Wellbeing Coaching

Entering a business leadership role, especially for the first time, can be overwhelming. However, with proper guidance, leaders and managers can succeed and experience both professional and personal growth.

These mentors are referred to as Executive Coaches, tasked with aiding clients in identifying strengths, improving skills, setting goals and achieving organisational objectives, among others.

On Executive Coaching Day, MaltaCEO.mt speaks to four industry professionals: Karl Grech, Elaine Dutton, Alex Falzon and Nadia Pace. MaltaCEOs delves into their experiences, mentors, traits, and insights.

Karl Grech
Karl Grech – Performance Coach and Trainer / LinkedIn

What is one piece of advice you always give to clients but you struggle to follow?

One common challenge for executive coaches is managing time effectively. All four acknowledge time as a constraint hindering them from fully applying their advice to clients.

Mr Grech, for instance, recommends journaling but struggles to maintain the habit himself, despite its benefits in fostering mental clarity, self-awareness, and communication skills.

“It is a habit I highly recommend as it can help create mental space by allowing you to record your thoughts, feelings and experiences,” he said.

On the other hand, Dr Dutton shares that her top advice is to rest and accept that everyone gets sick.

She comments that she has gotten better at blocking calendar days for rest or lunch hours ahead of time so that she doesn’t over work herself.

“When I get sick, which now tends to happen more frequently with a school-aged toddler – I get annoyed at the fact that I lack the energy to do what I planned to do. Let’s face it, getting sick is an undeniable inconvenience,” she continues.

Despite commenting that it’s useless getting annoyed at the situation, she quipped that she still spends a few hours fuming.

Meanwhile, Mr Falzon said that even as coaches, they need to find time to be coached. He reflected that while coaches do not give advice to clients unless providing mentoring or training, it’s important to get mentoring as an executive coach. “But I do struggle with time,” he says.

Similarly, Ms Pace says that “when time is such precious and finite source, I encourage my clients to embrace delegation, and outsource whatever is not core to the business as much as possible.”

She highlights that while she tries her best to lead by example, delegation can be a challenge because one needs to find the right people to trust. This, she adds, is dependent on the task and type of skills required.

Alex Falzon / LinkedIn
Alex Falzon – Speaker and Coach in Leadership, Sales and Mindset / LinkedIn

Do you have a mentor? As an Executive Coach who do you turn to for coaching or guidance?

All coaches emphasise the importance of seeking guidance but offer varied perspectives. For example, Mr Grech maintains a network of coaches who regularly convene, either virtually or in person, to discuss strategies, share knowledge, and provide feedback. He also values reaching out to friends and family for personal guidance.

Interestingly, he practises self-coaching as well, believing it to be a skill accessible to anyone. Through self-coaching, he engages in positive self-talk, sets realistic goals, and holds himself accountable, leading to improved coaching skills and personal life benefits.

Similarly, Ms Dutton, a psychologist by background, stresses the value of supervision and peer mentoring ingrained in her profession. She relies on trusted individuals locally and abroad for diverse perspectives, helping her navigate professional challenges and support clients effectively.

She says that these are people she trusts both on a personal and professional level that offer different perspectives, sometimes professionally while helping a client and other times when facing her own struggles.

“It helps to have someone give you that nudge of support. This is also really important because in our profession you can’t just go to a friend of family member and ‘vent’ about a client or situation – confidentiality is paramount,” she continues.

Ms Pace has consistently had mentors throughout her career, tailoring her mentorship according to her business needs.

She recalls that when she started her first stint as a CEO, she sought a mentor for guidance in that area.  “Right now, I’m working with someone on board governance. I consider these relationships to be invaluable,” she notes.

Meanwhile, Mr Falzon says that at this point he has two mentors, Adrian Logan a coach with ample experience, even in sales. “He’s someone I look up to both from a technical and knowledge perspective.”

Additionally, another mentor is Emer Doyle that is guiding him in concluding the International Coaching Federation (ICF) coaching certification. Together they engage in sessions of practice and feedback which helped him develop through the certification process.

Nadia Pace / LinkedIn
Nadia Pace – Non-Executive Director and Executive Mentor Nadia Pace / LinkedIn

 When looking at your network of peers and colleagues, are there common character traits you observe among Malta’s Executive Coaches?

Dr Dutton appreciates the unique backgrounds and skill sets those within the profession bring, stemming from various experiences. While people have moved into coaching from helping professions such as counselling and psychotherapy among others, some move into the role after experiences in senior management positions.

Locally, she believes that there are a number of credible and highly experienced people who provide executive coaching.

“I would call for better regulation on who could be called a ‘coach’. The fact that the title is not protected by licence or warrant leaves room for abuse, which can harm the clients and undermine the profession,” she comments.

On a similar note, Mr Grech acknowledges that while there’s a natural tendency to go for people similar to him, he realised that having a diverse network of peers can be very beneficial. Moreover, he highlights that he gravitates towards those who are professional in their approach to coaching and follow a code of conduct.

“I am a member if the International Coaching Federation and have been credentialed by them. I hope that soon enough, we will have enough professional coaches to start a Malta Chapter,” he adds.

Ms Pace pointed out that given the variety on the local market, this helps mentees to choose the right mentors, whether it’s finance, career progression or strategy.

“Obviously, there’s some overlap across the network, but that’s how a mentor’s expertise and specialisation can really set them apart,” she says.

On this note, Mr Falzon says that ultimately coaching is a partnership, and it is crucial to have chemistry between the mentor and mentee. That is why, he says, that while some clients prefer a more direct approach while others prefer a gentler approach to mentoring.

“The more open minded you go into coaching, the better coaching is,” he notes.

Elaine Dutton / LinkedIn
Elaine Dutton – Founder at the Change Agent, HR Consultant, Trainer, and Coach / LinkedIn

What is one piece of advice you give to all clients, irrespective of situation, context, or distinguishing factors?

In essence, all coaches agree on the significance of authenticity, self-awareness, and trust in the coaching process. Ms Pace and Dr Dutton advocate for self-reflection and purpose-driven leadership, while Mr Falzon and Mr Grech highlight the importance of trusting the coaching journey and mentor-mentee dynamics.

Trust, as echoed by Mr Falzon and Mr Grech, remains central to successful coaching outcomes. Trusting the process, embracing self-awareness, and nurturing authentic leadership are key takeaways from these seasoned Executive Coaches.

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