Episode 218 – Unstoppable Driving Force Behind Xcelsior Coaching and Consulting with Mayme Doumbia

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Driving force indeed. Let me introduce you to Mayme Doumbia, our guest on this episode. I met Mayme through LinkedIn and was fascinated to hear her story. She is an immigrant from Africa. She and her family moved to America when Mayme was 13 years of age. She attended college and then wanted to “give back” and so she joined the military. After serving for four years, she went back to college and, under the guidance of a counselor, pursued a degree in Industrial Organization. Currently, among other things, she is seeking a doctorate in in Industrial and Organizational Psychology.

Mayme is a full-time coach with her own business, Xcelsior Coaching and Consulting. She has clients throughout the world.

She and I have a great and far-ranging conversation talking about everything from what coaches do to how she has been able to successfully coach leaders, teams and others to improve their lives and become better communicators.

About the Guest:

Mayme is the President of Coaches of Color and Culture and the driving force behind Xcelsior Coaching and Consulting. Her mission? To help leaders cultivate sustainable legacies, champion positive workplace cultures, and foster psychological safety—all underpinned by effective organizational practices.

What sets Mayme apart is her distinctive ability to connect with her clients and her rich and diverse cultural background, which provides her with a unique perspective when approaching professional and personal coaching. She’s been a soldier, a leader in non-profit organizations, and a seasoned corporate professional. This wealth of experience has given her a unique insight into the many layers of a person’s identity and what makes each of us unique.

Mayme’s coaching style is all about embracing every facet of who you are, and she firmly believes that every leader has the power to influence change when they discover their "raison d’être" (their reason of being/ purpose). She creates a space for leaders to grow exponentially and achieve truly meaningful results.

On a personal note, Mayme is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Industrial and Organizational Psychology, specializing in International Business. Her academic foundation in industrial and organizational psychology uniquely positions her to emphasize the development of strong teams, cultivating thriving workplace cultures, and increasing psychological safety.

Beyond her coaching endeavors, Mayme actively contributes to her community through volunteerism on various boards.

Ways to connect with Mayme:

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/maymedoumbia/
Instagram & Facebook – @maymedoumbia /
Websites – www.xcelsiorcoaching.com /
Email – team@xcelsiorcoaching.com /

About the Host:
Michael Hingson is a New York Times best-selling author, international lecturer, and Chief Vision Officer for accessiBe. Michael, blind since birth, survived the 9/11 attacks with the help of his guide dog Roselle. This story is the subject of his best-selling book, Thunder Dog.

Michael gives over 100 presentations around the world each year speaking to influential groups such as Exxon Mobile, AT&T, Federal Express, Scripps College, Rutgers University, Children’s Hospital, and the American Red Cross just to name a few. He is Ambassador for the National Braille Literacy Campaign for the National Federation of the Blind and also serves as Ambassador for the American Humane Association’s 2012 Hero Dog Awards.


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Transcription Notes:

