Catherine Li-Yunxia, Global CEO Coach & Executive Coach is known as one of the World’s most effective leadership development coaches, and as a global leadership influencer and leadership advisor to Fortune 500 companies. She is also one of the rare Executive Coaches who has been featured as Linkedin Top Voices.
Her decision to transition into a career as a global C-suite and executive coach around 10 years ago was driven by a desire for a more balanced and fulfilling professional life. With over 15 years of experience in Fortune 500 companies, Catherine came to a profound realization – that career success, promotions, and a high salary were not enough to provide the holistic well-being and satisfaction she sought.
A More Balanced and Harmonious Approach to Leadership
The turning point in Catherine’s career came when she recognized the need for a more fulfilling path. She had reached a stage in her life where she was eager to embark on a new journey. It was this aspiration for personal and professional fulfillment that led her to explore opportunities that aligned with her values and goals.
Inspired by the transformative impact of her own executive coach, Catherine decided to become an Executive Coach herself. Her mission was clear – to help senior executives reach their full potential, not only in terms of effectiveness but also in terms of personal fulfillment. Her journey into executive coaching was driven by a deep commitment to guiding leaders towards greater success and satisfaction in their professional lives.
Catherine’s story is a testament to the power of embracing change and following one’s true calling. Her passion for helping others achieve their leadership goals has been the driving force behind her successful transition from the corporate world to executive coaching.”
“Executive coaching goes beyond skill development; it aims to create profound and sustainable transformation in leaders. From a holistic perspective, I help senior executives explore and align their personal values and aspirations with their leadership roles. This involves delving into their motivations, strengths, weaknesses, and emotional intelligence,” she explains.
By fostering self-awareness, Catherine enables her coachees to make authentic and values-driven decisions, leading to a more meaningful and fulfilling leadership experience. She helps leaders develop a growth mindset and adaptability, navigate the complexities of the modern business landscape, unlock barriers and work out blindspots, unearth further potentials, and foster resilience and the ability to thrive in dynamic and uncertain environments.
By addressing both personal and professional aspects, Catherine embodies a more balanced and harmonious approach to leadership, where effectiveness is not just measured by results but also by the well-being and satisfaction of both the leader and their people. Ultimately, the purpose of her executive coaching is to create leaders who are not only successful but also find joy and fulfillment in their leadership journey, thereby enhancing their overall quality of life.
The Benefits of Holistic Coaching
Catherine practices Holistic Coaching, a unique and unparalleled coaching approach that addresses the leader as a whole person, taking into account various aspects of their life, well-being, and personal development. Instead of focusing solely on specific goals or challenges, Holistic Coaching aims to create a balance and synergy among different areas of a leader’s life, such as business goals, organizational success, career, relationships, health, spirituality, and personal growth.
Through holistic coaching, Catherine works with the client to explore not only their immediate goals, but also their values, beliefs, emotions, and overall life context. The coaching process involves examining how different aspects of the leader’s life are interconnected and how changes in one area can influence others. It recognizes that personal and professional aspects of life are intertwined, and addressing underlying factors can lead to more sustainable and comprehensive growth.
Holistic coaches like Catherine often use a combination of techniques, including goal-setting, introspective exercises, mindfulness practices, and other methods tailored to the executive client’s unique needs. Ultimately, this approach to coaching seeks to empower leaders to achieve their goals while also enhancing their overall well-being and life satisfaction by considering the broader picture of their experiences and aspirations.
Integrating Holistic Coaching With a Brain-Based Neuro-Transformational Coaching Methodology
Integrating Brain-based Neuro-Transformational coaching methodology with a holistic coaching approach can be a powerful strategy for facilitating personal growth and transformation. In Brain-based Neuro-Transformational coaching, the focus is on understanding the underlying neural processes that influence behavior and change. This scientific approach recognizes that the brain consists of two distinct parts, the prefrontal cortex, and the basal ganglia, each playing a unique role in shaping our habits and responses.
