Inspirational Woman: Patrice Ford Lyn | Executive Coach

Meet Patrice Ford Lyn

Executive Coach

Patrice Ford Lyn’s leadership in business spans more than 20 years and her guidance as a coach for personal transformation and wellness spans more than a decade.

Since receiving an undergraduate degree in sociology from Yale University and a graduate degree in nonprofit management from the Kennedy School at Harvard University, Patrice has worked with leaders in national corporations, nonprofits, federal agencies, and international development multilaterals to build their organizations while supporting them through their own personal growth. 

As such, she is a thought partner on both personal and organizational challenges.

Her clients are CEOs, executives, entrepreneurs, and other coaches. With a depth of experience and passion for helping people thrive, she facilitates her clients’ journeys to transformational outcomes.

Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role

I started my career in youth and community development inspired by the ability to empower others to move from surviving to thriving. I then helped to launch a few organizations before becoming a management consultant and supporting leaders in strengthening their organizations and teams.  Building on and refining that work, I now catapult holistic (personal and professional) transformation for individuals and groups. 

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

I actively resisted becoming both a CEO and an executive coach.  Both felt like too much weight, responsibility and risk.  To be clear, I shied away from starting my own business because it seemed too financially risky.  I got used to the “comfort” and “security”  of a job where I got a paycheck.  

What I didn’t know at the time was that betting on myself would be the least risky thing I could do.  It has been a game changer for me.

Have you faced any challenges along the way?

Absolutely, I have.  Being a coach doesn’t make me a perfect person.  I too have to challenge my own self-defeating narratives, continue to create and enforce boundaries, prioritize my self care and lean into the support of my community.

What has been your biggest achievement to date?

I recently went through a breast cancer wellness journey that included two mastectomies, an oophorectomy and a hysterectomy (because of my BRCA diagnosis).  It has been 15 months of chemo, radiation and multiple surgeries. I am proud of how I showed up for myself with  grace, ease, fortitude, laughter and joy as I navigated that journey.  

What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?

I have been known to tell my clients that it’s okay to be scared, but it’s important to be courageous.  Being courageous means we feel fear and proceed to action anyway.  Truth is, if I waited until I felt 100% confident before moving to action, I wouldn’t be where I am or able to do the work I do.  So know that fear doesn’t necessarily mean that you aren’t ready for something.  Sometimes it just means you are going outside of your known comfort zone. 

How do you feel about mentoring? Have you mentored anyone or are you someone’s mentee?

Mentors provide advice whereas sponsors open doors to new opportunities. Mentorship is helpful but sponsorship is key.  

If you could change one thing to accelerate the pace of change for Gender Equality, what would it be?

Many women I meet doubt themselves and their worthiness for advancement.  If I could change one thing, I would wipe away the doubt.  When we address our mindsets, the possibilities are endless. 

If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self what would it be?

Slow down and develop a mindfulness practice.  Get in touch with how adrenaline and cortisol are moving through your body.  Emotional regulation is key to the leadership of yourself and others. 

What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?

Sometimes the bravest thing we can do is move into a new understanding of ourselves. Michelle Obama wrote a book called Becoming. We are each on a journey of our own “becoming”. For me that means continuing to examine how to show up more and more powerfully for myself, my community and my clients.

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