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The Most Visionary Business Leaders to Watch in 2024

by CEO Time Magazine

Donna Dahl — Leading Transformational Empowerment Coach

                    With An Incredible Inspirational Journey!

“I love it when clients discover their niche and are ready to build their unique engine to energize it. Their eyes light up. Their posture changes.

“I love it when their success gains momentum and their confidence expands.

“It’s so rewarding to know the waiting to transform is over for them. And to celebrate with them is a bonus. I think I will be a coach forever.”

Those are the words of Donna Dahl, award-winning executive leadership coach and author of the popular self-empowerment book, Lessons I Learned from the Tortoise. Her transformational work is solid, visionary and well documented by readers and clients via recommendations on sites such as Amazon and LinkedIn.

Not everyone hires a coach. Not everyone seeks to find their niche or endeavours to stretch their reach with a coach. But when they find a coach who aligns with their goals, the chances are change for the better will happen. Having someone on your side to listen to your thoughts, to ask good questions, to applaud your efforts and to cheer you on has the potential to influence change for the better forever.

The Power of One

“I believe in the power of one,” says Donna.

Having one person believe in you and help you shape your strengths into sturdy, foundational supports that will carry you forward is like developing a gift that keeps on giving. It’s like walking. Once you have learned how to walk, your footsteps can carry you anywhere you choose. Sometimes you will walk quickly and sometimes you will take baby steps but the fact that you can walk gives you the capacity to continue walking even if you stall out for a while or take breaks to recharge. .

When you have that coach—that one key individual on your personal team of two—you have someone with whom to bare your thoughts and explore those dreams one-on-one. You have someone with whom you can reflect on your experience in a safe and private space—a space where you are protected from judgment and are given room to grow.

If you want to create a transformation within yourself, you may find it wise to work with someone who has successfully completed a transformation for themselves. Mere seconds in a car accident was all it took to put Donna’s life on hold. Her joy in her ability to help others was instantly set on empty. Chronic pain, nominal aphasia and memory loss filled the next decade. She fought back long and hard to not only rebuild her skill set but to grow as well.

She adamantly wanted her previous self-back, and she knew it would take perseverance and a support system with undying faith in her to address the challenges that were keeping her from returning to her professional life as a consultant.

Are there angels among us? When a publisher of a local magazine for businesswomen asked Donna to write an article., she was not keen on the idea but eventually agreed. As a result of a challenge to write more, that article became a book, and that book became the foundation for her successful coaching business. It all began with the power of one.

Is Having a Coach Right for You?

While statistics say coaching can make a difference, Donna cautions you to choose your coach with care and due diligence. She adds that there are two important criteria to have in place before hiring a coach. One is to have a purpose for having a coach and the other is to feel aligned with the coach who is working with you.

What are you hoping to accomplish? Executive coaching can be an effective developmental process to speed and enhance both professional and personal growth. Whether your company is looking for improvement related to communication, performance culture, behavior, leadership, confidence, or resilience, executive coaching is proving to be effective in producing desirable change.

What sets Donna Dahl Apart as a Coach?

Having traced her path to transformation through a range of levels of support, Donna will tell you that she made the most progress when she had people in her court, so to speak, who were committed to her improvement. She will tell you she experienced firsthand the power of having even one person accept your goal and commit to working with you to achieve that goal. In her words? Empowering! Life changing!

The power of one may show up as a challenger. The Hare, in Aesop’s Fable about the Tortoise and the Hare, was relentless in his orations about being the fastest in the forest. Hare turned out to be Tortoise’s challenger. Had there not been a challenger, Tortoise may not ever have stepped outside his comfort zone to achieve what some might have considered to be the impossible. 

Who is a challenger? Donna defines a challenger as someone who tests your comfort zone. Your challenger could be the bully at the office, the one who appoints you team leader, the decisionmaker who keeps choosing “the other guy” for the promotion, the naysayer who says it can’t be done or the little voice in your head who keeps telling you that you can’t. Challengers don’t have to be human. They can be limiting beliefs and habits that no longer serve you. Negative challengers deserve to be replaced with something better. A positive challenger, on the other hand, might be asking you to position yourself into a space that feels uncomfortable but yet potentially rewarding. To quote Donna, “Challengers encourage us and mentor us and motivate us to break free of our thresholds and grow.”

As the chair of the Selection Committee for an international awards program, Donna observed the transformations that took place in the candidates who had been nominated for awards. Watching them try on that new-found recognition as though viewing themselves in a new mirror came with revelations. The most profound revelation? Recognition matters. And executive leadership has the power to influence the value of recognition in the culture of its workforce.

What is your Vision for Yourself or your Company?

