AN INTERVIEW WITH THE COACH
EVERYBODY’S GOT A STORY. WHAT’S YOURS?
I’ve spent nearly thirty years working in communications, change, culture, and employee engagement, with a focus on corporate environments that have undergone some sort of major disruption. And by “disruption,” I mean anything with the potential to create chaos: mergers and acquisitions, global process or technology implementations, significant reorganizations. I studied psychology and change communications at Columbia University and Kellogg School of Management, so change (and fear of it) is my thing and the topic I’m asked to speak on most often. I’ve also studied professional coaching and leadership at iPEC and KW MAPS, am an Energy Leadership Index Master Practitioner (ELI-MP), and am a member of the International Coach Federation (ICF, CPC pending).
I started out in corporate communications when, as a young writer, I was plucked from the typing pool—literally—by the Chairman of the Board of Touche Ross & Co. (which would later become Deloitte). He said, “I’ve just come from an accounting conference where they told us that any Big 8 firm that doesn’t have a ‘personal computer’ on every partner’s desk in six months will be out of business. I’m too old to learn. I want you to do it.” And on that instruction, I selected the first computer platform for Touche Ross’ 740+ international partners, and subsequently became the Chairman’s coach and media liaison for all things technology. Thanks to that lucky break, I’ve spent the better part of the last 20-something years on leadership and “clean” teams conducting transformative corporate events.
Like the $25B Hewlett-Packard/Compaq merger with Carly Fiorina & Michael Cappellas, the $4B HP Services/Procter & Gamble outsourcing deal with Ann Livermore & A.G. Lafley, global ITIL implementations for Shell Services International & Coca-Cola, the $3B YP spin-off from AT&T and its acquisition by a private equity company, and most recently, the $3B integration following Cox Automotive’s acquisition of nearly 30 brands in the course of two years.
WHAT’S YOUR ROLE IN ALL THAT?
My role is typically to provide insight into the impacts (seen and unseen) the event has or might have on people. As a consultant, I help identify and mitigate the potential pain points and inform the strategic transition, transformation, and integration plans that ultimately create or improve employee engagement—the foundation of any healthy corporate culture. Meanwhile, of course, I’m coaching my executive clients to their specific goals, which are usually financial (at least on the surface). So helping leadership see how employee engagement affects their bottom line is a critical piece of what I do. It’s the magic fairy dust of any organization where culture is clearly tied to earnings success.
For example, I think it’s safe to say the celebrated cultures at Southwest Airlines, SAS, Google, Zappos, and Facebook are intimately tied to their positive business results, right? They get the concept of building a company everybody wants to join and nobody wants to leave. Just ask a Millennial!
And from personal experience, I can tell you that a deflated workforce is the beginning of the end for a company. Happy associates are productive associates, which translates to both efficiencies and sales, no matter what your widget is. All the research proves that out.
WHAT DOES YOUR DAILY PRACTICE LOOK LIKE?
On a daily basis, my corporate work can look like any combination of individual and team coaching, presentation and facilitation, strategic planning, communications, and the organizational change management lifecycle. Plus, I guide leadership to grow specific cultural program areas like corporate social responsibility, well-being/wellness, rewards & recognition, diversity & inclusion, and Best Place to Work efforts.
For individuals, I practice Core Energy Coaching to help people achieve their goals. You can read more about the process and results here.