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Meet Donna Dahl: A Visionary Leader Transforming Executive Empowerment


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“Challengers invite us to explore possibilities and hold us accountable in the manifesting of our dreams.”

Donna Dahl, Chief Empowerment Officer and Master Executive Leadership Empowerment Coach at Donna Dahl Coaching International, is a standout figure in the realm of executive leadership and personal empowerment. Her innovative approaches and dedication have earned her repeated acclaim as a leading coach and entrepreneur.

In 2023, Donna was nominated for the Positive Leadership Award, and in 2024, she was honored as Manuscript Coach of the Year by the International Association of Top Performers. With a Master’s degree in Educational Psychology, extensive training in neurolinguistics and mediation, and six authored books, Donna is widely recognized as a thought leader and a coach’s coach.

Her leadership shone through as she guided the Puerto Vallarta Writers’ Group through the pandemic, helping an international membership stay connected and resilient. Donna’s ability to inspire transformational change and build custom programs has left a lasting impact on many.

As CEO Scoop highlights the “Most Influential Personalities to Watch in 2024,” empowerment coaching.

Please share your journey. How did it all begin?

Sometimes your life journey just pulls you in and there you are. You feel aligned. You are where you were meant to be.

Maybe that’s how I got here. I became an empowerment coach long before coaching was in vogue and long before I even called myself an empowerment coach.

Coaching with me starts with a conversation and during that conversation, something is sure to come up that suggests a desire for change. Sometimes it is a change of plan or a change of habit and sometimes it is a change of mind. One thing is certain; change will take place…however minute. The desire for change will show up.

As a coach I often find myself encouraging clients to alter the landscape of their thinking. Some enjoy the opportunity to think bigger without judgment. Some delight in being able to draw on their wisdom with clarity and focus. Some clients want to write their own book. The unique combination of experiences, education, training, and strengths of a person combined with their wisdom and lessons learned go a long way toward establishing a sound and authentic footprint in the marketplace…be it as a leader, an entrepreneur, or an author.

Writing a book was what got me started. After developing a relationship with a local business magazine publisher, she invited me to write an article. That article was very well received and became the food for thought that grew into a book. The launch of the book 14 months later simultaneously became the launch of my coaching enterprise. My 75% close rate at that event was a sure-fire convincer that there was room for my coaching in the world of doing business.

I have since worked with CEOs, members of the C-suite, partnerships, not-for-profit boards, teams, leaders together with their teams, entrepreneurs, project managers, coaches, authors, and individuals from many walks of life.  When people ask me what kind of coaching I do, I find it difficult to answer the question square on. It’s because I coach people. I work with individuals and I work with groups. I work with those who are ready to work with a coach.

To some, a “rut” is comfortable, and “change” is a four-letter word. Making changes is not without risk. Doing things differently when your “different” involves other people means that the outcome is much less predictable than if you are doing the same thing over and over again. When you cannot predict the result, tension and anxiety can build. It can feel like you have lost control.

When change is preferred, I take the view that a step toward that change does not have to be huge and dramatic. It can be a baby step. Baby steps with successful outcomes build confidence.

I essentially started my coaching business from scratch. I originally described myself as a consultant on the subject of entrepreneurship specializing in what it took to take your business out in public. It included branding, identity, consistency, appearance, messaging, and strategy as well as sales training. Despite being repeatedly referred to as a coach, I resisted taking on the label until one day when a friend of mine introduced me to his colleague as a coach’s coach. The label stuck.

In the business world, it is important to pay attention to how others perceive you. I have been a master coach ever since that day with six self-empowerment books to my credit and an award-winning, international presence.

Could you highlight the key offerings of your company?

I am a servant leader who specializes in supporting my client’s personal growth. The key offerings of my company come from what the client requests. It’s not lock-step or cookie-cutter. It’s individualized, it’s custom and it’s unique. Here are some examples:

  • I have been asked to work with CEOs in support of personal growth that covers topics such as communication, performance culture, and leadership related to both work and home life.
  • I have been asked to spark a fire in the hearts and minds of company staff who were operating as though they had run out of kindling and there was no more available to be had.
  • I have been asked to coach authors from word one to the finished product.
  • I have been asked to work with entrepreneurs as they build their identity and their brand.
  • I have been asked to design custom workshops for groups to meet their objectives for growth.
  • I have been asked to work with innovators and inventors as they build out their products or services.

Executive leadership empowerment coaching is available to those who are ready to step into the spotlight and lead. Some will become leaders in their communities. Some will advance within their circles of influence in the workplace. Some will become the leaders of their own journey taking responsibility for their decisions and some will even come to write about their leadership as they become servant leaders teaching others through their experience. The most important part is that clients get what they came for or something better.

