Meet The CEO Whisperer, Chloé Oestreich

Meet Chloé Oestreich, renowned executive leadership coach behind CO Consultancy. Chloé has spent over a decade consulting and coaching leaders from Fortune 500 companies. Her unique approach combines executive coaching and consulting, where she equips leaders with the tools and techniques they need to thrive in today’s complex business environment.

An ICF accredited coach, Chloé specialises in developmental executive coaching, which explores the inner game of the leader. Through coaching Chloé empowers executives to step into self-organisation and self-management of their own growth and success. Through her transformative coaching sessions, she helps leaders gain a new perspective, overcome their limitations, and helps shift their mindset towards positive change.

In this interview, Chloé shares insights about her coaching philosophy, her unique coaching style, and reveals the most common challenges her clients face. She talks about what practices have helped her sustain a high level of performance and which qualities are crucial but are too often absent in the boardroom.

Q. What inspired you to become a coach? 

Chloé: I have over ten years of experience coaching CEOs and senior executives from Fortune 500 companies to small, global privately-held firms. While each organisation may have its own unique complexities, the core principles remain constant. 

I started coaching to help executives communicate effectively, and lead with greater impact and awareness. 

During my career, I’ve had the pleasure of working with countless leaders to help them step into their potential and purpose. 

I feel I have the best job in the world – it’s a great privilege and honour to be trusted to provide a safe space for executives to help them uncover blind spots and reframe their perspective. 

Q. Your hallmark as a coach is your ability to have brief, highly charged, seemingly transformative encounters with your clients. What do you think other coaches can learn from you in the way you work?

Chloé: When people feel safe, they’ll let you take them to places they otherwise wouldn’t go to. For this to happen, a coach must be highly skilled, emotionally mature and capable of facilitating meaningful conversations that lead to profound client insights. 

This comes with practice, experience, and having a heightened level of self- awareness of your own biases and blind spots. You have to have worked on yourself enough so you can remain objective and not be led by your own judgement.  

Above all, I coach intuitively. 

If I get the sense that my client hasn’t thoughtfully explored their drivers or derailers, I tactfully encourage them to dig deeper. A hallmark of my coaching style is to challenge people’s meaning-making within a secure and supportive space. 

Q. What do you think sets yourself apart from other executive coaches?  

Chloé: I’d say three crucial skills have greatly contributed to my success: I have an insatiable curiosity that drives me to ask thought-provoking questions, an enhanced capacity to be fully present with ‘other’ and a strong dedication to active listening. 

I especially listen for what’s not being said! 

I’m unique in that I’m an accredited executive coach and also work as a consultant. In my capacity as a consultant, I equip leaders with the tools and techniques so they can thrive, adapt, present and communicate with impact across multiple contexts. 

In my capacity as an executive leadership coach, I see my role as a facilitator who empowers and stretches the executive to step into self-organisation and self-management of their own developmental growth. It’s this sense of ownership that results in leaders unleashing their potential and stepping into their purpose.

Q. What is the biggest hurdle your clients face? What advice would you give others struggling with this issue? 

Chloé: This of course depends on each individual and their unique context, however if I had to identify a common challenge across the board it would be the executive’s internal meaning-making structure. This includes their current state of reality (their expectations, beliefs, values, identity, stage structure) and therefore their current thinking patterns that drive their perception in how they view the world.

It never ceases to amaze me how often my clients confidently assert their opinions around how the world functions or as to why people behave the way they do, yet when I question them about the rationale behind their beliefs, they find themselves lost for words. I see too many leaders make decisions based on strongly held beliefs and biases, which they haven’t critically questioned or thought through since childhood. That can be detrimental to the success of a business. 

Q. One would imagine that as a coach you’re continuously bearing witness to the human condition. How do you stay match-fit and meet your clients where they’re at? 

ChloéI love life – truly. My life has been filled with exhilarating highs and I’ve equally experienced tremendous adversity and lived through very low lows. I’m grateful for all those experiences because they’ve shaped me and increased my resilience. I’m a big advocate for living life fully. I’m hungry for experience and growth, ideally without attachment. This thirst for life takes me to ten day silent retreats in India, to Burning Man in the Black Rock Desert, to camping in the Ugandan jungle and trekking through the forest to sit with gorillas. I’d like to think it’s my adaptability, life experience and capacity to be with the enormity of the human experience that allows me to meet any client with curiosity, love and deep compassion. 

Q. What one piece of advice do you find yourself relying on the most? Why? 

Chloé: A clouded mirror cannot reflect accurately. 

As a coach I see it as my responsibility to walk the talk – that’s why my own inner work and developmental growth is my priority. I’ve got an excellent team of mentors, coaches and psychologists who I’ve been seeing for many years. 

I’m deeply committed to understanding myself better and becoming even more cognisant of my own biases, conditioning and long held beliefs –  not only do I see it as my duty as a facilitator to show up with greater objectivity, but it’s also what true self-leadership looks like to me. 

How else can I otherwise be of service and show up with non-judgement and objectivity if I’m not continuously holding up the mirror to myself? 

The same principle applies to anyone in a leadership position – if you have the great privilege to lead a team of people, I encourage you to ask yourself: Do you currently have the necessary maturity and ability to view multiple perspectives under pressure? If you’re unsure – what are you actively doing to expand your horizon and increase your awareness of your own blind spots? 

