Center for Executive Coaching Alumni Interviews — Pivoting from consulting to executive coaching
Lauren Meagher pivoted from a consulting to an executive coaching practice, and we are proud to count her among the Certified Executive Coach graduates of the Center for Executive Coaching. If you aspire to the type of work that Lauren is doing, please consider our distance learning coach certification program, or attend a seminar. You can get the training you need for an ICF designation, too.Lauren’s Bio:Lauren Meagher, Managing Partner and Founder of Evolute Consulting, is a certified executive coach and strategic advisor passionate about helping experienced executives build higher performing teams. She has helped leaders from PayPal, American Express, Citigroup, Venmo, and more create teams that prioritize the right work, deliver results on-time and collaborate efficiently. Lauren previously worked at McKinsey, American Express, Vente-Privee and Jim Beam where she was well-known and respected for her execution- and achievement-oriented style of operating and leading others.
Lauren holds an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and a B.B.A. in Finance and Business Economics from the University of Notre Dame where she was a Valedictorian candidate. She holds coaching certifications from the International Coaching Federation (ICF) and the Center for Executive Coaching.
Andrew: Hi, welcome. I’m here with Lauren Meagher, a Center for Executive Coaching graduate. I’m excited to be here with you Lauren. Thanks for being here.
Lauren: Yeah, thanks a lot, Andrew.
Andrew: So, let’s get started. If you don’t mind, tell everybody about your coaching practice as it stands now?
Lauren: Sure. I help experienced executives build hiring performing teams and that’s mostly in the financial services and technology spaces. Typically, the leaders that I work with are director level or above and have large teams because at that seniority and size, the team dynamics and strengths really have a critical impact on the leader’s success. So, there is a lot of space to isolate issues and problem solve with the client.
Andrew: So, your focus both by industry and by the problem that you tend to address?
Lauren: That’s correct.
Andrew: How long have you been doing it? And how did you first get traction in this area?
Lauren: Sure. So, I actually pivoted my strategy consulting business just last year. And I pivoted because I had far more colleagues coming up to me complaining about their executive coaches. They wanted a coach who had real operating experience and had a business background. And they suggested that I become a coach.
When I started looking into it, I realized that my friends, my colleagues, and even some of my mentors actually sought me out to challenge them and move them forward. And I realized that was a key strength of mine. So, really the market told me that I should be a coach. And I agreed.
As far as getting traction on my practice, I am an analytical person. I’m an organized person. I love lists. So, the first thing I did was I made a list. I was really excited to start talking about my new coaching practice. So, I made a list of everyone I talked to regularly. So, that included people from my gym, friends, neighbors, former colleagues, everyone. And I talked to them all.
The second thing I did was I started posting original content on LinkedIn. I tracked what kinds of posts and what topics got the most engagement.
The third thing I did was I volunteered my coaching time with people in my network. There I was really able to prove the value of coaching and I asked for referrals from my network.
Those were three of the things that really got my practice up and running.
Andrew: So, it was basically a one-year pivot based on what the market was telling you and you really got organized and made it happen.
Lauren: That’s exactly it.
Andrew: Let’s get an example if we could. Tell me about a client that you are particularly proud of the result that you got when working with them. How did you start? Where did you end up? What was the problem? And how did you get results?
Lauren: Sure. I love this one. I recently helped a leader of a large operations team hit 114% of her annual performance target. So, here is the setup: The leader came to because her team had just doubled in size and her work load was becoming unbearable. And on top of that, she wasn’t even sure if she wanted the job anymore. So, we started our work together with a really illuminating 360 and some assessments.
From there, we restructured parts of her teams, we reassigned roles, we revisited her delegation strategy, and we redesigned her communications style and methods with her cross-function teams and her leadership team. We did a lot of really deep engaging work together. And had the results to show for it. You know, the client was thrilled. And it was also a really, really proud moment for me too.
Andrew: This seems to be a popular area for coaching. Especially now with increasing scope and overwhelm that so many leaders face. We can get in and help as coaches.
Lauren: Yeah, absolutely. Especially because with consolidation in teams, often times a leader takes on teams in content areas with which they are not familiar. So, that’s where coaches can offer a lot of value in helping to bridge the gap between what a leader knows and what a leader doesn’t know.
Andrew: So, if someone is thinking about getting into executive coaching, what advice would you give them as they are thinking of making that transition?
Lauren: Find your value first. Figure out the skills and the strengths you have that are distinctive. Truly distinctive and special. And then think about those distinctive and special skills and figure out how they solve a particular problem for potential clients.
Andrew: That’s pretty much what we teach, right? We are not selling coaching. We sell solutions to problems.
Lauren: That’s right.
Andrew: It’s about…how can you bring value? What problem can you help someone solve? How can you help remove a frustration? Or help them achieve an opportunity? Versus pitching the idea that coaching makes sense. And that’s something that I think the successful coaches do more than anybody else.
Lauren: Yeah. I totally agree with you. But I think it does have to start with, really what are you good at, right? When you talk to your colleagues, what do your colleagues come to you for? What do your friends come to you for specifically where they don’t go to anyone else’s desk first. They don’t all anybody else first. They call you. What is that thing that you do? And then, how does it solve a problem?
Andrew: Good. Well, anything else you would add to anybody thinking about getting into and starting their practice?
Lauren: Yes. I think one of the biggest things that I learned along the way was that you need to trumpet your skills and your success, probably more than you ever have. Don’t be afraid of doing this. Once you identify your distinctive skill, get out there and talk about it. You know, it’s fun to find your passion and what you’re good at. Get out there. Make it happen.
Andrew: That’s really good advice, right? You have to be out there. The phone doesn’t just ring because you put up a website and a LinkedIn profile.
Lauren: Exactly. Exactly.
Andrew: Good. Lauren, this is great. I really appreciate your time. Thank you.
Lauren: Yeah, thank you very much, Andrew.