To change the world to what it can be, you need to first change yourself to what you can be.

Confidential, Outside Perspective for
Leaders in Mission-based Organizations.

 

You have all the responsibilities and pressures of any executive in the private sector. Only with a tighter budget, a smaller staff, and higher stakes for success or failure.

Your job rates among the toughest of executive roles.

It also can be the most rewarding. Your success is measured not in dollars made but in lives improved.

My goal: Help you to make the greatest contribution with the least stress and greatest satisfaction.


 

Leading Effectively

 The top isn’t so much lonely as it is isolated. Effective leaders welcome and relish candid feedback from their teams. And the most effective leaders seek and value a fresh perspective from an experienced executive advisor from outside the organization. 

Learn More...

The Coaching Process

Executives of nonprofit and mission-based organizations grow their capacities in the facilitated Intentional Development Process. It integrates:

  • Purposeful dialog
  • Guided self-examinations
  • Data gathering
  • Action learning assignments

Learn More...

Lima01.jpg

Executive Coaching Programs

Specializing in nonprofits and mission-based organizations, I offer a variety of executive coaching plans at different levels of investment, from on-going to one-time. One of these approaches likely will work for you and your specific situation.

Learn More...

Coaching, a Remedy for: 'Isolated at the Top'

 

For all their constant interactions with many constituencies, senior leaders in nonprofits and mission-based organizations often have few opportunities to 1) think out loud in confidence about their biggest challenges. Or 2) to receive candid, unvarnished feedback about themselves and their operations.

The higher you are in the hierarchy, the more people tend to play to you –– telling you what they think you want to hear, not what you need to know. The top isn’t so much lonely as it is isolated.

woman-exec.jpg

Effective leaders welcome and relish candid feedback from their teams. And the most effective leaders seek and value a fresh perspective from an experienced executive advisor from outside the organization. Someone who listens deeply, who understands a top executive’s deepest concerns, and offers seasoned counsel. All without regard for internal politics, with no self-interest, with no emotional investment in the stakes including no fear of reprisal.

I listen in this way to top leaders in mission-based organizations (charities, nonprofits, NGOs, educational institutions, governmental bodies). I converse with leaders in mission-based organizations to help them make their greatest contributions, to help them derive superb satisfaction from their work and life — even as they operate amid great uncertainty and tremendous complexity.

 

The Mechanisms of Intentional Change

 

Marcus Tullius Cicero, the ancient Roman statesman and philosopher, observed that, “No one can give you better advice than yourself.”

The Coaching Conversation is purposeful and leads to Action Learning, which tees up the next coaching conversation.

The Coaching Conversation is purposeful and leads to Action Learning, which tees up the next coaching conversation.

Yes, but… In the time-pressed, expectations-ladened environment of leading a mission-based organization today, taking the time to listen to yourself can be a formidable challenge.

Executive coaching provides a mechanism for accessing your own wisdom and facilitating your professional development (self-discovery, growth, and change). The primary device is the coaching conversation. This is an active, purposeful conversation where you partner with me as your coach to facilitate your development.

Drawing Out Your Best

Unlike a consultant who provides expert recommendations, my role in these conversations is to draw out your thinking about your circumstances, your priorities, experiences, beliefs, principles and values.  It’s the one time in your schedule where your meeting is entirely, and completely legitimately, about you.

In the course of our conversations, I provide some perspective. I prod, probe, challenge. I support, empathize, and champion. Sometimes I suggest; occasionally I recommend; rarely I urge. Importantly, you get the opportunity to listen to yourself in a guided, purposeful way.

After all, at any moment, you know more than you can recall. That's the nature of the human brain. The coaching dialog stimulates your memory; it encourages you to make new connections among your experiences, current circumstances, and your values and goals. 

closeup-male-portrait.jpg

The process stimulates, broadens, and enriches your own thinking about your challenges and opportunities so that you can take action. Through this dialog, you can analyze recent events for their learning potential; work through stressful situations; assess potential changes that you may not be quite ready to share with your colleagues; and more.

It’s an energizing and enlightening activity. A way to more fully leverage your own intellectual acumen, and grow both your self-confidence and innate potentials, in complete privacy. 

Coaching Toolbox

Psychologist Abraham Maslow famously quipped, “When the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.”

Some coaches and consultants bring a fixed paint-by-the-numbers method to all their assignments. In contrast, I bring a toolbox, with many choices to an executive development engagement.

No two coaching assignments — even within the same organization — are alike. So the tools I deploy on behalf of each coaching client vary.

