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Executive Coaching Or Life Coaching? Finding The Right Fit For You

Written by: Lauren Cartigny, Senior Level Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

Executive Contributor Lauren Cartigny

As the fog of the pandemic lifts, many people are re-evaluating their careers and lifestyles and seeking self-transformation to enhance the quality of their work and personal lives.

Stressed woman at work.

While some are focussing on how to deliver results with less stress or in difficult situations, others are longing to up-level professionally and become a more empowered leader within their organisation.

But can you have a high-pressure role with big responsibilities and feel well? Many Executives and CEOs don’t believe this is possible. But I believe it is. And this is where coaching comes in.

In this article, I will explore the benefits of executive and life coaching to help you better understand the benefits.

Why work with a coach?

Whether it's reducing stress, advancing professionally, or fostering a well-being culture, the question arises: should I engage in some form of coaching?

Most of us know what we should be doing to feel well, but we don’t do it. Why? Because 95% of our thoughts, feelings and actions are subconscious.

Coaching is a way to uncover those subconscious patterns which no longer serve us by working on the intangible more implicit topics like emotions, relationships, human behaviour, untapped potential and much more.

Executive coaching: Delivering business results

Executive coaching is ideal if you are a senior executive seeking rapid and high-impact results. Executive coaching focuses on delivering business results. It empowers leaders to reach their maximum potential through a thought-provoking and creative partnership.

For me, the aim is to provide a safe space for senior leaders who are often alone with high stake issues and have nowhere to go to explore their thoughts, bounce ideas, and solve problems they only deal with at work.

By delving into subconscious patterns and implicit topics, executive coaching helps uncover obstacles that hinder growth. It provides a safe space for senior leaders to explore their thoughts, bounce ideas, and solve unique work-related challenges.

Here are some of the benefits of executive coaching:

1 Understanding your personality type: Discovering strengths and weaknesses

Gain self-awareness by identifying blind spots, improving communication, learning about conflict styles and understanding your impact on others. It’s also important to identify strengths and weaknesses that are keeping you from reaching your short- and long-term goals. By doing this, you can become more self-aware, make better choices for yourself, and become a more conscious leader. I work with The Process Communication Model which uncovers your predictable stress sequence. When we become aware of this, we can start to build self-awareness around it, to catch ourselves when this is not serving our health, relationships or our results.

2 Receiving unbiased feedback

Coaches offer honest feedback without biases or hidden agendas. They provide fresh perspectives on leadership styles and help provide solution-based approaches designed to help you reach your goals. That is where the magic happens when the coach mirrors back your own beliefs for you to recognise for yourself. These beliefs will be the ones which hold you back. It is only when you see them for yourself that you can then take steps to change them. This type of radical constructive feedback will rarely reach you in any other way, especially when you are a senior leader.

3 Embracing discomfort

Addressing uncomfortable topics, situations, and feelings is crucial for personal and professional growth. As a senior leader, you will be in your comfort zone a lot of the time, but making radical changes often requires making difficult decisions in unfamiliar situations.

Coaches guide you in navigating these challenges and developing self-awareness, which helps change company cultures and employee engagement. I find that coaching is one of the only places Executives can bring their challenges working with investors and Board politics.

4 Mastering goal setting and time management

The more senior you become, the less time you have. What you choose to spend your time with becomes a skill in itself. This can always be optimised, and small changes can have a big impact fast. Coaches help set specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound goals. They optimise your time management skills, ensuring impactful results.

5 Boosting self-confidence

Having an executive coach is like having a personal cheerleader to support you in succeeding at work and in life. Through stress management techniques, mindfulness, and self-regulation skills, your confidence grows, and you are able to access clarity of thought to make better decisions. You can never undo self-awareness, so once you learn new ways of being, sustaining this is simply a matter of choice. If you notice tangible benefits from changing how you show up, you tend to keep doing it because you will notice the negative impact of not doing this much more.

Executive coaching is regulated, and professional qualifications are needed to validate knowledge and experience. Companies tend to fund this type of leadership development.

Life coaching: Personal development

While executive coaching focuses on business results, life coaching shifts the lens onto personal development, covering areas such as confidence, relationships, stress management, and well-being.

