Welcome to BlueSteps Career Advisor Spotlight, a series where we feature top BlueSteps executive-level career coaches and advisors from around the world. In this series, we will conduct interviews with highly experienced and qualified professionals who specialize in guiding senior executives through the complexities of the job market. Our guests will share their insights, perspectives, and strategies on a range of topics, including executive job search, career advancement, personal branding, and leadership development.

BlueSteps is thrilled to launch this exciting series featuring Jacqueline Foley, a highly regarded Executive Brand Coach. With a passion for empowering women executives and high-achievers, Jacqueline is dedicated to assisting her clients in crafting a career that aligns with their individual strengths and purpose. She excels in guiding her clients to articulate their personal brand, strengthen their leadership presence and develop a thoughtful, strategic approach to advancing their careers.

How do you approach coaching executives, and what sets your approach apart from others?

My process is designed to help senior and high-potential women uncover their true value and get clarity around what they really want and how to go after it. Essentially, I support them to sit in the driver’s seat of their career success and fulfillment.

I think what makes me uniquely qualified to do this work is that I have 30 years of lived experience as a woman in business – as an employee, an entrepreneur, and a C-suite leader. So, I am intimately aware of the challenges women face when trying to advance their career in a system that often feels stacked against them. I’m also a brand and communications specialist who spent 10 years in the executive search industry, so I know what it takes to create a powerful personal brand, while building leadership influence and impact.

How do you work with clients to identify their goals and priorities?

Many of my clients come to me feeling stuck and seeking assistance in reaching the next level of their leadership and/or career. They are aware of what's not working for them, but are often uncertain about what's next. To address this, I employ a range of tools, including assessments, questionnaires, visioning exercises, and thought-provoking coaching questions, to help clients tap into their values, core strengths (which I refer to as "superpowers"), and deeper career aspirations. With increased clarity about what they truly want for themselves, clients gain a clearer understanding of their goals and priorities, which enables us to create a coaching plan that aligns with their needs and aspirations.

Can you provide examples of specific challenges and successes you have had with executive-level clients?

As a coach, the biggest challenge I face is when clients come to our sessions looking for me to give them specific answers or solutions to their problems when I know they possess the wisdom and capacity to solve them on their own. My role as a coach is to assist the client in bridging the gap between where they are and where they want to be by helping them tap into their inner resources. The results can be amazing! With just a few months of coaching, I've seen clients successfully negotiate promotions, secure new external roles, and receive significant salary increases. I've also seen clients build their self-confidence and enhance their leadership abilities to levels they never thought possible.

How do you approach coaching for executive-level interviews?

Early in my career, I used to do a lot of media training with executives to help them get their key points across when being interviewed for live TV or radio. During a series of mock interviews, I taught them techniques that I now share with my clients to take control of job interviews. These techniques include concisely reframing your response (i.e. “...here are three key strengths I can bring to this role…”), smoothly transitioning to another point (“...that’s a great question but here’s an even more important point…”) and to simply pause when you need time to formulate your answer. I help clients define their key messages and practice delivering them with impact – no matter what questions they get asked.

How do you help clients prepare for and negotiate job offers?

Women hate talking about money, so when my clients are negotiating a raise or a new salary, the first step I take is to help them reconnect with their value and their perceived worth. This helps them to feel more confident going into the salary discussions, so they don’t waver or give in too soon during the negotiation.

I also advise my clients to do their homework and make sure they know their market value. By speaking with peers and recruiters, as well as utilizing resources such as BlueSteps (through their partnership with The Pay Index) to compare salaries by role and industry. Once they have a sense of what range is possible, I help them decide on a number that they can not only live with but feel good about.

I encourage them to start negotiations higher than their desired amount in order to end up as close as possible to their target. During our practice sessions, we focus on being direct and succinct, avoiding over-talking which can weaken their position. If they don't receive their desired offer in the initial meeting, I suggest they give the employer time to go away and reflect, which often leads to a better offer.

How do you help your clients navigate office politics and negotiate for what they want in their careers?

A significant part of my work with women is in helping them to get out of the weeds of their day-to-day job so they can spend more time on the things that will support their career advancement. Through our work, we explore how to get more comfortable with self-promotion, forming stronger alliances, identifying opportunities to add strategic value, and asking for what they need to succeed, such as additional resources or compensation. This helps them to build new leadership skills and increase their influence and their impact, allowing for a smoother climb up the career ladder.

How do you stay up to date on the latest trends and best practices in executive coaching?

A good coach is always learning and growing to achieve their goal of facilitating client growth. I pursue this through various means, such as working with my own coach who pushes me beyond my comfort zone and provides me with valuable techniques that I can then use with my clients. I also participate in group sessions where I connect with and learn from other coaches and I attend training sessions to learn new skills.

Last year I became certified in several assessment tools including the EQ-i 2.0 which measures the emotional intelligence competencies that are key to a leader’s success. I also took a wonderful course with Dr. Kristin Neff, a pioneer in the study of self-compassion, where I learned various practices that I now incorporate into my work with clients struggling with their inner critic.

What are you reading/watching/listening to?

I always have a number of things on the go! Recently, I began listening to The Happiness Lab with Yale University psychologist Laurie Santos, which provides insightful perspectives and strategies for reducing suffering and increasing joy in our lives.

I just finished reading “Tides” by Sara Freeman, a story of a woman who copes with a devastating loss by retreating from her home and family to heal.

Currently, I’m in the midst of watching a very funny series on Apple TV called “Shrinking,” which follows a therapist who employs unconventional methods after growing frustrated with his clients repeatedly making the same mistakes. As you can probably see, I love stories that explore the human condition and remind us how resilient we can be.


Through BlueSteps Executive Career Services, members can connect with our Spotlight Advisors and receive one-on-one support to develop their career strategy, improve their resume and online presence, and prepare for interviews and negotiations. With a focus on individualized support and a global network of top career advisors, BlueSteps Executive Career Services is an essential resource for executives looking to advance their careers. Join us on this journey to discover the latest trends, best practices, and wisdom from leading executive-level career advisors, and take advantage of the opportunity to work with them through BlueSteps Executive Career Services.


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