“Do or do not. There is no try.”

Episode #1047: In this episode of the Arete Coach Podcast, guest Jill Douka, Master Certified Coach (MCC), best-selling author, and director of the Global Academy of Coaching, discusses the importance of reframing negative experiences, the dedication of being a lifelong learner, and the value of introspection and identifying what your own goals are. Topics including the Great Resignation, ramifications of COVID-19 on the workplace, and the need for coaches to have their own personal coaching support are also discussed. Join us as we learn more about becoming the best coaches we can be while helping others along the way.



About Jill Douka

Jill Douka is an executive coach, women’s leadership coach, and business leadership coach out of Greece. She is an ICF Certified Master Coach, Director at New York College—the International College of Greece, and Director of the Global Academy of Coaching, where she helps students across the globe develop their self-confidence, clarity, and influence to become the best coaches they can be.


Since 2014, Jill has been a best-selling author with a variety of books such as, “Create Love” and “How to Create Your Life.” Alongside her coaching practice, Jill also engages in speaking engagements, workshops, and online training. Jill is one of the first European women to speak at two TedX events in Asia and Europe. She is also a member of the Forbes Coaches Council, the Expert Industry Association, the European Mentoring and Coaching Council, the European Evolutionary Business Council, iforU Mentoring Network in Greece, the Hellenic Chapter of ICF, and the Harvard Business Review Advisory Council. She has also worked with companies such as Microsoft and Piraeus Bank.


Jill has taken the stance of a lifelong learner through her multiple certifications and dedication to using the latest coaching techniques and methodologies. Jill has a passion for helping clients and fellow coaches move towards their genuine goals by doing “#whateverittakes” to achieve their greatest successes

Key highlights

From the theater to coaching

Timestamp 02:47

Jill started dancing “from the moment” she was three years old until she was twenty-seven. She shares that dance gave her the discipline she needed to become an entrepreneur and the “amazing tools of performance” that she uses during trainings and workshops. Jill started her career cleaning the theater, but soon rose to becoming the event manager of the theater. Her enjoyment of this position led her to study management and cultural management. Ultimately, she joined the Olympic Games, training policemen and others. She continued her career in areas of HR and training out of her love for “transferring knowledge and supporting people to become the best version of themselves.”

Her ultimate transition to executive coaching came from her realization that she did not like her career. She wasn’t happy and she needed a coach. She invested in herself and realized the power of coaching. Jill got her own taste of being a coach when she helped a fellow entrepreneur apply for an entrepreneurial award at her university. Watching the entrepreneur she helped receive an award showed her the “gift of coaching” and she experienced what she called “the big shift” towards starting her executive coaching career.

Developing the Global Academy of Coaching

Timestamp 13:20

Many of Jill’s clients have approached her, wanting to become a coach like herself. However, when these clients asked Jill what training program to join, she shares that she “didn’t know which training certifications” to point them to “because none” of them were what she desired for them. After a few of her students received training from other sources and went into fields very different than coaching, Jill explains that she knew she had to “create an amazing certification with the knowledge, skills, and abilities” that she has. Today, the Global Academy of Coaches continues to train coaches to “become leaders for themselves,” practice coaching, and become the “best version of themselves.”

Empowering women

Timestamp 21:14

Jill has a passion for empowering women to be the best they can be. Currently, she is writing her book “Women Now.” In Jill’s LinkedIn profile, she states that she has a goal to empower one million women globally so that they feel secure, take action, and get the greatest value from their future. She believes that women tend to underestimate themselves and their own power. She works to help women work on themselves and become who they need to be in order to increase their impact.

The uniqueness concept

Timestamp 25:16

Jill uses what she calls the “uniqueness concept” in her coaching. She takes her coachees through a series of tests, self-reflections, and assessments to identify all the positive aspects of themselves. In doing this, she works with her clients to identify the “best, the very best of the best” of what her coachees’ skills and traits are. Severin expands upon this and states that it’s not only important for coachees’ to learn who they are and what they are best at, but for coaches themselves to be aware of this and genuine in their coaching personality. The concept of uniqueness and genuine personality applies not only to coachees but also coaches.

The coach behind the coach

Timestamp 28:23

When asked about a coach lesson that Jill has learned recently, Jill shares that in processing the passing of her father, Jill learned the importance of having her own coach to refer to. She states that, “if I didn’t have my two coaches… to go back to and support me through this difficult time, I don’t know how I would have gone through it.” Severin agrees with the importance of each coach having their own coach. He states that “every coach needs a coach and I really think you need a peer network of coaches. I know that as I have gone through challenging times, to have peers that are coaches, it’s been so helpful because of their understanding. I just think it’s so important that you find your tribe.” Severin asks Jill if it has been hard for her to receive coaching as she is a coach herself. Jill responds and explains her own hunger for the knowledge and learnings that her coaches can provide her. Jill enjoys the challenge that her coaches give her.

“What would have to happen in order for you to…?”

Timestamp 33:34

One of Jill’s most powerful questions that she asks her clients is, “What would have to happen in order for you to ____?” She shares that she uses this in all of her coaching. Jill once had a coachee who was unsure about a future conversation with an employer. Jill used this question and her coachee was able to formulate and execute a plan with success.

The Great Resignation and Positive Psychology

Timestamp 36:17

Severin shares that he believes the Great Resignation isn’t necessarily people resigning from work, but it is instead people “turning away from what they don’t like and turning to what they do like.” He also believes that because of this, there might be an increased need for “clarity” for employees and executives in the workplace. Jill Douka shares that her clients have always come to her in search of clarity. She also states that the great resignation has been framed rather negatively and could instead be framed with positive implications such as “find your vision.”

“Do or do not. There is no try.” -Yoda

Timestamp 43:47

Jill shares that her favorite quote in her coaching practice is from Star Wars’ character, Yoda: “Do or do not. There is no try.” She uses this quote in her coaching because in her coaching process, she bans words such as “try” and “hope” because “trying is a process.” She states that “The moment that you say that, ‘I’m changing my life, I’m working towards changing my life.’ There is no try. You’re doing it. If the result does not come out, it doesn’t mean that you haven’t been working towards it. So trying has the sense of 'I’m trying, but I’m never reaching my goal.'”

Growth and growth language

Timestamp 48:59

When Severin asks Jill what her “why” is, Jill shares that her “why” is found in the growth of herself and her coachees. Jill is motivated by “growth in every way” and wants to continue growing throughout her coaching practice and life. Severin shares that the language we use can either be creative and growth inspiring, or limiting. He shares an experience he had with his mother who—instead of shutting down an idea he had—asks “how would you do it?” This led him to “go explore” and not let “resources be the constraint” to his ambitions. The language that coaches use can either inspire or stifle growth.

Developing a diverse portfolio

Timestamp 51:20

In the wake of an economic crisis in Greece, Jill had to pivot her business from Business-to-Business (B2B) to Business-to-Customer (B2C). Many business leaders have experienced the same need to pivot in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. During this challenge, Jill learned the importance of having a diverse portfolio. Severin agrees with her learning and states that the market for services can either be hot or cold and can change quickly. In looking to diversify a coaching portfolio, Jill recommends that coaches find their niche and “find different ways to serve it.”


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