The world saw remarkable shifts in leadership pattern at the turn of the millennium with women driving success stories across all sectors. There are many women leaders in Asia today who have forged their own paths to success, serving as role models and inspiring many around the world. The founder of Muslim Women Coaching, Annie Yahaya, is one such role model. Annie is a life coach, a learning facilitator, a businesswoman, a community builder, a writer, and an unwavering optimist committed to supporting women achieving their highest potential.
Annie launched her career in the hospitality industry in Tokyo, Japan. As a multi-lingual young hotel management executive, she thrived in the then-active travel market in Asia. After a few cities, leadership promotions, a child, and major life events later, she chose stability over aspirations and took a challenge in an industry unfamiliar to many – the air-rail business – where she led a marketing and sales team. The company she worked for deals with airport-city connectivity, airlines check-ins, and transporting the public so quite imaginably, a flaw in the human experience of any of these can cause PR and marketing nightmare.
Needless to say, there were more than a few. A couple of years later she was headhunted for a job which to her, was even more challenging – the business of people. At an agency of the government endowed to enhance the capacity of leaders in the financial sector, she went in to make leadership education a joyous learning experience everyone needs and deserves.
The Genesis of MWC: The Inspiration Behind Its Inception
MWC was set up in September 2020 in the thick of confusions, uncertainties and insecurities caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic. Four weeks into the nationwide lockdown, businesswoman Annie Yahaya began to struggle getting herself together after having to deal with drastically changing personal needs, caring for the family’s growing demands and confusions, and an intensely strained business. To top that off, calls were coming in from friends and clients who were looking for comfort in conversations that would make them feel in control and empowered. Despite feeling helpless herself, she held space for everyone to the point of extreme exhaustion.
On recovery and realising she was sliding down a slippery slope, Annie pulled the handbrake on gloom and misery. She rose with a mission, created new routines, trained to be a virtual facilitator, designed empowerment programs, and gathered friends together online to talk about the purpose of life. Because she understood their pains and spoke their ‘language’ of motherhood, she decided to focus her energy on women and children. She aspired to work with Muslim women particularly because of how widely her faith is misunderstood. She set her heart on anchoring conversations on the greatness of Allah, and the exemplary behaviours of His Prophet Muhammad PBUH. It was the right time for faith-based conversations to take centre stage, and she wanted to lead it.
Fired with a new-found purpose, Annie started designing faith-based coaching curricula that enables women to master coaching conversation skills so they may support their families and communities, and even start their own coaching businesses. The vision was and still is, to fill the earth with strength, compassion, and wisdom of women, and to keep faith alive. She wanted to make purpose-conscious conversations more commonplace and support the world’s urgent need for mental, emotional and spiritual health.
Muslim Women Coaching: An Overview
MWC offers coach certification courses for women, distinguishing itself through their faith-based approach and competencies modelled after prophetic practices. They created a coaching model that supports forward-oriented conversations which process begins with defining the importance of what women wants and what it means to have them, and ending with letting go in total submission to the Creator knowing that any miracles of manifestation is only by Him.
In 2022, MWC introduced the world’s first faith-based creative coaching conversation tool called the Essence of Life™, a set of 297 multi-combination cards that are impactful for deep conversations with self and teams. The tool have been making waves of positive impact on men and women, and even children. To date, they have built a community of Conscious Conversation™ Coaches and Essence of Life™ Conversationalists around the world, and are represented in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Australia and the Philippines. By December 2023, they aim to be represented in Europe.
Though MWC started out to benefit Muslim women, men and non-Muslims have participated in MWC-organized events too because of the universality of their Essence of Life™ card-play experience. It is an incredible product for the discovery of self and one’s own solution to life challenges. Busy professionals who find it hard to enliven harmony and find peace in their choices will appreciate the genius of Essence of Life™.
Creating Collaborations with Individuals and Organizations
MWC’s current primary objective is building collaborations with individuals and organizations around the world who are working on well-being projects for business- and professional women, and their communities. They acknowledge that women, though seen as strong, capable, independent and therefore built to weather adversities coming their way, are the most needing of purpose-conscious conversations to continue running the distance and win the race.
“To reach out to our women and potential collaborators, we participate in global events as much as we can. This is not necessarily the most effective way, but at the very least, we get brand exposure and opportunities to talk to women about the benefits of life coaching. We found that outside the US, life coaching is little known and much less understood”, the leading lady elaborated.
MWC desires to collaborate with women leaders in 25 nations by 2025. All efforts considered, they appear to be on the right track.
Addressing the Key Industry Challenges
The challenge for all service providers in the wellbeing industry is the lack of acknowledgement of need by the very people the services are designed for. Side-by-side the services they offer, MWC organizes experiential programs so women understand what they are signing up for, why it is important to them, and how it benefits them. This is an on-going effort, and Annie and her team continues to run free discovery programs for women to learn about and engage in coaching experiences, in-person and online.
Giving Back to the Community
As a socially-responsible organization, MWC runs bespoke programs for neuro-diverse children and their parents. These events are facilitated by their in-house psychologists, and are supported by MWC-trained Coaches.
The Future Outlook: In the Next Five Years
In the next 5 years, they are planning to launch a number of tech-based applications that would change the way life coaching services are consumed – a personal life coach for everyone, at their fingertips.