Holistic coaching, on the other hand, takes a broader perspective, acknowledging that personal transformation involves not only cognitive processes but also emotional, physical, and spiritual aspects of an individual’s life. It emphasizes the interconnectedness of these elements and aims to create a balanced and harmonious life.
When these two coaching approaches are blended, a more comprehensive and effective coaching experience can emerge. Here’s how they can complement each other:
- Mind-Body Connection: Holistic coaching can incorporate practices such as mindfulness, yoga, or nutrition to support the brain-based approach. These practices can enhance the brain’s functioning and the myelination process, helping clients rewire their thought patterns.
- Emotional Awareness: Holistic coaching encourages clients to explore and understand their emotions, which can be integrated with Brain-based Neuro-Transformational coaching’s focus on the prefrontal cortex. Emotional intelligence and regulation can be essential for forging new neural pathways.
- Sustainability: Holistic coaching can help clients maintain and reinforce the changes achieved through Brain-based Neuro-Transformational coaching. Techniques like meditation and holistic wellness practices can promote long-term transformation and resistance to reverting to old habits.
- Client-Centered Approach: Combining these approaches allows for a personalized coaching experience that addresses the unique needs and goals of each individual. The Brain-based approach provides a scientific foundation, while the holistic approach tailors interventions to the whole person.
In summary, blending Brain-based Neuro-Transformational coaching with a holistic coaching approach enhances the depth and sustainability of personal transformation. It leverages scientific insights into brain function while recognizing the importance of emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being. This integrated approach empowers individuals to not only change their habits but also to lead more fulfilling and balanced lives.
Building an Ecosystem of Success
Catherine measures success not just in terms of financial profit, but also by considering its impact on society and the environment. In her view, success has to take into account three key dimensions: economic, social, and environmental. She elaborates on how success can be combined with humanity, social impact, environmental sustainability, and financial return as a holistic ecosystem, as follows:
- Financial Return:
Financial success is essential to the ecosystem. Profits, shareholder value, and corporate sustainability are involved. Financial prosperity should be balanced with social and environmental factors. Imagine if our social order and ecology were completely devastated. What good is financial success? Businesses aspire to profit while helping society and the environment.
- Humanity and Social Impact:
Success in humanity and social impact is judged by how a firm affects people’s lives. This could include fair wages and working conditions, diversity and inclusion, development and growth, and philanthropy. The purpose is to improve lives, build communities, and advance society.
- Environmental Sustainability:
Environmental sustainability requires reducing corporate impacts and using resources efficiently and responsibly. Environmental preservation and conservation are demanded from businesses to combat climate change and ecosystem damage.
- Socially Responsible Business Practices:
Businesses must practice ethical sourcing, fair labor across the supply chain, employee well-being and work-life balance, and community engagement to succeed in this holistic ecosystem.
- Innovation and Long-Term Thinking:
Businesses must think long-term to succeed in this ecosystem. Companies should spend in R&D to generate new, sustainable products and services that address societal issues. Future-focused companies that incorporate sustainability into their plans are more likely to succeed.
- Transparency and Accountability:
Open communication and accountability are key aspects of a successful ecosystem. This transparency builds trust among customers, investors, employees, and other stakeholders.
- Collaboration and Partnerships:
Collaboration with governments, organizations, enterprises, and academic institutions is common in this ecosystem. Partnerships address difficult issues including poverty, healthcare, and environmental conservation by pooling resources and expertise.
An ecosystem of success, humanity, social impact, environmental sustainability, and financial return promotes a comprehensive corporate approach. It acknowledges that true success needs a commitment to improving people, society, and the earth beyond profits. Businesses can achieve financial success and a more equal, just, and sustainable world by balancing these dimensions.
Different Coaching Styles for Different Personality Types
Catherine observes that coaching isn’t about the coach, but all about the coachee. In coaching practice, a savvy and effective coach adopts a wide range of coaching styles to fit each of their coachees. She notes that effective coaching involves tailoring one’s approach to the individual’s needs, communication style, and preferences.