Here are some of the tools from which I selectively draw:

male-exec-smiling.jpg

Self-Assessments. How do you know yourself? What are your unique gifts, strengths, priorities, goals? How might you best leverage them? Which might you be ignoring? Or over-using? What are your limitations, your blind spots? Who are you? Who do you want to become?

I have a number of tools and procedures to help you understand yourself better.

Occasionally, I use some instruments to help clients gain enhanced understanding of themselves and their orientation to the world.  However, none of the assessments I deploy assigns you a label — such as a personality category (e.g., Driver), or a set of letters (e.g., ENTJ), or a color (e.g., Gold, Green), or a stage (e.g., Expert) or a phase or any other designation to define your personality or character.  I strenuously object to assessment instruments that proclaim to peg your personality, or behavioral preferences, into self-limiting, prefabricated categories.

team-portrait.jpg

Such practices simply defy what we know scientifically about the complexity of humanity, which, currently, comes in about seven billion variations. Any assessment, test, instrument, etc., that would presume to neatly categorize you into preordained personality types is both unfair to you and unnecessarily restrictive to your potential development.

Multi-Rater '360' Assessments. One of the paradoxes of leadership:  Your effectiveness as a leader is directly tied to how you affect others — both emotionally and intellectually. Yet you cannot accurately know how you are perceived by others unless you can somehow witness their honest perceptions.

As Shakespeare put it in Julius Ceasar, “the eye sees not itself, but by reflection”  (Brutus to Cassius; Act 1, Scene II).

This is why it is so important for you as a leader to obtain truthful and meaningful feedback on how you are perceived by those with whom you work.

Unfortunately, most off-the-shelf 360 or multi-rater review instruments often yield precious little useful, actionable information. There often is too little information, especially around criticisms which usually lack context, and useful specifics such as frequency, rate, duration, and import of the behaviors critiqued. I've conducted many follow-up interviews to standard 360s that included harsh criticisms –– all of them written under the cover of anonymity, with very brief narratives because of the design of the 360. Almost without exception, the critic unloads on the subject of the 360 for one rather aberrant incident that occurred a few to several years prior! This painting with a very broad brush was not at all evident, and could have created a false development agenda for the 360's recipient.

In addition, traditional 360s feature great numbers of tedious rating items, such as five point scales for various dimensions of personal behavior. These scaled items do not provide you as a leader with actionable information. If you receive an average rating of '3.5' on "Communication," is that good? What do you do about that?

If you already have received feedback in a standard 360 report that has encouraged you to start your agenda for professional and personal development, we have a great beginning! The 360 you have in-hand can be a useful springboard to integrate into your coaching.

The SphereReview™ Narrative 360 interview process provides in-depth perspectives on how an executive is perceived by many individuals with whom he or she interacts.

The SphereReview Narrative 360 interview process provides in-depth perspectives on how an executive is perceived by many individuals with whom he or she interacts.

I also suggest other techniques to my clients for gathering important information about how their constituents perceive them, including my SphereReview™ Narrative 360 process. The SphereReview Narrative 360 provides useful insights drawn from a leader’s key constituents, usually a dozen or more, obtained through a very efficient interview process. These multiple interviews provide an opportunity for consistent themes to emerge. When ten or eleven of twelve interviewees spontaneously mention a strength or suggest an area for your development, that is worthy of attention.

Data described by interviewees also provide you with in-depth insight into the impact of your behaviors. You will learn how and why your actions are having an effect on others, and the direct results you are creating, some of which may be out of your own awareness.

There are other less formal techniques that we can employ to gather helpful feedback from your workplace colleagues as well. In one form or another, you will get useful information that you can put to work making a positive difference.

Action Learning. Central to the executive coaching process is for you to question how you are doing what you do now, then to explore some alternative ways of going about your business and life. The implication:  you will try to do some things that are different from your life before you started coaching. Chances are you will stumble a bit as you try new things, or as you try old things in new ways.

My job as a coach is to support you in this learning process –– which can feel a little uncomfortable at times. (One reason highly accomplished people tend to be reluctant to try new things is the curse of competence. New learning can make one feel a little foolish, so there is a natural tendency to avoid that uncomfortable feeling.) As we work together, you likely will become more comfortable embracing new learning and trying out new ways of working and being.

Leader’s Library.  On occasion, I recommend a book or two to a client as an aid to expanding their thinking, or to help build or refine a skill. While some coaches routinely deliver a syllabus of several required readings to their clients, I don’t do that. Maybe you would benefit from a book, or maybe you don’t need to read another book right now. Let’s determine that when we work together. If I recommend a book for you to read, it’s entirely up to you whether reading it is a worthwhile investment of your time. Need should drive the agenda for resources assigned, not the other way around.

