The Key Leadership: Leadership can be learned in many different ways. Whether it be on-the-job, or through intensive training – one of the most effective ways of understanding how to be a leader is through one-to-one coaching support.

In our latest Business Leaders episode, we chat with Siobhan Kearney, a successful community and voluntary sector leader, who has devoted her expertise to wellness and life coaching. Throughout our interview, Siobhan reflects on her business, At One Wellbeing, and explains how individuals and organisations can achieve much more with specialist coaching support.

While both business/leadership coaching and therapy involve personal development and self-improvement, there are key distinctions between the two approaches. Let’s delve into their definitions and highlight the key differences:

Business/Leadership Coaching:

  • Definition: A collaborative process where a coach guides and supports individuals or teams in achieving specific career or leadership goals. It focuses on maximizing potential, enhancing performance, and navigating professional challenges.
  • Focus: Developing skills, building confidence, overcoming obstacles, achieving specific goals (e.g., promotion, business growth, leadership effectiveness).
  • Approach: Solution-oriented, future-focused, action-driven. Coaches provide tools, strategies, and feedback to empower individuals to take action and achieve their desired outcomes.
  • Relationship: Collaborative partnership between coach and client. The coach acts as a sounding board, mentor, and accountability partner.


The key to leadership with Siobhan Kearney
  • Definition: A professional relationship where a therapist helps individuals address emotional and psychological issues impacting their well-being. It focuses on healing past wounds, understanding emotions, and developing coping mechanisms.
  • Focus: Mental health, emotional well-being, resolving past traumas or issues, managing stress and anxiety.
  • Approach: Insight-oriented, past-focused, patient-centered. Therapists provide a safe space for exploration, emotional processing, and development of self-awareness.
  • Relationship: Professional and therapeutic, with clear boundaries. The therapist guides the client through a process of self-discovery and healing.

Key Differences:

  • Goals: Coaching is goal-oriented, aiming for specific achievements. Therapy focuses on overall well-being and emotional healing.
  • Timeframe: Coaching often focuses on the present and future, while therapy may involve exploring past experiences.
  • Techniques: Coaching uses strategies like action planning, feedback, and goal setting. Therapy employs various techniques like talk therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and mindfulness.
  • Relationship: Coaching is collaborative and empowering, while therapy is more patient-centered and focused on providing support and guidance.

Choosing the Right Approach:

Determining whether coaching or therapy is best depends on your individual needs and goals. If you’re looking to improve your professional performance, overcome specific challenges, or reach career goals, coaching might be a good fit. If you’re struggling with emotional issues, past traumas, or mental health concerns, therapy can offer valuable support and guidance. For instance, you might consider seeking therapists in Charlotte NC, if you’re dealing with the latter issues. This region is known for a range of highly experienced professionals. However, consider searching in the LA region if you’re looking for a business coach. After all, they’ve coached the best of the best.

Remember: Both coaching and therapy can be valuable tools for personal growth and development. Understanding their differences can help you choose the right approach for your specific needs and goals.

For more insights on wellness, coaching and leadership – check out our full Business Leaders interview with Siobhan below, or read on for the highlights.

At One Wellbeing: Siobhan’s Business Journey 

At One Wellbeing, which is based in Ballymena, offers core services including life coaching, leadership and executive coaching. It also offers additional services such as Reiki, workshops and seminars focusing on wellbeing, confidence building, self esteem and personal resilience.

Speaking of her business, Siobhan outlines how she has grown her expertise in coaching and holistic therapies.

“I’ve been working in the community and voluntary sector, I made my way up to being Chief Executive of a charity within the sector.

“On that journey, I discovered an awful lot about myself and an awful lot about where my interest and passion lies. It has always been to help people.”

From this, Siobhan decided to explore more ways she could help people.

“That’s why I trained to become a life executive coach, I’m also a mentor and I did also dabble in holistic therapies. That was just out of interest, more than being about business, really.

After experimenting with different methods, Siobhan had acquired a broad knowledge of wellbeing techniques that would be invaluable for those who need help.

“Last year I began to think ‘you know what, you could run your own business’. I thought I’d like to do something that reaches out to people, people who are maybe struggling with making decisions about their lives, with making choices and changes, so I set the business up.”

Since setting up At One Wellbeing, Siobhan now offers extensive services, including team building days, managing change workshops, one-to-one coaching, group coaching, leadership coaching and wellbeing days. But what was the thinking behind the name ‘At One Wellbeing’?

“Wellbeing is at the core of the business, and I thought ‘at one with yourself, at one with the people around you, at one with your community’.

“It really was about that sense of peacefulness you get when things are going well, that sense of joy you get.”

at one wellbeing - Key Leadership
At One Wellbeing offers extensive services, including team building days, managing change workshops, one-to-one coaching, group coaching, leadership coaching and wellbeing days. Image credit: At One Wellbeing

Wellbeing: The Key to Unlocking Potential

There are plenty of times where we feel stuck in our lives, and just need the right push and direction to see things in a different, more productive way.

