- Tell us about you, your experience and time in the Middle East.
- I refer to myself as an international gypsy! I opened my eyes in 1971 in the old Dubai; 2 months before the full union took place with the last emirate joining in; as my parents had migrated from Iran in late 60’s and made UAE their home. Right after high school it was time to head out to Stockholm, Sweden where I continued my university studies in Hospitality Management. Stockholm was home to few of my close relatives and being ranked one of the safest countries in the world it was the obvious choice besides Dubai. The time in Sweden (15 years) opened my mind to many things and one of the most important of all was “absolute tolerance”. Those years shaped me into who I am today. I made my way to Italy as a professional in 2005 and continued to work in the luxury space within the hospitality industry; besides enjoying myself with the lifestyle and quality of life; and resided in Rome for 4 years. Again, a great city with immense learnings that broadened my view on many aspects in life. One of the most important learnings was to enjoy life and I mean every single day! Besides that’s where I met my partner in crime and wife Rita (whom I have been married to happily for the past 12 years). In 2009 I was offered an opportunity to relocate to UAE as a regional sales manager for the luxury chain I was working for in Rome (The Rocco Forte Hotels), which I accepted without a second thought, and with my wife’s support. I moved “back” to UAE on 31st of January 2009 and it has been an amazing ride since! I have had the privilege of working with amazing people within the hospitality and went off after leaving The Rocco Forte Hotels in 2012 to lead the global sales organization in Hilton Worldwide (Saudi Arabia & Bahrain offices) which in 2014 was followed by joining the Marriott International global sales organization and leading The Ritz-Carlton global sales in Middle East & India. My interest for training and learning start seriously to surface in 2015 when I was one of the sales training facilitators within Marriott International in MEA. Between 2015 and 2020 I certified over 500 associates in sales, revenue, negotiation, executive presentation and high performance trainings across Middle East & Africa, besides leading a multimillion sales department that won The President’s Circle in 2018 (top 5% of sales achievers in Marriott Int’l globally). Besides this I was a freelance co-active coach and worked as an internal coach in Marriott Int’l with the HR department to deliver group coaching and workshops. My burning passion for learning helped me when in August 2020 I waved goodbye to Marriott International and dedicated my full time to Pedari Coaching FZE and today I offer leadership coaching and learning solutions to organizations and professionals equally.
- How would you describe the culture of your business?
- At Pedari Coaching FZE the core values are the A to Z, and will not be discounted for anyone or any piece of business! I would sum it above in the following words: Daring, Innovative, Curious and Un-traditional.
- How easy is it for you to get direct access to the decision makers in your company?
- Middle East is not an easy place when it comes to decisions let alone decision makers! The best solution and time/money invested is in networks and through referrals. I sincerely do not spend a single $ on advertisements (traditional or digital) and instead put all my efforts into finding and connecting with healthy and productive networks that comprise of entrepreneurs and professionals that can help each other “grow” by “giving”.
- What are your biggest challenges in the next 5 years?
- The coaching industry is a relatively young one in the region; even with a high number of certified coaches; and has huge potential! In order to grow Pedari Coaching FZE into a 7 digit profitable business the urgency to get the right investors is key for a long term success plan, and in return to take coaching to a digital platform and provide organizations a “democratic” solution to the traditional and expensive coaching that was available to few high income executives.
- What are the skills and competencies that you would need to train in order to meet the regions talent requirements.
- My experience has proven to me that time spent on learning about cultural differences is a time wisely spent! With cultural differences I mean breaking it down to micro-culture and not only referring to the nation a person comes from. The Global DISC is an area that I started exploring in mid 2020 and keep on digging deeper to eventually get my certification in 2021. When we can; easier said than done; identify the profile of the person who stands/sits in front of us only then can we understand “why we are not able to connect easily” or on the contrary “why we get along with a hassle.” I find the science of knowing people in a short period of time is indeed the most valuable and important one for me and my business!
Sohail Michael Pedari
Founder / Leadership coach / Learning specialist Pedari Coaching FZE