I worked as a Life Coach supporting international students at the European Innovation Academy in Turin, Italy for 3 weeks in July. The world’s largest extreme entrepreneurship program sees budding international student entrepreneurs from over 70 countries take their ideas to tech start-ups in just 15 days.
There are 3 key ways in which we as Life Coaches provide support for the students throughout their entrepreneurship and innovation journey:
- Multi-cultural team building – In the first few days we set up ‘clinics’ to promote the formation of international teams, giving them a platform to pitch their ideas and send out appeals for specific roles such as in design or marketing or if they are in need of a CEO. We are also there to assist with any intercultural issues that may arise when people from different countries work together.
- Social relations and self-enquiry – We are on hand to help the multi-cultural teams of 5 manage their social relations with the other team members, their mentors and fellow entrepreneurs. We support them when they are grappling with the challenges of undertaking their own individual roles, learning how to communicate with others and when they are feeling disheartened with their own performance.
- Pitching & listening – We make sure that all teams have booked sessions with their pitch mentors and are busy practising their pitches over and over again in time for the pitch carousel on the last day. We help coach the teams to perfect their pitches, offering feedback, advice and suggestions if requested. Or we are just simply on hand to listen to anyone who wants to get things off their chest, any students who would like advise on next steps, suggestions for reading material or to reflect on the massive learning experience and journey they’ve been on.
The important role that Life Coaches play in the program means that the students feel fully supported during their experience. For many of them, it might be the first time they have been so far away from home. It can be the first time they’ve worked with people from so many different countries. And the first time they have had to face up to their own fears, learn to manage their own insecurities and have the courage to put themselves out there and set up a business.
Deeksha Singh one of this year’s participants tells us how she felt that my Life Coaching sessions helped her raise her own awareness of such issues…
“There are certain things in life that you know, going in, will be emotionally intense, such as academic journeys, or competitions. The European Innovation Academy, being both, was a rollercoaster of emotions, solely because it was designed to test your mettle. To see if you had what it takes to survive in quicksand. I was initially wary, but conversations with Lara helped me discover tools I didn’t realize I had, to rise up to the challenge, while she gently introduced me to new ones. The idea, she kept subtly reinforcing, was to let your so-called limitations challenge you, rather than define you. Every insecurity, she reminded, stemmed from a person’s urge to improve, to be better. It proved that you were open to change, which was (I later realized) what the EIA journey had been about all along.”
Deeksha Singh Vijay Singh
Read Deeksha’s blog account of what 3 weeks on The European Innovation Academy’s Extreme Entrepreneurship Program was really like https://arocube.wordpress.com/