University News

Coaching Alumni Profiles: Susan Paley

By Whitney Hopler, Communications Manager

The connection between  leadership and well-being has become a key element of success, says Susan Paley, a Leadership Coaching for Organizational Well-Being certificate program alumna who leads Bright Spots Coaching. “We’re past the days of putting ‘great leadership’ and ‘well-being’ in two separate buckets,” she says. “We’ve now discovered that when we lead from a place of authenticity, cognitive empathy, and connection, we create better teams, better relationships, better results. Setting a foundation of attention to our own well-being and that of the leader sitting in front of us in a coaching conversation, gets us closer to a place of greater flow. All parts of our life – both personal and professional – improve.”

Paley was a coaching client years ago, and the benefits she experienced motivated her to become a coach herself after more than 30 years of success in media and corporate leadership. “I was a client of coaching a couple of decades ago and it was an eye-opener. Coaching helped to introduce me to myself. From that experience, I felt drawn to the field, and began my own path toward coaching certification. Combining my corporate leadership and communications experience, with my bent for unpacking and reflecting to get to the core of issues, I’ve found a route to  flourishing inside the coaching profession. I love helping clients to look closely within themselves, and ‘rearrange the furniture’ a bit. When I see a client land where they need or want to be – even if they didn’t know that was their destination when we started – it’s incredibly gratifying.”

The Leadership Coaching for Organizational Well-Being program offered her “great content and preparedness to pass the ICF certification exam”, Paley says. After graduating from the program, “One of the best things I took with me were the relationships I forged in the course. Some of my peers from that class have become close friends, coaching colleagues, and confidants. We each launched and nurture our practices and clients respectively. That peer group has been invaluable and I’m grateful.”

In Paley’s work at Bright Spots Coaching, she often helps clients launch their “next act” in life. She designs and presents workshops about topics such as executive presence, communication, and branding. “My focus is informed by my own experiences and skills in both the media and corporate world, as well as my takeaways from courses and workshops – not the least of which was my time with Ellen Fulton, director of training at Mason’s Leadership Coaching for Organizational Well-Being certificate program, and her colleagues.”