Issue 41

UTD Coaching News

Executive Coaching in the Middle East and Turkey

     By Farooq Nazir, Cohort 7B

I graduated from the UTD Executive Coaching Program last February and can now share my story with you with immense pride.

I was trained as an accountant with Pricewaterhouse and since 1980 have been working in various roles in the Finance Function, the last 15 as a C-Suite Executive. I spent  21 years with Unilever in three continents, culminating as Finance Director for Unilever Canada. In 2009 I resigned from a Board level role at a Fortune 500 company and decided to take a sabbatical to think about what I wanted to do next. I was looking for something where I could bring together my 30 plus years of experience in various continents and businesses, and doing something which would help business executives perform better. During this period I was visiting Canada and connected with a Partner of a company which is a leader in Executive Coaching in the world. The leadership team at the Executive Coaching Company advised me to have myself enrolled in the Executive Coaching Program at UTD. Hence with this end in mind I enrolled with UTD.

I reside in Pakistan, hence the biggest challenge for me in attending UTD was the time difference between Pakistan and Dallas. This was 10 hours for most of the program so that when it was 5:30 pm in Dallas it was 3:30 am in Pakistan. To attend my classes I was required to wake up in the middle of the night, three or four times a week, for a period of almost a year. However, with extraordinary support from my family, the UTD staff and instructors I was able to graduate in February this year.

The Executive Coaching Company that I am currently working with is called Praesta. It is the world’s leading executive coaching organisation, working with over five hundred clients at any given time. Our mission is to help senior executives succeed as individuals, on boards and in teams. 

Praesta delivers programs internationally through more than 80 coaches in widespread locations. We cover 12 European countries (Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxemburg, Netherlands, Portugal, UK, Spain, Sweden), South Africa, Turkey and the Arabian Gulf, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and the US.  Collectively, Praesta coaches are able to deliver programs in eleven languages: Arabic, Dutch, English, German, French, Hungarian, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish Turkish and Urdu. Praesta coaches offer individually tailored solutions while ensuring global consistency in quality. Praesta guarantees good global account management practice as we act as “one firm” internationally.

All Praesta coaches have had successful senior business backgrounds (CEOs, Directors, Partners). They engage in thought leadership, continuous professional development, are skilled in using a range of models and tools and focus on outcomes to ensure that clients achieve their desired results.

I am part of the Praesta’s Middle East and Turkey practice, having formally commenced work with them in February 2011. Most of Praesta clients are Fortune 500 multinational companies and I operate in a wide geography stretching from Turkey to Pakistan, which includes all the Middle Eastern countries. We have two offices in the region located in Istanbul and Dubai. Praesta has sufficient resources in this region to deliver high quality coaching services in the region and if required can draw upon its international resources for specific assignments.

If any of my colleagues are interested in coaching in the Middle East and Turkey region, please contact me at and I will be happy to assist. I will also be exploring the possibility of starting up an ICF Chapter in the Middle East and Turkey Region and will soon come up with a proposal in this connection.


Farooq Nazir graduated as an economist, was trained as an accountant with PriceWaterHouse and worked in the Middle East, Europe and North America with various organizations including Ernst & Young, Unilever, and Tetley GB in London.  He is currently associated with Praesta, a large international executive coaching company. Farooq, his wife, Nabeela, and son, Omar, reside in Lahore, Pakistan, an historical city in the center of Pakistan. 



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