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Creating Joy

What does this have to do with executive coaching?

Executive Coaching Services

Whew! partners with individual clients to help them strategize and take their professional and personal development to the next level. We work with CEOs and company founders, entrepreneurs, senior executives, and anyone looking to develop and realize new goals in their career and life.

The professional and personal do not exist in separate silos. They are interrelated and impact each other. We apply psychological tools, especially somatic work, to help clients balance the intersection of personal and professional. 

We partner with clients to help them analyze goals, objectives, potential avenues and ultimately make decisions with confidence.

After years of working with high achieving, professionally accomplished clients, we understand that what often underlies the feeling of uncertainty regarding that next move are questions about core identity and feelings of inauthenticity. 

Clients spend most of their waking hours pursuing their professional dreams. It makes sense that they desire those goals to align with who they want to be authentically.

Whew! uses an innovative framework that combines our knowledge of somatic psychotherapy, human capital management and business consulting. Our multi-faceted approach allows us to develop a client-specific support system, and to identify mental health and wellness issues that go beyond the scope of coaching should they arise.

Psychology Should Play an Important Role in Executive Leadership Coaching

"To best help their executives, companies need to draw on the expertise of both psychotherapists and executive coaches with legitimate skills." Otherwise, "the executives being coached and the companies they work for will suffer."

Berglas, S. (June, 2002). The Very Real Dangers of Executive Coaching. Harvard Business Review. Online version: 

What Distinguishes Whew!'s Executive Coac​hing Services

Psychological Perspective

Whew! sets itself apart by incorporating a multi-disciplinary approach that includes a psychological perspective. The line between coaching and psychotherapy is blurry. Often clients don't appreciate when coaching bleeds into mental health issues. Coaches may not fully appreciate the distinction, especially if they don't have the training or background in psychology to help them.

Our psychological expertise allows us to identity when clients need certain kinds of mental health and wellness support that goes beyond the scope of coaching. This also means that we can provide clients with holistic support that aligns the right expertise with a given issue.

Very real risks can occur when executive coaching fails to identity psychological issues that emerge during the course of client work.

See Berglas, S. (June, 2002) The very real dangers of executive coaching. Harvard Business Review. Online: 

Expertise in Core Identity Issues

Whew! also distinguishes itself because of its particular expertise in dealing with core identity issues. Core identity is often at the heart of why we feel stuck in our careers and personal lives. Addressing core identity is often the doorway to gaining clarity that allows us to move forward in other aspects of life.

Joy & Resiliency

"Happiness is an emotion and joy is a feeling, and as such the latter includes a cognitive appraisal." We pursue happiness. We choose joy.

Cohen, M.T.  Choose Joy. Psychology Today. Online:

Talking about one's inner child seems like such a cliche' psychology topic, but the profound impact of adverse childhood experiences in shaping our adult lives is established and well-documented.

Early childhood is is the stage of development when our core identity begins to takes shape. This is why childhood trauma, including assaults on core identity, can be so disruptive and influential into adulthood.

Whew! came into existence partly to address through preventative approaches the harm done to children.

Many of the adult clients who seek out Whew! Cofounder and CEO Desyree Dixon for psychotherapy are struggling with the repercussions of harms experienced in childhood. 

There is a strong correlation between childhood trauma and adult depression, stress and anxiety.

Traumas related to core identity don't end in childhood. Unfortunately, they are a part of everyday life. We can manage these adverse experiences, by building our resiliency.

Whew! works with clients to help them build resiliency. Resiliency is like a power reserve that increases when fueled up and decreases when tapped to deal with emotional challenges.

Joy fuels resiliency. Like resiliency, joy has to be created and recreated. The ways that we create joy are individual-specific. For example, they may include going for a nature walk, spending time with friends or family, cooking, playing a sport or game, or tapping into creative interests.

When Desyree asks clients to recall the earliest time in their lives when they felt "undefined" by -isms like racism or sexism, the freest to dream, they usually refer to memories of very early childhood.

One client described her early childhood life as a time of "bright colors, before everything started to shift into dull and gray."

When Desyree shows clients images associated with the happy aspects of their childdhood, it evokes feelings of joy.

While we can't go back in time and do things over when it comes to childhood, we can tap into that joyful time and bring it into our adult lives. We do this by healing from the hurtful childhood experiences and harnessing the happy ones.

Whew!'s approach to Executive Leadership Coaching incorporates joy and resiliency as essential components of a client's leadership toolkit.


Imposter Syndrome - Facts vs Myths

Many clients come to Whew! for Executive Leadership Coaching because they believe they have Imposter Syndrome, and they're seeking help to overcome it once and for all.

Countless articles have been written on the subject of Imposter Syndrome, and it has become such a prevalent part of our social discourse that most people have at least heard of the term. 

The concept seems to be supported by compelling research. A survey reported in the Journal of Internal Medicine indicates that 82% of people have felt like an imposter at some point in their lives. Similarly, a KPMG LLP study found that 75% of executive women feel imposter syndrome.

Carpenter, J. Why so many millenials are prey to imposter syndrome. (May 2, 2021). Texas News Today. Online:   

(also reported in Wall Street Journal. ​ Online:

KPMG Study:

In our experience, the term Imposter Syndrome is overused and applied in situations where the real issues related to Identity Based Trauma or a lack of diversity and inclusion.  When we take into account the societal assaults on race, gender, ethnicity, etc., it is not surprising that those with targeted characteristics feel doubt and uncertainty when trying to perform in marginalizing spaces.

For example, in their Harvard Business Review article entitled "Stop Telling Women They Have Imposter Syndrome," authors Ruchica Tulshyan and Jodi-Ann Burey discuss the original studies that identified the phenomenon on Imposter Syndrome:

"The impact of systemic racism, classism, xenophobia, and other biases was categorically absent when the concept of imposter syndrome was developed. Many groups were excluded from the study, namely women of color and people of various income levels, genders, and professional backgrounds. 

Even as we know it today, imposter syndrome puts the blame on individuals, without accounting for the historical and cultural contexts that are foundational to how it manifests in both women of color and white women. Imposter syndrome directs our view toward fixing women at work instead of fixing the places where women work."

Whew!'s approach to these issues is to examine a client's feelings of doubt and fraudulence in the context of core identity. We conduct a thorough exploration of how the client's core identity has been nurtured or marginalized; and how that treatment impacts the client's current beliefs and functioning.

Why Having Empathy Works

Lots of people feel uncomfortable about the topic of empathy. It feels mushy and too "touchy feely." 

While empathy is believed to be primarily a "right brain" activity" (associated with emotions, intuition, creativity and imagination), it also requires us to tap into skills of the left brain (associated with logic, realism, linear thinking, math and science).

Studies show that empathy has become an important factor in the business world, and it is likely to become more important with time, evolution in consumer interests and changing workforce demographics. Empathy is associated with increased sales, performance enhancement and more innovative product development.

See Martinuzzi, B. What's empathy got to do with it? How to exercise your thinking and feeling muscle. Online.

A recent Forbes  article cites research showing that empathy is the most important leadership skill an executive can have.

Brower, T. (September 19, 2021). Empathy is the most important leadership skill according to research. Forbes. Online:

Like any other skill, empathy can be learned, practiced, and improved with consistent effort. Whew! emphasizes empathy in all its work with clients, including Executive Leadership Coaching.


"We live in a cynical world, a cynical world; and we work in a business of tough competitors."

- Jerry Maguire, 1996

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