Case Study – Executive Coaching

Mairi is the Head of Leadership Development at the Karolinska University Hospital and has recently completed the Executive Coaching Program. It’s a six-month intensive coaching program for leaders based around the EQ-i 2.0 Emotional Intelligence Framework. The coaching sessions took place on Zoom, and we met approximately every third week.

I sat down with Mairi to ask her a couple of questions about her experience working with me as a coach.

Emma: Hi Mairi, what made you apply for the Executive Coaching Program?

Mairi: I had been recently appointed as the Head of Leadership Development at the Karolinska University Hospital. Given the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic on staff and managers and the unique culture of our organization, a coaching program that builds on Emotional Intelligence resonated well with my perceived needs for personal and professional development.

Emma: What has the coaching given you?

Mairi: The coaching has primarily given me two things – increased self-awareness and space for self-reflection. While these two things are the essence of what I work with to create for others, the gift of time and support from Emma to have that space for myself, has been invaluable.

Emma:  What did you learn during the coaching program?

Mairi:  The EQ assessment was very comprehensive and shed light on capabilities that I need to get better at in order to become a more effective leader and leadership developer. I also learned how the different components are interdependent and realized how some of my strengths actually become a hinder for my performance when overused. Last but not least, it was an important reminder that regardless of one’s level of experience or stage of development, it is hugely beneficial to have periods in one’s life that are supported by a coach.

Emma: What elements of the program had the greatest impact on you?

Mairi: The greatest impact came from the combination of the EQ assessment and the coaching. The EQ assessment was eye opening and combined with coaching, its effects will be long lasting. Improved self-awareness means that I pay close attention in every situation where my capabilities are challenged. Attention is really what changes a mere experience into deliberate practice and can thus contribute to continual learning. The assessment alone would be simply information in form of a report. The coaching without the assessment would risk lacking intentionality and direction. So it’s the combination that makes it a winning concept.

Emma: Who do you think would benefit from Executive Coaching?

Mairi: Anyone with a growth mindset, i.e. anyone with a will, curiosity, openness and vulnerability to become better versions of themselves.

Emma: How would you describe me as a coach?

Mairi: Emma has a great ability to listen, to really listen. To pay close attention to what her client needs the moment they start their session. She masters the art of asking great questions and doesn’t hesitate to challenge the deeply held beliefs her client might hold about their situation, performance and learning. I’m deeply grateful for her generosity to support me in my growth and help me lead from my purpose.

Thank you Mairi for taking the time to reflect on this. As a coach I always learn something new with each client. It was an honor to work with Mairi and to follow her progress. I learned a great deal from her deep understanding of leadership and her willingness to challenge her perceptions.

If you or your organization are interested in Executive Coaching, please get in touch and I’m happy to tell you more.

Spring is in the air – time to invest in yourself?

Japanese Cherry Blossom season is soon upon us. ‘Sakura’ reminds us that life is precious and short and must not be wasted. The beautiful blossom which last only for a couple of days is a reminder to focus on what is important.

Do you want to find ways to reduce negative stress? Are you interesting in sustainable achievement? Or perhaps you are exploring career options?

After a year of homework and family bubbles, many are seeing light in the end of the tunnel and starting to think about new challenges and goals.

Offer: 3 coachingsessions for SEK1800

I’m currently offering a package of 3 sessions for SEK 1,800 (Value SEK 2,700) to new clients. Sessions are 50 minutes and done over Zoom. (Friskvårdsbidrag valid in Sweden).

Coaching can help you:

      • Clarify purpose and goals
      • Challenge negative behaviors and patterns
      • Prevent burnout
      • Get a clear plan with support and motivation for change

Interested? Get in touch on: kontakt@emmavallin.se +46 709195374

Feedback from previous clients:

”I am progressing through a change in career, exploring new opportunities in maybe even new sectors. Coaching with Emma have provided me with interesting tools and exercises to explore the right direction. I would strongly recommend anyone in a similar situation – taking on uncertainty – to explore this type of positive and unconditional coaching.” Willeke, UK

“During our conversations Emma was always committed, well prepared and ready to challenge me. I experience Emma as an incredibly warm, humble, curious and driven person who is genuinely interested in helping other people. I could really recommend Emma as a coach! Kristin, Stockholm

*Offer valid until March 31st 2021. Purchased sessions to be used within 1 year. New customers only. Digital coaching calls via Zoom. Payment by Swish or invoice. Appointments booked on kontakt@emmavallin.se or +46 709195374. 24h cancellation policy. 

Is our constant ‘doing’ keeping us from ‘being’?

“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. What we do with this hour, and that one, is what we are doing. A schedule defends from chaos and whim. It is a net for catching days.” — Annie Dillard

I had to read that quote a couple of times before I really understood the meaning of it. ‘It is a net catching days’. That is both such a beautifully poetic and scarily dark at the same time.

