Barbara Asimakopoulou is an award-winning Executive and Team Coach, an ICF accredited coach educator, and the author of Inner Emancipation: Coaching, Leadership, and Philosophy. In 2020, she was awarded Boussias’ Bronze HR Award for “Most innovative leadership skills development program”. More recently, in 2021, she was deemed # 1 Executive Coach in Athens by Influence Digest. She credits ancient Greek philosophy as the foundation of her education and coaching practice.
How did you become interested in philosophy?
I’ve faced many challenges in life. Most of those challenges I’ve been able to overcome, turning adversity into opportunity. I have a strong belief that our existence is up to God, but the way we choose to live is up to us.
The years of economic crisis (in Greece) have significantly impacted my life, my outlook and actions. I was looking for a way to continue working with passion and also take care of my family and maintain peace in the home despite financial stress.
Philosophy played a big role in shaping my journey during this time. I happened upon books by modern scholars such as Lou Marinoff and the existential psychologist Irvin Yalom. Both continuously referenced ancient Greek philosophy in their work. And so, I began to study philosophy greats like Plato and Aristotle. Socrates was another philosopher that fascinated me, and his teachings became the center of my coaching practice.
I’ve found a correlation between modern coaching science and Socrates’ wisdom and have since written about it. One of my published articles for the ICF (International Coaching Association) states that Socrates was the first coach ever. That statement was met with great reception.
My greatest wish, that year of struggle, was that I would be able to make a positive impact on my future, and to then be able to do the same for others through the teachings of Greek philosophers. This wish became a mission and still my mission to this day. Not only do I use Greek philosophy in my coaching practice, but I have built my coaching curriculum around it.
What’s the most important concept or idea that you teach people?
I believe both ancient and modern philosophers ultimately ask and explore how and why: how we adopt certain values and beliefs and why we choose them.
My ultimate goal has always been to transform lives. It’s rewarding to have a hand in helping people reach their full potential, achieving things they never thought possible. I teach my clients to embrace adversity, to derive strength from it, in order to become more resilient both professionally and spiritually. Moreover, I help people develop a healthier framework to their outlook with the help of ancient Greek texts. I believe this is part of the journey on the way to the authentic self, what successful leaders are made of.
The process of my inner awakening has been long and challenging, a back-and-forth between joy and sadness. My coaching and experience as an educator, however, has become the catalyst for my own self-discovery and finding purpose.
What do you think is the most important piece of practical advice that we can derive from your work?
Inner leadership, mastering ourselves, is a prerequisite for our own happiness and to develop the ability to lead others. Only by understanding and mastering the self, inner emancipation, can we truly be empathetic to the personal journey and inner work of others.
My desire is to pass down the tools provided by ancient philosophy to others to help them find meaning, reach eudemonia, and realise their full potential. I’ve created three online courses to help:
- Coaching & Philosophy in Practice shows how to apply coaching and philosophy to everyday life. It’s also what I base my 1:1 and team coaching, my educational programs, and my professional identity on.
- The innovative Philosophership is based on self-knowledge, continuous redefinition, accountability, and the practice of virtues for individual and collective well-being and recently,
- Coaching Skills & Tools in Practice introduced the science of coaching with a theoretical, practical, philosophical, and mindfulness approach
Do you have a favorite quote that you use?
To lead after you first learn to be led, because if you learn this, you will know how to lead.(quote attributed to Solon)
What advice would you give someone who wanted to learn more about what you do?
They can visit my site that features my services, courses, books, and blog.
Suppose you were able to give a talk or workshop at the original location of Plato’s Academy…
I’d be honored to host workshops on finding meaning, inner leadership, women in leadership and more!