Driving social change through coaching

‘Ignite’ has been one of the successful initiatives undertaken by the ICF.

By Manjula Ramakrishnan

Jay Tasanyurek is Vice-President, International Coach Federation (ICF), UAE Chapter. A successful coach in her own right, Jay’s passion for professional coaching is in sync with the ICF’s dedication and approach towards coaching.
“Coaching helps people see the bigger picture and, with that in mind, navigate through change. This change soon becomes a constant in our everyday lives and will probably even continue to be stronger in the following years. I believe that coaching has the potential to inspire change in the community, our approach to education and leadership.
“The ICF’s Gift of Coaching and Culture of Giving initiatives on engaging humanity through education has been so inspiring. And so, together with my colleagues from the ICF UAE Chapter, we established partnerships with organisations such as Challenge to Change and their mission to connect, inspire and empower Arab women to transform challenges into positive change opportunities.
“We have 22 coaches passionately sharing their skills to support Arab women in the UAE, Lebanon, Jordan and Palestine – an initiative inspired by Dina Faidi.’’
The following is an exclusive interview with Jay.

Jay Tasanyurek


What are the precise objectives of the ICF?
The ICF exists to lead global advancement of the coaching profession. Its focus is advancing the art, science and practice of professional coaching. The role of the ICF chapters in different countries is to support its members in engaging with the coaching and non-coaching community, provide support regarding professional growth and learning opportunities; encourage sustainable growth and development of its members and the coaching profession.
What are the essential qualities of a good coach?
The mindset of life-long learning and continuous improvement is a vital requirement. Allowing client-safe, non-judgmental space for exploration and reflection is paramount. Holding client in unconditional positive regard, starting from the belief that the client is able to approach and solve their challenges through the process of partnering with the coach would also make a difference.
Can you tell us more about the UAE chapter of ICF?
The ICF UAE Chapter was established in 2012 and last year we managed to formalise our licence and documentation for operating officially in the UAE. We also launched our website and partnered with a number of organisations to promote the impact of coaching in the region. We had 5000+ clients experience coaching through our initiatives and more then 50 ICF certified coaches participating.
How long have you been a member of ICF and how did you get drawn to this initiative?
I started learning about coaching and its impact in 2013 when supporting my colleagues through critical incidents in their lives. I then completed my ACC (Associated Certified Coach) accreditation in 2015 and PCC (Professional Certified Coach) in 2017. I have been attending the ICF UAE events since 2014. In 2017 the former president Dalal Denley invited me to lead the `Ignite’ and community coaching initiatives. Since then we have contributed to the community through professional coaching by partnering with more than 15 organisations.
How do you determine what’s required for an individual to motivate them to reach the next level of excellence?
Every coach has different tools and techniques in their toolbox; the starting point for me is usually exploring the motivational drivers and understanding how these can support my client in reaching their objectives.
Tell us more about the Happiness Journey.
With the fast paced life and the hurry to reach various destinations in life, happiness is a quotient that is largely diminished. In the Happiness Festival we partnered with Little Miss Wellness and supported the government with trained, certified coaches in delivering coaching sessions during the festival. We also worked with a number of universities, their students and faculty members. Thirteen of our professional coaches supported the Happiness Journey 2018, an initiative inspired by Afsheen Ismail Wey.
What are UAE ICF’s plans to reach more people?
We are constantly seeking new partnerships and collaborations that will create a positive impact in the community and the world of professional coaching.
The Embrace the Challenge initiative at the Gulf Indian High School must have been a satisfying experience.
Certainly! We started this initiative in 2017 for GIHS and what was impactful about this initiative was not only the direct impact of coaching but also the transformations after. Subsequently, the school counsellor was trained in coaching and internal coaching support was introduced to help both students and parents.