Executive Coaching and 121 Leadership Development

What are you looking for? What is the situation you would like to improve? What problems are you looking to solve? What aspirations and goals would you like to achieve?

Coaching helps you draw on deep-rooted unconscious awareness for inspired aha moments

How will Executive Coaching help you?

Coaching is a process that raises awareness, clarity and focus; encourages people to take on responsibility; and reduces barriers to performance.

Executive Coaching is an efficient, high-impact process that helps high-performing people in leadership roles improve results in ways that are sustained over time.

Coaching programs are tailored to suit your aspirations and needs. Depending on your purpose for coaching, programs could involve 3 to 6 sessions spaced from one to three weeks apart. Alternatively, programs last 3 to 6 months with sessions at the duration and frequency that works best for you, plus regular short catch ups and emails between sessions. We can meet in person in or near Edinburgh, or Central Belt Scotland, and also face to face online with Zoom, Skype, Messenger, Teams, WhatsApp or your other preferred meeting app. Coaching programs can also include relevant tools and psychometric assessments such as Emotional Intelligence (EQ-i2), Leadership Styles (ILM 72), Mental Toughness (MTQ Plus), and various personality, strengths and working style questionnaires. Sue has a wide range of frameworks that support managers to develop leadership capacity and mindset, be more effective, align your purpose, vision and goals with the team, engage your people and much more.

Discover more about our coaching approach, important considerations when choosing a coach and get in touch for more details on our 1:1 coaching options: email info@aeona.co.uk, schedule a call or call Sue on 07809 672859

Numerous studies, such as by Gallop and McKinsey show that coaching improves employee engagement and that companies with highly engaged people are more successful on multiple measures and are 60% more likely to be in the top quartile for business health. Sadly, only about 17% of employees in the UK are actively engaged and committed to their work and organisation. The rest are not engaged or actively disengaged, spreading negativity and dissent and poor performance. According to the Macleod Report, employee disengagement costs the UK economy £59-£65 billion annually in lost productivity.

Gallop research shows that managers account for 70% of the variance in engagement. Great managers inspire high engagement, but poor managers inspire disengagement. Over 50% of employees report that they left a job to get away from their manager. A study by Manchester Inc. reported that executives who received coaching improved relationships with their direct reports (77%), immediate supervisors (71%) and peers (63%) resulting in a 5.7 times return on the investment in coaching.

Coaching drives behavioural and psychological change and is grounded in behavioural science, psychology and neuroscience. According to reports by ILM, CIPD, ICF and others, coaching improves work performance, team effectiveness, communication skills, time management skills, and much more.

Serious elite athletes and high performers across the board, from business to music, claim they wouldn’t get where they are now were it not for having a coach.

It is not easy to be an effective leader and like any skill, it takes time and effort and needs nurturing. One of the most valuable skills for a leader is investing in reflection, yet this is difficult to do when you have many demands on your time and attention. Most managers and leaders are so busy with their daily work, attending meetings and firefighting urgent issues, that there is hardly time to think of future strategy let alone honing the leadership skills that make you more effective. Great leaders invest in raising their inner sustainability by doing the ‘inner work’ that raises your awareness, capacity and courage to do everything you need to do and do it more effectively and sustainably. Attending a training course can give you the knowledge, but most leaders find that isn’t enough to put it into action. Having a coach can help you by having regular real-time conversations to look over the horizon, improve your planning and decision making, and improve your actions and effectiveness as a leader.

Many senior leaders and CEOs say it is ‘lonely at the top’. You enjoy making decisions but also enjoy the spark of discussing ideas with others as you create your plans, yet there are few, if any, peers with whom you can have those conversations.

