In the competitive world of business, executives often face immense challenges and pressures that can hinder their well-being and long-term success. In this post, Global President for Coaching Services Suzanne Kietselaer delves into the inspiring journey of Sarah, an executive who, with the help of a dedicated coach, discovered how to sustainably thrive in her career and personal life.


Sarah, a high-achieving executive, was constantly juggling multiple responsibilities and striving for excellence in her professional role. She was hired to lead a transformation in a bank that has more than 150 years of history, and for that role she moved to a new country and new culture. Having learned early in life from strong examples (her mother was a single-income provider), she has great stamina and grit, and believes that you can achieve anything if you work hard enough for it.

Six months into the job, Sarah began to feel overwhelmed and noticed a decline in her overall satisfaction and work-life balance. She thought to herself, “I want to succeed, but without killing myself in the process.” Seeking guidance, Sarah decided to partner with a leadership coach to explore ways to navigate her challenges and achieve a more sustained level of effectiveness as a leader. She was on a quest to thrive in her role.

During their sessions, Sarah’s coach started providing her with a new lens through which she could view personal thriving and a language she could use to discuss it. Through a set of measurements, she assessed herself on various dimensions of thriving and established what she wanted more of in her life and leadership in order to sustainably “fill her cup.” For Sarah, simple things, like being out in nature and walking outside—things that she loved so much but had not built in the time to do since starting her new position—made all the difference in her personal energy.

Her coach provided Sarah with a supportive space to reflect on her outcomes, goals, values, and priorities. Together, they uncovered that Sarah’s well-being and personal relationships were being neglected amidst her pursuit of professional success. This realization sparked a transformational shift in Sarah’s mindset and approach to her career. “I am not my work; I am not my professional achievements,” she realized. “I get to do what is uniquely mine to do AND live a fulfilling life.”

Sarah and her coach worked collaboratively to establish realistic boundaries and strategies for achieving work-life integration. They explored ways to delegate tasks, streamline processes, and prioritize self-care. By setting clear boundaries, Sarah began to carve out dedicated time for her family, hobbies, and personal well-being, which resulted in increased overall happiness and energy.

Furthermore, Sarah’s coach helped her enhance her emotional intelligence and self-awareness. Through various exercises and feedback discussions, Sarah developed a deeper understanding of her strengths and blind spots. This newfound awareness enabled her to leverage her strengths effectively and make better-informed decisions while navigating challenging situations and managing her team with empathy and authenticity.

Sarah’s coach also guided her in cultivating resilience and a growth mindset. They worked on reframing setbacks as learning opportunities and developing strategies to manage stress and pressure. By embracing challenges as opportunities for growth, Sarah became more adaptable and confident, fueling her sustained success and well-being.

Through the guidance and support of her coach, over the course of nine months, Sarah discovered the path to sustainable thriving as an executive. By redefining what success looks like for her, enhancing self-awareness, and cultivating resilience, she not only achieved professional success but experienced fulfillment, harmonious relationships, and a sustainable sense of thriving in both her career and personal life.

Suzanne Kietselaer is global president for coaching services and a principal consultant for Leadership Circle. With more than 15 years as an executive coach, facilitator, and specialist in adult human development, Kietselaer designs and leads corporate transformation programs and partners with executives and their teams to create breakthrough moments in leadership effectiveness.

Suzanne Kietselaer

Author Suzanne Kietselaer

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