Coaches ask questions
Who are you, really? How are you today, really?
What behaviors do you need to learn or unlearn to become a better person, a more effective leader or board member?
Are your values and mission worth some pain to achieve? Could your organization governance and leadership benefit by a tune up to align with the values and mission?
Are you ready to lead amidst the new realities of rapid change and pressure for increased effectiveness with tighter budgets?
How must your leadership style expand and change amidst the trends towards greater consensus, collaboration and pluralism in a post-modern world?
Have the pressures of leadership created an imbalance in your personal and spiritual life?
Are your values aligned with your activity towards a greater purpose and higher calling?
Are you working through an excess of immediate issues where assistance in navigation might simplify the decisions?
Do you know the difference between a consultant, counselor, and a coach?
How does coaching work?
What kind of coach do I need? Coaches come with different descriptors – performance coach, life coach, executive coach, career coach, personal coach, and more. Because your life is complex, I coach the whole person, as a part of an organization, or completely apart from work.
You may not know if coaching is right for you. You may not know me very well. Am I trustworthy? Will you benefit from it? Do I “get it?” Let’s see by trying.
A typical coaching engagement begins with a preliminary 90-minute meeting without charge. I will listen to your story for an hour, asking a lot of questions along the way. In the last half hour, I will reflect what I have heard from you directly, and what I have discerned between the lines. I will suggest issues and topics that may be of the greatest benefit to explore further.
As we continue, we will craft together a program to assure self-awareness, a solid understanding of where you are now, and where you want to go in your life, career or community. We may do our best in face-to-face meetings, yet people are becoming more comfortable with interactive video. Apart from meetings, I am on call or readily available through email to help you talk through immediate opportunities or obstacles.
Everything we talk about is strictly confidential, with two exceptions. We do not share counselor confidentiality privileges. I must respond to law authorities about our conversations if they inquire. If I believe you are an immediate risk to yourself or others, I will proactively engage others for your protection. This has never happened yet it is necessary to understand this fine print of our relationship.
You can get information and knowledge by reading books. Wisdom comes from within. I come alongside to help you navigate your individual and organizational dreams, concerns, priorities and performance needs by simplifying and accelerating your thinking. We will explore different frameworks and processes that you can use to define the need, alternative solutions and your best decision. I will not be your mother, but I will be one of your best fans. See a sample below of people and their needs that have been met through coaching. See the FAQ section for much more detail.
Here are some samples of coaching engagements:
“Coaching” means so many different things to people. I “coach” people and organizations in that I bring out the best in them as individuals and groups. They “own” their needs and desires, their problems, their potential solutions, their decision-making process and their ultimate directions and decisions. My role is to assure awareness of who they are and where they are upon starting, where they want to go, and how to get there. That role and approach has allowed me to engage in a wider range of activities than what most coaches engage.
Some sample coaching engagements:
- A prominent, highly visible and respected regional non-profit leader simply wants out of the pressure cooker. Do we find a graceful way out? Might we expand his capacity to alleviate and live within the pressures?
- Nine small, independent colleges are discussing how to collaborate, ally or merge to survive and thrive. Who must lead such an effort at the vision, cultural, operational and technical levels? What are the opportunities to explore? Board dynamics, collaboration and coaching are all critical here.
- A company president “just wants to be the best that I can be” as a leader in the business and community, and as a spouse and parent. We look at eight dimensions of his life.
- A long-time, “get ‘er done” VP has ignored company politics and leadership personalities, somewhat to his detriment. He wants to understand them better to be able to work through them rather than around them. I play the role of the other leaders as he prepares to engage or thinks through recent meetings.
- The entrepreneurial, charismatic founder of a multi-national NGO does not appreciate the Board’s new questions as it moves from volunteer assistance to governance. National cultures differ; there is not even a word for “governance” in the foreign country. How does governance fit in each culture?