The benefits of working with a coach come from gaining clarity and focus to manage successfully the challenges you face at the moment. Organisations invest in coaching to support managers and leaders to manage change, create their compelling purpose and vision and develop their high performing team, enhance their impact when newly promoted, enhance emotional intelligence and mental wellbeing and reduce stress and conflict, and many other situations. Business benefits are often measured in cost savings resulting from improved efficiency and effectiveness in leadership and management, including better delegation leading to better focus of your time on priority business areas, less micromanagement, less repetition, improved engagement, reduced staff turnover and many other benefits.
    At an personal level, clients have reported benefits such as
  • feel in control of your own future and lead a more fulfilling and balanced life
  • be confident, focused and able to adapt and be flexible
  • find your voice, communicate so others believe in you and raise your leadership presence
  • be more strategic and make better decisions and choices
  • accelerate your career and successfully negotiate promotion
  • feeling less alone as you have to make hard management and leadership decisions that you can't discuss with your team.
Olympic athletes have coach because they want to be their best, not because they are not good at what they do. They are already good and they want to be great, to have support to maintain the clarity, focus, commitment, determination and courage to dream big and achieve it. You can have that too.

Did you know that even Olympic athletes claim that over 90% of their success is not down to their athletic skills and abilities, but down to their mindset? Successful people in all walks of life say the same thing. They have coaching to be in charge of their own mindset, which determines, among other things, how confident they feel, how they can stay on track in the face of distractions, how they set goals to maintain their focus and belief they can achieve ultimate success even when they don’t win one event. Aeona’s proven tools and frameworks help you to do all this.



What are your ambitions, dreams and aspirations - for yourself, for your team and for your organisation?

Are you already achieving them?
If not, do you know why not?
What is the value to you personally and to your organisation if you do achieve your ambitions?
What difference will it make?

Just like Olympic athletes, the executives and individuals who I work with are extremely capable and often know what they want to do, even if they don’t know how they will get there.



Executive Coaching Case Studies

These are just a few examples of what Sue's clients have gained from 121 coaching.


A successful marketing manager had thrived at work and enjoyed her role until there was a restructure when her role had less responsiblity and ability to set direction. She subsequently felt undervalued, over worked and under pressure with very tight deadlines, over tired and bored. Many friends at work had moved on and she negotiated a package to leave. She felt she was lacking in direction and confidence as a result of this, and wanted support to find a new role where she would reignite her passion, sense of purpose and confidence, and feel she was making a difference.

During our sessions, we worked on developing her positive mindset to rebuild inner sustainability and self worth. We clarified (i) what contributes to her sense of purpose and fulfilment in work, (ii) the environment and culture where she works at her best and that aligns with her values and (iii) how she presents the value she brings as a leader and senior manager as well as her professional expertise. As a result, she identified a company that aligned with her values and desired culture and successfully gained her ideal senior role there.

"We got to the destination quicker than expected where I was able to identify the target role and address some of the challenges around confidence and renewed drive. Your help in addressing these challenges as well as preparing for the interview was truly invaluable and I feel ready to take it from here!"

The MD at a relatively large organisation felt he had high EI yet some of his relationships with peers and the senior leaders he managed were not as strong as he would like. He found the EQi-2 Leadership report illuminating as it revealed an imbalance between his very high self-perception and internal EI and low empathy and interpersonal relationships.

He realised that he’d not been aware of his perception skills not including how others were feeling and that they had different motivations and needs for recognition. He realised that his impatience to get things done and tendency to drive onto the next thing without celebrating achievements and daily good work along the way were negatively impacting his relationships.

He was already good at ‘walking the halls’ and showing interest in people at all levels in the organisation, so he chose to build on that by working on active listening skills in all conversations, formal and informal. While he found this did not come naturally, it helped him be more empathic and strengthen his working relationships.

Over two years, an engineer in a mid-sized but expanding company had become a manager, progressed rapidly and now was promoted to Director. While he was extremely expert in engineering, his lack of leadership development was letting him down. He was avoiding the more difficult ‘people stuff’ which was impacting on his relationships and ability to perform well as a senior manager and director. People still regarded him as an Engineer and approached him to deal with engineering challenges rather than strategic challenges.

