If we see the path ahead laid out for us, there is a good chance it is not our path; it is probably someone else’s we have substituted for our own.
— David Whyte

As a leader, you already know that no matter what level of success you achieve, the learning never stops. The skills that helped you climb the leadership ladder—intelligence, outstanding performance and strategic thinking—are no longer enough. Now the focus is on motivating and developing others, and that requires additional skills—the ability to articulate a vision, to listen and connect, to understand with head and heart, and to build relationships on a foundation of trust.

Why coaching?  

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The leaders I coach say that what they value most is having a trusted advisor and confidant who understands their unique responsibilities and can help them think things through.

On a day-to-day basis, leadership is a balancing act in a world of paradox:

  • taking enough time to make a decision, but without undue delay
  • weighing caution against risk
  • setting a pace that moves quickly but doesn’t leave everyone in the dust
  • deciding when to be directive and when to be collaborative
  • maintaining big picture perspective even when dealing in details
  • tempering opportunism with a focus on the mission

Does any of this sound familiar?

Being the leader you want to be means taking time for reflection in a space that is safe and supportive. For many leaders, coaching provides the perfect opportunity to take a deep dive into the challenges they face. Coaching conversations:

  • enable you to explore your thoughts and try out ideas free from judgment
  • open doors to perspectives that help you grow both personally and professionally
  • expose blind spots and remove limiting beliefs
  • shed behaviors that no longer serve you well
  • provide the incentive (and the courage) to break bad habits and replace them with healthier ways of being

For my clients, coaching is also an opportunity to practice conversational skills that help them become more comfortable and effective interacting with others and by extension, have a positive influence on the working culture they want to create.

"Thank you for your tremendous support to my work, for helping me not to stay "stuck" for too long and for encouraging me in my leadership work. Your support has been transformative!"  

- Public School District Leader


Coaching is not about changing who you are. It is about becoming aware of how you are showing up, and if needed, shifting your mindset and behaviors in ways that better serve the people you lead.

My job is to provide the setting where you can be candid and transparent, and where you can safely experience the vulnerability that leads to positive change—all without either of us losing our sense of humor.  

What to expect in one-on-one coaching:

There are many variations on the executive coaching process, but here’s a typical scenario:

  • 1:1 meetings preferably held  in a private, quiet place, either in-person, by video conference, or by telephone.
  • Depending on the urgency of the leader’s needs, meetings may occur more than once a week, or only every 2-3 weeks. Most meetings are about 45 minutes to an hour, however meeting times can range from well over an hour to just a brief check-in.
  • Terms of agreement are typically 6 months at a time, but some coaching relationships span several years.
  • The process begins with getting acquainted, setting expectations for both the coach and the leader, and setting objectives for what the leader intends to accomplish.
  • Additional insights to begin the coaching process often include interviews I conduct with selected colleagues or a 360-degree feedback instrument, plus personality and type indicator instruments.

"One hour with Carol gets me much further than ten hours of me fumbling in the dark on my own!"

- Chief Talent Officer, Charter School Network