PR professional, Kathleen Keating, sat down with Paula Goudsmit to talk about the essence of her High Impact approach in coaching emerging and experienced leaders as well as dynamic global teams. Paula shared that it is important to “get underneath and see what is there” when attempting to find the root cause that can inhibit people from growth and full potential. Finding the root cause can release patterns and allow forward motion. Paula’s motto is “clarity equals power”. She coaches from an authentic and non-judgmental place and encourages her clients to have the courage to go deep and look within to reveal what might be in the way of forward motion. Here she shares her own journey and answers thought provoking questions!

KK:  Aside from fear, what do you think holds people back from achieving their goals?

PG: Holding on to old approaches that are no longer effective. For example, a person may believe, “The only person I can count on is myself,” and this viewpoint may serve them well in achieving promotions, accumulating wealth, and attaining other goals. However, at a certain point it begins to backfire because the person isn’t able to successfully delegate or foster trust among colleagues. This results in the classic over-stressed, overworked micro-manager. As a person reaches certain goals, those goals inevitably become replaced with newer, higher ones that often require different strategies and approaches to achieving them.

KK: How do you conquer fear?

PG: By breaking it down and looking at it for what it is because so many of us tend to make it much bigger and scarier than it actually it is. When you look at it from the perspective of knowing what is really true about ourselves, fear is exposed as that bumbling Oz character hiding behind the curtain.

KK: How would you describe your approach?

PG: I’m a “root cause” coach, meaning I like to get underneath the surface issue to find the bigger win. Since I’m a business person first and a coach second, I’m all about achieving high impact, sustainable results.

KK: When you say “surface issues” what are you referring to?

PG: Surface issues are the softballs people throw out at the beginning of the coaching process that are tactical and oftentimes relatively quick and easy to achieve such as “I want to be promoted in six months.” While any good coach will develop a roadmap to achieve that goal, what I find is that there is usually a bigger issue behind it such as defining the client’s leadership brand or creating a vision for the future regardless of the position or title. I go beyond the surface issues to support transformation and accelerate personal and professional business results.

KK: What makes your approach to coaching different?

PG: I am fiercely committed, courageous and loyal when it comes to helping my clients “hit it” in a way they never thought possible.

KK: The majority of today’s workforce spans three generations — Millennials, Gen X, and Baby Boomers. What is your approach to coaching teams and individuals across these generation gaps?

PG: I use a Talent Analytics assessment, which provides objective data on individual behaviors and drivers, regardless of the generation. This helps to level the playing field, especially in team situations, and establish a solid foundation for effective communication and cohesiveness. Then I draw on the strengths and nuances of the generational perspectives to help individuals and the team achieve their desired results.

KK: Describe the moment you undoubtedly knew you were doing your life’s calling.

PG: The moment I knew was during the oral portion of my certification exam where I had to coach a seasoned, certified coach/supervisor while also being observed by three other master coaches. As I coached my client, it was as if there was nobody else in the room but the two of us. My total focus and engagement was in the moment and on his agenda. When we were done, the look on my client’s face and the absolute joy I felt confirmed that I was doing my life’s work. This was further validated after the coaching session when one of the observing supervisors pulled me aside and said, “I’m not supposed to tell you this, but I want you to know that coaching is what you’re meant to do.”

KK: Why should I not hire a coach?

PG: You should not hire a coach if you want someone to collude with you, to tell you the things you want to hear or how you should do it.

KK: How do you make a difference in clients’ lives?

PG: I increase their personal effectiveness by reconnecting them to their passions, strengths, talents, and vision. In so many ways it’s like connecting a plug to an outlet where clients are back in touch with the energy supply that lights them and everybody around them.

KK: The biggest myth about coaching is:

PG: That it’s not results-based. Fortunately, the scientific data and research is catching up and proving that coaching is highly results-driven, transformative and sustainable.

KK: How do you effect change?

PG: By helping clients get curious about it and empowering them to see it as an opportunity as opposed to something to fear.

KK: What have you learned from your clients?

PG: People do change and can transform their lives when they have the courage to figure out what it is they need to do differently and then execute a plan against that.

KK: How do you define a successful client engagement?

PG: A successful engagement is one where the client is committed to change in order to achieve his/her goals while also being open to the possibility that the experience may look very different from what they initially expected!