Dawn Metcalfe

  • BSc Hons. (Modern Languages)
  • MA (Education)
  • INLPTA Certified Coach
  • Crucial Conversations Certified Trainer
  • PMP (Project Management Professional) of the Project Management Institute
  • Various short courses in management at Harvard Business School and Stanford Business School.
About Dawn Metcalfe

Having worked in seven countries ranging from when she was a teenager in Ireland through to her time teaching teachers in China, to her now home in Dubai, Dawn Metcalfe has worked with leaders at all levels around the region and beyond to change the way they see the world, their behaviour and their impact on others. As well as authoring The HardTalk Handbook and Managing the Matrix, she is also the founder of Dubai-based PDSi, which helps individuals and teams get even better at what they do best. Known for not being afraid to tell truth, her insights and straight-talking approach has kept her constantly in demand from large multinationals and government entities, across the Middle East, over the last 10 years. 

Dawn regularly contributes to publications including Entrepreneur Middle East, Forbes and The Tempest and speaks publicly on a broad range of subjects on the radio and at conferences. Dawn created HardTalk (the book and accompanying modular, blended programme) to help us get better at mastering the science and art of difficult conversations we keep avoiding. Using extensive research and neuroscience techniques, it explores the reasons behind communication behaviour and how to combat those that hold us back. Dawn’s HardTalk principles help people to hear and be heard effectively to get the results they want, no matter culture, background or experience.


Dawn is an INLPTA certified coach. The reasons Dawn is hired as a coach range are varied but include:

  • Supporting the induction of a senior person to a more senior or different role
  • Acting as an independent sounding board
  • Underpinning the effective implementation of organizational change
  • Accelerating the personal development of individuals defined as high potential
  • Rewarding and retaining key staff critical to the business
  • Helping executives to become more effective in their roles, more influential among their peers
  • To build a wider support base within their organization.

As a trainer and facilitator Dawn works with groups to help them see the world in a different way. She skillfully manages dissenting opinions and creates a safe space for debate. Here is an overview of some of the work she has done;

  • HardTalk – Dawn developed and delivers a certified programme designed to help individuals and teams have “difficult conversations” or HardTalk.
  • Coaching Conversations - Dawn delivered, across the UAE and MENA, a course to help high potential managers from a large multinational healthcare organization improve their understanding of coaching for success and their ability to use key coaching practices to develop others.
  • Leadership building - Dawn works with organizations to identify the ongoing developmental learning needs of middle and senior management as they prepare for their next challenge.
  • Performance Management - Dawn has worked with a number of organizations in the UAE and GCC to help them develop an understanding of the behaviours necessary for successful performance management, including the ability to respectfully but effectively conduct difficult conversations.
  • Cultural Change - A relatively new semi-governmental organization in the UAE wanted to ensure that its culture was one where safety was of paramount importance. Dawn developed a year-long programme designed to help employees at all level understand their responsibility in “walking the talk”.
In a nutshell

I help master the science and art of the difficult conversations we keep avoiding, no matter culture, background or experience.