Michael Hingson ** 00:00
Access Cast and accessiBe Initiative presents Unstoppable Mindset. The podcast where inclusion, diversity and the unexpected meet. Hi, I’m Michael Hingson, Chief Vision Officer for accessiBe and the author of the number one New York Times bestselling book, Thunder dog, the story of a blind man, his guide dog and the triumph of trust. Thanks for joining me on my podcast as we explore our own blinding fears of inclusion unacceptance and our resistance to change. We will discover the idea that no matter the situation, or the people we encounter, our own fears, and prejudices often are our strongest barriers to moving forward. The unstoppable mindset podcast is sponsored by accessiBe, that’s a c c e s s i capital B e. Visit www.accessibe.com to learn how you can make your website accessible for persons with disabilities. And to help make the internet fully inclusive by the year 2025. Glad you dropped by we’re happy to meet you and to have you here with us.
Michael Hingson ** 01:20
Well, welcome to another unstoppable mindset podcast episode. Glad you’re with us. Today we are going to have a chance to talk to Mayme Doumbia who is a person I find really interesting. She is the president of coaches of color. And she’s the main driving force behind the Xcelsior coaching. And we’re gonna learn all about that as we go forward. So I’m not going to give anything away. I’ve read her bio, but I won’t cheat and tell you I want her to tell you all about that. Anyway, Mayme, welcome to unstoppable mindset. It’s really a great pleasure to have you here.
Mayme Doumbia ** 02:05
Thank you, Michael. It’s good to be here. Well,
Michael Hingson ** 02:08
why don’t we start, I’d love to start this way, by you telling us a little bit about kind of the early Mamye growing up and all that sort of stuff that got you to where you are,
Mayme Doumbia ** 02:19
oh, the early Mamye. How long do well, whatever
Michael Hingson ** 02:23
you choose. So as long as I have computer memory, we’re good.
Mayme Doumbia ** 02:31
Well, that’s good to know. So early Mayme I have, well, I grew up as a child of an immigrant. I came here when I was 13 years old, my parents and I and my sister and siblings we came here do towards back in Africa. So I grew up in a home where it was always loving, it was always active. And what brought me to the Mayme today was actively just paying attention to my surroundings and learning from everyone around me, especially my father and my my brothers, I was always the girl who followed the leaders in the House, or at least that’s who who I saw as leaders. So it was always fascinating to me to understand why they made some other decisions. And why was that acceptable in certain circumstances? So as the person who I am today, I think I learn the daring aspects of my father, my brothers, and just learning over time from them about what does it mean to be authentically you and how to show up?
Michael Hingson ** 03:50
So you are the only girl? No,
Mayme Doumbia ** 03:52
I was not actually the youngest of seven at the time.
Michael Hingson ** 03:59
Seven severely siblings all together. Yeah,
Mayme Doumbia ** 04:02
that that was that that that beginning stage. We’re about 11 now. And I am not the youngest, as much as I love my younger sister. I lost some of those benefits.
Michael Hingson ** 04:20
Well, you know, but you have the memories and you can pass it on to her so that seems fair.
Mayme Doumbia ** 04:27
Yeah, it’s definitely a She’s lovely. But
Michael Hingson ** 04:31
you moved to the US when you were 13 I did. So you have memories of what it was like in Africa. I guess. I did.
Mayme Doumbia ** 04:39
I still do.
Michael Hingson ** 04:41
So what what cause the family to move what was kind of the final straw that made you all decide to move or made your parents decide to move you all to America?
Mayme Doumbia ** 04:53
So my parents came here, because there was a war. We migrated out from like the I initially to the avocados do tour and where we got to the Abacos. They had a civil war. And that’s when our parents had the opportunity to move here as refugees. at a younger age to, I didn’t really remember as much the importance of that step until now as an adult, I was just excited for an adventure and just something different. But over time, the realization really dawned on me that they were trying to find a better space and opportunity for their children and for them to be in a safe space.
Michael Hingson ** 05:39
So when they came over here, what kind of work did they take up?
Mayme Doumbia ** 05:43
My parents really worked into the health care field, it was always a passion of my mother especially. And so she worked in a caregiving homes and taking care of other elders. For me, I wanted to become a doctor at one point, I wanted to become a cardiovascular surgeon, when I initially started this journey, but as an immigrant, a lot of times you probably hear the story. This is something my parents thought I should do, because of course, we want the kids to succeed. So we always look for things that mean success to us. So it was either become a lawyer, because I used to talk and very, I was very challenging in my speech. I always like a good conversation. And it was either that or become a lawyer, do doctor or lawyer. So those were my two options.
Michael Hingson ** 06:43
And you went off in different directions, though, didn’t you?
Mayme Doumbia ** 06:46
Completely, actually started in doing pre med when I went to Portland State University, I thought that was the path for me. I always had a fascination for the psych field, however. So even though I did the pre med, I was always attracted to learning about human behavior. It was something that I couldn’t shake up. But I also want it to do business. And I was just in between as a college student, I was just wanting to change my major to this and this and that I just wanted to do everything at once. Because for me, I’m, I’m going to change the world. That was the mindset I had. And so just limiting myself to just being a doctor or a lawyer was very high for me, because then it means doing one thing, at least for how I saw it for the rest of my life, which was something I wasn’t ready to do.
Michael Hingson ** 07:42
So what did you end up majoring in? I
Mayme Doumbia ** 07:45
majored in business. First, I went for Business and Management for my Bachelor’s later on, when I went back to school after I left the military, for my masters I wanted to do, I want it to do psychology, but then I spoke to my academic advisor, and she was like, you know, you can eat there’s the opportunity for you to do something, you know, take all these things that you like and enjoy and really put it into one field. And she introduced me to the I O field, and industrial organizational psychology. That’s how I discovered that view.
Michael Hingson ** 08:26
Good counselor, huh?
Mayme Doumbia ** 08:29
Actually, it’s not. It’s not clinical. So it’s, um, I
Michael Hingson ** 08:33
mean, the counselor. Good advice. Yes, she
Mayme Doumbia ** 08:36
did. She was really wonderful. And she was also a coach, and definitely coached me through a lot of those nitty gritty challenges I had trying to figure out what to do next.
