Meet Claire Walton, Executive Coach, Leaders Are Making A Difference, a brand for leaders who want to achieve more performance success with less stress!
It takes courage to leave a high-paying career and embark on the path of uncertainty, exploring something new. A former HR director, Claire Walton, did the same and is now an Executive Coach at Leaders Are Making A Difference often know as Leaders are MAD, her own brand. She loves helping people achieve their full potential and make a difference for their teams, organization, and the customers and communities they serve. She is also a best-selling author of ‘Super Neuro You – Achieve more success for less stress and make a difference for yourself and others’.
Claire had a difficult childhood with parents who weren’t happy together. Her mother had mental health issues, and the problems between her parents affected her childhood and influenced her adult years for a very long time. She grew up in an industrial town in Northeast England. She hated school and left home at 18 to build a different life for herself.
Claire started working in HR, and in her early 30s, she took her first Director role, which led to many executive director roles for many well-known brands in the UK and Europe later. She juggled her career and cared for her daughter as a single mother. She excelled at her job until one day, she decided to try working for herself. After 3 years, she was lured back into the Director roles for another couple of years. Still eager to leave corporate life behind, she took a year out to study for an MBA degree and passed with flying colors. She and her daughter completed their master’s degree together from the same university at the same time. Her daughter is her best friend, and she is proud of both their achievements. Shortly after this, Claire set up her own business, Leaders Are Making a Difference (MAD), where she loves coaching leaders in a variety of contexts, individually and in teams and groups.
Talking about her business in detail, she says, “Leaders are making a difference for me (sometimes I have other people working alongside me). I have the capacity to make a difference to hundreds of thousands of people by inspiring and enabling the leaders in many different organizations across the world to be better leaders. The focus for better is for them to be happier, healthier, more effective role models for others. To lead with a positive purpose to find opportunities through their leadership roles to change the world in some way for the better. I focus on outcomes such as developing high trust relationships, leading with confidence, leading towards a vision of success, and making strategic choices that enable a positive difference for all stakeholders.
My clients are developing skills that traverse their leadership roles and their personal lives. This brings me great fulfillment as it delivers extra return on investment for the company and the individual, multiplying the ripple effect.”
Claire believes that no matter what we might think, we are all driven by emotions. Sometimes it benefits us, and sometimes it creates problems. Also, managing our emotions and optimizing cognitive capability should be taught in school and in leadership development. She is constantly developing her knowledge in the area, applying, and sharing it and her personal experience with others.
Starting out, there were a lot of challenges like developing and maintaining her authenticity, raising a child without much support whilst traveling and working long hours, and navigating sex discrimination and harassment working in very male-orientated environments. But she has successfully made her way through all of them. Currently, as a 53-year-old in business, she knows she must stay relevant to a younger audience. She must keep up with new technology, be proactive, and seize opportunities to build her brand.
Clients love her passion, positivity, energy, and empathy. Even with many other coaches in the industry, they choose to work with her because she is driven to make a difference. They appreciate her work, and Claire loves the testimonials she has received from them. She is overjoyed when people tell her that they loved her book. She has recently been nominated for an award in the UK, ‘The 2022 Northern Power Women Awards.’
Running her own business has given Claire time to undertake other projects, like writing a book, writing for magazines, raising funds for charities, and supporting them with pro-bono work. She helps charities that work with women who are struggling with abusive relationships at home.
She is happier, healthier, and has become more confident. She is more creative and open to taking risks, being vulnerable, achieving her goals, and being more ambitious. Leaving an inspiring message for her readers, she says, “Never compare yourself to others. You are unique. You are worthy. You are loved. You are awesome. You are not perfect – no one is perfect – perfect does not exist. Embrace life’s challenges – these bring you more learning than your successes do. Have fun and if it’s not fun, make it fun. Be real, be authentic, but don’t get stuck in who you are. Keep developing, evolving, growing, and living.”