“When I’m up against a problem, I give it everything I got,” said volunteer Empower Amsterdam coach, Dimi Kassari.
From learning more about herself to going back to school to reading countless books, Dimi’s life is full of proof that she gives it her all when encountering a problem. This is what makes her a powerful coach for the clients of Empower Amsterdam - she has evidence of how courage and grit can get you through starting over.
She knows how hard it can be to start over in a new country. She’s done it multiple times here in the Netherlands from initially leaving Greece after university, to changing jobs and industries, to dealing with her own personal struggles.
Hearing all of these stories along the path of her life, leaves you with a sense of wonder at Dimi’s perseverance through it all. To which she says, “Perseverance is not a heroic act; it is survival. You keep going even though you want to quit, even though you feel like you cannot go on anymore.”
Why did you become a coach?
I have always liked comparing the essence of who I am as a tree; my life’s mission is to grow tall and strong, protect people, and nourish them. I am motivated by the search for the most spacious, fertile ground to grow deeper roots in. And that’s what I love doing, I constantly learn and grow, and then I share this knowledge with others.
That’s how I came about coaching.
I was always sharing knowledge, but I didn’t have a way to help people in the way they needed it. People need help finding the solution that fits them, they don’t need anyone to tell them what to do.
I always wanted to find ways to help people grow, evolve, improve their lives. People are not set in stone. Neuroplasticity is in us until the day we die. Change is possible, but it’s difficult so people don’t choose it. I have the knowledge and belief that people can change, and it is possible. I know it’s possible because I’ve done it.
How have your life experiences shaped you as a coach?
There are these two sides of me - there’s the really strategic, natural leader, and then there is the traumatized part of me that wants to help people.
From a very young age, I felt that my environment was limiting my potential. Growing up in Athens, Greece was very hard. There is a constant sense of misery and despair everywhere you look. Moving to Amsterdam really changed my life. I had never seen people smile just walking down the street, or complete strangers saying “hello”. People here have such a different attitude towards life.
When I meet other expats I always ask them “What are you running from?” Experience has shown me that people don’t leave a place where they’re happy, where they feel like they belong. Those of us that have left everything behind, are usually running from something painful.
What makes you stay in the Netherlands?
People here are kind and respectful. They give you space to be who you are without judgment.
How do you work with Empower Amsterdam clients?
Having lived here for 15 years, I know what it's like being unemployed in a foreign country where you do not speak the language, and have no one to help you but yourself. I’ve been in that situation many times and I wish I had someone to help me figure it all out.
As a multidisciplinarian and extremely curious person, I have changed many roles in my career. I have worked in HR and I have also held various managerial positions in all kinds of organizations and settings. I know first hand about hiring bias and I help my clients address potential issues in their CVs and during interviews. My experience in recruitment has given me the ability to translate job descriptions into “human speak” instead of corporate speak. Understanding what exactly they will be doing within a role, is the #1 thing my clients appreciate.
Thanks to my marketing and branding background I can effectively guide clients through discovering and communicating their personal qualities and unique value. My knowledge of negotiation and communication techniques comes in handy when I coach clients through the interview process. My goal is to help them gain confidence in their abilities, and to show up feeling “I am awesome and I have a lot to offer.”
What’s one thing that you tell all Empower Amsterdam clients?
There is a job out there for you, you just need to know what exactly it is you have to offer, and how you can fill a gap or need that already exists out there. That’s the essence of what I do. We start with looking at all the amazing skills and experience you already have. If there’s something that you don’t yet have, we look at creative ways to acquire that knowledge or experience. Finally, I make sure the client feels empowered - there’s a path to get where you want to go, and we’re going to design that path together.
How did you get involved with Empower Amsterdam?
About two years ago, Jane introduced me to Empower. I had just completed my 2-year coach training and wanted more practice hours so was happy to volunteer. I’ve been in the position of being the unemployed expat myself, and I remember how much it helped to receive feedback on my CV or interview skills, and I wanted to do this for others as well.
Since you love to read, what are your top three self development book recommendations?
- The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday
- Do More Great Work by Michael Bungay Stanier
- The Inner Game of Tennis by Timothy Gallwey
Want to learn more about Dimi?
Dimi coaches in English and Greek. You can find more information about her coaching on her website www.dimikassari.com. You can also connect with her on LinkedIn or her Facebook page.