Michael Hingson ** 08:48
So did you go into the military out of college?
Mayme Doumbia ** 08:52
I did, I started my program. So here’s the kick back, I went into my associate degree I did in criminal justice. So I joined the military. I wanted to go that route initially. So then I was open to so many opportunities and so many things that could be done. Because the army a lot of times we think the only thing at least from the people I’ve encounter that wanted to once they were out, they were like, I’m going to the police force, I’m gonna go into law, I’m gonna go into these different things. Because I left the pre med program. The next thing was all right, might just be the lawyer that you know, my parents wanted me to do. So I went into getting an associate in Criminal Justice at that time, but I went back and got my business degree after that. And that’s the trajectory that brought me that far. But yes, I did. Do the program for a little bit left. And then came back to complete arrest.
Michael Hingson ** 10:02
So how long were you in the military?
Mayme Doumbia ** 10:05
I was in my I was there for like four years. Okay.
Michael Hingson ** 10:09
And you did that? Because you just thought that would give you a better inroad to go to where you, you wanted to go in terms of a career once you’ve graduated, once you left it? Oh,
Mayme Doumbia ** 10:21
no. So I was a big fan of the army when I was a kid. And I know it’s contradictory to what my parents wanted me to do, because I always found that they were the ones that protected me when I need it that protection. It was, you know, the army that help evacuate some of the people that were during the war. So I always wanted to give back, I wanted to do something in return. And that was why I joined the military. It didn’t have any motivation towards career anything.
Michael Hingson ** 10:56
So what did you do in the military?
Mayme Doumbia ** 10:58
I went into logistics. So I was a logistics specialist. And then I was the armor for a couple of years before I left. But I ended up doing so much that sometimes I always ask myself if it if I may have been like one thing. And I think that’s that was one thing that I really enjoyed about it. Because there were so many opportunities to do so many things. I was attached to a engineering unit. So I learned a lot about engineering as well.
Michael Hingson ** 11:29
So did you travel a great deal in the military? Or were you mainly based in the States? Or what?
Mayme Doumbia ** 11:35
I did travel a little bit, but yeah, mainly based in the state. I was stationed in Fort Knox. So I protect a gold. Make sure nobody comes and steal it.
Michael Hingson ** 11:48
While I was still there, anyway. Yeah. But then you left and you went back then I guess, into college? Yes. Left.
Mayme Doumbia ** 11:59
When I left army, I came back into the corporate world, I started back in the logistic field, because that was what was familiar. After four years of doing that, it, it was good to go back into that. But there was always something telling me there’s more that I could do, there’s something more that I I aim to do. So I went back to school to see how I can develop myself even more as a leader and as a thought leader, actually,
Michael Hingson ** 12:30
pen. So that got you into industrial organization.
Mayme Doumbia ** 12:33
It did.
Michael Hingson ** 12:36
So you eventually went got through school and did all of that. And then what did you do?
Mayme Doumbia ** 12:44
Why was in the program, I want it again, there is a bug in a lot of military folks, they will tell you is to do things to give back. I switch and pivoted into the nonprofit sector while I was in school. And during that I also observe leadership, right? It’s always been that thing that I always looked at to see the trajectory. I always told myself, I don’t really mind what I do, as long as I have a good leader guiding me. And that was something that I hold held strongly to. So while I was in school, I really looked around, and I thought the nonprofit sector would be that place where I can help and, you know, grow and make a difference in the world. And while I was doing that, again, my counselor also shared with me coaching, I think she I mentioned she coached me, and she was telling me there are opportunities to become a coach and to really help some of these leaders in the spaces that I was in. So that’s how I kind of transitioned to that a little bit. Okay,
Michael Hingson ** 14:00
so, you, you started going into coaching fairly early in the world then compared to some
Mayme Doumbia ** 14:08
I would say and, and often actually, now when I sit back and consider my journey in coaching, I realized that it started very, very early and I didn’t have a word for it or I didn’t have a very short description for it initially, because I always saw it as you know, I’m just helping somebody out. And I didn’t see it as something that is valuable in that I’m actually making an impact in someone’s life. It was really brought to my attention because I had soldiers and we had coaching and it definitely organizational culture and professional coaching are different. But I did have that experience where I was coaching and mentoring some of my soldiers so coming out and and doing it professionally. I was really excited about that up tunity.
Michael Hingson ** 15:01
So how long ago did you start? professional coaching.
Mayme Doumbia ** 15:06
So I officially got certified through the ICF. So I started at least three years prior, but then I got certified in 2017, with CF. And I started learning their coaching model and approaches to coaching. So tell
Michael Hingson ** 15:23
me, what is a coach? From your perspective? I love to ask that question, because I think there are a lot of different views as to what a coach is, but you have become certified and so on. So what is a coach, I see
Mayme Doumbia ** 15:38
a coach as this ground guide. And I’m not sure if you’re familiar with, you know, when you’re in the, in the plane, there’s this ground guy that is like directing, and showing which way the plane could just pivot or tilt or turn. So I see a coach as that person that is there and carrying that journey with you, and supporting you through that journey, without inserting themselves into it, and not making it about themselves, but making it about you and your growth and your development. Really, it’s someone that is really caring about your success without having any stake in it.
Michael Hingson ** 16:27
And so, the idea is you’re you’re essentially, as you said, a guide. Yeah. Which, which certainly makes some sense. So, among other things, as I mentioned earlier, you are the president of coaches of color, is that an organization that was already in existence? Or did you help form that or what
Mayme Doumbia ** 16:51
