Brainz Magazine Exclusive Interview
Dr. Soliman is a physician (clinical psychiatry), scientist (genetics) and MBA (leadership and management). He uses behavioral dialectics to integrate the strength and weakness (cycles of motivation-demotivation, resilience-weakness, and cognitive abilities-disabilities). He utilizes evidence-based behavioral techniques to help professionals and leaders utilize their adversity as a growth path. He is American/Canadian; he also lived in 3 continents and appreciates working with clients from diverse cultural backgrounds. Dr. Soliman received his PhD at the University of Toronto and his MD and MBA at Cornell University. Mission statement: It is never too late.
Please introduce yourself! Tell us about you and your life, so we can get to know you better.
I am a physician in clinical psychiatry and a scientist. I am an international coach federation certified life coach, focusing on leadership and career transitions.
Why I pursued coaching: I have - and had - dedicated mentors and coaches in my life and I would like to become the same for professionals who aspire to become both a better version of themselves and still in line with their essence. I would say I am a lifelong learner. My passion for coaching started when I was in high school reading personal development and psychology books, a passion that continued throughout my life. An innate curiosity led me to a long, satisfying science career, where I pursued my doctoral work under the direct supervision of a Nobel prize candidate.
During my research years, I observed bright, entrepreneurial, and decisive minds struggle and are lost to behavioral health challenges. Losing one of my research advisors slowly to depression was a transforming phase of my career. It pushed me to read voraciously about the mind & body connection and brought me back to my interest in psychology and personal development. which continued during my medical training years at Cornell, NYC. My psychiatry active internships at Yale and Harvard Medical School taught me that it takes time and diligence to understand someone's story. No two people have similar stories. None.
The clinical wards made me realize that a big part of a physician's life is managing and leading a healthcare team. I knew I needed formal system-level training to make informed team management decisions and to increase my own time management. This led to another unexpected turn in my career; I pursued an MBA. What came clearly through this experience is that human behavior is at the core of almost every consulting, leadership, or management endeavor. In the end, all our human endeavors are meant to fulfill our needs to become the best versions of ourselves.
I am a triple citizen. I lived on 3 continents for at least 5 years. I have a YouTube Channel, @DrSolimanMD where I host authors and world thinkers to share their stories from striving to thriving.
Can you briefly explain the service you offer and how you help your clients?
My clients are professionals who appreciate independence in decision-making and seek coaching to gain clarity, well-being, and transition in their careers.
I use a behavioral dialectic approach to help clients understand their strengths *in* weaknesses. For example, anxiety and perfectionism can be both strengths and weaknesses. Instead of trying to abandon these traits as weaknesses, we work together to see how to fine-tune them to reach the client’s goal. I use evidence-based behavioral techniques to help professionals and leaders navigate adversity and utilize it as an opportunity for growth. Given my background, I appreciate working with clients from diverse cultures who are struggling to integrate their authentic selves with what is expected from them.
As a life coach, what would you say is the most important lesson you have learned after your years in the industry?
Coaching is a co-creation process. It is different from mentorship or sport coaching in that sense. By nature, we do not like to be told what to do and, certainly, we do not tend to do what we are told to do! Two things we all appreciate are a sense of control and safety when it comes to making decisions. In coaching, clients are integral parts of the decision-making process. The more involved the client is, the higher the chances they will act on the shared decision.
How can someone refine their active learning skills?
I would say through performing, reflecting, and redoing.
Performing: Experiential learning is one effective method of active learning. This occurs when we put ourselves in unfamiliar challenges. The challenges do not have to be extreme or totally unfamiliar. This requires commitment, agility and renewed engagement as the learning process can be ambiguous but fruitful.
Reflecting: After expanding the comfort zone, we need time to reflect on what could we have done differently and also what we have done well. One way to think about it is to have your boss or your coworker give you suggestions regarding one thing you have done really well, one thing that you can improve on, and one thing that you need to stop. Asking, for one thing, helps make the feedback task-specific and helps you reflect on your performance
Redoing: Now that you have expanded your experiential learning and have feedback on both strengths and weaknesses, you can incorporate this feedback into your performance and stretch your comfort zone a little bit further and start the "performing" stage again.
You offer, unlike many others, Group Coaching - How does this differ from other types of coaching sessions?
This is an important question! Group coaching assures clients that they are not alone and that other highly successful, talented people might have similar struggles. This lends itself to the second benefit: giving and receiving support which can be limited to one-to-one sessions. A third point is an opportunity to listen to creative ideas from people who have a similar problem. Finally, group coaching tends to be less expensive than an individual one.
What would you like to achieve for yourself and your business in the future?
I will focus on what I would like my clients to achieve from working with me. I would like to them a achieve sense of safety and a sense of control over their careers.