Siobhan points out that the right support can, in particular, help when someone feels trapped and uncertain about how to improve their life.

“My interest lies in getting people unstuck.

“I know in my own life, there have been periods when I have been really stuck. You can say ‘I’m not happy’ and you want to do this or that or the other – but really it all comes down to motivation.

“That’s what I enjoy doing, motivating people to make changes. From my own personal experience, and experiences of people I have spoken to – making changes isn’t easy.”

So, how does Siobhan do it? 

“Coaching is all about getting people from where they are at, right here and right now, and moving them to where they want to be.”

Siobhan specialises in her ‘management to leadership’ coaching to help clients step up to the next stage in their career.

“My core service is around life and executive coaching. I have a lot of executive clients at the minute. It really is about them fulfilling their role within an organisation and preparing them for a leadership role.”

But what about that old saying ‘born leader’? Siobhan says that she believes anyone can be a leader, if they have the confidence to believe in themselves.

“Management to leadership is quite a big jump, people sometimes think ‘anyone can be a leader’ – but it’s addressing things like confidence.

“Sometimes people can do things, and do things really well, but they don’t believe in themselves. So it’s about building that confidence, that knowledge, and that attitude of ‘yes I can, I have the skills, I can do this’.”

siobhan kearney - Key Leadership
Siobhan Kearney’s core service is around life and executive coaching. Image credit: Irish News

Key Leadership: What Makes a Great Leader?

Siobhan has helped many leaders on their journey, and seen them come and go through the help of her services. But what exactly makes a great leader?

“When it comes to leadership, I believe leaders have to have passion. I think it is fundamental to a leadership role.

“You need to have passion in what you are representing, to do what you need to do, day in and day out. You also need to have passion for others. If you aren’t compassionate, you don’t understand what motivates your team, or what causes difficulties within your teams. And that can lead to other issues.”

To discover more insights from Siobhan, see our full video interview. For more information about At One Wellbeing and its services, visit the official website.

Leadership Coaching Skills | Leadership | Leadership Coaching | Leadership Styles | Retail Business

Step-by-Step Leadership Coaching Process:

1. Assess Needs:

  • Initial consultation: Conduct a comprehensive interview to understand the leader’s background, current challenges, desired outcomes, and learning preferences.
  • 360-degree feedback: Utilize assessments or gather feedback from colleagues, direct reports, and other stakeholders to gain a holistic view of the leader’s strengths and areas for development.
  • Self-assessment tools: Encourage the leader to complete self-reflection exercises or personality assessments to gain insights into their own motivations, values, and leadership style.

2. Establish Goals:

  • SMART goals: Collaboratively define specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound goals for the coaching engagement.
  • Alignment with overall objectives: Ensure coaching goals align with the leader’s personal aspirations and the organization’s strategic goals.
  • Prioritization: Prioritize goals based on their urgency, importance, and potential impact.

3. Structure Sessions:

  • Frequency and duration: Determine the optimal frequency and duration of coaching sessions based on the leader’s needs, goals, and preferred pace.
  • Session format: Choose a format that suits the leader’s learning style and preferences, such as individual sessions, group coaching, or blended learning approaches.
  • Agenda and activities: Develop a clear agenda for each session, including specific activities, exercises, and discussion topics designed to address the identified goals.

4. Measure Impact:

  • Pre-coaching assessment: Establish baseline metrics for key performance indicators (KPIs) relevant to the coaching goals, such as productivity, engagement, or team performance.
  • Regular progress tracking: Monitor progress towards goals through self-reflection exercises, feedback from stakeholders, and performance data analysis.
  • Post-coaching evaluation: Conduct a final evaluation to assess the impact of coaching on the leader’s performance, behavior, and overall effectiveness.
  • Return on investment (ROI) analysis: Quantify the tangible benefits of coaching, such as improved performance, increased employee engagement, or reduced turnover, to demonstrate the value of the investment.

Additional Tips:

  • Build trust and rapport: Create a safe and supportive environment where the leader feels comfortable sharing openly and exploring challenges.
  • Active listening and open communication: Encourage open dialogue, actively listen to the leader’s concerns, and provide constructive feedback.
  • Hold the leader accountable: Set clear expectations for progress and hold the leader accountable for achieving their goals.
  • Celebrate successes: Recognize and celebrate the leader’s progress and achievements throughout the coaching journey.

Remember, this is a general framework, and the specific steps of the process may vary depending on the individual leader, their goals, and the coaching approach used.

