At Areté Psychology and Coaching, Leanne offers support and coach effective techniques for sustainable development and continued fulfilment, working to identify her client's individual needs and goals. Ahead of our Image Networking Breakfast - 'Making Your Mark' on February 2nd, at The Marker Hotel, Dublin 2, we asked Leanne Rose O'Morain, Career Psychologist how she got where she is and what she's learned in the process.
What was the main reason that made you want to work as a career coach?
Having worked in the corporate sphere for 6 years, I not only witnessed but experienced first-hand the burnout that comes from dealing with the pressures and demands of a fast-paced work environment without sufficient resources. I saw my colleagues and friends juggle career aspirations, professional ambitions and duties, family life, social life, health and the financial and logistic challenges of modern life to a point where it felt everyone was simply running on empty, and in a constant flurry of stress and anxiety. Everyone around me was constantly going, trying to get higher, better, more done, faster, without ever taking the time to be present; to consider if the trajectory they were racing along was even what they wanted and if it was, to take the time to enjoy the milestones along the way.
What advice would you give to someone who wanted to start his or her own business?
In many ways, I am the antithesis to the entrepreneurial spirit. As a risk-averse and analytical person by nature (my father-in-law calls me ‘spreadsheet’ – true story!), I am a strong advocate of strategic planning and informed decision making. Intricate business planning and number crunching are vital for giving your vision every opportunity at success and sustainable growth so that you have more than a cloud to support you when the dream becomes a reality. That said, it is my firm belief that in order to start a business at all, you need to accept that you cannot control or plan for everything, and at some point, you simply have to trust your gut and take a leap of faith.
One of the most important things I’ve learned about starting out on your own is that you shouldn’t try to do everything on your own. Reach out and use the resources and supports available to you. Utilise the knowledge and connections of those more experienced than you in areas in which you may be deficient or not have had much exposure – the best way to learn is to enlist the expertise of those with experience!
What are the biggest challenges your clients face in relation to maintaining a healthy work-life balance?
My clients come to me with very similar struggles. Trying to juggle the demands of social and professional life is exhausting and many people are burning out trying to keep up. They feel that they are failing by barely keeping their head above water. We live in a society where there is enormous pressure to perform and excel in all aspects of our lives, simultaneously. The age of social media means that we are constantly bombarded by curated images and narratives of the ‘perfect’ life, and absorbing messaging that makes us feel inadequate if we do not measure up to these glittering mirages. It’s the age where we can, and should, have it all. Or so we are lead to believe.
I work with my clients to identify the key goals which hold authentic value for them, to separate their dreams and aspirations from those imposed upon us, and to create sustainable, realistic strategies for obtaining those goals. I also coach my clients to be mindful and to slow things down. My clients tend to be part of the rat race, on the corporate wheel hurtling forward where the scenery becomes a blur, as do eventually their goals. I work with them to set aside time to enjoy the milestones, be present in the journey and to acknowledge their achievements and challenges without constantly looking to the next goal.
What is the most satisfying thing about your job?
I work closely with my clients to provide support and guidance and to coach techniques for coping with adversity and stress, and taking control of their own path. It is so satisfying for me to feel that I can help people to slow down and enjoy the journey whilst simultaneously reaching the goals and milestones that matter most to them. It’s a great feeling when clients provide feedback and they have managed to reduce or abolish anxiety and to deal effectively with the stress of their careers and life, and the positive effect this has had on their health, their mood and their relationships.
I also work with organisations to develop a culture of support for nurturing talent and establishing an environment that encourages development, progression, communication, and balance. I coach my corporate clients to create a culture whereby their employees feel valued and inspired, which in turn results in lower absenteeism and turnover, and increase productivity, innovation, and community. It’s a wonderful feeling to know that I can contribute to the devising and implementation of strategies that improve revenues and achieve commercial targets at the same time as helping to create a pleasant and nurturing culture where employees are treated as humans and not statistics or robots – the two do not need to be mutually exclusive, in fact, quite the opposite!
If you were to give your younger self-advice, what would it be?
Not to worry so much. They say when you worry, you suffer twice. It’s taken a long time, but I’ve finally internalised that philosophy and develop the coping mechanisms to deal with stress in a productive way. I think that’s a huge part of why I started Areté – I can relate personally with the struggles my clients are facing, and I truly want to help them to adopt the simple, effective changes that have had a significant positive impact on my life, both professional and social.
Hear Leanne and fellow panelists, General Manager Reserve, Diageo Europe, Tanya Clarke, Interior Designer & Entrepreneur, Helen Turkington talk about 'Making Your Mark!' at our Networking Breakfast, Friday, February 2.