- A senior leader that I last coached six years and two jobs ago wants to seize an opportunity within the company. The stakes are high in the current and potential role. How should she engage her boss and her bosses’ boss to seize the opportunity while minimizing the probable risk of a blow up with her immediate boss? Late night phone calls help her think it through; short turn-around reviews of outlines for discussion, emails and documents help her consider other perspectives and motives.
- A behind-the-scenes marketing and branding guru desires to pursue his “one last big idea.” He desires a “fencing partner” while he engages potential partners and investors in this entrepreneurial effort.
- A twenty-year veteran of a company finds that a young woman that he supervised, young enough to be his daughter, becomes his boss. Is that fair? How can he honor her authority when he knows her shortcomings? Are there generation or gender issues here? What does this say about the long-standing culture of tenure in the company? Is this the end of the line for him? How can she lead well through this?
- An IT company wants to understand and engage higher education better. As a grant administrator, I coach them on how to engage while giving away their services to develop a collaborative community in the IT cloud. Coaching and collaboration converge.
- An emerging leader uses two quite opposite leadership styles. His peers and confused staff wonder “who are you today?” Does he understand the value and appropriate usage of each style? How might he support those around him better as a servant leader, providing the leadership that they need?
- Several new AVPs must look beyond their silos to gain a more global perspective of the company. These are highly intelligent, high potential people, each brighter than me yet with little management experience or education. We are co-learners and our meetings leave me breathless.
Board Dynamics - The soft stuff is the hard stuff
“An organization can be no greater than its Board” – Bob Andringa. “Board members are usually intelligent and experienced persons as individuals. Yet boards, as groups, are mediocre” – John Carver.
I coach boards and board members to bring out the best in them. As a coach rather than a consultant, the board members/board own their need, the options, their selected approaches to decision making and the solution they create.
Board Dynamics are the portions of boardsmanship that are affected more by people than policy. If “culture eats planning for breakfast” – Peter Drucker, then culture will drive much board work. “People, personalities, and politics may overwhelm policies, programs, and priorities” – Robert Hodge. Board dynamics are about team development and the human factors that can threaten or assure board effectiveness.
We actively promote true governance for boards over administrative, working or operational boards. Leadership, vision, board culture, an understanding of governance, and many issues of the day may delay a board’s move to mature governance. Externally, there are and will become more pressures for the board to become more aware and involved with administrative and programmatic issues. Astute leadership must navigate the increasing compliance requirements that demand board involvement while assuring and maintaining the Board’s focus on ends rather than means.
Sample topics for the Board as a whole:
- Instilling vision and passion into the Board to develop members who will “bleed” for the organization
- Board restructuring and agenda setting to focus on governance over administration
- Dreaming about, defining and deploying alliances and mergers.
- Navigating Conflicts of Interest
- Board member recruiting and the soft-skill matrix to assure an effective team
- Moving the Board from a group of all-stars that have not practiced together to a winning team
- Relationships with the Advisory Board
- Transition from the Founders’ Board to a governing Board
- Damage control when the Strategic Plan goes bad and crisis is at hand
- Creating or recreating a trust relationship between the CEO and Board
- Facilitation of strategic planning
- Right-sizing Policy Governance ® to the organization’s culture and maturity
- Weaning Board members from operations to generative and strategic thinking
- Transitions of leadership - succession planning
Sample topics for individual board members
- CEO- Board chair relationships
- Board chair leadership
- Engaging the no-show Board member
- Moderating the Board member that has a personal agenda and money
- Orienting new Board members to the non-profit Board
- The Board member who expounds his personal opinions outside of a Board meeting
- The over-reaching Board chair
- Bringing new committee chairs up to speed on duties, responsibilities and leadership
“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together” – African proverb. The benefits to collaboration are clear. Collaboration takes more time yet usually provides better results. I coach and facilitate groups to clearly identify their goals, the process to consider collaboration and make choices, and then implement them. In several collaborations, I have become the “glue” for the collaboration or even the duty expert for something never accomplished before. I work in the areas of Policies, Programs, People, Personalities and Politics to guide groups to effective collaborations. I am certain that collaboration, especially among non-profits, is one of the best tools for the future.
