Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Harmony Murphy meets Emer Kennedy, the female CEO driving transformational coaching 

Harmony Murphy is Retail Head, Advertising UKI at Google and NDA’s monthly columnist.

In the past year and half I’ve learned so much about leadership from solo travel globally, to starting a job and relocating alone it has given me a lot of time to recalibrate, reflect and observe. Strengthening and internally questioning leadership traits I want to emulate and those I wouldn’t.

I also learned first hand that with change that discomfort can come, it’s okay to ask for help and for me that came in the form of a transformational executive coach, Emer Kennedy.

Many leaders may tell you leadership can be isolating at times, in certain environments or during transitions / challenges  (it does get better broaching this to give others hope; sticking to an ethical path always gains learning and light, sometimes in unexpected ways. Taking a step out can also be taking a step forward…

Not being around any network or longstanding tribe in initial phases can be hard. It also made me ponder  on how blessed I’ve been to have had strong sponsors, mentors and allies throughout my career who helped grow confidence and helped shape my career. 

One leader in particular really stood out to me during this period and has been an absolutely fundamental part of my journey and growth. A leader I would highly recommend for coaching and taking you to the next level, not just in the work environment but as a human being.  That leader came in the form of my coach Emer Kennedy, CEO / founder of Mind Canopy. Emer is a female entrepreneur who even by career path and choices taken her character, warmth and intellect throughout the process, woke me up so to speak!

Emer had a career at Google in multiple roles such as Senior Director of Small & Medium size business to Global Senior Director HR – always gaining growth, diversification and driving change. After studying at INSEAD and The Hudson Institute of Coaching Emer made the amazing and brave decision to  set up her own company outside of Google to drive change from inside out – inside the mind, inside the person, and wider to companies.

My journey with Emer has not been linear, my sessions are not just based on one topic but understanding the foundation of where change and challenge is needed at my core in order for me to progress. I often come out of the session deeply thinking and looking for more answers within myself. Also testing discussed mechanisms / theories in my day to day, that may have always been within me but Emer helped me discover or ignite. With Emer I found trust and exploration to give me movement and stretch in many ways…you can have promotion of yourself, leveling up as a person through facing your depths with a guide, my guide Emer.

What I have been highly fascinated by is what makes a successful woman in business and entrepreneur like Emer tick, what was the decision process of Emer going on her venture to aid so many people in life and career? Emers leadership being transformational and garnering wide spread trust and credibility from businesses, to coachees. I sat down with Emer on some of my questions below to learn and share more:

Emer you have had an amazing journey from Google to being founder of Mind Canopy, I know extremely multifaceted but what drives you and strengths you to take what some may say risks within your career? 

I am a big believer in purpose-driven work. I think if you can find your purpose in life you will feel passionate about the work that you do and the people around you. My experience has been that to achieve this, you need to spend time honing your skills and getting to know yourself well. It can be a frustrating period because we all like certainty, however if you chart your course in the direction of the North Star that feels right for you eventually you arrive at a destination where you flourish. Courage, focus and an ability to keep the faith will sustain you. 

Can you tell us more about your venture and why you set up Mind Canopy? What was your journey and your main aim?  

Mind Canopy is an Executive Coaching company. We offer bespoke coaching for individuals, groups and organizations. We are a team of highly trained coaches who have all had business careers and have been trained at the prestigious Hudson Institute in California and INSEAD in Paris. 

I wanted to create a Coaching company that offered high quality coaching to anyone who was building their career. I wanted business leaders to feel that they had ‘guides’ who would figuratively help them climb mountains and reach summits. I also felt creating a global footprint was important. You can be anywhere in the world and still be able to access a coach in your own timezone and in some cases your preferred language. 

As a successful woman in business I take it that throughout your career you may have also faced challenges,  head-wins or biases. What are some of the mechanisms you have put in place to overcome these, also for a wellbeing perspective?

I believe in creating reflection space everyday to take a step back from the busyness of life and connect with yourself. This allows me to self regulate and check in with my energy – physically, emotionally, spiritually and mentally. I meditate every day and practice yoga two mornings a week at 6am. While it’s hard to get out of bed on cold mornings, rising early in the morning gives me the quiet space I need. I also like to get fresh air daily and write in a journal most evenings. I try and avoid that feeling of overwhelm as much as possible and advocate for ‘ease’ in all aspects of my life. 

Leadership is at the heart of all you do, influencing, listening and strengthening others to a more optimal output, individualist to each coachee. What are some of the key leadership fundamentals to successful coaching?  

For me, being a good coach is about how you listen. I try to listen with my whole body and heart. I find this allows me to connect at a transformational level with clients and help them make sense of the challenges they face or the goals they want to achieve. I also take time to read as much as possible. This allows me to research self development topics, gather fresh ideas and share the latest frameworks with clients.  

Having your own business which is really taking off what has the journey been like: any key learnings? What’s in store next…if you are able to share!?  

I have invested a lot in developing the Mind Canopy brand, both creatively and strategically. This has given me a clear path down which I need to go. It has also answered the need for me to create and grow something as well as work with amazing professionals on web design, photography and styling.  At the moment we are spending more time on developing group and team packages and in the future I’d love to launch Mind Canopy Retreats. 

The close of my interview with Emer I emerge feeling yet again inspired. Every path doesn’t have to be linear. It’s okay to take risks, be bold whilst maintaining empathy and venerability. It is okay to ask for help, it’s okay to question, iterate and try again…

Click Here to find out more about Mind canopy and how:  “I am not what happened to me; I am what I choose to become. – Carl Jung”