actually helped form that it was a space that was created for coaches like myself, who wanted to connect, and who shared similar backgrounds and challenges. We were looking for some group of people that share those same similar experiences, of course, and it started in 2019, when we were just talking amongst ourselves looking for, you know, mentorships, especially in the coaching field, looking for people that are having these challenges, then really talking it through. And it really changed in 2020, because it became something else. We didn’t expect it to be what it was, which was a safe space. coaches were supporting clients, especially during the pandemic, and when Georgia was murdered. And there was nowhere for them to really be taken care of, because they were taking care of everybody else. So while it started, just as a place to learn, it became a place for support, and mindfulness. And we share so much so many experiences, and talked about how we feel and how this experience is impacting us to as individuals, over time it grew into something where we can get trainings and we meet, and we still carry out the initial goal, which was to have a space to support each other, and to create together and really embrace the differences that we have in a in a, in a really impactful way.
Michael Hingson ** 18:31
You have a pretty broad experience of everything from being in the military to being a student, a college student and migrant who spent almost 13 years or 13 years in a lot more challenging situations, how is all of that effected your approach to coaching and what you do.
Mayme Doumbia ** 18:54
So it definitely taught me the importance of embracing the unique experiences that we all have. It created this holistic approach that I always see people as by embracing their diversity, and just fostering a place where they can feel included. It created something that I didn’t even expect well, because I think the common thing that we see is that some people work in this in one place, and they have this vast of experience. And they come in from the workplace. And that was the culture that we were used to. But my experiences have shaped who I am today and I won’t trade it for anything. And I create a philosophy which is holistic growth, right? We can be a part of so many things and be the same at the same time. And I think about how, you know I always describe it as a spirit animal like a panther. It’s the only animal that is not at least from one family. It comes from different families. But you can only identify by spots, but it’s very unique. So a lot of what I’ve experienced have shift shift my perspective in the world, it created this person who is open minded, who can really see people different from different angle and still see that uniqueness about them.
Michael Hingson ** 20:35
Is that something that is taught or projected in the whole certification process through the ICF? Do you think that your experiences are a little bit different? or augment that? How do your experiences just gel with the standard certification process and what the Federation expects out of coaches?
Mayme Doumbia ** 21:00
So I think there is a blanket approach to what you know, a coach is, and I probably did not have the description, right. In that regard. I won’t know what there is SPECT exactly in terms of my experiences, or if even people share that, because I always see the My experiences are unique to me and everybody else’s experiences are unique to them, I’ll definitely say that it creates a lens that is different, and it brings about conversations that may not have been discussed, or addressed. Because we always see similar people in the coaching industry or in a coaching bill. But now because we’re having these conversations, and really embracing these differences, we’re seeing that there are more conversation around the inclusion of everybody, right? It’s not just coaching for just one person, or executives, you know, or we’re not just coaching for bad behaviors, we’re coaching to help people grow and develop. And that in itself is a shift in how people view coaching in general.
Michael Hingson ** 22:23
And that, that really makes sense. Because every one is unique, every one is different. Although we we there are a lot of things that we share, and there are a lot of similarities. But I think it is important. And for what I’m hearing you say that it is important to recognize and understand people where they are, and that you oftentimes have to adjust exactly what you do to address the specific needs or the issues of a particular individual. Absolutely.
Michael Hingson ** 22:57
So you have had a fair amount of coaching experience. Now. I’d love to hear a few stories about coaching and how you’ve made a difference in people’s lives. Because I think that’s obviously ultimately why people seek a coach because they want to be guided and maybe do things in a different way or become better than they are they believe they’re going to become better than they are. So what kinds of stories can you tell us.
Mayme Doumbia ** 23:30
So I can share maybe two stories about two different leaders that I’ve coached. One of them was a team leader, and one of them was just organization leader, individual contributor, the individual contributor was someone that was trying to influence and manage up, especially when you don’t have direct reports, you are mostly relying on yourself, and be resourceful and having the ability to really move things. And in, especially if you have projects, you have to really work on that. So the individual contributor I helped really see their resources that they had before even get into that position, because I think a lot of leaders found themselves in these places and they feel like they’re helpless. They’re not able to change minds or really move certain projects the way they should go. So by working and coaching with me, we started identify some of the resources that they already had. And some of the influence that they had that they didn’t even realize that it did the connections and networks that they created. So during that was really eye opening for them. They realized that they could actually speak and communicate with different people easier without feeling like they were being Boston or maybe ignored or felt like nothing was moving on the needle. The other one was a team leader who was really working towards creating a space for his team to be a very effective team. Well, while working with them, the team dynamic was really wonky a little bit. There was not much communication, a lot of backstabbing. And we were working around why that was and always try to find a root causes when it comes to coaching leaders, like what’s happening. And we realized that it was a lot of lack of clarity, and expectations and goals. So once we start creating things like that, in our coaching, it starts seeing that the team was working together more, they shifted their perspective, because they were trying to work towards something instead of working against each other. And over time, they built like collaboration, it became more productive. And they felt more satisfied, at least from the survey that they shared, there was more transformations happening in that.
Michael Hingson ** 26:08
So how do you judge or determine that you had success in both of those two situations?
Mayme Doumbia ** 26:19