Catherine lists some coaching styles that can be applied to different personality types:
- Directive Coaching:
Directive coaching may work for action-oriented CEOs who appreciate clear instructions and rapid communication. Specific counsel, actionable measures, and realistic answers are used. Structured bosses who need swift choices will like it.
- Supportive Coaching:
Encouragement, positive reinforcement, and confidence boost some leaders. A supportive coaching style emphasizes rapport, active listening, and praise. This technique improves leaders’ self-awareness, morale, and initiative.
- Collaborative Coaching:
Collaborative coaching benefits leaders who respect shared decision-making. This method encourages leaders to brainstorm, discuss, and solve problems. It promotes teamwork and encourages leaders to share their knowledge.
- Coaching for Personal Development:
CEOs engaged in self-improvement benefit from introspection and self-awareness coaching. Personal values, strengths, shortcomings, and development areas are examined, helping leaders integrate personal and leadership growth.
- Transformational Coaching:
Transformational coaching helps leaders inspire and drive change. This involves helping leaders create a compelling vision, encourage innovation, and inspire purposeful leadership. It motivates leaders to do things differently and set an example.
- Analytical Coaching:
Data-driven, analytical leaders benefit from evidence-based coaching. This approach gives leaders data, insights, and performance measures to guide their decisions. It helps executives make quantitative and qualitative decisions.
- Adaptive Coaching:
Be adaptable and adapt your coaching style to the leader’s personality, preferences, and circumstances. Each leader is unique and may need a mix of coaching techniques, according to this approach.
- Emotionally Intelligent Coaching:
Certain leaders may benefit from coaching that emphasizes emotion management, where they are helped to manage their emotions, negotiate relationships, and lead with empathy.
Remember, effective coaching is not one-size-fits-all. Assessing the leader’s personality, communication style, goals, and difficulties helps establish the best coaching approach or combination. Coaches of different CEOs and leaders must be flexible, active listeners, and adaptable.
The Keys Steps in Effectively Coaching Senior Executives
Catherine explains how she helps senior executives excel in their current roles and enhance influence, extending their leadership while creating an impact in their industry and the world, by using a few key perspectives as listed below:
- Clarifying Goals and Vision: When Catherine coaches organization leaders (CEOs, General Managers/Managing Directors), she usually helps them define clear goals and articulate a compelling vision for their leadership journey. This clarity guides their actions and decisions, enabling them to align their efforts effectively.
- Self-Awareness and Emotional Intelligence: On personal development, Catherine helps senior Executives develop self-awareness and emotional intelligence. By understanding their strengths, weaknesses, and emotions, leaders can make better decisions, manage stress, and navigate challenging situations with composure.
- Strategic Thinking: Strategic thinking guides top leaders through the changing corporate landscape, helping them succeed in new waters. Its importance in improving senior executives’ leadership is clear. As one of the main coaching objectives for most senior executives, Catherine supports them in enhancing their strategic thinking abilities by helping them see the bigger picture, analyze complex situations, and develop innovative solutions that drive their organizations forward.
- Effective Communication: Senior executives require clear and effective communication to align, inspire, develop trust, facilitate collaboration, and drive organizational success. As their executive coach, Catherine helps them refine their communication style, ensuring their messages resonate with different audiences and facilitate collaboration.
- Influence and Persuasion: No leader can lead without influencing others. Catherine supports senior executives in honing their influence and persuasion skills. Leaders learn how to inspire and motivate their teams, gain buy-in from stakeholders, and navigate organizational dynamics effectively.
- Leadership Presence: People say, “All the important decisions about you will be made when you’re not in the room.” When you inspire trust in decision-makers, you can influence their decisions. You inspire confidence via leadership presence. Catherine helps senior executives develop a strong leadership presence, including projecting confidence, displaying authenticity, and commanding respect, both in one-on-one interactions and when addressing larger groups.
