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The Brussels expat coaching businesses to work more efficiently

08:58 22/01/2020
Madeleine de Hauke explains why she swapped medicine for business coaching

Twenty years ago, I followed my husband to Brussels for work. I’d just qualified as a doctor in London and left medicine for industry. I had no idea that one day, I’d help organisations be more successful by training them how to have great meetings.

But soon meetings hijacked my life. I was booked up for weeks and could only get work done in the evenings or at weekends. I noticed some teams had better meetings than others. They were also happier, better at working together and got more done. As a doctor, I knew work can affect our health and I began to see great meetings as a route to boost health, team efficiency and productivity.

I discovered there’s a science, an art and a skill to great meetings. But the most important ingredient is respect for everyone’s time and a commitment to ensure it’s well spent. Colleagues asked me to chair meetings or facilitate brainstorm sessions for them, and after a health scare in 2016, I qualified as an executive coach and founded Business4Good to train people how to have great meetings and become better leaders. I chose the name because I believe business can be a force for good and I donate a percentage of profits to charity.

It was easy to set up a business in Belgium: I started as an independent and once I made enough money my accountant helped me set up a company. When you’re starting out, a cost-effective way to get extra support is to hire masters students.

Work-life balance gets easier as my kids get older and I’m excited about the future. I teach leadership skills to Antwerp School of Management and recently created a coaching circle for professional women in midlife. Gynaecologists know that peri-menopause (that time leading up to, including and after menopause) is a challenging point in a woman’s life that may need medical help. But there’s little social or professional support, even though women this age have built years of experience.

My dream is to have a thriving business that helps people work together better through great meetings so that more of my company’s profits can be donated to help others.

This article first appeared in ING Expat Time

Written by ING Expat Time