Our coaching sessions help him to develop his leadership capacity and leadership behaviours including strategic thinking and relating as a peer with other directors. It included making the mindset shift from being the Expert to being the Leader of Experts and valuing his contribution at work by indirectly using his technological skills through the conversations he has with people. This helped him to stop trying to fix people’s problems and instead support them to come up with their own solutions. As an engineer and manager, he expected to bring potential solutions whenever he reported an issue to the board. Working on his mindset shift helped him be more comfortable at raising the complex & strategic challenges for which he had 'no answers', which needed to be discussed for the company to make progress. People's perceptions shifted to now see him as a Director who also had engineering expertise.

A project manager was brought in at the last minute to lead a team who were very behind schedule, with the project deadline looming within two weeks. She discovered that the team had not been told about the manager replacement and were very hostile towards her. Meetings erupted and overran as people didn’t listen to updates and heckled. She was very upset as she felt there wasn't time for all this - they urgently had to start getting things done to make the deadline.

In our session, she identified that people felt their concerns were not being heard, and there wasn’t enough time for more than a few questions at the end of presentations. She added a specific item to the agenda called “Over to you” giving a formal space and time to listen to audience concerns and she committed to give or find answers. Overtly having listening on the agenda, plus walking around the buildings to connect with people individually, transformed hostility to engagement within just one week! The team became determined and committed to deliver the project on time.

We love to tailor relevant
121 coaching options with you

"When you work with me, we co-create relevant and inspiring programs that will make the difference that you are looking for."
Dr Sue Mitchell



I work with executives, leaders and managers to harness the power of purposeful leadership and engagement to raise performance and create an environment where everyone can excel. We shine a mindset lens for you to raise your inner sustainability that gives you the capacity to deal with life and work's increasingly complex systemic environment and challenges. We start with raising awareness with a focus on meaning, purpose, values, strengths, motivation and passions, to create the foundations for you to be more effective, analyse your current situation and clarify where you want to be and how you will get there, both personally and professionally. This values-based approach creates a core compass to facilitate positive decision-making, sustainable change and wellbeing for both individuals and the organisation. It also serves as a foundation to recognise and draw on your strengths and see where you align with, and can be motivated by, the purpose and values in your team and organisation.

Working in this style raises your inner sustainability and your unconscious knowledge about "who I am and what is important to me" into your conscious thoughts which raises your self-worth and courage to take action. Things becomes clearer and it becomes a lot easier to make choices and decisions, be confident and resilient, and to deal with whatever issues brought you to coaching in the first place. Occasions where this approach is particularly useful are for coaching around broader purposes such as career, leadership, a crossroads in life, better life/work balance and integration, confidence and a wide range of issues in work. It is also particularly relevant for business owners who gain most sustainable motivation for their business when it aligns with their personal purpose. This approach helps me inspire my clients to be motivated by helping them find clarity about their own personal purpose, focus on what is important to them, be confident they are doing the right things and to value time they invest in re-energising themselves and doing things they enjoy.

Methodology Coaching areas in which I specialise include leadership, engagement, confidence, mental toughness and resilience and emotional intelligence. Coaching works best through conversations with a purpose. I use a wide range of methods drawn from traditional coaching, solutions focused coaching, emotional Intelligence, NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming), business and strategy models, team and leadership models, and systems thinking, choosing elements that are relevant to support you in the topic under discussion at that time. I use a range of tools that help you develop awareness, confidence and the motivation and commitment to turn your plans into reality. These include a proprietary frameworks that support you as a leader, manager or executive to focus on priorities, engage your people, create high performing teams, maintain balance in all realms of your life, and many other topics as required. For career coaching, I have a number of additional frameworks that help you clarify what you love in your work, your purpose and aspirations for your career and life, and how to banish stress and find fulfilment.

I use psychometric and other profiling tools to help you gain objective insights and self-awareness, including self-reporting style questionnaires and 360 degree feedback. From an organisational viewpoint, profiling at both the start and end of a coaching period can be a useful method to demonstrate the changes brought about by coaching. Rather than being overloaded by attempting everything at once, I recommend selecting profiles that will be most relevant to your situation and what you want to achieve through coaching. (Contact me for more information.)