 
 

Choose How You'd Like to
Begin Your Coaching

 

I offer clients several ways to engage in coaching:  In a package of four developmental sessions (Clarity), on an on-going basis (Sustaining), and even on a one-time, crisis basis (Critical Incident).
What I do not offer is "Last Moment Rescue Coaching."

 

Clarity

The Clarity coaching package includes four coaching sessions plus a complimentary initial consultation: A no-obligation, 30-minute telephone meeting to explore whether coaching may be helpful to you.

Clarity also includes:

●  Self-Assessments. Enhancing your self-understanding is central to your developmental gain. The more you know about your innate capacities, the more you can leverage your potentials.

●  Action Planning. Effective personal change is first a process of careful selection: What performance should you address, and what new actions should you undertake. This requires a thoughtful process of assessment and planning, which is part of the coaching relationship.

●  Knowledge Transfer. While coaching is not designed to provide you the answers, your coach is both experienced and knowledgeable. So you can expect to receive information and methods that you can add to your storehouse of knowledge to help you meet challenges and seize opportunities — in the immediate future and over the long haul.

●  Practicum: Skill and Practice Building. Insight and knowledge are a world removed from applying. You only make a difference as a leader when you change how you do things.

Your coaching ultimately is aimed at your trying new actions — even if you aren’t very adept at these first attempts. Mastery follows a process of dedicated refinement.

Each of the four scheduled coaching meetings included in the Clarity package concludes with some suggested Action Learning assignments so that you can put your newly gained insights into practice.

Logistics:  Schedule your coaching meetings using a simple, convenient, online calendar. Early morning, evening, and weekend appointments are available, too. Meet with your coach, face to face, online, or by phone, at times that work for you.

Investment: The Clarity package of 4 sessions (following the no obligation complimentary session) for an individual in a nonprofit \ mission-based organization is billed at a very reasonable flat fee plus any out-of-pocket travel costs you pre-approve.

Get started here.

Sustaining

It’s always something. Hardly a day goes by when you don’t face an unexpected challenge or stressor.  A Sustaining coaching relationship provides you with on-going support.

You receive coaching through regular, you-can-count-on-it coaching meetings, as well as access to coaching when you need it by phone and email (not as a crutch but as a point of in-the-moment leverage). 

These touch-points provide you with the benefits of a reliable outside perspective, and a consistent, insightful sounding board at the ready.

Events will ebb and flow. As they do, you’ll continue to receive new points of view, fresh thinking, and a dependable reality-check from your coach.

As your coach, I serve as a trusted confidant, a dispassionate reactor to points of friction you experience, and as a container of doubts, fears, and imperfections that you may not want to share with anyone else on the job or off.

Sustaining coaching meetings are held on a schedule (and through means) convenient to you. Services are renewed quarterly. Sustaining coaching program clients typically begin as Clarity coaching clients and elect to continue receiving the benefits of their coaching relationship. Obtain more information here.

Critical Incident [Help Now]

You have a situation. It's urgent. It may even feel like an emergency, brewing toward crisis. You want to prevent a disaster.

You need impartial thinking, a level head, an external sounding board. Quickly!

No time for an elaborate “needs analysis.” No interest in a long-term commitment. Time is of the essence.

You want one-off help.  I want to help.

Here’s how. We’ll talk by phone for a few minutes to scope the situation. You lay out the essentials. I’ll assess if and how I might help. And my fees for doing so.

If we agree, we proceed. If there isn’t a fit, for whatever reason, I will do my best to recommend qualified help to you. Simple and quick as that.

 For a fast response, click here.

 

"Last Moment Rescue" Interventions? Sorry. No.

It is tempting to hire a coach for someone you believe you should fire (let go, release to the market). It could be an executive, manager, or professional who continues not to measure up to your expectations even after you have tried everything else.

If you want coaching as a last ditch course of last resort before you finally fire an employee, please think again.

Too often such last hope coaching is invoked way past the point of potential effectiveness. Or it is not given sufficient time to work. Or, worst, it is employed as a facade to a foregone conclusion. That is, the coaching is a ruse to make it appear as though the doomed employee was given a fair shot at job performance redemption when he was not.

How is it that this situation got to this precarious point? What happened to performance management along the way?

If you want to explore those issues, let’s talk. Otherwise, please know, I do not do Last Moment Rescue Coaching.