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  • Writer's pictureDave Veale


Updated: Sep 23, 2021

Dora Nicinski

After working for more than 35 years in the challenging health-care sector,

Dora Nicinski brings the same motivational force to her current work as a leadership coach: a determination to make an immediate and important difference for the people around her.

Dora’s skills in transition management, honed after decades in a variety of top leadership roles in health-care organizations across Canada, mean she has a unique insight into complex situations and relationships.

Not only has she learned how to navigate the landscape of uncertainty and upheaval in organizations, she has developed a passion for doing work that makes a difference. She brings that clear-sighted enthusiasm to our roster of leadership coaches at Vision Coaching.

“I like challenges,” Dora says. “I’m comfortable making decisions. I like building a team and watching those people thrive. I like working with a board. I like every aspect of it.

“One learns that a crisis always passes. You can’t stay in a chronic state of crisis. It just doesn’t work that way.”

“Sure, there are times when the problems are over the top, but not that often. And there’s always a resolution. One learns that a crisis always passes. You can’t stay in a chronic state of crisis. It just doesn’t work that way.”

Her most recent position in health care was CEO of the Atlantic Health Sciences Corp. in Saint John. She retired from the field in 2010 but discovered that “retirement didn’t really work for me.”

The drive to be connected and to make a difference steered her into executive coaching. She received her graduate certificate in executive coaching from Royal Roads University in 2014 and began offering coaching services to professionals seeking growth in their lives and careers.

“I like the autonomy and I like making a difference,” says Dora, who began her career in health as a nurse. “And with all the years of experience, in working my way up to various positions from front line to leadership in complex organizations, I wanted to be able to support people who are also undergoing the same kind of experience.”

Key to prospering

Dora says that a key to prospering during times of uncertainty, such as we are now experiencing with the COVID-19 crisis, is resilience in leadership. As she puts it, being resilient means you bounce instead of shattering when times get tough.

“I listen to people as they communicate what their challenges are and I help them find their resilience, come to terms with change and come up with ways to help that are specific to them,” Dora says.

“So helping people find their way is something that I do with clients. Helping people change their view, change their perspective and see things differently is what’s required. If we can see things differently, it changes everything.

There’s a cliche about that: when we change the way we look at things, then the things that we’re looking at also change.”

Dora says that in these difficult times, with the pandemic still dictating many business decisions, it can be lonely at the top. The challenges are enormous and she says this is a perfect time for organizations to reach out to coaches so they have “a safe place to talk.”

Safe place to be vulnerable

“A place where one can admit what one is worried about, or scared of, or doesn’t know what to do with, or how to solve something, or feel stuck. So it’s a safe place to be vulnerable.”

Dora said when she was a CEO she occasionally hired coaches for her team, but not for herself. She realizes now how great it would have been to have that support, to have that “safe place” to share ideas and worries.

“This may sound hokey, but I sincerely and honestly feel like it’s an honour to be able to do this kind of work with people,” she says. “It requires a certain amount of trust, and trust in confidentiality, and trust in being treated respectfully, not being judged and being valued.

So it’s truly an honour for people to allow me to be their coach. And it means a lot to me. Every one of my relationships with my clients means a lot to me. I feel it’s a privilege.”

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