Professional summary

Executive coach with 15 years of outstanding results with executives in a wide array of industries and company sizes, including academic institutions and non-profits. Also a top-rated workshop leader and meeting facilitator with deep experience in strategic planning, change / transformation, and conflict resolution.

The focus of 1:1 coaching usually falls into one of three categories: 1) Provide confidential counsel to owners and senior leaders who have few places to turn on sensitive issues; 2) Help turnaround executives who are in trouble and whose jobs are at risk (80% success rate); 3) Support executives who are moving into a new role or a new organization and want to get up to speed quickly.

Group work includes many strategic planning

Engagement overview

For executive coaching I typically have an initial 60-minute conversation with a prospective client. There is no fee or obligation. A typical coaching engagement lasts 6 months. For group facilitation I bill $3000/day which includes design, pre-event communications and post-event notes / follow-up. For facilitation work I need 60-90 minute brief on objectives and context, then submit a proposal.


• Bayer Animal Health
• Marlen International
• Sprint
• Harvesters
• Blue Cross Blue Shield
• Jewish Community Center
• Time-Warner Cable
• Davidson College
• Rice University
• Washburn University


Although you don't say so, the suggestion that you need to "see the big picture" might indicate that you are a great tactician. More and more organizations are flatter and leaner these days. This means good, competent managers have to run fast and hard just to keep up with day to day operations. In my work, I've often found that executives who give feedback like what you've been given are themselv... Read more


All the good advice has been given! I will add another angle to consider, though not necessarily my favorite option for you. Check around for possibilities at other companies. Your record of success would surely make you attractive to other employers. If you get an offer, you can use it as leverage for your promotion, though you have to be ready if they "call your bluff." Even if you don't get an... Read more


I think you are wise to be careful in bringing this up. Small company people will often mistrust those with corporate experience, sometimes justifiably! And it's usually not a good idea for an outsider to tell the veterans how screwed-up they are.

I think it would be best to tackle this cultural issue on the personal level first; don't try to convince your colleagues that they're all disorganiz... Read more

I know "political" behavior in an office is usually seen as negative, insidious and counter-productive. I agree with that if we only consider the dark side of politics, where incompetent people are rewarded because they stroke egos and hog glory.

I tend to see political acumen as a necessary skill, especially in larger organizations. It is first a skill of assessing power. Power could be relat... Read more

Under the circumstances, I think the 360 process used before is tainted and you should wait a year or more before re-instituting. But I would not give up on the kind of feedback that a good 360 process can uncover.

To begin the rehab, I would have the top 3 executives go through a 360-like process but with two changes from the norm. First, build a customized set of leadership dimensions or attr... Read more

As a recovering "class clown,” I used to think that contributing sarcastic or witty comments to a meeting helped ease tensions or relieve boredom. Some folks agreed with me. But a coach I hired 20 years ago helped me see that my behavior would be experienced by many as: insubordinate, disrespectful, unhelpful, controlling,.... Well, you get the picture.

I can honestly say that up to the point... Read more

It is not necessarily true that a group of people working in the same department are part of a team, or need to be part of a team. Think sports. Football, basketball, soccer, baseball. They are team sports. For victory, a group of individuals have to excel individually, and also learn to cooperate, collaborate and work together to achieve victories. But another sport, say, track, may be called a... Read more

I second Drumm's votes for transparency and engagement. Both moves require confident leadership. It's tempting in a declining market to sugarcoat the truth in hopes of retaining your good people. Strong leaders will instead acknowledge "reality" while also encouraging the team to contribute their creative talents and energies to turn things around or innovate into new markets and possibilities.
... Read more

An often-overlooked aspect of selecting a coach is asking for referrals. In getting those referrals, you'll want to provide the coach with some orientation to your situation. Is there a particular sort of gap you're wanting to address, or are you looking for more of a sounding board and thinking partner. Maybe you've been told your presentation skills need work. So ask prospective coaches for thei... Read more


These days, organizations seem to find it easy to Start a great many projects, but finishing on time is another matter. One reason is that the key people you want on Your project are also in demand on other projects, or simply consumed with doing their regular assignments.

While it is important to get engagement and buy-in from team members themselves, it is also essential to ensure the right a... Read more

I'm with Janine that your concerns need to be brought to the surface. Unfortunately, in too many organizations, opinions expressed by HR, especially on "soft" issues are often disregarded by executives. So your confronting the issue might only yield token acknowledgement and promises to "do better." Your case to sr. management would be more compelling if you could point to measurable harm, e.g., ... Read more

I find myself wondering how much management experience you have. There is no implied judgement or criticism, but you seem to be reacting to events in a way that suggests relatively short tenure in management.

When we're triggered by events, e.g., a direct report escalating one of our decisions, we must of course deal with our reactions through reflection, talking to a coach or mentor, etc. Then... Read more


It is tempting to want to intervene right away in this situation. Or even to confront the nay-sayers and give them an stern lecture about loyalty, teamwork, etc. But I would advise that in this situation, assuming it's still pretty early in the transition, not to go there. At least not yet.

Actions speak louder than words. Let your, and the management team's, deeds and conduct speak for themsel... Read more

First, I want to acknowledge that my comment is not based on direct experience with Indian direct reports. But from 10 years in international business, I had a great deal of exposure to culture clashes. I've also coached a mid-level executive in China who reported to a VP in the States. Much of our time was spent aligning values and expectations between the two cultures.

I think the biggest key f... Read more

Dealing with insecure managers can feel like a minefield. You just never know if and how and when you will set them off. Like most things, insecurity occurs on a continuum. Those who are insecure to a point of paranoia and extreme dysfunction do not belong in the organization. The courageous thing to do with such individuals is to make a fact-based case to their boss.

For more normal levels of in... Read more

Miriam nails it. If I could expand by making up a little dialogue:

You: I want to talk to you about your future, especially given that I will be rotating out soon. More specifically, how do you feel about being my successor.
Him: Sure. I definitely see myself in your role.
You: Great. Talk to me about your leadership philosophy, and also how you see your own strengths and weaknesses. Ho... Read more


Doing your job well a good and necessary start, but is not sufficient by itself. There are many competent, capable people who have good values and skills. And they are often overlooked for promotions.

What you need to develop is political savvy. Not the kissing up, back-stabbing, fake stuff that most people associate with politics. But rather, the ability to discern and move with powerful peop... Read more


Your success will be won or lost by how well you can earn their trust. You begin that process by being transparent about what you know and don't know and about your expectations. Further, you listen deeply to their ideas and concerns. If your actions stay consistent with your speaking, and if you invest your own political capital in their ideas, and give them the credit, you will get the early suc... Read more