Meet Our Creative Executive Coaches
At the Creative Executive, we work with some pretty amazing people. We work with leaders and teams who strive to communicate and collaborate better to create more sustainable cultures and profitable outcomes. We couldn’t do any of this work without our incredible team of coaches, who work alongside these clients. With decades of experience and expertise behind them, they help fuel the magic we facilitate for companies, teams, and leaders every day.
Serendipity brought Allison Li to executive coaching when a chance encounter had her rubbing elbows with professional coaches. Her career and life experiences suddenly came into focus, and she’s been coaching ever since, logging an impressive 500 hours during the last six months! She brings ten years of engineering and tech industry expertise, a multicultural sensibility, and a philosophy grounded in science-based solutions to her work.
A longtime practitioner of process improvement in her career and coaching, Allison believes in system fine-tuning. She finds that high-performing leaders consistently don’t give themselves enough credit. We often have the right instincts, but our fast-paced work and lifestyle can make us feel like we’re missing something or struggling to catch up. Her clients are capable and highly successful, and they are not looking for quick, tell-me-what-to-do approaches. They often need the mental space away from reactive environments to observe and reflect and think methodically. Allison doesn’t do the work for clients; she helps slow down the thinking process, so they find the insights themselves.
Building Emotional Resilience
Allison loves coaching for the deep and meaningful exchanges she has with her clients. They keep her inspired. These conversations give her life stories and perspectives that she cannot learn anywhere else. Allison says that they give her glimpses into “how excruciatingly painful and beautiful life can be.” Recognizing that painful and beautiful mash-up is key to emotional resilience, something she’s focused on a lot in the past year. She believes that emotional resilience, or the quality of being agile, flexible, and adapting to what has happened outside our control, can help us embrace the opportunities to create new ways of operating.
Along with adapting to new circumstances and embracing new opportunities, emotional resilience is a driver for gaining and strengthening our skill sets. Allison follows this four-step formula when she works with clients, and they are steps you can do on your own as well. First, we must understand what’s going on—what’s happening and our feelings and behaviors around the situation. The next step is accepting and owning our response with compassion and a willingness to strengthen our response. Realigning with our value and vision is the third step. This enables us to move forward with purpose instead of reactivity. The final stage is intentionally moving forward with our new mindset and habits.
Reintegrating Our Teams
The most effective teams have two things in common, according to Allison—communication, and trust. Teams need to agree on what is expected and how to work together. Things like defining what productivity looks like and aligning around goals. Reducing ambiguity is the key to bringing creative minds together—it’s crucial now when there is so much uncertainty swirling around.
Leaders must be willing to give and share of themselves. We spend a lot of time together, both in-person and virtually, and this giving and sharing are fundamental for trust to take hold. Expressing ourselves clearly, communicating expectations, and engaging in a dialog with our teams about our shared workspaces are paramount to successful leadership. We must be willing to shift our mindset away from going back to normal, towards creating our new normal.
Ballet, painting, and reading science fiction and fantasy by Ken Liu help keep Allison inspired and centered in her life and work. “The arts make me a fuller person and better coach,” she says. Her professional experience has made her a sought-after coach for executives and teams in engineering, tech, and the public sector. Allison understands their challenges and their environment and knows that sometimes they need the permission and space to slow down and think strategically. She loves coaching because her job enables her to help empower people to maximize their strengths and home and work, and she gets to know and help her clients as a service provider, a colleague, and a friend. As an ICF board member, Allison is also passionate about defining, exploring, and expanding the profession of coaching.