StartUp Academy: Mentors and Executive Coaches

The latest Arabian Business StartUp explored the benefits of mentorship and executive coaching.
StartUp Academy: Mentors and Executive Coaches
By Tamara Pupic
Tue 28 Apr 2015 04:24 PM

Mentorship and executive coaching have become important tools for entrepreneurs to recognise and modify their negative behavioural patterns and adopt systems and practices needed for their personal and businesses development, conclude experts speakers of the latest Arabian Business StartUp Academy.

Kicking off the monthly breakfast workshop, organised in cooperation with Mashreq Bank and by RAK Free Trade Zone, Carolyn Coe, CEO and business director of OP Integrated Lifestyle and the founder of Skyrocket executive coaching programme, said: “Let’s put a mirror in front of you to call you forward so that you are always growing as a person and business leader.”

Coe was alluding to the Latin origins of the verb prōvocāre, which translates to ‘to call forth,’ to explain the essence of her Skyrocket programme of specific, measured and provoking performance coaching sessions.

After a successful career in the hospitality sector, Coe obtained the highest NLP qualifications and in 2010 created Skyrocket programme. It contains 20 lessons to cause immediate change and acceleration in one’s personal and professional life.

“If you are working with vague goals, you are likely to end up with vague results,” she said in the beginning of her presentation on top 10 obstacles to business success, the first of which being working with vague goals.

Going further, she continued with listing behavioural patterns business owners often unconsciously fall into and which consequently become their obstacles to becoming more successful.

Those also include a temptation to do only what you enjoy doing and avoid the grit, acting like a super hero who can do it all by himself/herself, or self-sabotaging patterns.

She continued: “About perfectionism, I can tell you that there’s no other or perfect time than the time that is now. Perfectionism is thinking that you and your team have to be perfect or that everybody else think that you should be perfect.

“How many things are you putting off because it’s not perfect yet?” she asked explaining that perfectionism inevitably causes procrastination in the process.

Coe went on to explain that a certain degree of expertise if coupled with ‘I know it all’ attitude could become an enemy to learning. “Life-long learners will always benefit,” she explained.

With the last three points revealing detrimental effects of being a reluctant leader, avoiding accountability, and burning-out, Coe concluded by saying: “On average we grow our businesses 10 percent year-on-year. So you need to ensure that you are also growing 10 percent every year.”

After a short networking break, the workshop continued with the presentation of Fadi Malas, the well-known ex-CEO of JF Street Food [previously Just Falafel].

Malas joined Just Falafel in 2011, four years after Mohamad Bitar, the founder and managing director, launched the brand in Abu Dhabi. Prior to his appointment four more stores had opened in the UAE, but in the three following years, Just Falafel opened 52 chains in 18 different countries.

When Malas stepped down in the summer of 2014, the UAE food retailer signed to open another 57 stores in the Benelux region of Europe and had plans to launch in Canada and the US. It also signed memorandums of understanding in Mauritius and Madagascar, and planned to open its first store in in Bangalore, India.

“Bitar is now in New Jersey. JF Street Food will open a store there soon,” he updated the audience.

Since recently, Malas has established CEO.CARE, a consultancy for start-ups and SMEs on how to achieve the best business performance within the ecosystem currently available to them. One of the services he will focus on is mentoring.

He started by saying that mentorship was a two-way communication between the mentor and the protégé (mentee) which allowed for business performance evaluation between meetings.

To illustrate the point, Malas briefly explained how he mentored Rana El-Eid, the founder of Dubai-based Azur Spa. El-Eid reached out to Malas via LinkedIn and during the meeting that followed he asked her “around 100 questions about her business.”

He added: “I told her that for our next meeting I wanted her to provide me with answers on all the question she didn’t answer the first time.

“By our third or fourth meeting, she had all the answers, she came up with solutions, and with my advice her business became more successful.”

To learn more about the Skyrocket programme, please visit More information about CEO.CARE can be found at

About the next Arabian Business StartUp Academy, please contact Amanda Elisha at

For all the latest business news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Subscribe to Arabian Business' newsletter to receive the latest breaking news and business stories in Dubai,the UAE and the GCC straight to your inbox.