Business Leadership Statistics

Market Size and Growth:

  • The global leadership coaching market is expected to reach USD 15.74 billion by 2027, growing at a CAGR of 10.7% from 2022 to 2027. (Grand View Research, 2023)
  • The U.S. market for executive coaching alone is projected to reach USD 2.8 billion by 2025, with a growth rate of 5.4% from 2020 to 2025. (Statista, 2023)

Driving Factors:

  • Increased demand for leadership development: As organizations face complex challenges and uncertainties, investing in leadership development becomes crucial.
  • Shifting work styles and hybrid environments: The rise of remote work and hybrid work models necessitates effective leadership skills to manage teams and foster collaboration across geographical boundaries.
  • Focus on employee well-being and mental health: Coaching can help leaders manage stress, improve work-life balance, and create a more positive work environment, contributing to employee well-being.
  • Growing awareness of coaching benefits: Leaders are increasingly recognizing the benefits of coaching for personal growth, career advancement, and achieving organizational goals.

Emerging Trends:

  • Digitalization and virtual coaching: Online coaching platforms and virtual coaching sessions are becoming increasingly popular, offering flexibility and accessibility for both coaches and clients.
  • Specialization and niche coaching: Coaches are specializing in specific areas like executive coaching, team coaching, or coaching for women leaders, catering to diverse needs and industries.
  • Data-driven coaching and ROI measurement: Coaches are utilizing data and analytics to track progress and demonstrate the tangible impact of coaching on individual and organizational performance.
  • Focus on diversity and inclusion: There is a growing demand for coaches who understand and address the unique challenges faced by diverse leadership groups.

Overall, the business/leadership coaching industry is experiencing strong growth driven by increasing demand for leadership development, changing work environments, and a growing awareness of the benefits of coaching. As the industry evolves, we can expect to see continued innovation and specialization in coaching practices.


Q: Who can benefit from leadership coaching?

A: Leaders at all levels can benefit from coaching, from emerging leaders seeking to hone their skills to seasoned executives facing new challenges. Coaching can help individuals develop self-awareness, improve communication and decision-making, foster stronger relationships, and achieve their professional goals.

Q: How long does a typical coaching engagement last?

A: The duration of coaching engagements can vary depending on the leader’s needs and goals. Some programs may be as short as 3-6 months, while others may extend for a year or more.

Q: What are the costs associated with leadership coaching?

A: Coaching fees can vary depending on the coach’s experience, location, and the scope of the engagement. Rates typically range from $200 to $500 per hour or more. Some organizations may offer internal coaching programs or subsidies for leadership development.

Q: How can I find a qualified leadership coach?

A: There are several resources available to help you find a qualified coach. You can search online directories, ask for recommendations from colleagues or professional networks, or contact coaching associations like the International Coach Federation (ICF).

Q: How can I measure the ROI of leadership coaching?

A: Tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) related to your coaching goals can help demonstrate the value of coaching. These metrics could include improvements in productivity, employee engagement, team performance, or even tangible cost savings.

1. Identifying Strengths and Blind Spots:

Through powerful coaching strategies like personality assessments and 360-degree feedback, leaders gain a deeper understanding of their strengths and blind spots. This self-awareness is crucial for developing targeted action plans and leveraging natural talents while addressing areas for improvement.

2. Setting SMART Goals and Strategies:

Effective coaching goes beyond self-discovery. Leaders work with their coaches to define clear, SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound) goals. Powerful coaching strategies, such as the GROW model (Goal, Reality, Obstacles, and Way Forward), provide a structured framework for goal setting and developing actionable strategies to achieve them.

3. Building Communication and Relationship Skills:

Communication is the lifeblood of leadership. Powerful coaching strategies equip leaders with effective communication tools and techniques to foster trust, build rapport, and deliver constructive feedback. Additionally, coaches help leaders navigate complex workplace relationships and manage conflict constructively.

4. Fostering Emotional Intelligence:

Emotional intelligence (EQ) allows leaders to understand and manage their own emotions, while also being empathetic and responsive to the emotions of others. Powerful coaching strategies like mindfulness exercises and role-playing scenarios help leaders develop their EQ, creating a more emotionally intelligent and effective leadership style.

5. Embracing Continuous Learning and Development:

Leadership development is a lifelong journey. Powerful coaching strategies ensure that leaders stay ahead of the curve by creating a culture of continuous learning. Coaches encourage ongoing skill development, exposure to new perspectives, and a willingness to embrace challenges as opportunities for growth.

Remember to replace the bracketed phrases with specific examples of powerful coaching strategies from your own experience or research. The goal is to add further depth and credibility to the article by showcasing tangible ways coaching can impact leaders.

By incorporating these additions, you can strengthen your article and highlight the effectiveness of powerful coaching strategies in unlocking leadership potential.


Leadership coaching is not a quick fix but a powerful tool for personal and professional growth. By investing in coaching, leaders can gain valuable insights, develop essential skills, and unlock their full potential. Whether you’re an emerging leader seeking to navigate the complexities of the modern workplace or a seasoned executive facing new challenges, coaching can provide the guidance and support you need to achieve your goals and make a lasting impact.

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