“No man is an island. Look for help when you strive for making your life worthier living.”
Hi Jelena, today we would like you to give our community a glimpse into your life as a consultant and executive coach providing sustainable organisational solutions.
Happy to have you here.
Jelena Dimitrijevic: As an organisational consultant and executive coach, I support leaders, teams and organisations in establishing good boundaries and staying focused on their primary task in order to increase productivity. During the consulting (or coaching) process, they often find – or rediscover – satisfaction in their workplace by connecting and integrating their work-related feelings.
Jelena: I think it all builds up. For me, it was a 20-year long journey in the corporate world, cooperation with government organisations, working as a head of an NGO… It gave me a broad picture of an amazing variety of organisations. I took different roles, inside and outside those systems – I was either a member of full-time staff, or worked with them as an external consultant. I have gained invaluable experience from observing the very process of how people work (from within as well as externally).
Of course, there are always obstacles on the way. First, my profession was hugely underrated when I started my career. And at the same time, I was too stubborn to give up on what I really thought I was good at. So I invested endless time, energy, and effort in my development, and eventually, people started to recognise my personal skill set and the new opportunities kept coming.
Therefore, as an MA in General Linguistics, I had the opportunity to contribute in many areas of linguistics, cooperating with most of the key players in the publishing industry in my home country and abroad, in government institutions, huge national and international corporations and organisations, big tech, family businesses, with individuals… I had the chance to mentor and coach fellow linguists, and the satisfaction I got from the process completely enchanted me.
Jelena: Working in a variety of organisations and wearing different hats gave me a very broad, systemic perspective. What I also insisted on was the depth of every business relationship – not just its longevity, but the quality as well. Observing the dynamics of different organisations also helped me develop that unique stance so vital for an organisational consultant. As an illustration… While I was working simultaneously for two companies about to merge, I suddenly found myself in the center of attacks from coworkers in both companies. The “attacks“ stopped only after I had realized they were not personal. My coworkers were literally anxious about the merger and I was that “other company“ they rejected.
I must say here that a solid education was the main stepping stone for me. To be able to work deeper in organisational consulting and executive coaching, I was eager to learn how to go beyond the behavioral level, which remains the focus of most organisational consultants. Therefore, I opted for one of the best courses in the world in the area of Systems-Psychodynamic Organisational Consulting. The 5-year program was organised by the Group Analytic Society Belgrade in cooperation with and by the model of the famous UK`s “The Tavistock Institute”.
My formal training also required years of group analysis, group dynamics, countless hours of supervision and practice. Besides, as a thorough person, I took part in numerous additional training in various aspects of organisational consultancy, executive coaching, and coaching in general (from transformational coaching to, as of late, agile coaching). It takes a lot of effort to become an expert, which makes the journey so much more rewarding. I would put much emphasis on the role of practice, particularly in organisational consulting. The work is delicate, as it requires dealing with small or huge, but diversely interconnected systems to provide solutions to organisational culture change, help build capacity and grounds for innovation, develop leadership and authority. In the end, in practical terms, to reduce absenteeism (and presenteeism) and increase productivity, with individuals, teams and companies alike.
Jelena: From the perspective of my education and professional practice, compared to other, e.g. cognitive-behavioral approaches, systems-psychodynamic consulting and executive coaching provide more depth, and thus more stable solutions in the long run. As for me as a person, I can say that my persistence, curiosity, creativity and ability to always push the client to make just that one additional step is a personal trait, hugely expressed and refined through work. I immensely enjoy working on innovations and abilities to adapt to constant (often disruptive) changes in today’s world.
Jelena: Transformations are quite inspiring for me. The ability to watch strength and courage of persons or organisations to change from the inside to something better fills me with joy and gratitude. At the same time, I have witnessed (and suffered) a lot of inhumanity in the workplace, especially at the beginning of my career, so making the organisational life better has become my raison d’être.
Jelena: Perhaps it is conclusive form the previous answer, but it’s the respect for all things that make us human. And providing support to my community and fellow people. During Covid-19 lockdown, Jelena CONSULTING (the consulting business that I co-founded with a colleague) has started to offer weekly online business support groups. The interest has been such that we decided to keep them free and open after lockdown as well.
Jelena: Rarely do I lack the inner motivation, but I rather like the slogan “Just do it“, it feels invigorating. Believe it is good for building behavioral resilience as well. I also believe that there’s nothing wrong with not being motivated 100% of the time – as long as we understand reasons behind it! And I object to constant activity – having time to pause and reflect is what we most need and also most lack nowadays, I believe.
Jelena: I find it realistic to define them step-by-step: helping organisations and persons to change – one at a time.
Jelena: Building resilience, hard work and staying true to yourself.
Jelena Dimitrijevic: “No man is an island. Look for help when you strive for making your life worthier living.”
Thanks so much for your time, Jelena. We wish you good luck with your upcoming consulting projects, but before I’ll let you be creative again:
Jelena: Don`t stop learning, trust yourselves, do your best to communicate your needs to your clients, build a social support system. And define a good-enough boundary between personal and professional (I can help with that).
🠗 Share your thoughts and questions in the comment box below 🠗