What are some common challenges your clients face, and how does your coaching approach address these issues?

One of the biggest challenges we all face is authentically answering the question, “Who am I?” Finding the answer may require self-reflection that goes deep.

Our lives are shaped from the time we were born. Opinions from family members about what we should adopt as a career when we grow up, the marks we got in school, our favourite subjects, and our performance in sports or the arts will have had an influence on the career path as well as the life path we have chosen. But knowing who you are, what your values are, what your habits are, and what inspires you to get out of bed in the morning could give you some insight into shifts or tweaks or 180-degree directional changes to make. On the other hand, you may wish to stay the course…simply with more clarity.

You see, communication is at the root of everything we decide. This includes communication with those closest to you, communication in the workplace peer-to-peer, top-down and bottom-up, and communication with yourself. That little voice that speaks to you in your head wants attention.

All in all, your communication style ought to match your message. If not, confusion appears.

Many clients find that it is poor communication or a lack of communication that is at the root of problems. When communication improves, things get better. Are you willing to put your communication skills under a magnifying glass and test them for satisfied outcomes? Your intention may not be matching how you come across.

What are your long-term goals, and where do you envision yourself in the coming years?

My long-term goals include writing at least three more books in support of self-empowerment, working with more CEOs and members of the C-suite, and having more opportunities to do custom-built workshops as well as speak on subjects such as leadership. I think it is safe to say the more people who take my course on leadership, the fewer will be the number of personnel who will have to sit through boring meetings.

What does the future hold? I encourage my clients to dream, dare, do. I intend to continue to do the same. And I look forward to the gifts of learning that arrive in my work

Please list some of the notable recognitions and accreditations that you and your organization have received.

I have been acclaimed by numerous organizations, publications, and individuals as someone who stands out. Here are some of my awards and achievements over more than a decade:

  • 2024 IAOTP Book Development Coach Award
  • 2023 Nominated for Positive Leader Award
  • 2023 Global Women Leader Award
  • 2022 and 2023 Top 20 Empowerment Coach
  • 2020 Top 100 Canadian Professionals List
  • 2016 Woman of Inspiration Award
  • Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal
  • 100thAnniversary International Women’s Day Award for Outstanding Service to Business
  • 2020-2023 Chair, Women of Inspiration Awards Selection Committee and Moderator Puerto Vallarta Writers Group
  • Author of the popular Lessons I Learned from the Tortoise with a 5-star rating on Amazon
  • Edited three books that went on to become Amazon best sellers.
  • Lifetime Memberships: CEOSpace, CIBN, International Association of Top Professionals
  • Master’s degree in educational psychology

What were the most challenging obstacles you have encountered in your career?

No one is immune to encountering career challenges. After an automobile accident, I spent ten years unable to carry on a conversation or participate adequately in my own social life. The discovery of neuroplasticity helped pave my way to recover aspects of my brain function that had been dormant or needed retraining. The accident was a life-changing event. It meant leaving work I dearly loved and had spent a lifetime training myself to do. The good news? The transformation from then to now has given me knowledge and insight into personal growth in ways I could never have achieved otherwise.

Who has been the most influential person in your life and career?

The answer is easy. That person would be my husband. He is hands-down my rock, my confidant, and my best friend.

That is not to say that there have not been others who have contributed to my becoming who I am today.  I am grateful for all those who have lent their voice and their support to my endeavors. There are many and they are too numerous to name. They say it takes a village to raise a child. It takes a community of supporters to build the confidence it takes to lead. I wish them all much success.

What advice do you have for the next generation of aspiring leaders?

The next generation of aspiring leaders has the benefit of decades and even centuries of history on what goes into being a good and successful leader. Culling out the best of the best will not be easy. My suggestions? Always be learning. Remember that leadership is a dish better served when earned and recognized, not taken. Find a mentor or a coach who challenges you. Find someone whose qualities and values you admire and arrange a meeting to discuss your plans for growth. In short, find your challenger. I leave you with a quote from my book, Lessons I Learned from the Tortoise: “Challengers inspire us to take giant steps long before we might ever become giants.”

As a coach, I am on a mission to be your challenger as you navigate through the channels of leadership weathering storms that test your mettle and celebrating your wins. I invite you to take advantage of the opportunity to interview me for the position of being your coach.

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Alejandro Garcia
Alejandro Garciahttps://twitter.com/Gracia_A141997
Alejandro Garcia, Entrepreneurship Writer at CEO Scoop Magazine. Sharing stories and strategies of innovative business leaders. Inspiring aspiring entrepreneurs with insights into building successful ventures.


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