Q. You’re one of the most well regarded executive coaches in Australia. What practises have helped you to sustain a level of high-performance? 

Chloé: Well, there certainly isn’t a single magic bullet, however there are a number of  habits I commit to daily that help me immensely and contribute to my self care practise. Because I’m of service and my focus is on ‘other’ all day long, I’m continuously exploring and trying to find the delicate balance between connection and solitude. 

For me to fully recharge, I require solitude, stillness and quiet. I practise Vipassana meditation –  I love my daily morning meditations, which have become non-negotiable for me and help me practise ‘being’ with whatever arises. Sleep – I’m a sucker for a good night’s sleep, and I prioritise it. Since I’ve moved away from the city, I’ve become accustomed to going to bed early and waking with the sunrise. 

Q. What do you enjoy the most about your job? 

Chloé: I love what I do. I get out of bed each morning because walking side by side with my clients and seeing them transform is incredibly meaningful work. I love bearing witness to my clients’ growth – not only because it inspires me and demonstrates what’s possible, but also because it gives me hope. 

I feel hopeful about the future. Despite the current climate and significant budget cuts regarding coaching and training, I’ve seen more executives this year contact me. More and more executives are prepared to personally invest in themselves – they’ve got skin in the game. 

Just as I’ve been actively stepping into my own self-leadership, my coaching style has matured and been refined over the years. I love this about my job as it challenges me to become the best version of myself.

There seems to be a collective awakening across corporates and executives – people are asking themselves bigger questions around what type of work gives them meaning, or what prevents them from fully thriving at work and stepping into their potential. I see a greater awareness in individuals recognising their limitations and there’s a greater level of readiness to do something about it – that’s unbelievably exciting. 

Q. Could you share a success story or testimonial from one of your clients that demonstrates the impact of your coaching and consulting services?

Chloé: Numerous examples come to mind. There’s the executive who triumphed over debilitating anxiety from public speaking and now thrives under the pressure of presenting to boards. Another is the CEO who recognised the lack of psychological safety within their organisation and discovered that his colleagues didn’t feel secure enough to voice their opinions. Then, there’s the emerging leader who struggled with time management, only to realise that their fear of not being liked led them to have no boundaries. I could go on, but let me share my personal definition of what client success means to me.

As a coach, the most helpful skill or discipline I strive to impart is independent reflection. My goal is not to create dependency on my coaching. Instead, I aim for my clients to develop the tools and abilities to think critically, ask themselves thought-provoking questions and answer with greater objectivity and distance. 

Through this process, they can gain insights without relying on my guidance and are equipped with the means to continue their professional growth autonomously.

Q. You specialise in developmental executive coaching – how does it differ to other types of coaching? 

Chloé: Developmental Executive Coaching, focuses on an Executives ‘meaning-making’ structures, that drive and modulate a person’s actions and behaviours. 

Developmental executive coaching is a process that helps a leader to wake up, grow up, clean up, and show up to their full potential in leading difference.

Leadership begins with self-leadership and a focus on self-awareness and self-development. 

This is the work of growing up, waking up, cleaning up and showing up. The first three relate to our inner game and the personal developmental work we do within our consciousness. The fourth is where we enact real change and reality. 

Personally I’ve seen this coaching method have the deepest impact on myself and my clients’ leadership journey as we slowly unpack years of mental conditioning and belief systems that fundamentally do not serve them. 

Q. What is one quality you believe is crucial in leadership, and don’t see enough in the boardroom?

Chloé: It’s funny you ask – I just published a newsletter last week about this specific topic. It was titled ‘From Dates to the Boardroom: The Power of Asking Questions.’ Let me tell you, I’ve never received so much engagement from one single email. Clearly people were amused by my candid share about my dating life. On a more serious note, the message must have struck a chord with many. 

Master the discipline of listening AND asking insightful questions. As we climb our way to the top our primary focus is often on fine tuning our presentation and communication skills – it’s our strong speaking and debating skills that help us rise to the top. Yet when you reach a leadership position, your focus must be on creating a safe space for others to express their points of view. This is where one has to practise active listening and show up with a greater level of open-mindedness, so you can ask insightful questions from a place of curiosity versus judgement.  

Q. You publish regular content and release fortnightly videos through Linkedin and Youtube, which have garnered a steady following. How do people best connect with you?  

Chloé: To get actionable tips, resources, learnings and real life updates from me, head to www.coconsultancy.com.au/newsletter to sign up for  my weekly newsletter. To learn more about my work, head to my website www.coconsultancy.com.au 

I’m a strong advocate for building a community of like minded people. It warms my heart connecting with clients and strangers from across the globe, so feel free to reach out and connect with me via chloe@coconsultancy.com.au

Chloé Oestreich is an executive coach who has made a significant impact in the world of leadership development. With her unique blend of coaching and consulting, she equips leaders with the tools and techniques they need to thrive and communicate with impact. Through her transformative coaching sessions, Chloé empowers her clients to uncover their blind spots, shift their mindset, and step into their full potential. Her dedication to continuous self-reflection and personal growth sets an inspiring example for both coaches and anyone in a leadership position. To stay connected with Chloé and access valuable resources, visit her website at www.coconsultancy.com.au.