Waves of Change: Coaching on the Frontlines of Humanity – Vladyslava Bandurko

Vladyslava Bandurko is an educator, the owner of a private school, and the founder of Education 360, a public organization in Kyiv, Ukraine.

Vladyslava opened a new, larger school for children ages 6 to 17 in Kyiv, Ukraine, in 2018. When Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, she was determined that education would continue despite the significant hardships. Further, she turned the school into a shelter and quickly provided refuge for more than 60 families.

“I wanted the school to be an asylum for students and their families. A beacon of hope and safety amongst the tragedy occurring in our community,” said Vladyslava.

While managing the large school and tending to families taking shelter there, Vladyslava was also managing her own way through the trauma of the war while pregnant.

This was Vladyslava’s second experience living through war, after first experiencing Russia’s attack on Donetsk in 2014. After surviving Donetsk, it took Vladyslava six years to rediscover joy in life. When war emerged in Kyiv in 2022, she recognized that she would need better support to come out the other side of this war in better condition than last time.

“Having weathered the storms of Donetsk, I was determined that merely surviving would not be enough – I needed to take immediate action to help mitigate the lasting turmoil I had endured previously,” said Vladyslava. She decided that working with a coach would offer her the support necessary to fortify herself in these extreme conditions and empower her to continue to support the others now in her care.

Coaching was a well-known instrument for Vladyslava. “It was real magic! In the afternoon I was at a women’s club meeting and listened to the story of an incredibly energetic girl about how she changed her profession, left a large corporate business, and became a coach. And in the evening, my student’s mother sent me a link to join the coaching project with the words, ‘You might be interested.’ I registered, and later saw that the coach in this project was the lady whom I listened to with admiration in the women’s community that day,” she said.

Throughout this unimaginably challenging time, engaging with a coach became a source of light and guidance for Vladyslava. It helped her to keep her focus distanced from the turmoil occurring in her country that she could not control, and instead on the concrete steps necessary to regain a sense of control in her life and business, and on the positive impact she could have in her own school, and in protecting the families sheltering within it.

Well beyond surviving, Vladyslava feels she has entered a new phase of growth, which helped her to find the strength to navigate the multifaceted responsibilities of her role as a businesswoman and caretaker, and, above all, avoid shutting herself off from her capacity joy in its entirety again. Even amid the extreme conditions of war unfolding around her, Vladyslava credits her work with her coach for helping her to transform her fear and overwhelm into actions that kept her connected to purpose and equipped her to help others.

“Throughout this devastation, our entire team of 200 has been standing resilient, leaning on one another for support. Our strength is a reminder that there is no limit to what we can achieve together when we seek out sources of light during dark times,” said Vladyslava.

For Vladyslava, coaching was transformative, offering a source of light during dark times. It enabled her to focus on tangible steps to regain control in her life and business, fostering growth and preventing a complete disconnect from enjoying life. Even amid the chaos of war, her coaching empowered her to channel fear and overwhelm into meaningful actions, connecting her to purpose and enabling her to support others.