wanted to attend. The best decision in my life was when I selected the Integral Coaching program with the Center for Coaching in Switzerland. This was the coaching school that I found was very useful, practical and very professional. I started my training in Integral Coaching where we look at individual as the perfect combination of three different domains, cognitive, emotional, and somatic experiences. This was my first program which I completed in May 2020. After that, I decided to expand my knowledge, and I enrolled into the professional coaching course in New Venture West Coaching School in San Francisco, California. This is one of the oldest and most reputable coaching schools in the United States. I've been studying in this school from September last year until actually the beginning of September this year, so, I just successfully graduated from this training course.

What did your different training programs bring to your unique service proposition as a coach?

These two trainings actually focus on the same domain. They simply broadened, expanded and deepened my knowledge in the domain of Integral Coaching, and this is where I find my unique proposition, to be the person attentive to every dimension of the complex human personality; to emotions, cognitive thinking and somatic practices. This is what I offer to my clients, my undivided attention and genuine presence. It may sound cliché, but in my opinion, this is what a good coach has to offer in the first place and has to be constantly present with the client. This is where I believe my proposition lies. Also, the combination of my own life experiences contributes to my coaching practice, my 20 years of working experience in human resources, my experience throughout the different stages of my life, including living and working in different countries. Last but not least, I am also a father of a grown-up son, who is now 27 years old, with whom I have all the experience of parenthood, which also teaches you a lot. Altogether, all these factors help me to create unique coaching programs with my clients, for every person who comes to me.

What has been the biggest Insight for you in your coaching career?

What I have found that actually there are no standard solutions, and you have to start co-creating with every client. I think that this is what makes us coaches very unique. When I start my coaching programs, and when I meet with my clients every time is like a new small chapter in my life and theirs. We co-create and live through this experience of being coached and to be a coach. And this is my biggest insight per se that there are no universal solutions, and you definitely have to co-create and include your clients into the process.

What are your most important learnings about building a coaching career that you would like to share?

I do believe there are already and always clients out there for every coach. You don't have to be artificial and you don't have to pretend; you just have to start coaching. This is where you do find clients, as soon as you are genuine in your coaching proposition and you are really there, being present for the client, whoever she is or whoever he is, they will be there. This is for me one of the most important learnings. You don't have to do much from the artificial work on finding the clients, they will come to us as soon as we start genuinely coaching.

What tips would you like to share with new coaches?

Going along with the previous question. I have been experiencing it myself, even during the last years and months when I was becoming a coach, when I was growing myself and developing my practice. Everyone was talking to me about marketing, everyone was sending me promotions every month asking ‘how do you build your social networks, your websites?’, etc. It is not that important and, there is no need to spend much time on all this, just start coaching, wherever you can and bring the genuineness and the honesty into what you're offering. With this, it will come, you will start finding clients. It is also important that you, as a new coach, start charging for your sessions, as soon as possible. There is no such thing as free coaching, I firmly believe this, because we offer a unique proposition. There is a great value in what we do in our work with our clients. So, this is my second advice for the new coaches - don't be shy to place the price on your services.

What are the hottest trends that you noticed in the coaching industry and how do you think coaches should adapt?

I will mention two things. First - the last 18 months have changed the life of almost everyone on this planet. We live in huge uncertainty. We do know that there is a big possibility of change around. I think it has made a huge impact on almost every person understanding and state of mind, and they start valuing their life itself. They start finding new values, they start searching for the new meanings in life. And now, there are many men and women out there, changing their lives quite dramatically, quitting their jobs or relationships, trying to find the new meaning in what they do. I think in this trend, the coaches must be there for those people who are searching for new meanings in life. We have to support them, guide them with the proper questions, be there and help them, in this transition which is definitely needed at least it goes smoother, and with better results. The second trend, as you may have noticed and it is very important in the life of the coaches, it is ”Team Coaching”. There are new Team Coaching competencies on the ICF website, and it is now where we can start delivering the biggest difference for organizations, and for teams, which are not necessarily only in the business world. I think that working with the teams is the next ‘hot trend’, which will come in the following years, and we have to start preparing for it, we have to start getting ready to make a difference, not only for the individuals through coaching, but also for the teams.

