An Interview with Executive Coach to World-Class Leaders, Simona Spilak

Tell us about your journey! What led you to this point?  

As a child, I was introverted and spent a lot of time on my own, locked in my room either reading books or watching black and white movies. Still, it wasn’t a bad time for me; it was “me time.” And, even back then, I always dreamed big and made ambitious plans. This helped to equip me with the self-confidence and courage that have allowed me to create my current success. 

My career started out in the corporate world just after graduation and led me to a successful, 20-year-long career. But then, in 2016, it came time to make a change. So, I took on the challenge of starting my own business. 

Working hard from the word ‘go’ to develop the right entry strategy, my agency soon found its place in the premium segment of a very small market. As a result, it grew to six figures in just 18 months, supported as it was by a highly engaged team. We have come to be well known in the fields of executive search and leadership development, and this has helped us to attract high-profile Forbes 500 clients. 

With my brick and mortar business ticking over so well, my focus has more recently shifted to leadership coaching. Over the past two years, I have been working with world-class leaders, helping them to navigate high-stakes decision-making and offering them non-judgmental and objective support. Through working with me, my clients benefit from an invaluable second set of eyes through which to better evaluate their values and goals. This, in turn, helps them to better align their actions with those goals.

I have leaned into my corporate experience and put my executive search agency contacts to good use and, as a result, have managed to build up my international online coaching business with the support of my team. However, it is my understanding that a lot of leaders do feel alone at the top that has really helped me to make it such a success.

Looking back, I can see that my childhood helped me to better observe and understand the people around me and to develop an invaluable sense of respect for confidentiality and being non-judgmental. These ingredients are the basis of my executive coaching. 

What has been your biggest achievement?  

Building two different businesses in different segments over just five years has to be one of my greatest success stories, particularly as I left a secure, high paying corporate job to do it. 

It was intuition that told me to follow a new career path, because I realized that I wanted to share my learnings and experience in new, more personal ways. And, thanks to that intuition, today many of my clients are Forbes 500 companies with whom my company has built long standing cooperation, mutual respect, and trust. 

Not only are my businesses in two completely different segments, the first being an executive B2B agency and the other a B2C executive coaching business, but I also wouldn’t want it any other way. I get to experience different dynamics in the different areas of my work, which is a balance that really works for me. 

My master’s degree in marketing and international business helps me a lot. Since I do come from a country of only two million inhabitants, thinking internationally and developing business across borders has always been a necessity. Now, thanks to always thinking big, my businesses have a global impact on leaders’ lives and contribute to the positive legacy that they create, which has always been a dream. 

Ultimately, though, there are two key factors to my entrepreneurial success. The first is the fact that I made the strategic decision to niche down my businesses, which was a scary thing to do in the beginning. But it was exactly that that helped me turn my very first enterprise into an unmitigated success within its first two years and keep it growing from there. 

The other is teamwork. I can’t work alone, so the moment I get a business idea, I look for a colleague or friend to brainstorm it. So, besides high-level business planning, my team have always been my top priority. Thanks to that approach, I have supportive, creative, and engaged colleagues that I know I can rely on. 

What’s the biggest result you help your clients to achieve?  

Many of my clients have moved up the corporate ladder to high-powered positions in big international firms since working with me. Others were able to restructure their companies and have been through big mergers, acquisitions, or management audits, and some have built great executive teams that became the driving force behind their company’s success. 

I believe that my clients get the results that they do because my coaching is solutions-focused. Usually, we work with my clients on a 12-month basis and after that, we stay in touch, sometimes through a check-in call or if they need an accountability partner. For the most part, they’re men, and almost all of them are corporate executives and leaders. 

So, with my proved and reliable approach, I’ve had a lot of big results. One that I’m especially proud of is the client that managed to move from his strong expert position to a top-level executive leadership role in a global pharmaceutical company. To help him get there, we invested time in developing his communication, listening skills, and working on his leadership influence. 

Another outstanding result of my coaching includes a successful corporate restructuring that one of my clients was leading. I helped him to focus on the company’s purpose and figure out a way to support the restructure with a communication strategy that aligned with the organization’s vision and culture. 

Another wonderful example I remember is a strategic solution a CEO was able to build by working with me. He created a new vision for his company and aligned it with a strategic roadmap. As a result, the global company went from being completely sales-channel oriented to something far more customer-centric, where consumer experience encompasses every aspect of the company’s offering. 

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Luana Ribeira

Luana Ribeira is a best selling author, international speaker and host of business Innovators Radio.