Julia’s story: “This course gave me an overall confidence that I can do better”

Julia was just promoted to a manager position, when not long after that, she participated on the Open Training Day of The ICCI.
The next day Julia decided to apply one of the tools we demonstrated during that open day, and it worked its magic.
For her this was proof enough that this is what she needed in her new role as a manager.

Here’s Julia’s interview:

Julia, I know you just marked the 10th anniversary in the Netherland. Can you tell me more about yourself?

Ten years ago I arrived to The Netherlands to study and work. A few months after, I got a job at the company I still work till today.
As a child growing up in Poland I was very caring, always helping out with my siblings, being close to my family, grandparents and extended family. But I was also a very inquisitive child, always eager to learn new things. I loved books, I would read adventure books and historic novels. As I got older, I started to have an interest in how to become a better person. I felt attracted to psychology, self-growth. I knew someday I wanted not just to read about it. I wanted to start applying all that knowledge.

Can you tell us how you found out about our course?

I knew about this course for a while. I have also seen Noa giving a workshop during a conference for women in the oil and gas industry, the industry I work in. And I liked the way she worked. It seemed like a very interesting course, something I would have liked to do someday. But I felt that it wasn’t for me yet.
When I got promoted, I didn’t have much time to fully prepare for my new role. I was confronted with many challenges and problems I had to solve. I had a remote team and many different nationalities in my team. I was also confronted with my own gaps and shortcomings as my team was turning to me for answers.

What made you sign up for the Open Day?

While I was facing my challenges in my new role at work, I saw an advertisement for this course again and it felt just right. Going to the open day was just and extra check in with myself. I have to say, I also really liked the other people who signed up for the open day. Like minded, driven, I felt confident to start studying with them. And I liked the exercises we did. One of them, paraphrasing, I used directly the next day with one of my team members. For the first time I didn’t feel frustrated, rushed or directive. I also didn’t have to put someone in the position of failure or myself in a higher position. I listened and paraphrased. It was so constructive. It helped my colleague to find the answer for themselves. It was already a win- win situation for me and my team. I could see on the spot how much more I could learn during the course.

What were the most revealing moments during Phase 1 of the course?

First of all, I have learned so much during Phase 1, that because of this growth I decided to sign up for Phase 2.
I didn’t have any upfront expectations; I was open to the course and to what it will bring me. But there were a few experiences that stuck with me.
The first one was during a conversation with a friend. Normally, when friends would approach me with their troubles, I would give advice and tell them what they should do. Now, when I reflect upon my behaviour, I see that my friends were never comfortable with that. They became silent and changed the subject, and I would become hurt that they didn’t take my advice, I felt unappreciated. During the course we were practicing active listening and for the first time I recognised how my own body reacted when I was given advice. I become redrawn and unresponsive. The next time a friend approached me, I became an active listener. This friend was going though lots of changes and challenges. I just listened and showed empathy. Somehow, during the conversation with her I could feel we became closer. She felt better at the end that I listened to her complains and I felt better too. I was not overwhelmed with her pain or problems. It felt like my brain, my heart and body were all there for her, and I was in balance.

So, active listening really made an impact and your story about your friend is wonderful to hear. Did studying during the Covid-19 made a difference?

Actually, the whole course helped me with the whole Covid-19 situation. We were all working from home, in lock down. There was a lot of uncertainty and stress. Both workwise as in private life things were shaky for everyone. But tuning in with this course gave me a lot of energy. After long hours in front of the computer and online meetings, I would feel physically fatigued. But after our weekly 3 hours evening course I felt emotionally and mentally recharged. (note: Julia did the evening course with The ICCI, which had to change from face-to-face to totally online for the pandemic). I was learning new things, new skills, new ways of thinking and reacting. Our group was full of good energy and our peer groups felt amazing.
Going through the course was like working on a huge puzzle. You start with many pieces, almost chaos, then you start recognising patterns and at the end you form a whole picture. It was so worth it.

Can you summarise what the Phase 1 of our course brought you?

This course gave me an overall confidence that I can do better. Lead my team better. Be a better person. Actually, that is something that I was aiming for as a child too, be a better person.
The knowledge I got through this course is like an anchor for me. I can trust myself and my creativity in these times of change. I am more empathetic. Even at work, we are a business, but we are first of all people. I am approaching my team as such. This course highlighted and accelerated my development as people manager.

It also improved my work relationships in general. My new approach got me positive feedback. First of all people feel that they are validated and valued; that they can really contribute to the process; that what they say, think or do matters.
And also my superiors could see my development.

You just started with Phase 2. Where do you see yourself in a year from now?

I signed up for Phase 2 after I got to work with my first clients, students from the other group. She was someone I didn’t know, different then my peers. I loved the satisfaction I got after I helped her discover how she could proceed for herself. I am not sure yet where I will be a year from now. I am happy to take this path and discover. I guess I will be a more developed person, feeling stronger in a healthy way. As a professional and as myself, as Julia.

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