Melinda Fouts: Helping Business Leaders Achieve their Peak Performance

“A coach is someone that sees beyond your limits and guides you to greatness!” – Michael Jordan, Former Professional Basketball Player, and Businessman.

The people who inspire us to go beyond our limits and excel in what we do go by many names. Coach, teacher, mentor, parents, call them whatever you want. The underlying characteristic being they help us draw ourselves out of our shells and be the great success we are meant to be. For many business executives, Melinda Fouts is the one who has been helping them identify what’s holding them back from being at the top of their game. Her key areas of expertise include but are not limited to small business consulting, enhancing emotional intelligence, and self-awareness, unlocking the fullest potential, brainstorming, identifying limitations, challenges, and obstacles, and optimizing performance.

Discovering her Passion

Melinda’s professional journey began as a psychotherapist 25 years ago in private practice. Her Ph.D. is in Jungian Studies. The emphasis is to gain greater self-awareness. 23 years ago, she brought neurofeedback into her private practice also known as EEG Biofeedback. This was a game changer in her work as she learned about how the brain works and delved into neuroscience. Learning about this was a game-changer in her career and is instrumental to her work as an executive coach. Here is how it all began.

About 8 years ago, she was experiencing working with a global CIO who came to Melinda because her colleague told her that her team was afraid of her because she was harsh and she didn’t see herself as harsh. During their work together, Melinda uncovered what triggered her to pounce on her team. We all have blind spots, and this was one of hers. When they finished their time together, she said, “You need to be an executive coach. I’ve worked with many coaches and even though they were good, they weren’t as good as you. None of them discovered this about me.”

The incident pushed Melinda towards learning more about how she could help executives. Today, she is an International Executive Coach, Columnist & Featured Contributor for Forbes Coaching Counsel, and the Founder of Success Starts With You. Over time, she developed 13 signature leadership development training. One of the most important training is emotional intelligence training. After administering the EQi – 2.0 assessment, individuals learn what their strengths are and what needs development. There are 15 competencies on this assessment. This is useful as we all overuse our strengths which then become a weakness. With this awareness, Melinda works with her client towards developing new areas to bring more balance in how they manage and lead.

The Biggest Obstacle enroute Self-healing

The biggest obstacle, per Melinda, is ourselves, and the mind chatter that undermines us. So many people have a negative tape playing that they are unaware of and/or do not get to the root of it. For example, she had one CEO tell her he never hears the tape playing at work. Melinda mentioned he met with the board and gave a presentation and asked him did anyone comment on it. He told her a colleague came up to him afterward and complimented him on it. She asked him, “what did you say in your mind?” “I could have done it better.” She told him that’s the tape playing. The root of his tape that

undermines him is “I’m not good enough.” Most people have either the I’m not good enough playing or I’m not worthy of it.

Melinda’s unique approach to executive coaching requires her to ask the tough questions that challenge her clients to uncover areas of the unknown within themselves. This allows them to unleash talent leadership skills and optimize their results. “I believe enhanced emotional intelligence, self-awareness, and a better understanding of the obstacles that may lay ahead will lead to career advancement, improve leadership skills, and organizational and personal success,” says Melinda.

Enlighten us about your take on technology. As a modern-day entrepreneur, how are you leveraging the power of technology to your organization’s and client’s benefit?

Keeping up with the VUCA world in a Holistic Way

Melinda opines that it is imperative to lead a holistic lifestyle to have a balance in one’s day to day. When we consider holistic, it means taking care of oneself mentally, physically, and emotionally. “This is so important to me, that I send my two grandchildren a blessing to be healthy mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Right now, mental health issues are rising and many who I coach tell me, they wish they had more time for themselves to exercise or more time with family,” she asserts.

Many young people are still concerned about FOMO, the fear of missing out and their social calendars drive them to distraction from themselves. Even exercise can become obsessive and just a check off the list rather than getting in touch with the body and listening to it and feeling it. If one is more in touch, there would be fewer injuries when exercising. Listening to one’s body can be a step towards leading a more holistic lifestyle.

Melinda highly recommends some form of mindfulness practice as it gives one more clarity, increases one’s ability to focus, keeps one calm and more resilient, and enhances creativity. Many executives lack impulse control, and mindfulness practice can help them be less reactive.

Focusing on the goals is to know why the organization exists and who they exist for. One company where Melinda is the in-house coach is solid in this where everyone in the organization knows the why and who all the way down to the warehouse employees. When things get moving too fast and changes are occurring, knowing the why and who is the foundation to guide one in decision-making.

Being Recognized for her Work

Melinda earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of New Mexico, her MA in Psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute, her Ph.D. in Psychology from Saybrook University, and her Executive Coaching Certification from the College of Executive Coaching.

For her outstanding leadership, dedication, and excellence within multiple industries, Melinda was recently selected as the Top Global Executive Coach of the Year for 2023 by the International Association of Top Professionals (IAOTP). In 2021, she received the award for Empowered Woman of the Year. In 2021, she was part of IAOTP’s publication of the Top 50 Fearless Leaders.

In 2019, her book, Cognitive Enlightenment, came out and she will be featured by the publisher at the London Bookfair in April 2023.

A passionate entrepreneur, Melinda has this to say to the young generation of entrepreneurs:

“Find your passion and do it and be true to yourself. Keep a growth mindset as self-actualization throughout life is important and look for the opportunities, they don’t always fall into your lap. When you have an internal struggle, refer back to why you are doing what you are doing and who you are doing it for. Finally, if you take a moment and get in touch with your heart, the answer is always to choose love.”

Good Today, Better Tomorrow

Melinda’s global reach in coaching includes clients in Dubai, Moscow, Ireland, the UK, Spain, France, Afghanistan, and Panama to name a few. Technology has helped her reach out to people around the globe. She has clients all over the world and without the technology to have a virtual meeting, she would be less effective.

Making this world a better place is what drives Melinda to do what she does. Her mission statement is: “If I can help one person have more inner peace, we are one step closer to world peace. If you are struggling with yourself, you are suffering.”

There are many ways to approach making this world a better place, and hers’ is to bring greater self-awareness, and coach toward more inner peace. It is a process that takes awareness and discipline. She rounds her emotions off by quoting her favorite poet, Rumi. This short poem sums up the work she does and is a good reminder there are other perspectives and to be open-minded. It also emphasizes that we are all connected.

“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and right doing,
There is a field. I’ll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass,
The world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase each other
Doesn’t make any sense.”