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The magic of speaking out your wildest dreams

How I ended up setting up the first coaching school in Cambodia

· Resource,Coaching,Reflections

Then God said, "Let there be light," and there was light. - Genesis 1:3

An evening of gratitude

In early February 2020, I organised a small gathering at Seeker’s Toul Tom Poung, my favourite bar / distillery. The purpose of the evening was to thank people who played an important part in my professional journey since I came to Cambodia in January 2018.

When I landed in Cambodia, I had no contacts, no knowledge of the region, very little professional training (in coaching), financially insecure and was feeling rather lost. At the time of the event, I had completed my certification course with Coaches Training Institute, was running a small and stable executive remuneration practice and coaching several leaders around the world. My achievements would not have been possible without the help of many kind and supportive people, and I was fortunate enough to be able to organise this event for those able to attend in Cambodia.

At the ‘Evening of Gratitude’, I gave a short speech explaining why I put the event together and recapping the last two eventful years in Cambodia. I also shared a dream that had been quietly developing inside of me. To train the first generation of coaches (life coach / executive coach) in Cambodia, trained to serve Cambodian leaders and society and be part of an army for positive change. To provide high quality, affordable training tailored for the community, and partner with these new coaches to transform lives, and eventually the country.

I was surprised that I dared to share this dream. It almost seemed fanciful back then in February. Who even wanted coaching training? Who would want coaching training from me? Who would pay for it? Do I even know how to create a course? Who the hell was I to dare to do this? What if I share this dream and nothing comes of it?

And yet, something in me told me that it was important for me to do this, and that it was important for me to share it.

Sharing is caring

I kept on sharing this dream. It became part of my story, my mission. When people asked me what I was up to, I’d mention it. When I met someone new, I’d explain that I was a coach, and add that I was looking to train the first generation of coaches in Cambodia. At a workshop I ran for Eurocham on Essential Coaching Skills for Leaders, I shared it as part of my intro.

I should note though that at this stage I hadn’t even built it into my business strategy with my team. In terms of timelines, too, this was for far far into the future. I’d need to team up with someone more experienced. I’d need to get more experience in taking people through a learning experience - assisting at CTI’s Intermediate courses in Singapore. I’d probably need to build up a network or a mailing list of prospective students.

Most of my sharing didn’t really lead to anything. Some encouraging words from friends and colleagues. Smiles. Nods. “Wow, that’s awesome, good luck!” What was notable though was how every time I said it, I felt reconnected to the dream and excitement and energy would build inside me. It also became easier and easier to say it. It became natural. The dream started to feel more real - like it was truly mine, unlike when I first dreamed of it quite tentatively.

It also led to some unexpected interest. After the event I ran for Eurocham, someone came up saying that she would be interested in staying in touch with me - perhaps to talk more about this coaching course. Being the bad business person I am, I didn’t take her details. Sometime afterwards, I (finally) bought some health insurance and was surprised by the Director of Sales of the insurance company coming to deliver the documents personally to my coworking space. It turned out he was actually at the Eurocham event as well and wanted to know more about the course too. I told him that at this stage I had nothing in place but would keep him in the loop for the future, (much) later in the year.

Then the pandemic hit

In late March and early April, the world started to wake up to the realities of the Covid19 pandemic. Flights were cancelled. The CTI courses I was registered to assist in Singapore were cancelled. In my head, this meant shelving my plans to train the first generation of coaches in Cambodia. I’d wanted to get experience observing how the best taught coaching before I started to plan my own way. With months of physical distancing to come, I prepared to wind down my business activities and focus on supporting my clients and my community.

Then, during isolation, the person who’d spoken to me at the Eurocham event got in touch. It was unexpected. On the call, she informed me that she had a group of colleagues, friends and acquaintances who would be interested in being trained as coaches. She pushed me (coached me) to provide something now, during physical distancing. That I should put together something for her and her group. That there was a vacuum waiting to be filled. By me.

She called me forth. I answered the call. A call that was received much earlier than I could have imagined. Much earlier than I was prepared for.

A month and a half on, I am leading a group of six quite remarkable and accomplished coaches through a five module program, designed to equip them to powerfully coach anyone, anywhere, on any topic.

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We are a range of individuals in race, age, experience, profession, geographical location (one student dials in from France!) and personalities. We’re united in our vision and mission - to propagate an army of positive change, transforming lives one at a time.

I’m blown away by the collective wisdom, empathy, progress and willingness to learn and fail and grow. These coaches are true changemakers and exactly the people I wanted and needed to be my initial tribe.


Over the last few months, I’ve experienced the life changing power of speaking out my dreams. Had I not spoken my dreams, back at Seekers in early February, I would not be writing this today. Things didn't turn out as I expected, but the act of speaking out my dreams and my truth shifted things in the world.

I’ve had many conversations over the years with friends, clients and colleagues who told me about dreams that they dared not speak out into the world. When I ask them why they didn’t want to share it with more people, they speak of fears. Fear that people will ridicule them for their grand dreams, fears of failure (and subsequent shame in front of others), fears of being someone who’s “all talk and no action”, fears of people stealing their ideas, amongst others. And this fear holds them back.

A verse from the first chapter of Genesis (the first book in the Bible) comes to mind. In this ancient poem, the whole process of creation begins with the Divine uttering “Let there be.”

Then God said, "Let there be light," and there was light. - Genesis 1:3

So my invitation to you today is to utter with me these words: “Let there be.”

What dreams do you dare not speak out? Let there be.