I’m an executive coach to clients ranging from startup founders to established and rising Fortune 100 leaders. I’ve coached senior executives in technology companies like Equifax and Twilio; publishing houses such as VNR and Fleet Street Publications (based in Germany and South Africa, respectively); and consulting firms including The Avoca Group and Historic Building Architects.
One specialty of mine is preparing rising stars for senior levels: building a stellar team, showing up as a servant leader, and making increasingly tough decisions with wisdom and confidence.
One sales leader I coached was struggling with her role; she was hired to shake things up and yet faced resistance at every turn. Responding to data I shared from 360 interviews, we worked to help her be less scripted and more authentic in meetings, more curious about the nature of people’s concerns, and more open about what was expected of her direct reports and their teams. The result has been a more aligned and loyal team, better relationships, and stellar performance.
A senior Go To Market leader developed the habit of seeing every interaction — even and especially the difficult ones — as an opportunity to grow into a C-level leader. He’s replaced anxiety with eagerness, and his stress levels have plummeted as he looks forward to continual personal development and enhanced effectiveness.
Individual leaders make a difference to the extent that they align and inspire their teams. Sometimes it takes an outsider's influence to bring fresh energy, perspective, and mindset to teams that are “set in their ways.”
I've helped teams that saw each other as rivals rise above the dynamics of competition and interference to align in the best interests of the organization. For example, I worked with a medical research firm whose business development and operations divisions despised each other.
Ops saw BD as a bunch of mercenary opportunists who would overpromise to get the contract and leave Ops to deal with the ensuing mess. BD saw Ops as a sales prevention team who would respond to every new opportunity with problems and objections.
The work of bringing them together involved not just creating a shared vision of success, but also facilitating honest conversations in which stereotypes were explored and exploded. We developed a new vocabulary which enabled both sides to come together to identify patterns of conflict without blame.
A second specialty is guiding entrepreneurs to focus on vital tasks, build their physical and emotional resilience, and hire and empower a diverse and committed team.
One founder told me that the “beginner’s mind” questions I kept asking helped him realize that his pet project wasn’t sufficiently informed by market intelligence, and pushed him to have hard conversations that led to a pivot into a much more fruitful direction.
Another founder credits our work together with building his mental and physical resilience so he was able to respond to inevitable crises and challenges in a positive way that brought out the best in his team. He sold one startup to a Fortune 50 company, took some time off, and then rehired me for another entrepreneurial journey.
In addition to being a startup co-founder in the health tech space (WellStart Health; 2015-2020, RIP, You Were Ahead of Your Time) and working with founders and early stage leaders in myriad industries, I’m also a guest instructor for Brown University’s Nelson Center for Entrepreneurship. My bailiwick is helping founders communicate effectively, prioritize wisely, focus meaningfully, and pace themselves for the startup marathon.
Humble Brags, Er, My Background
I show up with a diverse toolkit, including the Four Steps (a reliable process to help clients get traction on their most important work), ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Training), somatic (body-based) approaches, cognitive behavioral techniques, and the linguistics of self-talk. Plus sometimes I just make stuff up in the moment.
I was trained by and have worked with Peter Bregman (recognized as the #1 executive coach in the world by Leading Global Coaches) since 1999. I got into coaching after many years in education; coaching appealed to me instantly because it focused on behavior change and outcomes rather than the frequently limited academic focus on knowledge acquisition. I also love how coaching is explicitly a relationship between equals, and begins by ascribing competence and positive intent not just to the client, but to all the parties in their life.
Peter and I wrote You Can Change Other People to help democratize coaching, by sharing a simple yet comprehensive framework that anyone can use to help the people around them overcome obstacles and grow into a more powerful and authentic version of themselves. While I stand behind the title, I've come to think of the book as How to Help Each Other, as this title better reflects the spirit in which we wrote it and the impact I’d like it to have in the world.
Peter and I also wrote the “Coaching for Performance” Chapter of the American Management Association’s Body of Knowledge.
I’m also the author of Google AdWords For Dummies, reflecting a 2003-2013 stint as a digital marketing strategist (where I got a lot of my startup and early stage exposure and experiences). My writings have also appeared in Harvard Business Review, Fast Company, CNN, and Dow Jones’ Market Watch. I've also written many books on health, including Whole, with T. Colin Campbell, PhD, Proteinaholic, with Garth Davis, MD, and Sick to Fit, with Josh LaJaunie.
One of my great joys is the opportunity to coach people to better health habits. My interest in health, which led me to earn a Masters of Public Health and a PhD in Health Studies, has enabled me to coach the whole person, and not just their mind. I bring my health and wellness expertise into my executive coaching, since it's really hard to engage in meaningful habit upgrades if you're constantly tired and stressed, or your body is poorly fueled and haphazardly maintained.
Since 2018, I’ve been training healthcare professionals and certified health and wellness coaches to empower their patients to make significant dietary and lifestyle changes that stick.
A Bit About Me
I earned my BA from Princeton (where I taught juggling and since then have to resist the temptation to put “Adjunct Instructor at Princeton University” on my CV), and my MPH and PhD from Temple.
I was born in Newark, New Jersey, and was co-captain of the Columbia High School Ultimate Frisbee team my junior and senior years, so I was clearly fast-tracked for leadership in a “Hey, I remembered to reserve the fields at Memorial Park for our after-school practices” capacity.
My wife and I live in rural North Carolina (across the road from a giant sculpture of a yellow rooster, if you’re in the neighborhood), where I garden, play Ultimate Frisbee, practice QiGong, fiddle, and load the dishwasher correctly.
My mission includes helping kind and generous people grow their capability and scale their influence, and reintroducing people to their most authentic, best selves. I'm also passionate about working with organizations to mitigate climate change and empower Indigenous communities to lead our return to a respectful relationship with the earth.