January 30, 2024

Empowering Leadership: Why I Believe in Coaching

by Dr. Susan DeWoody

In 2017, I embarked on a transformative journey that would shape my career trajectory and passion – I began partnering with an executive coach. Little did I know that this venture would not only provide me with invaluable insights into leadership but also allow me to address the loneliness often associated with female leadership in executive spaces. During this time, I found myself navigating the intricate pathways of my career, facing challenges and decisions that demanded a profound level of introspection. This decision turned out to be a game-changer for me, offering me a unique blend of support, reflection, and partnership that I desperately needed.

The Coaching Relationship

The executive coaching relationship served as a sounding board, a needed mirror, and a thought partner. In the dynamic world of leadership, having a dedicated space to articulate thoughts, express concerns, and explore ideas is invaluable. My coach became the trusted confidant I could turn to, providing me with constructive feedback and challenging my perspectives, often helping me to uncover the answers that were within me that I struggled to surface on my own. This collaborative approach helped me refine my decision-making processes and gain a clearer understanding of my leadership style.

The Loneliness of Leadership

One aspect that resonated profoundly with me was the recognition of the loneliness that often accompanies female executive leadership. The business landscape, though evolving, can still be isolating for women in leadership roles. My executive coach played a crucial role in alleviating this loneliness, offering a supportive and empathetic space to discuss challenges unique to female leaders and help me to remove blinders, allowing me to see the strengths I possessed. This experience ignited a passion within me to contribute towards fostering a sense of community and support for women navigating their leadership journeys.

Fast forward to 2020, a year marked by unprecedented challenges and a global shift in the workplace. It was during this tumultuous time that I made the decision to transition from only being coached to also becoming a coach myself. Armed with the firsthand experience of the impact coaching had on my professional growth, I felt a deep-seated desire to pay it forward.

The Choice to Coach Others

Becoming an executive coach wasn’t merely a side hustle for me; it was a conscious choice to share the support and empowerment I had received with other leaders. The thrill of walking alongside fellow leaders as they navigate challenges and processes became a source of immense fulfillment. Through the highs and lows of their journeys, I found joy in being a steady presence, offering guidance, and witnessing their growth. An added bonus—I learn new things constantly when coaching others.

Working with leaders allowed me to celebrate wins with them, a practice often neglected in the demanding world of executives. The relentless pursuit of goals and targets can make it easy to overlook achievements along the way. As an executive coach, I reveled in the opportunity to encourage leaders to pause, acknowledge their successes, and savor the milestones they achieved. Celebrating wins became a ritual that not only boosted morale but also fostered a positive and resilient mindset among the leaders I walk alongside.

The Ripple Effect

The decision to become an executive coach was fueled by a genuine desire to provide to other leaders what had significantly helped me along my professional journey. It was about creating a ripple effect of empowerment, resilience, and camaraderie in the lonely landscape of executive leadership. Through coaching, I aimed to bridge the gap between where leaders were and where they aspired to be, offering support, insights, and a customized roadmap for their success.

As I continue on this coaching path and continue to increase my training and credentialing in coaching, my commitment remains steadfast – empowering leaders to thrive, grow, and find fulfillment in their professional endeavors.


For more information on Coaching Education offered by Strata Leadership, visit https://strataleadership.com/coach-training