My career with collaborations began in the early days of banking IT when a group of banks worked together to create their own ATM network. The opportunities for collaboration in higher education and non-profits abound. The donor base and market place demand more attention to this approach to minimize operational costs and create new ways to improve the programs to achieve the mission.
Obstacles to collaboration are more often in the “soft” areas rather than what can be seen in a spreadsheet. Are we really competing? Just communicating, cooperating, coordinating or truly collaborating? The culture of an organization is sometimes difficult to define, yet is foundational to a successful collaboration. We must develop trust, a common pace, culture, sense of proportion, and a common vision for success to be start, then keep on track to make wise decisions, get broad buy-in, and finally deploy. A coaching approach, with no authority nor power, can provide the glue and energy to bring collaborations to fruition.
Quotes From Clients
Coaching, Board Dynamics, Collaboration
Thank you for your friendly help and for blessing me with your professional insight. You breezed into gear, zeroing in with exceptional counsel, flowing past the weeds (where others, including myself, have been often mired). You demonstrate a rare ability to hit the ground running, to efficiently hack through my ideological clutter, and to hone in on the salient points. You're the real deal. Thanks for helping me pull back my own curtains to reveal a fresh perspective that had been eluding me.
You’ve been a blessing to me, and I can’t thank you enough for your patience, and for holding that mirror firmly in front of me when I needed to really see myself. I am totally at peace with my decision and actually happy. You know how tough the last two years have been for me, and I can honestly say that I resigned in peace and without a bit of anger or resentment. The Lord knows what he wants for me and I am listening. I will go where He sends me, and he has sent me home. And it is good.
More than anything, I have appreciated your insight and experience that you have brought to the succession process. On a personal note, I appreciate your helping me as I transition mentally… Thanks again, Bob. What a gift you have been to me, the board, and this ministry.
Thanks again for your help in the process up to this point. The 4 “D” process that you outlined back in December was key in allowing us to slow the process down in order to come to good conclusions and create buy-in from a large group of people.
I have greatly enjoyed collaborating with you over the past years and have learned a great deal from you. Your skill set, expertise and kind of communication style will be huge assets for any organization.
I have thought about your comments and really feel that the whole process of moving to who “I am” to who “I want to be” is well underway, and largely due to your coaching and encouragement. Thank you for being such a strong force in my journey.
Thanks Bob! I appreciate you walking with me on this path over the last few years. You have had a large influence on my career.
I needed to say thank you one more time for the conversation we had yesterday. I am very grateful for your care and directness. There were things I needed to say, and you provided the understanding and listening ear to hear it. And you also provided the directness I needed.
Bob doesn't bring you cookie cutter, standardized solutions to organizational issues. He has the rare ability, in fact passion, to understand who and where you are before he begins to weave highly appropriate solutions for your enterprise. We were enriched both by what Bob showed us and how he did it.
Bethany Fellowship International
What we didn't need was another American coming to Russia to tell us what to do. I thought you would bring wool. Instead, you brought silk.
I am very proud of what we were able to accomplish for all of the colleges, and you were so very creative in putting such a “turnkey” program for them. That made their jobs a lot easier, and we ended up having some participate that probably would not have had you not done such a good and thorough job.
I found the CEO group one of the most valuable contributors to my leadership development that has happened in my life... Many of us restricted our breaks and sleeping in order to absorb more heart level contributions we could take back to our work place as leaders in the New Millennium.
World Team USA
You are indeed an enigma and it fascinates me so much about you. On the one hand you remind me of a couple of my highly respected college professors for whom I would never have dared to disrespect by being late to class. This “sternness”, however, is held in tension by a “personal side” that I have witnessed in your facial expression of love as you have interacted with the retiring director, your obvious amazement as we walked the dusty trails of Petra and now this overwhelming demonstration of generosity.
The young leaders organization that I joined is BOOMING. I'm the current Chairman and soon to be first President. This has been a terrific outlet for my energies. I don't know if I'd have ever found this avenue without you. THANK YOU SO MUCH !
