Claire Walton is an entrepreneur and high performance leadership coach who believes Leaders Are MAD (Making A Difference).
In this issue’s Ask the Expert feature, Claire tells us more about her job, how she inspires current and future leaders and why everyone in a leadership role needs to remember to enjoy what they do…
EDB: What is a high-performance leadership coach, and how can fellow business owners benefit from your support? CW: I help leaders within organisations and those running their own businesses in several fundamental ways.
Firstly, helping individuals through coaching for peak performance. This is primarily helping people understand how to create the focus and energy they need to perform at their best in all aspects of their role. These Peak Performance habits and techniques apply to the person not the task and therefore those having coaching with me get to learn strategies and tools they can use repeatedly in all aspects of work and life outside work.
Secondly, I help leaders navigate how best to respond to the various leadership challenges they face, everything from dealing with conflict in their relationships to creating team cohesion and high-trust relationships. Most sessions will involve increasing some aspect of self-awareness, gaining alternative perspectives, unpicking conditioning, trying on a few different approaches for size and comfort, challenging beliefs, and finding the motivation for implementing changes. We can cover every aspect of leading yourself, your team, key stakeholders, and the organisation.
Thirdly, I help leaders of teams by coaching them with their team to identify how they can improve their effectiveness as a team. We work together to identify opportunities and solutions for improving team-working process and the dynamics and behaviours within the team.
EDB: You’re a High Performance Leadership coach and business owner. How do manage your own performance? CW: It is critical that I show up for clients with the focus and energy they deserve. Alongside time spent with clients, I have to run this business. All the marketing, business development, business administration and financial management has to be managed. I don’t relish these tasks and outsource what makes sense to. It’s still a lot of roles to play and plates to spin. I practice all the peak performance strategies I share with clients. Consistency is critical in this. I continue to study peak performance and try new ideas from the latest research and reflect daily on what is making a difference and what isn’t. I keep myself very accountable to be a good role model.
EDB: So, aspiring, and current leaders from any sector could work with you to better themselves? CW: Yes, I work with leaders from very diverse sectors, disciplines, and business contexts. I coach CEO’s and MD’s, Finance, HR, Marketing, Sales, Engineering and Operations and others, too many to mention. I coach leaders in private, commercial and third sector as well as entrepreneurs and other smaller business owners. Even clients who are sole traders can achieve a return on investment from coaching.
EDB: What is the most common issue leaders need help with? CW: The most common is definitely how to stay focussed on the activities that will make the biggest difference and not become overwhelming by everything they feel they should be doing.
EDB: You set your business up after years of being a senior leader. What was the driving force behind the move? CW: My last Executive Director role was 10 years ago. I wanted to find a way of helping more people across more organisations. I am passionate about making a difference and my role as coach allows me to have a positive impact on a much greater scale. I added Author to this last year with my book ‘Super Power You’, available on Amazon, for the same reason.
EDB: In November you’re hosting a peak performance open workshop for leaders and senior managers. Tell us more about that. CW: We already have some great people from the region attending. From MDs to HR Leaders, Solicitors, Pub Chain owners and Financial Advisors. The workshop is being held at Rockliffe Hall Hotel on November 1st. It’s a day full of practical strategies, tools and techniques for busy, ambitious people who want to find ways of focusing more on the things in their role that will make the biggest difference. It’s for people who want to find all those simple yet effective ways they can power up their performance in every aspect of work and life. Sharing these practical and yet powerful approaches will be me and three guest speakers who bring additional expertise in some specific peak performance techniques. If you would like to know more about the workshop and how to book you can find details on my website.
EDB: Finally, if you could offer one piece of advice for leaders, what would it be? CW: Enjoy it! When we relax into our role and embrace the opportunities for growth that come from all those day in day out challenges, we can make a difference for others whilst developing ourselves and we can feel huge fulfilment. Let go of the need to know everything – stop trying to be perfect – it doesn’t exist. Be you – be humble – stay curious!