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From IBM Executive To Transformational Coach – Exclusive Interview With Jackie Stallings Evans

Jackie Stallings Evans, a certified ICF and BCC leadership coach and award-winning author, is dedicated to helping leaders achieve sustainable growth. Rising from entry-level to executive at IBM, she brings a distinctive understanding of the challenges faced by individuals as the only person of color and woman in the room. With her own coaching company, Jackie crafted the Rising Leader Model, informed by real-world challenges and successes. This model equips leaders with proven tools and strategies honed through her experiences and those of her clients to navigate and succeed in their careers.


Image photo of Jackie Stallings Evans

Jackie Stallings Evans, Leadership Coach and Solutions Strategist


Introduce yourself!


I'm the founder of What Do You Do When Leadership, Inc., based in Atlanta, Georgia area. My career has taken me from entry-level to executive leadership at IBM—all while navigating the unique challenges and triumphs as a woman of color.


I started this coaching and consulting firm with one mission in mind: to empower and uplift women in the workplace. The path to leadership is rarely straightforward, and I share “lessons learned,” strategies, and insights gained from my own journey.


The goal? To help other women advance, thrive, and make their mark in their respective fields. Whether you're just starting out or looking to break through to the next level, we are here to help leaders.


You see, leadership is not just about the position—it's about the mindset and making a positive impact every step of the way.

 

Can you tell us more about your business, and how you help your clients? 


We're passionate about guiding individuals and teams to unlock their fullest potential.


But how exactly do we transform leaders and organizations? It all starts with a deep dive into understanding YOU through our comprehensive personality and 360 assessments. By spotlighting strengths and pinpointing areas for growth, we tailor a coaching plan uniquely suited to elevate your leadership skills and team dynamics.


From one-on-one coaching sessions that provide personalized maps for success, to group coaching that leverages collective wisdom, and team coaching that harmonizes and energizes entire units — we're here to facilitate real, lasting change.


Whether you're looking to refine your leadership style, enhance team collaboration, or simply explore new avenues for personal growth, we're here every step of the way.

 

What inspired you to start your coaching business? What is the main mission or vision behind it?


When I was at IBM, I embarked on a journey that would unknowingly change the course of my professional life. I became a leadership coach, guiding our sales leaders towards achieving their fullest potential. Something magical unfolded before my eyes – these leaders started transforming, adopting mindsets and behaviors that propelled them to become high-performing individuals not just in their business roles but in their personal lives too. Witnessing their growth and knowing I played a part in it filled me with a sense of purpose and fulfillment I had never experienced before.


It was this revelation that led me to take the leap and start my own coaching business after leaving IBM. The vision? To support leaders and their teams in achieving positive, sustainable growth. There's a particular joy I find in empowering women leaders, helping them to advance and make their mark in the corporate world.


This mission is more than just a career choice; it’s a calling. If you or someone you know is looking to unlock their potential as a leader, I’m here to help guide that transformation. Together, we can achieve remarkable things.


Could you describe the range of coaching services you offer and the specific areas or industries you specialize in?


Absolutely! I’m excited to share with you our comprehensive range of coaching services designed to elevate your leadership to the next level!


Whether you're stepping into your first management role or looking to fine-tune your leadership skills, we have something just for you:


  1. Leadership accelerator program (6-month duration): Perfect for new managers, high potentials, and individuals with specific development needs. This program is designed to facilitate the growth and development of your leadership skills, helping you achieve sustained behavioral change and excel in your roles. Through assessments, personalized coaching, and continuous feedback, we ensure you can make meaningful and lasting improvements.

  2. Executive leadership program (12-month duration): Tailored for seasoned managers, this program is focused on enhancing your leadership effectiveness and achieving peak performance. With 12 customized coaching sessions, we aim to improve your self-awareness, strategic thinking, and adjust to your unique goals and challenges. Through comprehensive assessments, personalized coaching, and tailored action plans, this program is your key to reaching those leadership aspirations.