When you think about it, if we spend our whole lives constantly doing, planning, worrying, working, chasing (I can think of too many action filled verbs), are we actually living our lives or just managing them?

I moved to Rome, Italy when I was 19. I was stunned by the Romans love for the good life and talent for just being, enjoying and indulging. (Along with their double-parking skills). However exotic I found the culture, I was often frustrated with the 30 minutes it often took to say goodbye to friends outside the restaurant, or the four-hour lunches at someone’s parents.

My Scandinavian individualism, punctuality and love for schedules often clashed with my warm, social and sometimes chaotic group of friends.

Now, I’m the first to admit that my five-year plans in excel or my habit of setting 100-day goals at any new job has taken me further than my 19-year old self could have imagined.  It has allowed me to work and live in four countries, meet fascinating people and learn the most unexpected things about myself and the world.

But a few years ago I started asking myself if this need for individual success and purpose, this constant scheduling and planning is really keeping us from living our lives.

We of course need both ebb and flow – without hunger and drive to achieve we would miss out on a lot of great experience and personal growth. But at what point do we turn on this doing-autopilot and stop appreciating the now? And however painful the answer might be, we sometimes need to stop and ask ourselves:

Is our constant ‘doing’ keeping us from ‘being’?

Just think back to the best conversations you’ve had with a friend. Or those Friday drinks with colleagues who ended in a crazy all-nighter (in my case often at the Piano Bar in London). Or perhaps playing hide and seek with a 3-years old (they are really rubbish at this game). – What do these experiences have in common?

      • They were not planned.
      • They were not likely part of your 3-months objectives.
      • They were spent with people close to you.

Although the pandemic is certainly not helping with the spontaneity and social interactions, try experimenting with a less rigid schedule, less obsession with productivity and the mentality of constant doing. Try instead doing what you feel like once in a while and make sure you stop to appreciate it. When the urge to write that to-do list comes again, and it will, ask yourself:

      • What do you fear will happen if you stop ‘doing’?
      • What do you think will happen to your life if you relax the grip on that proverbial stick?
      • Who are you ‘doing’ these things for and will they thank you for it at your funeral?

If we turned off the ‘doing-autopilot’ for a while and thought about what is really important, what we really want more of in our lives, I bet our days would look very different.

 

The art of a stress-free life

There’s something in the old saying, to stop and smell the roses. Noticing and enjoying the simple and beautiful things in life. But to be able to smell those flowers, you must plant and nurture them. You must take charge of your life – which in itself can be excruciatingly stressful.

So how can you get rid of negative stress?

We know that talented, driven and self-critical people are high risk for stress-related exhaustion disorders. But killing your ambition is difficult. Redirecting it however, setting different goals, can be life-changing. Use that drive and your performance personality to form and achieve new goals. Feel-good goals. It can be to laugh out loud every day, meet a new inspirational person every month or meditate once a week. Then go out there and deliver -like only you can!

There’s no vaccine for life crisis and unforeseen drama. You can however control how you handle setbacks. Choose to be kind to yourself. Try to see every obstacle as fertiliser for your roses; without shit in your life, there will be no personal development :).

To stop living a stressful life can be as difficult as becoming debt free or getting rid of an addiction. It requires conscious actions and sometimes you need help. Maybe book a couple of sessions with a coach. Hint hint me!

Unplanned Aimlessness

I am planning person, to say the least. When I tell people about my rolling 5-year personal plan in Excel they usually look like they’ve seen a green giraffe fly over the rooftops.

Every January, as part of my annual planning process, I update my 5-year plan, evaluate and rate previous year, develop guiding principles for the coming year and set 4-5 goals with associated activities for the new year.

Sounds like I should see someone about this?

Well it works for me. Half-year reviews with myself gives me an endorphin-high the size of a teenage kiss.

In 2016 I had no plan.

This was not a conscious decision and I didn’t even notice it until I sat down for my review in January. As the chock settled I realised that this was exactly what I needed last year. I guess a part of my brain somehow understood this but decided to keep quiet about it so I wouldn’t protest.

2016 was the year I overcame fertility problems, had a pregnancy fraught with complications, fought discrimination at work, had an emergency caesarean and became a mother. Trying to fit that into columns and rows would not have been a good idea.

Fate however smiled at my obsession with planning and arranged for my pregnancy to follow the calendar months, starting in January. One must have some order after all.

It makes me wonder – is it necessary to have a serial car crash in our lives to change deeply entrenched behaviours?

If we instead consciously change these behaviours do we develop just as much? Or even more?

Today I took time off my parental leave and wrote my 2017 plan. I am proud that I waited until February and that the plan doesn’t contain a single colour-coded rating system.

It is however still in Excel.