- Networking and Relationship Building: Forging effective alignment is not only through influential skills but also a strong professional network and great working relationships. Catherine guides senior executives in building and nurturing relationships within their industry, which can lead to collaboration, partnerships, and business growth.
- Change Management: As leaders drive changes, Catherine helps them navigate resistance and uncertainty and develops them to be more resourceful so they develop strategies to lead teams through transitions while maintaining motivation and productivity.
- Innovation and Creativity: Visionary and compelling leaders often try to foster innovation and creativity within their teams. As their coach, Catherine helps leaders create an environment that supports fresh ideas, experimentation, and continuous improvement.
- Sustainability and Well-being: Leadership requires self-care and well-being, especially in light of the pandemic, as personal well-being affects performance. Catherine helps senior executives manage their energy levels, promote work-life balance, and prioritize self-care, leading to sustained high performance.
- Legacy and Impact: Catherine often inspires and facilitates senior executives to ponder on the legacy they want to leave behind. By focusing on creating a positive impact within their industry and the world, leaders are motivated to pursue meaningful, purpose-driven goals.
- Self-Effectiveness: Catherine helps senior executives gain better self-awareness, refining time and priority management, assisting them to develop tailored strategies to overcome challenges, asking critical questions, and pointing out pivotal angles so they make sound decisions to achieve peak performance and drive personal growth and organizational success.
In summary, she guides senior executives through a comprehensive process of self-discovery, skill development, and strategic planning. By honing their leadership abilities, enhancing their influence, and promoting a broader impact, they can excel in their current roles and contribute positively to their industry and society as a whole.
How CEOs Can Impact the Next Generation of Leaders
Catherine observes that CEOs aim to foster a culture of mentorship, education, and empowerment within the organization. They understand that their role extends beyond the immediate business operations and that they have a responsibility to contribute to the development of future leaders.
They may choose to implement mentorship programs, where experienced leaders provide guidance and insights to emerging talents, or encourage continuous learning and professional development opportunities, both internally and externally, to ensure that the next generation is equipped with the skills needed to excel.
Additionally, CEOs could champion diversity and inclusion efforts, recognizing that a diverse pool of leaders with varied perspectives can drive innovation and create a more inclusive leadership landscape. They might also emphasize ethical leadership and social responsibility, instilling a sense of purpose in the next generation to positively impact not only their organizations but society at large.
By setting a strong example through their leadership practices, CEOs can inspire young leaders and provide a roadmap for effective, responsible, and impactful leadership. Through these combined efforts, they aim to shape a generation of leaders who can navigate challenges, drive positive change, and make a lasting impact on their organizations and the world.
By setting a strong example through her own leadership practices, Catherine aims to inspire young leaders and provide a roadmap for effective, responsible, and impactful leadership. Through these combined efforts, she hopes to shape a generation of leaders who can navigate challenges, drive positive change, and make a lasting impact on their organizations and the world.
Helping Leaders Stay Motivated to Deliver the Best Results
As a coach to CEOs and other senior executives, Catherine often recommends they maintain a balance between personal and professional life to avoid burnout, ensure sustained effectiveness, and lead a fulfilling life. Here are some strategies she recommends to help leaders achieve this balance:
- Set Clear Boundaries: Establish clear boundaries between work and personal life. Define specific times for work-related tasks and activities, as well as dedicated times for family, relaxation, and self-care.
- Prioritize and Delegate: Identify tasks that require your attention as a leader and delegate tasks that can be handled by others. Delegation not only lightens your workload but also empowers your team.
- Practice Effective Time Management: Use time management techniques to prioritize tasks, set achievable goals, and allocate time for both work and personal activities. Avoid overcommitting and spreading yourself too thin.
- Unplug and Disconnect: Designate periods where you disconnect from work-related communication devices. Disconnecting allows you to recharge, focus on personal activities, and maintain a healthier work-life balance.
