The leaders I have coached have all become dramatically better leaders, each in their own unique way and in the manner that life was calling them to grow. In some cases, the individual had a blind spot and could not see what was limiting their effectiveness. They all experienced growth in personal awareness and personal mastery as a leader. Every leader grew in their understanding about how they were perceived by others and it helped them tremendously because they could work toward becoming a better leader in a specific way to improve their followers’ perceptions. Their leadership skills grew more rapidly because they knew how others saw them and most importantly, received invaluable insight into which leadership skills to work on and which not to work on. With my assistance, they choose to work on the most leverageable skills and became in the eyes of their followers’ better leaders because they worked on the one thing that made the biggest difference.
Examples of Success
10-year veteran at one of the largest consumer packaged goods companies in the world (P&G) was given feedback that he was “average”; he was perceived as being “too nice” and should work more on developing others. After 18 months he developed his emerging strengths into outstanding strengths by a factor of 10 and showed improvement in all competency areas.
Senior Partner and Director at a preeminent executive search firm in healthcare and higher education. As she transitioned into a new leadership role, she would sometimes derail relationships with other executives at her firm that led to a lack of trust and broken relationships. The internal conflict was high and her patience, judgmental and forceful nature did not help. She learned and practice improving her emotional intelligence to the point that she was promoted again. She practiced deeply how to better interact with those she didn’t like and couldn’t stand by developing her awareness and management of her mind and emotions.
“Don provided me with executive coaching for almost a year as I transitioned into a broader leadership role within my firm. As my leadership accountabilities expanded, I needed to adapt my leadership style and add new skills to make me effective with a broader range of constituents as well as learn to “manage up” effectively. Given I joined the firm 20 years ago, I needed skills to get others in the firm to see me as I was currently performing, not reach conclusions from older experiences when I was an immature leader.
Don did all of this effectively. I have subsequently been promoted multiple times and now run a newly launched international division of the firm. Many of his counsel, tricks and tips replay themselves in my head and all the right times. During this difficult process, I never felt judged or lacking during this process, the approach was built on your skills and minimize your weaknesses.”
Commercial Director (Head of Sales & Marketing), at one of the largest consumer packaged goods company in the world (P&G) was given feedback that he was a ‘good leader’ but something was missing to make him extraordinary. The perception of his managers and peers was different than his direct reports, which made the challenge of creating a development plan complex. His goal was to grow his career more rapidly by becoming an outstanding leader through the perception of all those he worked with. His development process took into account the leadership of different sets of stakeholders must be different for each group of people. has been promoted several times because of his improved leadership effectiveness.
“Don is a genuinely caring, experienced and deeply insightful coach who helps transform lives. He has been my leadership coach for almost a year after a chance encounter in a global training. I was impressed by his authenticity and soon afterwards, thankfully, we found a way to work together. His coaching sessions have accelerated my personal growth by gently nudging me to explore sources of personal growth I would not have considered on my own (for example, non-intuitive cross-training versus linear focus to get better at something).
I would highly recommend him to anyone committed to discover and fulfil one’s potential in life, professionally and personally.”
In one of the most competitive industries in the U.S., CenturyTel (now CenturyLink) was the fifth largest telecommunications company in the US. Today, it has grown to be the second largest U.S. communications provider to global enterprise customers – customers in more than 60 countries and over 50,000 employees. Before this growth, the CEO was interested in developing his executive team and working alongside two other outstanding coaches we were hired to develop the c-suite. I personally worked with the President and Chief Legal Counsel and their teams. Through observations of the executive team in action and individual executive coaching, we established a new culture of growth and leadership effectiveness. The results were so impressive, I was asked to take the concepts to the next level of the organization and trained many of the Vice Presidents and Directors. I created a Leadership Development Community that helped many people become outstanding leaders achieving outstanding results.
SSM Health Dean Medical Group is a for-profit, integrated healthcare organization based in Madison, Wisconsin owned my SSM Health. (Approximately 500 physicians provide primary, specialty and tertiary care in the clinics. The system serves more than 300,000 health plan members.) Due to an unplanned vacancy at the CEO level, the SSM Health System appointed the local medical group’s chairman of the board to interim CEO. Because of the appointment, the physician was tasked with increasing physician engagement and improving the bottom line of the medical group. To help the physician implement his plan and to navigate the process of becoming a successful interim CEO, I coached him, and his tenure was one of the best times for the challenged medical group; physician engagement soared, and financial results improved dramatically.
Community Blood Center /Community Tissue services is a non-profit that has grown tremendously. The current CEO was appointed by the board but told due to his limited management experience, he should work with an executive coach. I was appointed as his coach and we developed a plan for his initial tenure in his role and how to structure his team for the most effectiveness. He had to learn how to be a CEO at the same time of developing relationships. His success has been amazing over the last 10 years; more than 70% cumulative revenue growth ($135 million dollars in revenue & over 650 employees).
Before the new CFO at the Medical College of Wisconsin (a national leader in the education and development of the next generation of physicians and scientists) was to be given the reigns to run the business as she wanted, the managing director wanted her to experience a personal leadership development process to round off her skills and help her become easier to work with. Her emotional intensity and ability to work with others was perceived to be low and her ability to communicate with the boss was not great. Through a development approach a new level of understanding about her role, and how she came across to others was created. She participated in a development process that had her try different types of leadership skills that shifted others perceptions about her and she subsequently became the CFO.
A General Manager was promoted to Vice President at a Fortune 500 company (leading provider of facility solutions in the U.S. and various international locations) because he successfully ran the local branch leading the country in EBITDA. However, even though he frequently won the prestigious ABM Contractor of the Year Award four times and qualified for Champion’s Club virtually every year he annoyed so many internal people that no one wanted to work with him. His communication style and abrasiveness were legendary, but he could justify his style because he always delivered the results. His coaching was designed to create awareness, empathy, and a desire to be a better internal leader within the company. Before he retired, he found a gentler way to be the critique and call people at corporate to be better. His approach to conflict and to motivate others to improve changed for the better without losing the impact that he desired.