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December 2, 2008


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Quick, name a great coach. Vince Lombardi? Red Auerbach? How about Marshall Brown? He’s the only one in that list known to help CEO’s. (Unless you’re working on your jump shot, in which case, we think you’re corporate priorities are off.) Incoming president of the Electronic Retailing Association, Julie Coons, considers Marshall a “super successful coach to the association stars.” We had to see for ourselves.


We met Marshall at the Franklin Club, 1300 I St, where he often gets together with clients (and eats the delicious peanut butter cookies). After working as director of career services and membership for the Greater Washington Network for 9 years, Marshall got his coaching certificate from the International Coach Federation in Lexington, Ky. six years ago. He’s since been a “partner” in helping hundreds of clients on everything from how to better manage their team to reducing stress. Like a physical trainer for executives (minus all the sweat, we think). He strategizes with them to create new techniques.


Marshall says a lot of CEOs feel isolated, and he encourages them to join networks like ASAE. Another tactic Marshall uses is a 360° Assessment. Anonymous questionnaires go out to staff members all around the CEO to rate him or her on points like leadership, communication, management, ability to delegate authority and decision-making. Responses are used to develop strategies for improvement. A year later another Assessment is sent out to measure growth. Typically, Marshall meets with a client for two hours per month (four 1/2 hour sessions or two one-hour sessions) for an average of 8 to12 months. He tells us he’s most energized when a client says to him, “I never thought of it that way.”


Marshall often also coaches executives (euphemism alert) “between successes,” or those who have recently become unemployed. He says first it’s important to get rid of any lingering anger, then to surround yourself with supportive people. Marshall recommends joining community organizations to give you structure and a network. One reason Marshall is so good at giving others a vision is that he’s got it figured out himself. Every August, he spends three weeks in Cape Cod with his cocker spaniel and sets up a plan for the following year. Wonder if last August he penciled in Bisnow. [Poke Marshall.]

The Integrative Approach to Coaching

Of course, there’s more than one coach in the sea, so we tracked down Aeolus Coaching and Leadership Training’s Arty Coppes, who says the new trend in career coaching is an integrative approach. Rather than one-on-one coaching, more executives are taking part in “team” or “peer” coaching. In fact, on Jan. 29 she and colleague Dan Martinage are offering a workshop called “Leadership on the Run.” (Wasn’t that Bruce Jenner’s autobiography?) The three-day program starts with a face-to-face breakfast, then a Webinar, then a conference call, where they’ll share, among other things, problem-solving strategies. Still not too late to sign-up. Arty, a Holland native, also publishes scholarly papers and is currently writing a chapter for “Discover Your Inner Strength,” an upcoming book featuring 7 Habits author Stephen Covey.


Although Arty says it doesn’t matter if your coach is a male or female, she often does help women executives struggling with either showing too much strength or too little. Arty also says successful firms are moving away from a “command and control system” style of managing. That means no more telling subordinates their mistake and how to fix it, which may be faster, but it does not provide a long-term solution. Instead, she advises to ask probing questions, build a relationship with team members and help them to solve problems on their own. The result will be a persuasive, motivational, mentoring leadership style. [Poke Arty.]

Are you providing some really fantastic service to Associations? If you’re legit, email Association Editor Abraham Mahshie at: Abraham@bisnow.com.

Stout and Teague
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