Donna is about accountability. Whether or not you can picture what you want the future to look like for yourself or your company, you have a stake in forging the journey you take from here and now to sometime soon or sometime next year.  What’s needed? Goals to start with. Donna says, “If you have no place to go, you have no place to be at the end of the journey and you will consider your experience, with or without a coach, to be a failure.”

Is it worth having a coach? In a video with Eric Schmidt, the former CEO of Google, he talks about having a coach. In the interview, Eric said, “One thing that people are never good at is seeing themselves as other see them.” Eric also said that the best advice he ever received was to have a coach.

Remember the award nominees? Donna reminded us that once they were nominated, they began to see themselves differently. Having a coach can challenge your observations of yourself and help you move into the place where your perceptions about yourself are more closely matched with how others see you. Alignment? Why not?

Without feedback—it does not matter if the feedback is about your haircut, your manner of speaking, or your way of conducting a meeting—you have only your own assessment to go by. Whether the feedback be a suggestion for improvement, a high five or a thumbs down, it should be in a time, place, and form that you accept. For feedback to influence you in a positive way, it must come from a source you respect. And it’s okay to place boundaries on receiving feedback. What’s not okay is to shut yourself off from it.

When Donna works with authors to help them build their manuscripts from start to finish, she helps them build the framework that will transport the reader from the beginning through to the middle and on to the end. If the book is not clearly purposeful, readers might find it meandering and without focus.

One of the steps in the manuscript development journey includes having beta readers. Why beta readers? To get feedback from different perspectives. Beta readers are selected for their skill set, authority or experience realm. Donna asks Beta readers to help by informing the writer if the written work is doing what the author intended. It is an important step to take before publishing and may make the difference between the success or failure of the book.

The path from Beta readers to improved manuscripts may be likened to the changes that might take place when C-Suite executives work with a coach.  When a coach is added to the leadership process, there is room to conduct beta testing on ideas and solutions with objectivity before putting them into effect. There is room to work through feedback with a trusted source before implementing a plan. The goal is success.

What about Feedback on Donna’s Work?

In her book, Lessons I Learned from the Tortoise, Donna wrote, “Challengers inspire us to take giant steps long before we might ever become giants.” When you are her client, it’s her mission to be your challenger in a way, that supports growth.

Through her books and her empowerment coaching, Donna’s readers and her clients report transformations—life changing transformations. One Amazon customer said, “I can look inward without placing judgement.” One future client reported, “In our casual conversation about my position as a supervisor, I gained more insights in that five minutes about how to improve my skills than I had in a year of on-the-job training.” And a peer in the world of coaching said, “Donna is one of the most knowledgeable, down to earth, and kindest persons I know. Her power through the written word is incredible. Her ability to see through your exterior and get what defines you on the inside will turn your life around so that you empower yourself and believe in yourself. If you can’t understand what keeps holding you back, then a conversation with Donna is the first step you must take.” These statements are consistent with her system to moving her clients from stuck to start in ninety minutes.

Donna will always tell you what others say about her work has more value than anything she might say about her own track record. You cannot, however, overlook her attributes and her credentials with a master’s degree, her training as a mediator, her twenty years of successful coaching practice, and the numerous awards for her work.  

What Should you Expect from your Coaching Experience?

Any investment in yourself takes commitment to make the experience worthwhile. To have a successful coaching experience, certain expectations within the coaching relationship should be present. These include rapport, compatibility, productivity, and confidence.

In other words,

  • Do you feel understood?
  • Are sessions held in a positive environment?
  • How confident do you feel that your coach can help you move forward given your unique set of challenges, strengths and weaknesses? Are you making progress toward your intended outcomes?
  • And do you feel your coach is committed to your success?

Donna asks, “Am I the Coach for You?”

Cheerleader. Confidant. Challenger. The power of one should never be ignored or disregarded. Whether you believe something about yourself to be valuable, but it is not yet recognized, or you have someone who believes in you more than you believe in yourself, maybe this would be a good time to work with a coach to give you that boost into a different lane where change for the better is possible.

Dream. Dare. Do. We should chat.

Donna Dahl, M.Ed., is a name synonymous with leadership empowerment and transformation. She is a trailblazer in the world of coaching and personal growth, and she has an award-winning track record internationally extending over more than a decade. Through her neuroscience-based coaching and her master’s degree, she is well-poised to disseminate skill development, empowerment, and engagement. She is the recipient of the 2024 IAOTP Book Development Coach of the Year Award, the 2023 Global Women Leaders Award for Lifetime Achievement, and she was named to the 2022 and the 2023 Top 20 List of Empowerment Coaches in the World. Her work as a coach is highlighted in publications online and in print. Donnapdahl.com  https://www.linkedin.com/in/donnadahl/  calendly.com/donnadahl

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