Coach’s Corner: Q&A with Denise Yosafat
This month in the AJO Coach’s Corner blog series we are honored to feature Denise Yosafat, an expert in executive coaching, change management and leadership development.
With years of experience working with top leadership for companies including Eli Lilly and Procter & Gamble, Denise specializes in helping leaders understand, build and develop the organizations and employee talent needed for business success. In particular, Denise is adept at behavioral and situational coaching, helping leaders maximize their effectiveness in current roles and beyond.
AJO: What is one thing you’ve seen that can make or break workplace culture?
Denise Yosafat: One of the worst pollutants to a workplace is condoning a culture of authoritarianism. When an organization or its leadership is rigid in its requirements or is set on perpetuating “the way it’s done,” it can create a culture of fear and resentment. If leaders make tasks a “must” or blame employees when things go awry it diminishes innovation and engagement.
Instead, organizations need to focus on building an environment where everyone is empowered to take risks and step outside the box, without fearing they’ll be shot down. By establishing opportunities where employees can lean in, innovate and create, the organization will become more resilient and productive. Even more, it builds a workplace that is a magnet for success, and talent, as opposed to an environment where employees are more prone to check out.
AJO: What’s your favorite part of partnering with other businesses?
Denise Yosafat: When I work with clients, their success is my success. I get great satisfaction when the leaders I work with not only enhance their leadership skills but improve their whole life.
I find there are many areas where leaders want to grow. From communicating more powerfully to developing resilience, alignment and the ability to usher change, leaders seek tools to both evolve and thrive. In these engagements I find it’s important to not only work as a coach but a thought partner to ask the right questions to uncover the mindsets that may be standing in the way of growth. Sometimes we can all be our own worst enemies. Fear of loss of control or failure can become the “chatter” that blocks success.
I find great gratification when I can help “shatter the chatter,” so leaders are more able to move forward with positivity. In many cases, clients tell me that they have seen benefits across all their life. Not only are they better leaders, but they also become more present spouses and parents. For me, this is truly a win-win-win.
AJO: Share your favorite “success story” from your time with AJO.
Denise Yosafat: One of my favorite successes is when I had an AJO client that was in a very technical field. By nature, he was a more introverted individual, and he was having difficulty finding his voice among other more verbose and direct leaders in his organization. By working on his confidence, we helped him find his voice to claim his rightful position among the leadership team. His contributions are now an integral part of the organization’s success.
AJO: What’s one piece of advice you wish you’d gotten as a young professional?
Denise Yosafat: One piece of advice that I wish I’d been given is to remember that the beauty is in the journey. It’s also important to remember that we are all humans with wonderful assets and marvelous flaws. This is an important mantra throughout our careers. Be mindful to appreciate each other for everything we are. We are all learning, no matter how much experience we have. When you have a growth mindset and an open perspective you can learn throughout every step of your career.
AJO: What is one industry trend today’s HR leaders need to watch?
Denise Yosafat: There is currently a big trend to focus on team coaching. Building engaged teams takes insight and a strong understanding of team dynamics. Working to listen to what teams need and how they want to evolve also requires experience. Building teams for success is a powerful opportunity for business leaders looking to drive engagement and change culture, but it must be done mindfully.
This and other increases in coaching demand has resulted in a commoditization of coaching that has taken hold in the industry. It’s a positive sign showing that corporations are increasingly seeking coach expertise, but it’s also a risk. The right coaching experience isn’t always related to cost. It’s important to ensure that you have the right match for your coaching needs. Be sure that you have alignment in the experience, background and certifications to meet your leaders’ and teams’ needs. There is no magic bullet to a culture or team transformation. But if you pick the coach that’s right for your business it can truly be a landmark experience.