Based on my client perception, because success is based on what they see success as. So I always ask them, and make sure that we have a clear goal. In the beginning, we have clear expectations. And we have a clear understanding of what success looks like, for the sessions and the arrangement. Once we do we already when we work towards it, we start to gauge are we getting closer? Are we getting farther away? Are we working towards anything? So based on those metrics that we established in the beginning of our coaching agreement, we can determine that we’ve achieved what we came to do.
Michael Hingson ** 27:07
So you, you believe that you’ve been pretty successful, being able to guide people and help them make a difference? Needless to say?
Mayme Doumbia ** 27:17
Michael Hingson ** 27:19
So I know from everything that you’re describing the you take a pretty holistic approach to coaching in terms of dealing with the individual, their identity, and all of their specific attributes, and so on. So what I’m curious about is, how does this perspective deal with and benefit the leaders in the people that you do, coach? And how do you actually create a nurturing environment to make the successes happen that you do.
Mayme Doumbia ** 27:56
So I see a holistic, my holistic approach is just really seeing the person in every aspect of who they are, right. So a lot of people often separate themselves from the personal and the professional, because they have this, I guess, concept of dual personality where somebody else that work and I’m somebody else at home, which is true to some degree. But in a lot of ways you are the same person going into those spaces. And when you’re addressing someone in those spaces is understanding that you can wear different hats, but you cannot be different people. And when you understand so for example, if someone is tired at work, or really short with others, because they’re tired from home, they’re trickling down into each other. When you in a remote work, you’re working from home now. So there’s like lack of separations to even talk about now, when you’re seeing working from home and working maybe six to 12 hours a day, depending on the organization. There’s the barrier has his lesson, there’s less and less barrier between who you are at work and who you are at home. And we try to really implement how to work around that how to really find your identity, your values, the influences and life experiences in that and really shaped the person you want to be. So you’re consistently consistent across the board and it brings us to the authentic You’re right. You can be authentic at work and authentic at home. But if you’re not really able to show up in those two spaces, you’re always going to be switching which can be very exhausting, at least for a lot of leaders. And how we help you is really to understand and you have the ability to be authentically you. Of course at work, it will be a professional you, that’s your professional hat. And at home is the personal you, and that’s your personal hat. But you are the same person that is showing up in those spaces. How
Michael Hingson ** 30:18
do you? Well, let me do it this way? Have you ever had any situations where as you’re trying to establish a relationship and work with someone, and doing the things that you do that it hasn’t worked out that somebody just couldn’t relate to the coaching techniques and so on that you’re using?
Mayme Doumbia ** 30:38
Yes, it’s rare, because I always look at the person from what their values are, and not really impose on things. But I had a few members and who did not identify with it, I also find that there are people that are not ready to really tap into some of the experiences or goals that they have in that way. And that could be that maybe they’re just not willing to, or maybe I’m just not the right coach for them. And I can totally accept that. I do not have the answer for it at all. In fact, I’m not the answer for it all. I am just there as a guide and supporting the growth and not trying to tell people what to do or how to do it. So I do agree that I would not be for everybody. What
Michael Hingson ** 31:37
do you do when you discover that you’re just not right for some person?
Mayme Doumbia ** 31:41
We have a conversation around that. We have a conversation around what they really want? And how do they want to see success right, in back to establishing what success look like? So is it something that we’re doing differently? That does not resonate? Or is it that we’re not getting to the success that you’re wanting? So clarity definitely is important. In this case, if the client is that clear, sometimes it’s kind of hard to guide them for anything. And overtime, sometimes we discover that clarity that they’re looking for through coaching. But sometimes everyone is not patient enough to get to that point. So when your spec result before putting the work in sometimes it’s very difficult to help
Michael Hingson ** 32:33
people, it seems to me oftentimes have a lot of difficulty in doing introspection and really looking at themselves. And they don’t want to take the time to do that. And it’s difficult sometimes I would think to get people to really look at themselves in a in a friendly way, because you obviously aren’t trying to threaten people. And people shouldn’t take self analysis as as a threat but but a thing that is valuable and very helpful to do. When you find people who are resistive to doing that, how do you get them to think about? Well, I really should maybe look at what I do, maybe there are things I can learn from what I’ve done in the past and improve it.
Mayme Doumbia ** 33:27
I always talk I actually really enjoy taking the positive intelligence assessment, right. And it’s called the nine ways we sabotage ourselves. And it’s a very fascinating awareness type of assessment. I encourage most of my clients to take it before we have a conversation and we talk about their view of strengths. A lot of times, starting a conversation that way always bring us to heart this is surprising, or this is not true, or this is really accurate. But it’s helpful to see it. We can have a conversations around those things. And there’s I think, in terms of self awareness is really important to also know when to really have those conversations. Not everyone is open to having a conversation around that, especially if they don’t feel like it’s relevant to them. So I usually I have a group of coaches on again, coaches of color and culture is a is a group of amazing coaches that I can refer to and always go back to and if the client feel comfortable to work with another coach, definitely refer them to that coach and be open to have that conversation. Because again, it’s not about me, it’s about their growth and their development and whatever that’s gonna help them definitely be open to like hearing what they think and how they feel. And like pushing them or directing them to the right sources.
Michael Hingson ** 35:14
Have you had some people in your life that you regard as really great mentors who help you shape what you do and why you do it the way you do?
Mayme Doumbia ** 35:27