What would you like to achieve for yourself and your business in the future?


My heart is full as I share a milestone not just for me but for every woman striving to make her mark. I’m thrilled to introduce my latest endeavor – "Rise" – a book that embodies my relentless vision of empowering women to shatter glass ceilings everywhere.


"Rise" is not merely pages bound together; it’s a guide, and a companion for women who dare to demand more from their professional lives. It’s packed with actionable strategies, personal insights, and the tools you need to elevate your career to the next level.


But here’s the thing – this isn’t just about a book. It’s the beginning of a movement. A call for us to rally together, support one another, and break down the barriers that have for too long held us back.


I’m on a mission to get "Rise" into the hands and hearts of as many people as possible because I believe in the power of shared strength and collective growth. Together, we're not just breaking barriers; we're building a new foundation for the future.

 

How do you tailor your coaching approach to meet the individual needs and goals of your clients?


At What Do You Do When Leadership, Inc. we believe that personal growth and leadership development is not a one-size-fits-all process. That's why we've dedicated ourselves to providing a coaching experience tailored specifically to the unique needs and ambitions of each client.


Our process starts with a deep-dive survey focusing on their values, career aspirations, and what they hope to achieve through coaching. But we don't stop there. We take it a step further by incorporating personality assessments, like Myers-Briggs, DiSC, or StrengthsFinder, to help uncover more about their working style and personality traits.


But what truly is transformational for our clients is when they gather insights from those who work closely with them – their managers, peers, stakeholders, and direct reports. This feedback provides a comprehensive view of how their behaviors are perceived in relation to critical leadership skills.


Armed with this wealth of information, we co-create a personalized coaching plan. Together, we set clear goals and tactics, focusing on enhancing those behaviors identified for improvement. And throughout their journey, we engage their management and stakeholders to provide feedback on their progress.


It's not just about improvement; it's about transformation. Your growth as a leader is our mission, and every step of our program is designed with your success in mind. If you’re ready to unlock your full potential, I invite you to join us on this exciting path of self-discovery and leadership excellence.

 

Can you share any success stories or testimonials from clients who have benefited from your coaching services?


Absolutely! Happy to share some success testimonials.


From the director at Meta, who learned to "stop playing small," to the visionary from The Gap, Inc., who gained "a huge lift in career structuring," our clients are not just reaching their goals; they're surpassing them. And the story doesn't end there. A dedicated director from Kaiser Permanente pushed beyond limits to see "breakthrough results."


These are not just testimonials; they are tales of real transformation, resilience, and discovery. It's all about finding your voice, challenging your limits, and stepping confidently into your purpose.

 

Tell us about a pivotal moment in your life that brought you to where you are today.


Reflecting on my career, there was a pivotal moment that truly set the stage for where I am today. After years of growth and learning at IBM, I made the bold decision to step into the world of coaching outside of IBM. It was a leap into the unknown but one that unveiled a profound realization: many of the strategies and insights I had come to see as second nature were, in fact, revelations to others.


This discovery was not just eye-opening; it was a call to action. It led me to write my book, Rise: Game-Changing Success Strategies for Women Leaders. My aim? To equip aspiring leaders with a robust toolkit for advancement and success. Rise is built around the Rising Leader model, a distinctive 5-part framework designed to elevate professionals to the next level.


The process of writing Rise has been incredibly enriching. It's allowed me to share my experiences and insights into actionable strategies that I believe can transform careers. If you're on a path to leadership or seeking to elevate your professional game, I invite you to explore this resource. It's crafted with the ambition of propelling careers forward, one strategic step at a time.


To everyone who has been a part of this journey, from the corridors of IBM to the pages of Rise, thank you. Your support, challenges, and inspiration have been pivotal in shaping this endeavor. And to those who dream of leading, remember: your potential is limitless. Rise.

 

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