A recent study conducted by the Harvard Business Review found that coaching is one of the most effective ways to develop leadership skills. The study revealed that coaching can increase the likelihood of successful change by up to 95%, making it an essential tool for organizations seeking to enhance performance and drive growth. Alba Contreras Rodriguez is a coach who understands the power of coaching in transforming leaders and organizations. With her extensive experience in various industries, Alba has helped clients navigate complex business environments and achieve their highest potential.
Alba’s career path started with a childhood dream of becoming an architect. However, after moving from Venezuela to the United States, Alba discovered she needed a master’s degree to practice architecture. She shifted her focus to business administration and computer & information sciences, which opened the door to a successful career in various industries. Alba gained extensive experience in operations, lean manufacturing, industrial engineering, vehicle launches, management consulting, information technology, and e-commerce, working for companies such as Ford Motor Company, General Motors Corporation, and KPMG management consulting. After spending 34 years in corporate roles, Alba made the transition to entrepreneurship by founding FonS, a coaching company that focuses on enabling leaders and teams to achieve their highest potential.
Alba’s decision to start her own coaching practice was motivated by several key lessons she had learned, including the importance of focusing on the humans in any transformation, knowing oneself and being confident in skills and passion for defining one’s path, learning to become a CEO and understanding what to focus on and outsource, and being a lifelong learner. To become a successful coach, Alba went to coaching school, got trained and certified by the International Coaching Federation (ICF), and later went back to school to become a team coach and practitioner, becoming credentialed by the European Mentoring and Coaching Council (EMCC).
FonS, Alba’s coaching company, stands for “Focus On Solution.” FonS offers executive and team coaching to help leaders and organizations excel and enable transitions and transformations, with a focus on human readiness. FonS is committed to enabling leaders and teams to recognize and achieve their highest potential, and better serve and add value to their stakeholders. The company’s vision is to give human relevance to transformations by providing coaching services to executives, teams, and groups, while its mission is to provide awareness of the importance of humans first. FonS will soon launch its signature group coaching program, “The Cost of Overusing your Strengths.”
Alba believes that the human aspect is critical in any transformation strategy, and her experiences have taught her the importance of focusing on humans first. She said, “In any transformation strategy: cultural, digital, lean, DE&I, it is critical for leaders to understand that the transformation starts from within them as leaders to effectively and more successfully be champions and be able to realize the expected benefits and results.” At FonS, her coaching services are designed to give human relevance to transformations by providing executive, team, and group coaching. Her mission is to help leaders and teams achieve their highest potential by focusing on human readiness.
Alba’s approach as a coach is grounded in empathy, intuition, and trust-building, which she describes as being a spiral lighthouse coach. According to her, “It is all about deepening the learning and creating a grounded harbor of trust, safety, and connection.” She encourages her clients to think beyond their comfort zone and expand their horizons by focusing on the ecosystem and interdependencies. Alba’s expertise and approach as a coach enable her to deliver results that help her clients navigate VUCA business environments. She is dedicated to being a thought partner, accountability partner, and sounding board for her clients.
FonS has been recognized through accolades, such as being one of the Top 15 Coaches in Detroit by Influence Digest and awarded as Most Valuable Entrepreneur by Corp! Magazine. While these accolades have boosted her reputation, Alba finds the feedback from her clients and their transformational experiences to be the most rewarding. Her differentiation comes from having credentials in leadership, consulting, and coaching, continuous learning, empathy, firmness, risk-taking, and meeting clients where they are.
Alba’s advice for those considering a career in coaching is to get formally trained and credentialed by the ICF to support coaching clients effectively. She believes a successful coach needs to be curious, empathetic, open-minded, and comfortable with challenging clients to get out of their comfort zone. In Alba’s experience, being willing to challenge the client is one of the main reasons a coach is hired, and simply going with the flow would be doing the client a disservice. For those who feel called to coaching, Alba invites them to take the time to define their purpose and create a strategy and plan for what they want to offer the world. She advises them to be focused, patient, and disciplined and to enjoy the journey.
Driven by her values of helping others, connectedness, inclusion, equality, and empowerment, Alba has served on non-profit boards and championed multiple women’s networks. Her involvement in these initiatives aligns with her purpose of providing a safe space for growth and supporting women and people of color.
Alba’s coaching journey is a testament to the importance of staying true to one’s purpose and using one’s experiences and expertise to create value for others. By enabling leaders and organizations to achieve their highest potential through executive coaching, team coaching, and group coaching services, Alba is transforming the world of work one coaching session at a time.
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