Barbara Patton is an executive coach and partner at Praesta Ireland. Praesta Ireland is part of the International Praesta Group, a network of multicultural coaches, working through a transnational organisation with access to leading-edge leadership thinking, coaching tools and techniques.
As part of our Member Series, we met with Barbara to discover more about Praesta Ireland, how she decided that coaching was the right career for her, and her best life advice.
The Merrion Buildings is set in Dublin’s City Centre, located on Merrion Street. With meeting rooms, coffee on tap and five-star service, Barbara felt as though The Merrion Buildings was the perfect place for her to meet with clients, collaborate with colleagues and act as a base for Praesta Ireland.
Tell us a bit about Praesta Ireland and what you offer?
We’re an Executive Coaching practice, founded in Dublin 21 years ago, and part of Praesta International, with offices in Europe and Asia. We deliver individual and team coaching to leaders across all parts of the economy.
What differentiates us is that we’ve all held senior corporate roles before moving to coaching, so we deeply understand the pressures and contexts of our clients’ world.
Corporate life is demanding and relentless. Leaders of businesses work under continuous pressure to deliver results and make decisions quickly. It can be hard to find the time to really think things through.
We create a trusted relationship and space for our clients to explore their thinking, and the possibilities that exist for them, to step back and get a fresh perspective. We provide our service for individuals and teams.
How did Praesta get its name?
It comes from the Latin verb ‘praesto’ and means ‘seeking excellence’, which describes our clients and ourselves!
How did you begin your career in Coaching?
It began with curiosity. I took a diploma in UCD Smurfit School, out of pure personal curiosity, and I was hooked. Over the years, it became an MSc and my career.
Did you know always know that you wanted to be a coach?
No, but I’ve always been fascinated about our humanity, what makes us tick, how we learn and grow, and what can help us be happier. That fascination originally took me into marketing and then into coaching.
For you, what is the most rewarding thing about your job?
There are so many things I appreciate about this work. Seeing people becoming happier, clearer in what they want, and achieving more is the primary one. The other is my colleagues in Praesta – that may sound corny, but we’re a close and supportive team and that makes all the difference to how we show up for our clients. Coaching can be demanding work and we’re well supported.
Do you offer virtual coaching as well as in-person coaching?
Yes, we do, and it accounts for about half of our work at present. I think it will stay at about that level because, even for local clients, it is sometimes the easiest way to connect and obviously for international clients, it is a natural way of working.
How many people are on the Praesta team and where are you all based?
There are ten of us. Some of us are based here in Dublin and others around the country.
Why did you think Iconic Offices was the right fit for Praesta Ireland?
There were many reasons. Before 2020, our office was just outside the city centre but increasingly clients found it a time-consuming journey out and back in traffic and so we decided to come into town. Iconic gives us everything we need, efficient and welcoming reception, a beautiful space to work, a well-stocked kitchen with great coffee – and a fabulous city centre location.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Two pieces, the first is ‘be kind’. It sounds soft, but it’s powerful. Remembering to be kind to yourself and to others can turn a day – or a relationship – around. We sometimes forget it.
The other is ‘One life – it’s all you’ve got.’ Staying aware of the preciousness of existence reminds me to both appreciate and take responsibility for how I live it.
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