Founder & CEO
Polished Strategic Communications
In the realm of business leadership, some rise above the rest—not just in terms of professional success, but also in their commitment to making a difference in the lives of others. Cathy Mott, executive coach, author, keynote speaker, consultant, app creator, and chief executive officer of CWC Leadership Development, is one such remarkable individual. Her journey from a corporate career to becoming a renowned executive coach, followed by her pioneering venture as a Black-women, who stepped into the world of business ownership is a story that inspires and illuminates the transformative power of emotional intelligence that began with a simple desire to meet people with an open heart.
Cathy’s professional journey commenced in healthcare, where she was fortunate to work under a Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer who quickly recognized her untapped potential. Her life took a significant turn when her leader was invited to participate in an executive coaching certification training through the International Coaching Federation. Instead of choosing to attend herself, that leader recommended Cathy for this opportunity, a gesture of confidence that would prove to be life-changing. Today, Mott has gone on to achieve her MCC, Master Coach Certification, which only four percent of coaches—and an even smaller number of Black coaches—are able to accomplish.
“At the time, I remember being floored that my leader would pass on this opportunity—a training that was to the tune of $11,000,” Mott reflected. “Her ability to see my strengths before I had full confidence in them truly changed the trajectory of my career. Through this training, I was able to gain a robust understanding of the value of executive coaching. The experience didn’t just encourage me to lean in, it made me question how I could continue expanding my skill set to ensure other executive leaders had access to this important information.”
As Cathy’s tenure in healthcare progressed, her passion for executive coaching grew exponentially; however, her ever-changing role didn’t quite align with her passions—so, she called an audible.
Leading with Emotional Intelligence
Emotional Intelligence isn’t just a skill that hiring teams actively seek out in candidates—it plays a critical role in promotions, raises, corporate productivity, and ultimately, revenue. The Niagara Institute reports that emotionally intelligent people make, on average, $29,000 more annually. Furthermore, it’s estimated that the demand for emotional skills will grow 26 percent by 2030. Today, emotional intelligence is among the ten most in-demand skills. And while current data validates the importance of emotional intelligence, it also illustrates that leaders today are not equipped with the emotional skills needed to optimize their success in the workplace. In fact, out of 155,000 leaders, only 22 percent were found to have strong emotional intelligence. Data like this only fuels Mott.
“Today’s post-pandemic world is filled with coaches offering advice and directives, which is one positive outcome of COVID-19; however, all too often, rather than holding space for self-discovery, coaching today is dictated actions, Mott explained. “As an International Coaching Federation credentialed coach, I hold space for self-discovery providing my clients with tools that help them better understand themselves so that they can make decisions that align with their values.”
Executive coaching in this fashion requires a strong connection between Mott and her clients, creating a safe space where they can embark on a journey of self-discovery through thought-provoking questions and opportunities for introspection. The exercises Mott uses empower clients to take control of their growth and development—and after working with Mott, clients almost always remark on improved relationships in the workplace and beyond.
“Perhaps one of the most remarkable experiences that I had with a client was in the midst of the pandemic,” Mott shared. “I was working with a C-suite leader who had weekly meetings with her team, and yet, the company Chief Executive Officer (CEO) would never turn on his camera during the meeting—despite the requirement of all staff to do so. When my client brought this up, I inquired deeper about her hesitation to address this with her CEO, sharing that I was sensing fear. However, as my client gained more clarity around her emotions, she realized what she was feeling—inadequacy and worthlessness. As we began to unpack these emotions, my client quickly realized that her emotions were triggered by happenings in her youth—which meant she simultaneously realized that these emotions were not triggered by having a direct conversation with her CEO. After this realization, she was able to have a direct conversation that resulted in her CEO turning his camera on for all future meetings.”
Fueled by the Need
“The Surgeon General’s declaration that we are facing an epidemic of loneliness underscores a profound and often overlooked public health concern,” Mott said. “Loneliness, while often invisible, has far-reaching consequences on individuals’ well-being, and the declaration comes at a crucial juncture, as modern life, marked by increasing digitalization and social disconnection, has exacerbated feelings of isolation.”
Recognizing loneliness as an epidemic serves as a clarion call to prioritize mental and emotional health. It highlights the importance of building social connections and promoting emotional well-being, not just for individuals but also for communities, corporations, and society at large. Addressing this epidemic of loneliness will require a holistic approach that combines public health initiatives, community engagement, individual awareness, and a commitment from the corporate community.
But long before the days of the pandemic, Mott encountered her own epidemic of loneliness. After exiting Corporate America and thrusting herself into a budding business, she unexpectedly found herself facing debilitating depression. She recognized that she needed to come face-to-face with herself and give herself permission to engage in self-care.
“Around my mid-30s, my life took a tremendous turn,” said Mott. “I had all of this enthusiasm about starting my own company, and I unexpectedly found myself facing severe, debilitating depression. Fortunately, with unending support from my husband, I was able to dedicate a year to rediscovering myself. As a wife, mother, and new business owner, my needs almost always came last. This year of self-discovery was critical to helping realign my passions and change my habits to ensure that I was filling my own cup before I could pour into the vessel of others.”