Yes, so my first mentor was my father. He just sitting down and listening, my dad was one of those people that will be less to talk because he listens to every, like, side of the story to really understand what he’s going to say. And sometimes it’s just him listening, that was really helpful. The second mentor that I discovered was Myles Munroe. And he’s been a very instrumental person in my life, he’s of late, but I absolutely learned so many things from him in terms of just leadership, being a change agent, and just being a person in the world, really, his approach to leadership was very insightful, because he sees that we, at least from his doctrine was like a lot of, we can all be leaders in the places that we are in, it’s just a matter of our mindset around it. And in recent years, since I moved to Texas, here, I’ve had some really amazing people that have been, you know, guiding me, someone like Lisa Aang, she’s a diversity coach. And she’s been a really, really instrumental person to my move here and helping me navigate the land of Texas, moving from Portland, and Dylan, as a whole has also been very, very instrumental in my growth as a coach. So those are the people that I really admire, I see the work and the fruits of the hard work that they put into this industry and how they are shaping it in their own way.
Michael Hingson ** 37:15
So you’ve I think, like most of us, definitely had a lot of what you do shave by other people. And that’s, that’s good. We, we should be open to that. When you’re coaching people, you talk a lot about psychological safety and creating a safe environment. How do you do that? And how do you know that you’re having some success at making that happen in any given case,
Mayme Doumbia ** 37:43
I always tend to be more of a listener than the speaker, even if I don’t speak a lot. And I think a lot of times, it’s viewed as you have no opinion. But most people are not wanting you to have a solution at all times, they just want you to have an empathetic year, and to just listen. So in my coaching, always, always take time to really create that space. By listening by offering my you know, my space as like, this is your space, right? This is where you you, I want you to feel safe. So whatever you choose to share and discuss here will be here and is not going to go anywhere. And I want you to know that I’m listening and that I will be empathetic. But I’ll also be direct with you if you want that directness. So it’s an ongoing process, because it’s never perfect yet, right? It’s something that I just got to keep working on, and hope that the people that come into that space feel that way. Because that’s the environment that I am trying to create is to really make them know that this is where they are. And
Michael Hingson ** 39:01
so what happens in Xcelsior coaching stays, and Xcelsior coaching, yes. To say the least. Typically, how long do you coach someone for? Do you have people you’ve been coaching for years that they just continue to want to come in and have that interaction with you and that they value it? Or does it usually end up being only for a few weeks or a few months or what?
Mayme Doumbia ** 39:30
So I’ve had coaching clients that I’ve worked with for six to month to a year. And I have members that will always come back I actually have another member that I’m about to work with again who I’ve coached a few years back and you’re like, Hey, I’m in another position. We work towards that one before and now I’m trying to go to the next one and I need your support on this. So I will Want us to start our payment again. So it varies, it’s not always a straight path. Because most of the people I work with are always in contact with me always send me messages about some of the changes that they are going through and how they want to work with me again, in how to really create a clear path forward. And I have people that just stay in touch with me and became my referral. And they would tell me, like, Hey, I know someone who would really benefit from your coaching, I think that it was so impactful, it changed my life. And I really believe that this is useful for them as well. So it varies a lot in depending on the individual and their space in life and what they see as beneficial.
Michael Hingson ** 40:50
Do you typically do coaching in person? Or do you do a lot of it virtually?
Mayme Doumbia ** 40:56
A lot of my coaching has been virtual. Yes. So before the pandemic, it was in person, I did a lot of facilitation around mindfulness. And then the pandemic started. And everything, it felt like a pause for at least a year there because a lot of in person was not happening. So we all had to like adjust to the virtual world and talk to people in different spaces, like go Google needs and teams and zoom, like you’re not talking right now.
Michael Hingson ** 41:34
Do you find that it’s worked out pretty well to do virtual stuff? I mean, you’re right, the pandemic made a big difference in a lot of the ways we do stuff. And so do you find that doing a lot of coaching virtually, still continues? And the people accept that? Do they want to get back to the way it was before? Is hybrid really working?
Mayme Doumbia ** 42:02
I definitely believe that depends on who you ask, right? There is still that space of we’re all figuring it out. We’re all trying to see what works better, was more effective and more efficient. I have a lot more clients virtual than I have in person, because most of my clients at least, about 80% are overseas or in Europe or something. Well, yeah. So there’s not, there’s no opportunity to really meet them in person unless I traveled to them or they traveled to me, the clients that are here will prefer maybe once or twice in person meetup. But again, Texas is such a big space that when you talk about commute time, and you consider all that driving to just meet for an hour is very valuable to some members. But others are like, I think I just saved that commute time. So I can prepare for my next meeting, since we’re still figuring out what that hybrid work place look like for them. So it varies and depends on the client, I always try to accommodate especially if my clients want to meet in person because I also know the importance of in person contact and really having someone right there in front of you to talk to
Michael Hingson ** 43:31
how did you get so many clients overseas? That’s intriguing. Um,
Mayme Doumbia ** 43:37
so social media. And also working. So I started working for different platforms like you know, better up at first, and started saying that a lot of the clients were really just phenomenal people that were for various companies that are not located in state. And I also started getting in touch with people that knew people that were not here. And when you have a network, especially places like LinkedIn, that connects everyone from around the world, it becomes a norm to really have someone that maybe worked here for like two years and then got transferred overseas, and now they have a team that they’re mentoring and they’re bringing you along to help their team. So it is such a global world that we live in that is becoming a norm for coaching at least to have clients all over the place.
Michael Hingson ** 44:42
Yeah, the world is definitely becoming smaller and everyone is closer together in a lot of ways in the whole electronic media process, the internet and so on has made it a lot easier to be more deeply involved with people in other countries or parts of the World hesitant.
Mayme Doumbia ** 45:01
