Maria V. chatila, Certified International Business, Education and Life Coach based in Dubai

"People drive my passion. I see a child and a sparkle in every adult I meet. I want to bring that energy out of people; I want to be someone who can help people find what their passion is."

My husband Hassan and I have been together for 19 years. We've grown up together. We moved to Dubai from Canada just after we were married when I was just 23. We were both looking for adventure and this new city in the UAE seemed promising. We've been here ever since and have had two daughters – my eldest is Dania who is soon to be 11 and my youngest is Aya who will be three. When I first came to Dubai, not only did I become an independent woman, but also a wife and soon after a mother. As far back as I can remember this country has given me so many opportunities. Launching my website recently this year has been a milestone for me. BPA stands for three things that I believe in – belief, passion and action. I believe action is necessary in order to move forward in life.

I continued my education after moving here. I developed personally and professionally.

I did the first part of my education in Montreal but I continued my studies here with a post-graduate degree in education from the University of Sunderland followed by a diploma in coaching from Coaching and Mentoring Middle East. That was just the beginning. I've done all kinds of development programmes offered in the UAE and I've furthered my career and experiences along the way. It's been an excellent journey of learning and teaching.

Developing people has always been something I've been very passionate about.

Being an educator, I was always helping students and colleagues develop. Then I met another coach, Joanne Simpson, who became my mentor. I was inspired just by listening to what she did and that was when I realised what I wanted to do. I enjoyed teaching, but I felt that life coaching was something I could take further. I started using my coaching skills in classrooms with children and I had phenomenal results. That was when I finally decided that I wanted to make this a full-time job.

Find happiness within yourself and step outside your comfort zone.

Get scared and as Susan Jeffers says, "feel the fear and do it any way." Play with children because they just have this magical way of letting you forget about everything and anything. Play with a pet because again, playing with a pet is like playing with a child – you're just so enthralled in that energy that you don't have time to think of anything else. Find your passion and pursue it, but in the end always accept that we are all humans and we all have to give ourselves time to lose control.

What has helped me the most in my career and life is realising that you learn from every experience – good or bad. A quote that I live by is "this too shall pass" .

A life coach can help you by offering the skills to help you reach your full potential.

A life coach doesn't tell you how to run your life. Instead, they hear what you're saying and listen to you in a way that is different from the way a colleague, friend, relative or spouse will do. Others cannot think objectively about you, but a life coach is someone who helps put what you're saying into perspective.

Getting a life coach is an individual choice. You've got to be at a place in your life where you want change; where you're ready to think outside the box and where you're ready to be challenged, encouraged, motivated and at times, willing to step outside the comfort zone. You have got to have a goal and you have got to know what your purpose is.

I strongly believe that life coaching is a skill that people of all ages can benefit from. From parents to children to their friends and from colleagues to partners, almost everyone needs a life coach – unless you are where you've dreamt you've always wanted to be and there's no more room for growth.

Choosing a life coach is a personal thing.

You've got to feel a bond between yourself and your life coach. You've got to feel safe because a coaching relationship is based on confidentiality and security. You have to be able to trust that person, that they have you in their mind and will not direct you to suit their needs. When I meet a client I like to get to know them first and I work towards building a relationship between us. Life coaching isn't about therapy or friendship. I listen to my clients and guide them to thinking on different levels to come up with their own answers to their problems. It's those "aha" moments in a session where clients begin to see things from a new perspective and finally take ownership of their purpose and challenges.

Education is my passion.

To me, a life coach is a life educator.

As an international business, education and life coach, I believe that apart from the title, deep down I am really dealing with an individual and I am really developing people. So whether I am in a meeting with a client – be it a business, an organisation, a school or a private client – they are all people. What I do is take their goals and make them personal so that people can achieve them on a realistic level. I work as a coach with organisations, as well as with schools to develop students and to retain quality staff, whatever the objective may be.

On the other hand, I also deal with individual clients who wish to further their personal development and so I tailor my programmes accordingly to suit the needs of my clients.

When I work with clients, I focus on the individual.

The most important thing is defining what they expect from the end of the programme and what their hopes for success are at the end. Once I clarify what success means to them, I then adjust the programme to suit their goals. Essentially every programme revolves around them, their schedule and their desire to succeed.

The most common issue that most of my clients face is fear or rather the fear of failure.

I think that people are afraid of failure and that sometimes it's easier to stay where we are and do what we need to do. The fear of failure is more prominent in adults than it is in children. Children tend to say what comes to mind, whereas an adult may feel blocked or might feel the obstacle is too large to overcome. Children are so innocent and life is so promising to them that they have a lot of hope and courage to dream. Experiences in life take their toll on adults: the fear of the unknown, fear of having missed the boat, fear of having let go of their dream. I feel that there is a sparkle in every adult. It just takes a little longer to come out, but you do get to see that twinkle in their eye in the end.

The transformation from client to client is always different.

However, two common threads that I have seen with my clients are strength and confidence. Testimonials from individuals that I have coached have proven that life coaching is a powerful development programme and it has given them the strength and confidence to achieve their full potential.

The high point of my career is right now.

Meeting people, learning and experiencing has brought me to the highest point in my life and career.

I haven't coached any celebrities yet, but I think the time will come.

My father is my role model in life.

He is someone who has always stepped outside his comfort zone to achieve whatever he wanted. He is definitely someone who has shown us – my two brothers and I – the power in his saying: "If I can do it, anybody can do it" and that is the attitude that I aspire to and want to pass on to my kids.

My most memorable client was a six-year-old student of mine in Dubai.

He came to me with very low self-esteem and poor motivation and a lack of confidence. My experience with him made me realise how powerful relationships are with people and how something small makes a big impact on them. I am still in touch with him and I know that he will be someone that I will always think about.

My support system is my husband.

He supports, motivates and believes in me. Together with my children, these are the people closest to me who really build me up. For more details contact