Tell us about yourself and your professional journey.
I was born and raised in the UK and have now been in the UAE for over four years. I am a personal and professional development coach, and qualified NLP and MBTI practitioner. I have a background in Biomedical Science and Public Health, and five years ago I decided to transition to starting my own coaching company. Although I had my ‘dream job’ I just didn’t feel fulfilled and wanted to be having more of a direct impact. During that time, I went on a self-discovery journey to really delve into what I want to do with my life, what my values and strengths, and that’s when I got into coaching. I initially started my business whilst working full time until I decided to fully transition over.
As a coach I work with mid-senior level professionals, supporting them to develop the interpersonal and interpersonal skills needed to really thrive in their field. These include confidence, public speaking and emotional intelligence. I am a coach, speaker, trainer and podcast host.
In my free time, I love yoga, dancing, reading, going for long walks and spending time at the beach.
Tell us about the inception and inspiration behind the work you do?
I lacked a lot of confidence when I started out in my career and would shy away from opportunities. I would often compare myself to others and be quite self-critical. I was lucky to have a manager who was really supportive of me, would push me out of my comfort zone and made me realise I was capable of so much more than I thought. This taught me that building self-confidence really changes your life and opens so many doors, and I wanted to be able to have that same impact on others. And once you realise how you’re getting in your way you’re now empowered to make better choices.
How in your opinion does personal as well as professional development enable impact and how does it drive change?
We so easily fall into the trap of trying to look externally for all our answers, but really the key is to look within. Your life completely changes once you develop self-awareness, because you now have the ability to detach yourself from behaviours and stories that you thought were ‘you’ and that you couldn’t change. Once you have awareness you now have the ability to choose differently, and once you start building your self-esteem and confidence you’re now able to easily say yes to more of the things you want, and no to what isn’t serving you. Life just become better!
I think this is a fascinating quote “You can have all the knowledge and experience in the world, but if you lack self-belief, you will find ways to hold yourself back and sabotage your success.” Would love to know your thoughts on this.
Yes this is something you’ll hear me say a lot! And that’s because there’s so much emphasis on qualifications and developing the technical skills needed for the job, but it’s just not enough. Nowadays in order to progress it’s so important to be seen and heard, which is done through communicating and building relationships. So yes, build your knowledge and expertise, but make sure alongside that you are also developing your soft skills too.
In the new realities we live in that began with COVID19, how important and relevant is personal and professional development and coaching?
The pandemic had an impact in so many ways. Spending all that time at home enabled people to shift the focus inwards. Life before COVID19 was so busy, with most people feeling like they were on a hamster wheel, but with nowhere to go people started taking the time to reflect more and learn more about themselves. For a lot of people this was the first time they ever thought about personal and professional development coaching, and used this time to understand themselves better. What also happened as a result was The Great Resignation. Taking time to reflect and seeing another way of working made people realise that this in fact isn’t the life they truly want and that they wanted to choose more meaningful, aligned work or find a culture that was more suited to their values.
The pandemic resulted in a huge dip in self-confidence due to job cuts, a lack of social interaction, family expectations and changes, and uncertainty, which also resulted in decreased levels of motivation at an oragnisational level. For this reason there’s been a huge increase in companies investing in the wellbeing and development of their employees and creating a culture in which their teams feel looked after.
Can you tell us what are some of the most important things you focus on in your work?
I work with individuals supporting them with confidence building, public speaking skills, emotional intelligence and self-love. We might want to believe that our personal and professional lives are separate, but they are much more connected than we think, and so when I work with my clients we take a holistic view of their lives. What do their relationships look like? How are they managing their stress? What is their health and fitness currently like? And by slowly improving the various areas of their lives, they start to create much more of a balance and feel a greater sense of fulfilment.
How should people get in touch with you?
LinkedIn: Aliya Rajah
I also send out weekly free Motivation Monday emails with confidence and motivation tips, which you can receive by signing up on my website www.aliyarajah.com
Podcast: The Women who Flourish Podcast
Anything else you’d like to say?
The relationship you have with yourself is the most important one you have, and sets the tone for all the other relationships you have in your life, so make sure you dedicate yourself to making it a great one 🙂
Questions by Sabin Muzaffar