Since 2011, Nova Terra have welcomed many individuals, leaders, coaches and HR professionals through our doors. Each bringing their humanity, with their own story, their own chapter that took place within our journey.

Where are they now? How are they feeling? Who have they become? And what would they tell the younger version of themselves who set sail with us all those years ago?

So Rebecca, Ellen, how have you been since we last saw you at Nova Terra?

Rebecca: In a word, busy! I came to Nova Terra when I'd left my previous role following a burnout and I was searching for a path to follow. Since then, the project I was already involved in has developed into a real official association, Madame Papillon, accompanying women after burnout. Through that, I've worked with different coaches and other wellbeing and creativity professionals on a mission to support people who have burned out and try to shift work cultures towards those that fully support the people who work there.

Ellen: Wonderful! I’ve grown my communications business in exciting directions, and I’m really passionate about my clients, the projects we’re realising together, and the new ideas I’m pursuing. And my family is thriving. It feels very much like a spring time in life.

Where are you now?

Rebecca: Well, I am running the association (Madame Papillon) day to day as well as leading some of the activities, I am also a founding member of a wellbeing at work cooperative Wellbeing Seeders, and I am coaching individuals on and off.

Ellen: I’m still working from my home in the rural area between Tienen and Sint-Truiden. Remote work is a beautiful thing! Occasionally, I travel to my clients in the Netherlands or do writing retreats elsewhere in Europe.

How are you using coaching in your current work?

Rebecca: I find that coaching is just a skill that adds to so much - and not just in direct coaching work. At home the questions I ask my children are different. At the association, I notice different beliefs coming through the stories the women are telling about their experiences. I am coaching individuals but also running workshops and the skills that you need in coaching like presence and mirroring are so valuable in those environments.

Ellen: Every conversation I have with clients has altered because of my coaching mindset. Active listening and objective setting are key ingredients to everything I do. I also integrate coaching moments in every corporate training I deliver and I have a number of clients in a coaching trajectory.

How does that make you feel?

Rebecca: Really grateful that coaching was something that first helped me, and that now I can use it to help others.

Ellen: I’m surprised, honestly. I had a bit of a peculiar trajectory when I was training to be a coach. While I originally intended to use the coaching at my then position as talent manager at McKinsey, I had started my own communications business before the course ended. I wasn’t sure how often I’d be able to use coaching in my client work. Turns out the answer is ‘a lot.’ It’s a very pleasant surprise. I believe it has made me a much better professional.

What did you appreciate most about your time at Nova Terra?

Rebecca: The excellent trainers and rigorous syllabus of course, but also the supportive atmosphere and the great group that I was part of. We still meet up - it's still a group of people I call friends and that is precious.

Ellen: The empowered, coaching way of developing the coach inside of us. The facilitators are incredible coaches who have developed their own style and show, rather than tell how to coach. Their feedback was the most powerful tool for me to grow as coach, and as a person.

What would you have done differently?

Rebecca: I don't think I would have changed anything to be honest - it was the right programme for me at the right time with the right people!

Ellen: Practiced even more with peers between my sessions. I did an ok job having at least one peer coaching before the course days, but still… you can never practice enough.

What did you learn most about yourself whilst following the Mastery & Art of Coaching?

Rebecca: It is impossible to learn to coach others without going through a transformative experience yourself. I learned a lot both about myself and how I function, as well as how I am viewed by others and the characteristics I have that support my coaching practice.

Ellen: There might be too much to choose from. You are coached intensively by peers and facilitators and get so much feedback and time to reflect that your awareness skyrockets… If I have to choose, the need to be kinder and more compassionate to myself is what has probably impacted me most and is still a work in progress.

How has that learning supported you in your current endeavours?

Rebecca: Like I said before, I think a coaching approach is constructive in pretty much every area of life.

Ellen: I drive myself pretty hard. Always have, and I’m not sure I’ll ever change. But learning to be kind to myself has allowed me to learn more from both my successes and my failures and has made my growth more sustainable.

What would be the one piece of advice you’d give to someone considering the Mastery & Art of Coaching?

Rebecca: I'd advise them to go to all the info sessions and ask all the questions! There are a few options if you are looking for coaching training but the Nova Terra course was right for me when I considered group size, trainer coaches, language, experience and price.

Ellen: Do it! You can talk to the coaches who’ll facilitate your sessions to get a sense of their way of working and their approach to coaching. Ask all your questions—I found they are very open and transparent. And then go for it…

Would you do it all over again?

Rebecca: I certainly would!

Ellen: Yes! Learning how to coach has honestly made me a better, more aware person and that is priceless. (I sound like a credit card ad, but I’m serious.)

What would you say to the younger you as you stepped through our doors for the first time?

Rebecca: I would encourage myself to let go and enjoy the ride. I think I did to a degree but a lot of the self-judgement and conditions I placed on myself that I became aware of through the coaching training process were still pretty strong to begin with.

Ellen: I don’t think I’d change a thing, so just “enjoy the experience.”

How are you feeling about your future?

Rebecca: Oh, the future is exciting. There are so many paths I feel I could follow now, and the ability to bring a coaching approach to so many kinds of work is going to be beneficial for years to come, I have no doubt.

Ellen: Excited! I have plenty of ideas to work with another amazing coach on developing a methodology and approach that could help so many clients have more impact at work. And my current client projects are with fantastic people and make a difference in their careers. Plus, I only see more fiction writing in my future, which might be the most exciting thing of all.

In three words - describe who you are, right now.

Rebecca: Facing. My. Fears.

Ellen: Kinder. Calmer. Aware.

Is there anything else you’d like to add, that someone reading this ought to know?

Rebecca: I don't know how anyone could train to coach and regret it - it is the one thing that could enrich pretty much everyone's life I think. Some people are not very introspective perhaps, but once you open that door there's no going back.

Ellen: No - all good!

How would you like to close this interview?

Rebecca: With thanks and gratitude for the opportunity to reflect on all this again.

Ellen: Nova Terra can’t do the work of becoming a coach for you. That being said, they are the people you want to have as supporters, mentors, and coaches.

Ellen Bracquiné is the executive communication coach and trainer for leaders who want to communicate as well as they perform. She cultivates her experience as management consultant, talent manager, and coach to support executives on their path to effective communication. From guidance for important presentations to custom coaching and training programs, her clients get instant, tangible results.

Rebecca Jasinska-Steele is British by birth, Belgian by choice, living with her Polish partner and their thoroughly European children. Since arriving in Brussels 15 years ago she has gone from working with large organisations in the field of international development and living within the European-focused Brussels bubble to founding a small local association accompanying women after burnout and uncovering the Brussels of mompreneurs and social enterprise. A feminist mother of three girls who loves to bake, paint and sing, Becca has long been fascinated by human behaviour and what drives it.