What is the most valuable aspect of being a member of the ICF?

Thank you for this question, and it is a no-brainer that it is definitely the network, the value of networking, with people with the same attitude, the same minds and the same spirit. The same willingness to be in the service of other people. This is the networking among the coaches, this is why I came here and enjoy being a member of ICF and I find on monthly basis dozens of outstanding individuals in this network of ICF. I enjoy learning from them and sharing my experience with them as well. And this is what I also commit to do more and more - building the network in the ICF system, as well as outside, nowadays, there are virtual tools and possibilities to work with many chapters of ICF without leaving our office or home.

What motivated you to take on the role of Suisse Romande Co-Chapter Leader for ICF Switzerland?

I wanted to personally contribute and to help changing the coaching image for the general public. As I mentioned in the beginning of my interview, (and I experienced it myself), sometimes coaching is perceived negatively by many people, because they don't know what it is, and they don't see the real value of coaching. I think we have to work hard to change this image, to promote coaching as a development tool in every opportunity we have and everywhere we go. For this reason, it was important for me to engage in this leadership role with ICF, to be able to directly influence with my contribution. I believe in the value of volunteer work, as we all do in ICF and this is where, I believe, we could make a difference.

In your opinion, what can the coaching community in Switzerland do to further strengthen the reputation of coaching as a profession? And what are you doing in helping your chapter towards this goal?

In my opinion, the trend that I am seeing and not only in Switzerland, but also in other countries, is that as coaches we spend too much on promoting ourselves and our services, and by doing this we sort of compete only for the very small pool of existing clients who already know about coaching. Instead of doing that, what I think we need to do as coaches is to promote the coaching per se by really getting out there, speaking not only with coaches in training, but also with the general public, with people working in different institutions, including those that are non-governmental. We can also promote coaching by going to the universities and organizing events that help broaden our audience and provide clarity and understanding about coaching. All in all, by doing this, we will increase the reputation of our profession and make more people aware of coaching and, in turn, many of them will eventually become clients. For me, this is one of my goals that aligns with this phrase "everyone eventually needs a coach", and this could be the very inspiring and visionary goal for a near future where everyone has a coach, a goal that we can all walk towards.

What’s your favorite place in Switzerland and why?

I have been traveling and living in many countries, but definitely Switzerland became the love of my life. I really enjoy being here, in fact it is the longest time that I have been in the same country. I enjoy all parts of this country, the diversity of nature and mountains, the lakes and the beautiful green pastures that you find everywhere. However definitely the region where I live now, the region of Nyon, the arc Lemanique, is the place I find the most beautiful. Nyon has everything, the lake, the mountains, the big green fields, and it has all variety of the nature, which you can enjoy any time and wherever you go. This is my favorite place in Switzerland.

Thank you very much for sharing your view with us, Dmitry. I would like to build on something you mentioned earlier - that in the future everyone would have a coach. This is my personal view as well, and I would like to share a quote I once heard "coaching is about making people go from being good to great". It's not only about fixing problems; but also, about improving and building on what they're already good at. 

Thank you Lenka, this is very good statement as well.

We are very happy to have you today and thank you for today's interview.

Thank you, Carmen and Lenka, it was a pleasure and also thank you for all the questions and attention. It was my pleasure.

We would like to thank Dmitry Milashchuk for joining us in this virtual interview, for his presence and generosity to share with us her journey as a coach during this edition of the Coach in the Spotlight. 

Note: This article contains the highlights of Dmitry Milashchuk’sinterview on September 30, 2021. For the unedited full version, please listen to the audio by clicking on the icon  

Authors, Producers and Editors:

Carmen Flores Nakandakare, MSc, PhD / Lenka Willems, MSc, ACC



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