Trainer Spotlight: Paula Jane Cox

Paula Jane Cox is a People & Business developer & Coach

Tell us more about your background and how you came to your current position?

My initial career was in sales, at British Telecom’s Yellow Pages (before we had computers at work)! Then I moved into Magazine Publishing and Advertising for a few years which took me to Singapore, when I returned in 2000, I helped a friend out with some “sales training” one day … I have worked for myself in people development ever since, the rest is history, so they say…

What is your mission?

Missions do evolve over time, right now I am focusing on becoming a simple, straightforward bank of information to make a difference to others.

How does your training/consulting help business leaders?

My deep experience and hands on knowledge are my added strength for others, and I focus on keeping things as straightforward as possible – often known for shifting leaders back INTO the box – where it clearly works…not always ‘out’ of it!

What are the current trends in the training industry in the Middle East?

I think we are still very much in a vortex of evolving, and the culture of creativity and innovation in the region, can somewhat cause negative outcomes, sadly – with some organizations continually shifting to ‘the latest fads’ thus missing out on the consistency required. Gaining foundational strengths from traditional competency matching and strategic alignments will create a much stronger base.

You have worked with a number of leading companies and individuals; can you share a case study of a successful client project?

One of my most memorable was a local bank. The brief was ‘’We have too many VP’s and low skilled ones too what can we do?‘’ A fairly common scenario, and a perfect challenge. Historically, placement of status driven recruitment had led to a top heavy, low skilled mix of VPs – we created a 4-day program to take things back to basics without creating a feeling of low morale or ego stripping by using my favorite people development tool , Lumina Spark. We developed a program of taking everyone back to an equal base, and aligning with strategies, and then created activities that shaped self-awareness in a very subtle way, this enabled us to go back to the basics and up skill, driven by the group itself. At the end of the workshops, one prestigious local VP stood up and said this ‘’I haven’t ever realized that my behaviors and indeed, capabilities upon my team were so relevant, I will now change my ways immediately for better success.” The feeling of ‘Making a difference’ was never stronger for me, as it was, right then.

What interesting and successful projects are you currently involved in?

The pandemic ceased my global training immediately, and naturally edged me into more focus on coaching and business planning, both corporately and individuals; I have a super interesting balance of coaching clients across the globe right now, from one of the world’s top professional poker players, to a Dubai Bling superstar… and some credible CEOs and Sheikhs in-between. Not one of my clients is boring… I am also finding more need for bespoke team and capability building, recently we took a group of thirty over to Zanzibar, where they visited the NGO school where I am a director, for give back and CSR focus, then we went to a hotel for some team building and bonding. This is becoming a typical focus that I am enjoying.

What are your top THREE people development tips for business leaders?

Alignment – ensure there is some specific strategic or purposeful alignment in the people development – stop Box Ticking!

Get a Learning Professional on the Executive team, and realize this area if of specific knowledge, rather than a HR ‘add on’. (After all, we don’t get the IT Director teaching basic excel programs do we?)

Focus on some quantitively, connected learning programs, not ‘one off’s … don’t sign of on any development programs that don’t have a plan to track and trace. It’s a waste of everyone’s time and money!

You are the author of a fresh new Leadership Model for the region: Geo-Neutral Leadership. Tell us more about this.

This has been a long term developed program to hit the ‘cultural’ and bias issues we face, especially in this region, in managing the cultural mix. The drive for this was watching so many ‘Culturally diverse’ programs causing more harm than good – the program has deep research to demonstrate that we need to embrace rather than assume things will work because some said so! It involves many Harvard base activities and case studies that focuses more upon the strategies that lie beneath the bias/cultural issues rather than the ‘cracked glass scenarios’ that we create typically.

What is your favorite leadership quote?

You don’t hire for skills; you hire for attitude. You can always teach skills – Simon Sinek

How can readers find out more about you?

Feel free to connect via WhatsApp: +971 5678 01067 The strongest platform for my business is, and has always been on LinkedIn. I don’t have ‘off the shelf’’ products to promote, but prefer conversations… Please feel free to connect and discuss, at any time. LinkedIn:

Editor-In-Chief of Bizpreneur Middle East