In this episode, Eva is inspired to meet Kalim Ul Masih, a coach who shares his tips for Mastering Finland and mastering yourself.
Kalim was born, raised and grew up in Finland until he completed his compulsory military service and then explored the world through working in different humanitarian missions. His Finnish mother and his father from Pakistan raised him well.
This humanitarian work took him across Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia and beyond, where as a Finn he learnt to be the foreigner in international cultures, including some time in his father’s home country Pakistan. However after finding himself stuck in Iraq due to the Covid-19 travel restrictions, Kalim came home to Finland.
So how has Finland changed, Eva asked as the interview gets underway.
Finland is a much more international place than it used to be but it still retains its very distinctive aspects of culture, such as the core goodness at the heart of every Finn, but almost every Finn is also very private in life.
Kalim reflects on his friendships and how many friends have gone away but during his compulsory military service he made deep friendships held together by an unspoken bond.
Having stopped working in humanitarian missions, Kalim is now an accredited coach helping people develop their full potential. His energy and enthusiasm for his work and for seeing people develop their own potential is very contagious. It took Kalim two years to gain his accreditation – he is committed to coaching and to the people he coaches.
Working within a professional context everything shared between a coach and client is completely confidential. Kalim explains to Eva that a coach is not a mentor, an instructor or a therapist though if it becomes clear that a client needs any of these then they will be pointed in the right direction.
With the wealth of international experience gained through humanitarian work, are there any cultural differences in people’s needs? Of course there are individual differences between people but ultimately we are all human and just as we need food, water, air as much as anyone else on the planet, many of our intrinsic needs and wants are the same across cultures.
When Eva asks what do Kalim’s Finnish friends find annoying about him, he says that he talks too much. But then the more tricky question comes up about how to get a Finn to talk to you? To ask for advice, but about general things, such as how best to keep warm outside, and always use open questions. Finns have a core goodness and will always want to help if they can, even if it is a small gesture like ‘can you pass the salt?’. With these, we can learn to listen and appreciate what is being communicated is often more than just the words. But remember it is still a very private country and culture so personal questions might not get an answer.
Finnish travel tips begin with Rovaniemi and crossing the line into the Arctic circle, second tip is central Finland (Konnevesi) for fishing trips and definitely head to Turku for brilliant energy and nightlife.
If you want to know more about Kalim's coaching company, check: