Interview with Jamaican Based Executive Coach, Henry J. Lewis

Henry Lewis, a Guyanese by birth, came to Jamaica to pursue tertiary studies and to head back to his homeland after completion of his post graduate studies at the Caribbean Graduate School of Theology where he read for a Master’s of Arts degree in Counselling Psychology. He has been in Jamaica for the past twelve years, fell in love with Jamaica and with a beautiful Jamaican lady, Charmaine and the rest as they say is history.

Henry has worked in the education system as a guidance counsellor and currently lectures at the University of Technology. With a passion to empower others so that they can achieve their full potential, Henry journeyed to Erickson Coaching International in Canada where he was trained as an Executive Coach

Let us meet psychotherapist, lecturer and executive coach Henry Lewis

How did you get into Executive coaching?
For several years I had been a therapist helping clients resolve various psychological and emotional issues and then I became emotionally drained because I could not effectively move clients into action. So while I was at Erickson Coaching International where I was being trained as a Coach we were ask to go into groups that best describe our purpose and vision as coaches and brainstorm ways of building a coaching business and as I thought of the economic crisis back home and how many people were losing their job I found myself in the group with business and executive coaches. I thought to myself wow this is  perfect and so I returned home as an executive coach and registered my company Caribbean Coaching Center.   

Executive coaching was once seen as a luxury you could find only in the US but it is now worldwide. What were some of the challenges you had introducing executive coaching in Jamaica and the Caribbean?
I see myself as a pioneer in the field of formal coach training and executive coaching on Jamaica and I am still challenged by the fact that people don’t know what coaching really is more so executive coaching.  Some of the challenges that I continue to experience include penetrating corporate Jamaica as an executive coach, helping executives see and understand that there is return on their investment when they use the services of an executive coach and I sometimes hear people say, “Jamaica not ready for that yet.”

What do you believe is biggest challenge amongst executives in Jamaica and the Caribbean?
Jamaica and the Caribbean have some of the brightest and most qualify executives but in my estimation the biggest challenge among them right now is staying organizationally relevant in a changing economy.

When you introduce yourself as an executive coach what is the question people ask you the most?
So what do you do?

What is the weirdest request you have gotten from a company who had the wrong perception of what executive coaching is?
This is not a company but I have a lady called me asking me if I can sort out her daughter because she has some serious issues.

If you were the executive coach for Air Jamaica what would you be telling employees right now?
I would be engaging the company in a lot of team coaching and my main focus would be to ensure that employees  remain resourceful by exploring creative ways to remain productive and at the same time looking at what they possess that would make them  world class employees or entrepreneurs if they choose to go that route.

How difficult has it been to motivate people during this economic slowdown?
It not difficult to motivate people because when you can show people from your own experience  and the experiences of others the possibilities that exist when they align what the value most with what they want to achieve they become motivated.

How do you motivate yourself? Do you have a routine?
Motivation comes from doing what you love and loving what you do? I feel extremely satisfied when someone leaves a session with a smile that says “wow this was exactly what I wanted all along. I have no routine.

If you were on an island by yourself and needed a good book for motivation which book you want?”
I would want the world’s best seller- The Holy Bible

Who is your mentor? Are you Jamaican?
No I am not Jamaican I am Guyanese but I have been living in Jamaica for the past 12yrears. My mentor is Pastor Errol Bolt.

What advice would you give the Jamaican Government?
Coaches don’t really give advice we support people and organization in achieving what they want to achieve. If I were to take off my coaching hat and step out of coach position I would advised the Government to clearly define the vision for Jamaica with the values that would support that vision and outline a strategy of how we will get there.

If you had a magic wand and you could change one thing in Jamaica what would it be?
If I were to change one thing in Jamaica it would have to be the heart of men, which is desperately wicked. It’s this wicked heart that is responsible for all the crime, corruption, covetousness and callousness but only God can do that.

What is the one thing you love about what you do?
The one thing I love is seeing the transformation in people’s lives.

If you were to recommend a restaurant in Jamaica that you must have a meal at what would it be?
I like to keep it simple but classy so from time to time I would take my wife Charmaine to Café Aborigine for dinner we love the food there.

I understand you have the Olympic and World 100metres women’s champion Shelly Ann Fraser
as one of your clients? How did this relationship come about? Any secrets for her success you can share with us?
After one of my lectures at the University of Technology where I also work I got a message from Shelly-Ann asking if she could see me. We met for an hour and thereafter the need for coaching was identified, that was the beginning of our coaching relationship.  I cannot take any glory for her success on the track I would leave that for her athletic coach Mr. Stephen Francis however it would be better for her to tell you how having an executive coach has benefitted her.  

Thanks for the interview. If anyone is interesting in executive coaching in Jamaica how can they contact you?
I can be reached  by email at  [email protected] or by phone at  8222000 or my website –