According to Mental Health of America, over seven million Black and African American people living in the United States report having a mental illness in the last year. As Mott’s journey unfolded, and she learned more about depression, she discovered that there are four components in emotional intelligence—the first two components are about self.
“When I learned about emotional intelligence, I found the verbiage to explain what I was experiencing,” Mott shared. “It was like a light bulb immediately went off. I finally had the ability to understand what I was experiencing. All too often, the Black community doesn’t have the tools to address mental health. This experience empowered me with a whole new set of skills not only to improve my quality of life but to support others who are suffering from depression in silence.”
Building Stronger Businesses
“By understanding their own emotions and those of others, executive leaders can make informed decisions, build strong relationships, and create a positive organizational culture,” Mott explained. “This not only fosters employee engagement and retention but also enhances their capacity to adapt to change, resolve conflicts, and inspire their teams. In essence, emotional intelligence is the linchpin of successful leadership, enabling executives to lead with empathy, authenticity, and resilience, ultimately driving organizational success.”
As Mott explains, as leaders, the first person we lead is ourselves—which is why she created CWC Leadership Development, to help leaders determine if they’re thriving under their own leadership. CWC Leadership Development specializes in transforming leaders into a more engaging and effective version of themselves, thereby increasing their organization’s bottom line and improving employee retention. Through CWC Leadership Development, Mott has trained over 10,0000 people globally, often through workshops and seminars that companies host for their employees.
“Partnering with companies, CWC Leadership Development has been able to provide executive coaching, workshops, and seminars to provide leaders with greater emotional intelligence skills,” Mott explained. “While this kind of programming offered many benefits to employees, I quickly noticed that it was limited to a set number of interactions. This is what inspired me to develop a new tool that would provide ongoing feedback loops to learn, practice, reflect, and strengthen the emotional intelligence toolbox.”
And create a new feedback loop, she did. Mott founded My Journey Within in 2023, and in many ways, the mobile app has already been a game-changer for her clients in the United States. The innovative platform encourages users to explore their emotions, share their feelings, and find support in navigating their inner worlds. The app is designed to facilitate coaching conversations, allowing users to express themselves without feeling the pressure to fix anything. And while employees are actively engaging with the app, Mott is able to provide data back to the companies she works with to address trends, shared challenges, and opportunities to support employees as they continue growing in their leadership roles.
“At its core, emotional well-being has to be accessible to everyone—especially in today’s highly connected, fast-paced world,” Mott shared. “Through the app, I’m able to identify specific areas of opportunity for companies to invest in and support their people which only drives productivity, organizational culture, and corporate efficiencies. This approach has proven transformative for both individuals and organizations, facilitating a profound shift in emotional intelligence and relationships.”
A Dual-Focused Return on Investment
Executive coaching is a win-win—enhancing business productivity and efficiency by providing tailored guidance and support to key leaders and building strong leaders who have more tools to navigate life at and beyond work. In today’s dynamic and competitive business environment, executives constantly encounter multifaceted challenges that require not only strategic acumen but also effective leadership and interpersonal skills, further emphasizing the importance of executive leadership programs.
“One of the key contributions of executive coaching is its ability to cultivate self-awareness among leaders,” Mott shared. “Through insightful conversations and targeted feedback, executives gain a deeper understanding of their leadership style, communication patterns, and decision-making processes. This heightened self-awareness enables them to make more informed choices, capitalize on their strengths, and address weaknesses, ultimately fostering a more efficient and impactful leadership approach.”
Furthermore, executive coaching facilitates skill development and refinement. Executives are guided in honing essential skills such as communication, conflict resolution, and strategic thinking. As these skills improve, so does the ability to navigate complex business landscapes with agility. The direct application of newly acquired skills in the workplace enhances decision-making processes, team collaboration, company culture, and overall operational efficiency.
The collaborative nature of executive coaching also promotes a culture of continuous learning within the organization. When leaders actively engage in coaching, they set an example for their teams, encouraging a mindset of growth and adaptability. This cultural shift contributes to increased employee engagement, motivation, and a shared commitment to achieving organizational goals.
“Ultimately, the investment in executive coaching yields tangible benefits for the entire organization,” said Mott. “As leaders evolve and refine their skills, they become better equipped to steer their teams toward success. The ripple effect of improved leadership extends throughout the organization, fostering a more productive and efficient workplace that is well-positioned to navigate the complexities of the modern business landscape in a way that’s healthy and productive for leaders and their teams.”
While Mott didn’t set out to create a Black, woman-owned company embarking upon the journey of technology, she did set out to change lives—and she’s doing just that. Her multifaceted approach to coaching ensures that individuals, corporate teams, and entire enterprises have access to the tools and resources they need to better understand themselves and in return, one another. You can learn more about Cathy Mott on the CWC Leadership Development website, or purchase her Emotional Intelligence Workbook to begin your journey today. Her mobile app, My Journey Within can be downloaded on Apple or Android devices.
Casey Cawthon Harrison
Casey (Cawthon) Harrison has been a lifelong Hoosier since she was two years old. Harrison is a two-time graduate of IUPUI, most recently with her master’s in applied communication specializing in business media. Harrison currently serves as the vice president of marketing and communications with the Indy Chamber and recently celebrated her eleventh year as an associate faculty at IUPUI.