Absolutely, and definitely became smaller in that regard.
Michael Hingson ** 45:07
Well, so, you’ve been doing Xcelsior coaching for a while. What other kinds of activities are you involved in? In addition to coaching?
Mayme Doumbia ** 45:20
I am a big learner. So I’m studying, I went back again to school I have been asked by my family is this the last time? I think this be the last time. But I’m going back, I went back for my doctor in industrial organizational psychology. And I also been serving on community boards supporting, you know, again, coaching in the ICF. I’m on the committee for DNI. I am on a community board for African supporting Africans. I’m on a lot of boards, just trying to give back. I think, going back to what I said earlier about veterans and military folks, always wanting to give back always in the heart of service and wanting to support and help as much as we can. So that’s always been my passion and just changing the world that way. That’s, that’s what I hope to do.
Michael Hingson ** 46:22
Is the board word take a lot of time.
Mayme Doumbia ** 46:26
It does. It does. But I think it’s time worth it. At least for me, it brings me joy. I think one of the things that I always look for to do is some I look for things that brings me energy, and service definitely brings me energy, it gives me joy to see that I’ve impacted in some way.
Michael Hingson ** 46:53
Well, you can’t really kind of argue with that. So how do which is fair, so you’re serving on a lot of boards and doing the things you do? How does that affect or shape your coaching practice?
Mayme Doumbia ** 47:08
I think in in Back to the holistic aspect, I am that same person, right? I am that person I love to give. So in my coaching, I am creating that space for people to really grow. But I’m also surveying and leading the way I expect the leaders to do. So in my projects, how I view leadership is someone that is leading by example. And not expecting people to do something like do as a say, and not as I do type of leadership. So I often take that space and that step to go out of my way, sometimes now always. Because I think there needs to be a healthy boundary in how you’re serving, and how much you’re giving. So you’re not draining yourself. But I always see my approach to leading as doing the work and being in front of it, and showing that it can be done, and not just expecting others to do it. So in how it impact that I think it just bring it full circle as who I am as a person as an individual. And what I love to do.
Michael Hingson ** 48:25
Well, you said that you like to be a learner, and you are always valuing learning. So being on a lot of boards and associating with people in a lot of different environments, and also through your own coaching experiences. Do you? Do you find you learn a lot? Do you learn a lot from your clients? Do you learn a lot from the different kinds of board things that positions that you hold that, that down the line to help to shape what you do in terms of coaching and how you deal with people?
Mayme Doumbia ** 48:57
Absolutely, I’m always learning from everyone around me, I’m learning from, you know, from these experiences, because I can see, I take the knowledge that I’ve learned previously to bring to these spaces and then learn from it, to take the other spaces that would need that learning opportunity. So for like the board, for example. And being in those spaces, I try to keep an open mind because that’s the only way you can learn. And in coaching, I have to you know, keep an open mind because that’s the only way I can learn from my clients. The only way you just have to come up with a curious with curiosity. And I’m always curious, which is why I found that, you know, coaching has been such a good calling for me, because I’m always curious and clarify the values and the goals. And when those things align. I definitely think that there is so much opposite can add for everyone, not just me to grow and learn. Because the end goal for me is that we come out of there knowing something about each other, knowing something about the purpose that we brought there, and knowing something about the people we serve.
Michael Hingson ** 50:17
And are you with that? So tell me a little bit more about coaches of color. As an organization, what, what kinds of things do you think that it is affecting, and just just tell us more about that? It’s a fascinating, I’ve never heard of it, I would love to learn more.
Mayme Doumbia ** 50:37
Okay, so coaches of color has, you know, again, I said that we working towards connecting, we want people to come in, you know, coaches and organizations to come in connecting and learning, again, back to the learning aspect, because the coaching field has been hasn’t been dominated with a lot of people of color. And now you’re seeing this more and more, but we want the workplace to reflect some of the people that you know, we have, so if your workplace is reflecting diverse and inclusive group, you want coaches that reflect that you want people that have those backgrounds and experiences to really help your employees, you want them to be there to really give you that perspective that maybe you may not have or did not understand. So it’s creating that, like closing that gap, I would say, where, you know, culture and and I guess, inclusion just meet in a way, because we have organization culture, and you have, you know, the coaching culture. But what if you could merge those two to create a more impactful organization and a more impactful coaching or landscape. So that’s what we’re hoping to do. We offer trainings, quarterly for our coaches. And we also part try to partner with organizations that are looking for opportunities to connect with coaches of color and culture to support their employees. So it’s twofold. And actually October 20, we have our first virtual conference. And we’re going to talk about the integration of diversity in coaching to really create more awareness around just bringing those two things together and really shaping the world that we’re trying to create together. So
Michael Hingson ** 52:43
so how large Do you think that conference will be? I’m sorry, how large Do you think that conference will be? How many people will be coming to that?
Mayme Doumbia ** 52:52
I am not sure. So I try not to look at the numbers. And we’re looking for, like quality over quantity. To be honest, we don’t want people showing up just because it feels like this would be great for whatever reason, we want you to show up because you’re open to learn, you’re open to contribute, and you’re open to really becoming a change agent. So I’ve actually not looked at the numbers, what we project is to have at least, you know, 100 people there. It’s our first conference, and we really hope to see more people show up. But people that are really interested in seeing the landscape change, and those that are change agents, and coaches of color and culture is not an exclusive group. We welcome everyone and allies. But we want to make sure that people know that we want to support the underrepresented groups, the underdogs in the field, if you will.
Michael Hingson ** 53:54