Thank you for your friendly help and for blessing me with your professional insight. You breezed into gear, zeroing in with exceptional counsel, flowing past the weeds (where others, including myself, have been often mired). You demonstrate a rare ability to hit the ground running, to efficiently hack through my ideological clutter, and to hone in on the salient points. You’re the real deal. Thanks for helping me pull back my own curtains to reveal a fresh perspective that had been eluding me.
Who We Are
Coaching, Board Dynamics, Collaboration
I coach leaders and organizations to identify, pursue and achieve their visions and goals. Together, we Discover their dreams and needs, Describe alternatives for improvement in actions and behaviors, Discuss with others as needed to obtain consensual Discernment and Decision, Design the appropriate next steps, and Deploy a course of action.
My most frequent engagements include leadership development, behind the scenes board member/CEO development, one-on-one coaching, strategy setting, and facilitation of collaborative initiatives.
My experience covers forty years at a senior level with leaders in business and non-profit organizations. I have always had a coaching style, supporting others to their best performance. I naturally see the questions that will help a person or group work identify their own needs, options and solutions so they “own” everything from the beginning of an engagement. Education in marketing and systems provides the backdrop and analytical mindset needed to bring people to their own conclusions. Senior level positions in for-profits, non-profits and education provide the breadth of experience needed to engage people where they are.
Different people and organizations need different approaches from their coach. Many business people desire assistance to obtain quantifiable change and immediate results. Many non-profit organizations and donors need to draw all stakeholders towards a deeper engagement in the mission and vision of the organization. Leaders and emerging leaders appreciate an objective view to help them simplify and accelerate their thinking. Most need an injection of experience and assistance to consider collaboration with other organizations.
Within organizations, I focus on the human aspects, on the soft-skills of leadership. Beyond good Board governance policy are programs within the more-human aspects of organizational and personal principles, persuasion, perceptions and politics. My role is to help a person or organization identify where they are today, where they want to be tomorrow and how to get from here to there. We work within all aspects of that transition.
Clients describe me according to what they need and how I have served them – Coach, personal champion, counselor, fencing partner, harbor pilot, and a relatively new favorite of mid-wife (“it is my baby but you helped birth it”) as I coach as many women as I coach men, and all generations. I prefer face-to-face meetings, yet I engage different generations of people at great distances with solid technologies.
Local, national and international for-profit and non-profit organizations, through their coached leaders and board members, have accelerated their efforts in such areas as financial services, insurance, manufacturing, literature distribution, child sponsorships, real estate sales, hospice, theater, crisis pregnancy assistance, world relief, micro-enterprise development, and inter-cultural education programs. Many are faith-based organizations and/or share those values and worldview.
Sample List of Organizational Clients
- ABHE - Association for Biblical Higher Education
- Allen County Local Education Partnership
- Annoor Sanatorium - Jordan
- Associated Colleges of Illinois
- Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Nebraska
- Bethany Fellowship International
- BLTC – Russia
- Brotherhood Mutual Insurance Company
- Council of Christian Colleges and Universities
- Camino Global
- Campus Consortium
- Coalition for College Cost Savings
- Columbia International University
- Crowell Charitable Trust
- Christian University GlobalNet
- Foellinger Foundation
- Global Mapping International
- Indiana Christian Community Foundation
- Independent Colleges of Indiana
- Internet Evangelism Council
- Independent Colleges of Indiana
- Institute for Organizational Effectiveness
- Jobs Partnership
- John Brown University
- Leadership Ft. Wayne
- Leadership Resource Foundation – Philippines
- Lincoln Christian College and Seminary
- Messiah College and Collaboratory
- Mission of Mercy
- Moellering Management Company
- Outreach Ministries
- Sallie Mae
- Samaritan's Purse
- Sheltering Wings Women's Shelter
- Southeast Neighborhood District
- Shepherd Community
- Taylor University - College of Lifelong Learning
- TEAM - The Evangelical Alliance Mission
- Visiting Nurse Services and Hospice
- Wycliffe - Jungle Aviation and Radio Service