Session Style and duration Some clients prefer a more structured session, others prefer it less so, and I aim to match my style to your needs, preferred learning style and so on. Session duration can last 45 minutes to 1.5 hours or occasionally longer depending on what we contract for, and that will be effective for you to achieve your objectives.

Location for 1:1 meetings Many clients prefer remote coaching sessions as it makes it easier to fit into a busy schedule. Others prefer physically meeting together in person, and this brings a different dynamic to the session. Both formats provide valuable coaching insights. Whether we meet in person or remotely (by telephone, Skype, Zoom, Teams, other apps), I recommend being in a neutral venue where you will not be overheard, which is more likely to create a safe space.

I recommend we meet in an informal space where you feel comfortable but is not your usual home or workplace. This helps you to step out of your usual thinking patterns and focus, which gives you different perspectives and more illuminating insights. When we meet in person, we often meet in a private meeting room, hotel lounges and cafes. We can walk in beautiful spaces such as an art gallery or outdoors in nature when the weather permits. Edinburgh is blessed with beautiful outdoor spaces, from Princes Gardens in the city centre, to Holyrood Park and Blackford Hill on the edge of the city, and we can also meet further out at the Pentland hills or the beautiful beaches towards East Lothian. Our environment and whether we are sitting or walking, changes the way we feel and think and that makes a difference to the outcomes of the session!

An important part of what makes the coaching partnership work well is a good relationship between you and me as your coach, where we feel comfortable and can have open, honest and trusting conversations. This is vital as we may talk about things which you would not normally talk about with other people. As part of my commitment to creating a an emotionally and psychologically safe space to talk and reflect, I maintain full confidentiality about our work together.

When coaching is sponsored by the organisation, during our initial "contracting" 3 (or 4)-way meeting, we will establish guidelines about confidentiality and information flow, which are critical to develop trust between the coachee, coach and other stakeholders. We will agree what information the organisation requires regarding the coaching and the coachee either reports themselves in a review meeting or reviews information before I report to the organisation. All parties need to understand and respect the delicate balance to protect session content and maintain constructive dialogue with the organisation sponsoring the coaching sessions.

Any information about the coachee and the organisation that emerges during coaching sessions will be treated in strictest confidence.

Sue Mitchell, PhD
Has experience coaching clients at many levels, including business owners and aspiring to senior managers, executives and board members in small, medium and large organisations in the private, public and third sectors.

Delivers 121 coaching as well as training and development in coaching skills and leadership.

Uses a broad range of coaching approaches, tools, techniques and models which enables her to be flexible and tailor her coaching approach to suit each client's individual needs. These tools include models, techniques and frameworks from a wide range of theoretical backgrounds, including coaching theory, organisational theory, psychology, psychometrics, learning and NLP.

Coaches in accordance with the Association for Coaching Code of Ethics.

Has coaching relevant qualifications: Diploma in Corporate and Executive Coaching; NLP Business Practitioner; Certificate in Performance Coaching; Psychometric Licensed User: Emotional Intelligence (EQ-i2), Leadership Styles (ILM72), Mental Toughness (MTQ48); Facilitation skills; Communication skills. Her first degree included Psychology and behaviour.

Takes part in on-going continuing professional development(CPD) by attending training courses and seminars, reading publications and contributing to the Association for Coaching (AC) events.

Has coaching supervision to maintain best practise. Supervision is a formal, independent process of reflection and review

Is a member of the Association for Coaching (AC) and adheres to the AC Professional Body ethics for coaching. She is a member of the Professional Speakers Association and was the Regional President of PSA Scotland in 2019 to 2020.

Maintains Professional Indemnity Insurance through a Professional Civil Liability Insurance with Oxygen, with an indemnity limit £3,000,000.

Aeona Limited is registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) for data protection (registration number Z1331417)


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