While there is overlap with executive coaching, life coaching aims to improve your personal life, which subsequently impacts professional performance. Unlike executive coaching, life coaching does not require extensive professional qualifications and is not as regulated.

If you want to improve both your personal and professional life, Life Coaching for Executives offers a blended approach. It leverages executive coaching qualifications and deeply transformative experience to help you thrive in all areas focusing on improving your relationships and results by improving how you manage your well-being, communication, and influence. Sales Leaders, in particular, find that this blend of life and professional coaching impacts their results.

Leadership coaching

Leadership coaching targets senior and mid-level management, while executive coaching exclusively focuses on top-tier leaders such as CEOs, CROs, VPs, and Senior Directors. Most often the same process is run, but different types of challenges apply as Leaders deal more with employees and team dynamics. Leadership coaching tends to be part of development accelerator programs, supporting leaders in upskilling and adapting to new responsibilities. Executive coaching, on the other hand, also includes a more systemic approach to understanding the implications of decisions throughout the entire organisation. Managing dynamics with investors is also unique to Executives.

My favourite coaching tools

There is an abundance of methodology, practices, and tools that coaches utilise during sessions. These are used as an aid to help clients better understand themselves, unlock new self-awareness and reach and exceed their goals. Here are a few of my favourites:

1 The process communication model (PCM)

PCM is the tool I favour for developing self-awareness of personality types, predictable stress behaviour, and adaptive communication skills. PCM offers a deep understanding of oneself and helps manage stress proactively.

2 Gestalt psychology

This approach focuses on holistic experiences and emphasises present awareness. Gestalt-trained coaches quickly diagnose underlying problems and facilitate powerful change faster in my experience.

3 Mindfulness

By practising mindfulness, you can enhance your self-awareness, reduce stress, and gain clarity of thought. It complements other coaching methodologies and helps unlock new perspectives. I invite anyone to try te 10-day free trial of the Waking Up Meditation app. It is by far the most impactful process I have witnessed client adopt over the long term. Sam Harris is a neuroscientist, best-selling New York Times author and creator of the Waking Up. I believe it to be a good blend between the scientific explanations of the process our mind needs to go through to go quiet, and a more spiritual approach without pushing any strong beliefs. Sam encourages you to find what works for you, and not impose a specific way of being.

4 Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP)

NLP analyses successful individuals' strategies and applies them to personal goals. It leverages language, thoughts, and behaviour patterns to generate action and change. I work with this to support clients to access different desired state through visualisation. Our brain doesn’t differential between our imagination and what we experience, so we can leverage our imagination to re-wire our mind in the way we wish to support reaching our goals.

To sum up – You can have both life and executive coaching in one

Coaching can be transformational on a personal and professional level if the intention to change is strong. It empowers you to reach your professional potential, improve relationships, and achieve lasting success. After all, as I shared, 95% of our thoughts, feelings and actions are subconscious. So, we are not in control of our reality. If we can expand our consciousness and discover more of how 95% of our subconscious mind works, then we have more power to change the patterns which are getting in our way. That is how we become top of our game!

My work blends Life Coaching and Executive Coaching as I believe learning to perform from a place of well-being involves better understanding ourselves at work and at home.

If you are looking to make a change and are interested in finding out more about coaching, get in touch.

Follow Lauren Cartigny on LinkedIn and Twitter. Find out more about her on her website and sign up for her newsletter. For those wondering, Cartigny is pronounced like martini but with a C!

Lauren Cartigny Brainz Magazine

Lauren Cartigny, Senior Level Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Lauren Cartigny is a Business and Life Professional Coach for Executives and Conscious Leadership Trainer. Following a successful international corporate career in Sales for leading Tech firms, Lauren faced an unexpected burnout. After re-learning how to perform from a place of well-being as opposed to delivering results from a place of suffering, Lauren has created transformative coaching and training programs for high achieving Leaders seeking to empower themselves with self-knowledge to improve their well-being, their relationships, and their results. Lauren is the Founder of The Self-Science Lab a personal development training company for professionals seeking to find Peace, Power and Purpose.



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