You think that that will involve not only people of color and coaches of color and culture, but do you anticipate trying to involve other groups like persons with disabilities and those sorts of things?
Mayme Doumbia ** 54:09
Absolutely. So the reason we call it coaches of color and culture is the culture poor aspect of it brings everyone right it’s it’s creating what what is it your culture because I have a disability is one that is invisible. But I consider that even though I’m a person of color, I am also a person of culture, not just because I am not, you know, I have a different background, but because I have different experiences that I bring to the table so it is inclusive to everybody in that culture aspect.
Michael Hingson ** 54:46
What kind of advice would you give to someone who is interested in coaching and wants to learn more about it and and become successful? What would you advise them?
Mayme Doumbia ** 54:58
I’ll say In order to do that, you want to start by clarifying your values and your goals. A lot of times, we don’t take the time to really see what our real values are, and what are we trying to accomplish. And I think when you can create that you can create a plan that aligns with your action that can connect that action to your vision. And lastly, like, just really find a support group, find a network, be persistent, find mentors, and find I call them Destiny activators, right. Those are people that are just there to support your dream, and that are there to really increase, you know, whatever you’re lacking in terms of capacity. So they’re there to support you. So be persistent in pursuing your aspiration. There’s no one size fits all, I think, in terms of just the world we’re living in, is so diverse and always shifting that there is nothing that I will do that maybe easily replicate it, or someone else would do it that you can just replicate, it is good to learn from others. But it’s also important to really find what makes you unique, and really push for it and make a difference, the way you can often fit authentically, if you’re looking me quickly, without really trying to be somebody else.
Michael Hingson ** 56:26
Somebody wants to become a certified coach, how do they do that? At
Mayme Doumbia ** 56:29
the pens, I seen coaches that are not certified in the ICF, but have other certifications. So I have two certifications. I have the certification with ICF. And I also have a certification with the emcc global, which is the European supervision mentorship program, and I am a team coach. I’m a certified team coach through the emcc global, but I have my professional certificate certified coach certificate from the ICF. So I will say talk to other coaches first, talk to people that already have the certification you’re interested in, ask them about the passive take in there’s so many different coaching schools and see if this is something you really want to do, or is it something that you feel called to do? And like ask them for their advice or mentorship? A lot of times I think, we get information or we just run with it. Sometimes it’s good to ask for guidance. And if you can get that you might have a better idea and be more prepared going into the coaching industry. Because unfortunately, one thing you don’t learn in those spaces it how is how to run a business. So unless you’re trying to be an internal coach, you might want to start asking more questions around how people start it as a business and see if this is something you want to do before jumping into it. And I’ll say started looking into the ICF the MCC global and talking to people that are already in the field. And ICF stands for the International coaching Federation. Okay.
Michael Hingson ** 58:12
If people want to reach out to you and learn more about what you do, and maybe explore working with you as their coach, how do they do that?
Mayme Doumbia ** 58:22
You can definitely find me on LinkedIn, Mayme Doumbia.com on LinkedIn and I have my website Xcelsior coaching.com. Could you spell that please? Xcelsior. So, play on word there. I took out the e so is X C E L S I O R, so Excelsior without the E.
Michael Hingson ** 58:51
So and then Xcelsior coaching.
Mayme Doumbia ** 58:55
And the best way, the fastest way at least is to email me at teams at Xcelsior X C E L S I O R coaching.com
Michael Hingson ** 59:10
team at Xcelsior coaching.com. Well, great, well, I hope people will reach out you clearly have been very successful, you are doing good work. And I think that it’s important that that be recognized. And I hope that that people will find ways to to explore working with you if they need to coach. So you all know how to do that now and I hope that you will I want to thank you for being here with us, me me and I also want to thank you for listening out there. Wherever you are. I’d love to hear from you love your thoughts about today’s podcast. Of course, as I asked people regularly and will continue to do so please give us a five star rating wherever you are listening to unstoppable mindset. We appreciate it. If you’d like to reach out to me I’d love to hear your thoughts about Today and just in general about our podcasts, please feel free to email me at Michaelhi m i c h a e l h i had accessiBe A c c e s s i b e.com Or go to our website www dot Michael hingson.com/podcast. Michael Hingson is m i c h a e l h i n g s o n. So www dot Michael hingson.com/podcast. But again, please give us a five star rating. We appreciate it. And one last time, Mayme, I want to really thank you for being here. This has been most informative, and I think very instructive all the way around. I hope that that people learned a lot from what we discussed today and that it will be good for them going forward. So
Mayme Doumbia ** 1:00:46
much for having me. I really appreciate it and I enjoyed our conversation as well.
**Michael Hingson ** 1:00:57
You have been listening to the Unstoppable Mindset podcast. Thanks for dropping by. I hope that you’ll join us again next week, and in future weeks for upcoming episodes. To subscribe to our podcast and to learn about upcoming episodes, please visit www dot Michael hingson.com slash podcast. Michael Hingson is spelled m i c h a e l h i n g s o n. While you’re on the site., please use the form there to recommend people who we ought to interview in upcoming editions of the show. And also, we ask you and urge you to invite your friends to join us in the future. If you know of any one or any organization needing a speaker for an event, please email me at speaker at Michael hingson.com. I appreciate it very much. To learn more about the concept of blinded by fear, please visit www dot Michael hingson.com forward slash blinded by fear and while you’re there, feel free to pick up a copy of my free eBook entitled blinded by fear. The unstoppable mindset podcast is provided by access cast an initiative of accessiBe and is sponsored by accessiBe. Please visit www.accessibe.com . AccessiBe is spelled a c c e s s i b e. There you can learn all about how you can make your website inclusive for all persons with disabilities and how you can help make the internet fully inclusive by 2025. Thanks again for Listening. Please come back and visit us again next week.

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