- Invest in Self-Care: Prioritize self-care activities, such as exercise, meditation, hobbies, and spending quality time with loved ones. Taking care of yourself physically and mentally positively impacts your performance as a leader.
- Flexibility and Adaptability: Recognize that balance may not always be a fixed state. There will be times when work demands more attention, but make an effort to compensate by later giving more focus to personal aspects.
- Learn to Say No: Assess new commitments before taking them on. It’s okay to decline tasks that could disrupt your balance or overwhelm you.
- Delegate Effectively: Trust your team and delegate responsibilities. Effective delegation not only empowers your team but also frees up your time for personal activities.
- Plan Quality Time: Schedule quality time with family, friends, and yourself. Just as you allocate time for work tasks, allocate time for personal relationships and relaxation.
- Regular Check-ins: Periodically evaluate your work-life balance and make adjustments as needed. Reflect on what’s working and what needs improvement.
- Lead by Example: As a leader, your behavior sets the tone for your team. Demonstrating a healthy work-life balance encourages your team members to prioritize their well-being.
- Seek Support: Don’t hesitate to seek support from mentors, coaches, or colleagues who have experience maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Their insights can be valuable.
Achieving balance is an ongoing effort that requires continuous assessment and adjustments. Prioritizing both personal and professional well-being contributes to your effectiveness as a leader and enhances your overall quality of life.
Embrace Your Leadership Journey with Enthusiasm and Dedication
Catherine views roadblocks and setbacks as an inevitable part of the journey to success. She tends to roll with the punches and treat roadblocks as a natural part of life and work, which helps her emerge stronger and better.
“To master a sport, you have to fall and fail many times before playing the sport well,” she says. “Of course, you’d feel frustrated when you encounter failure, but you’ve got to embrace it with a reflective and growth mindset, look at the mistake, and think through what caused it; what are the parts we could have avoided, what are the things we could have done better, and what are the gaps to fill in or areas for growth.”
Catherine offers these words of wisdom in her parting message to aspiring leaders: Leadership isn’t just about titles – it’s about influence, inspiration, and guiding teams toward success. Embrace challenges as opportunities to learn and grow.
Cultivate self-awareness, as understanding your strengths and areas for improvement is fundamental. Lead with integrity, empathy, and resilience, showing that true leadership is about serving and empowering others.
Strive for continuous learning. Seek mentors, expand your knowledge, and embrace new perspectives. Surround yourself with diverse voices and ideas to foster innovation and adaptability.
Stay curious and open-minded, for the world evolves rapidly. Embrace change, and inspire your teams to do the same. Remember, leadership is about fostering a collaborative environment where every voice is valued.
Lastly, never underestimate the power of authenticity. Be genuine, transparent, and lead by example. Your unique qualities are what will set you apart and inspire others to follow.
Embrace your leadership journey with enthusiasm and dedication. As the CEO coach, I am here to support your growth, provide guidance, and celebrate your successes. Your leadership has the potential to shape a brighter future.
Message to CEOs:
Start with WHY, be bold, and prioritize self-care.
First, as the CEO, ask yourself why your organization exists. Believe in that purpose, breathe in it, and make it an intrinsic part of the business model.
Secondly, define the right vision and stick to the strategy. Have the courage and determination to push boundaries, make impactful decisions, and lead the company forward, even if it’s unconventional or daring. Be willing to take calculated risks for the organization’s long-term success. While you want to avoid mistakes, you must also act boldly and actively seek significant opportunities.
Regarding the strategy, you must take ownership of it. You can work with third-party consultants, but you should blend your leadership vision and strategic goals into it and have clarity throughout the implementation process.
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, focus on self-care and understand your energy limits.
There are countless things you can do, but prioritize your energy levels and ensure you’re not being pulled apart. You are a valuable resource, and self-care is the secret recipe for ensuring your sustainability as a leader.