The Highlands Company Blog

A Leadership Development Conversation with Don Azevedo

don azevedo career coach

don azevedo coachDr. Don Azevedo is a clinical psychologist in Cary, North Carolina, who works with families and executives. Along with his therapy work, he also incorporates coaching and the Highlands Method into client work as it relates to professional development. In fact, he’s been a Highlands Certified Consultant since 1995.

In a recent conversation, we had the privilege of hearing some of Dr. Azevedo’s best advice for professionals seeking career happiness, which we’re sharing here.

The Highlands Company (THC): What’s one piece of advice you give to business leaders over and over again?

Don Azevedo (DA): I advise everyone to take a weekend every year during their birth month to reflect. On the first day, look at what happened and what you accomplished in the previous year. Reflect on the eight pieces of The Highlands Model, too–career development cycle, abilities, skills, interests, personal style, family, values, and goals. On the second day, plan for the upcoming year. What seminars will you attend or mentoring will you seek? What do you want to change?

I recently met with four women who had attended a Highlands Personal Strategic Planning Seminar in the late 1990s. This was back when I held seminars like this regularly. The four seminar attendees stayed in touch all these years and reached out to me to catch up in the spring. It was very rewarding to hear that each of them enjoyed their jobs since taking the Highlands Ability Battery. One of the ladies has even committed to reflecting each year like I recommend!

THC: Why do many executives and business leaders seek career coaching?

DA: Executives get moved up the chain because they are good at what they do at the individual contributor level. For example, many of the engineers I’ve worked with love tangible projects, but don’t have great interpersonal skills. In a leadership role, it’s about pulling levers so other people can do the things you like to do. As a result, the leader feels disconnected, even sad, and they want to make a change, so they seek executive coaching.

THC: What’s the solution for an unhappy executive?

DA: Usually when you are unhappy in your role, there is a big portion of the brain that isn’t getting used the way it would like to be. Through coaching and the Highlands Ability Battery, you can understand how to build up other parts of your life to create harmony. Maybe it’s a different role at work or maybe it’s delegation or maybe it’s a hobby.

We could cure a lot of depression and anxiety if people worked in roles where they can use their natural abilities.

THC: Aside from unused natural abilities, what do you see many executives doing wrong?

DA: That’s easy. I help executives see they don’t have to work 24 hours a day to be successful. My tagline is “Create a life worth celebrating.” Highlands plays into this, too. I believe that an intentional approach to job happiness will give you a life you want to celebrate. Work when you are at work. When you are at home, be completely there. That boundary alone will improve your happiness overall.

About Don Azevedo

Don Fernando Azevedo received his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Tennessee in 1988 and worked as a clinician for more than 25 years in a variety of locations. In early 2000, he entered the corporate world to find another way to apply psychological thought to the human condition. After three years, Dr. Azevedo returned to private practice as the co-owner and Executive Director of 3-C Family Services to help heal and strengthen marriages and families. In 2016, he founded Azevedo Family Psychology where he supports adults, families, and executives. Learn more about him on his Highlands Directory listing or official website.