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"While I honestly wasn't conscious of it, Gary's notion of 'leading by asking' nicely captures my own style. This approach creates a more collegial attitude, it opens dialogue and shows respect for those who are closer to and have responsibility for the issues. In many cases it is also appropriate because each generation seems to be smarter than the last. As a tool, Gary's book can raise everyone's awareness of the social and intellectual power of asking rather than telling."

Captain James A. Symonds USS Ronald Reagan - Nimitz
class aircraft carrier.

Executive Leadership Coaching Articles by Gary Cohen

Below are a selection of links to recent executive leadership coach articles and press interviews. The Leadership Mail delivers content that is helpful to those in leadership positions. Any and all feedback I get from these articles significantly changes the format for the next article and newsletter.

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Leadership Definition

Socrates sought to define important terms before having a debate. How productive can a debate be, after all, if terms are not agreed upon by everyone? The act of defining, however, is not always clear cut. In fact, it can lead to more debates.

In building a training program for leaders, I’ve given a lot of thought to definitions of leaders and leadership. Judging from the number of definitions of I’ve run across, it’s high time for a debate.

Here are a few debatable definitions that caught my attention: Read the rest in Leadership Excellence (external link) by Gary Cohen


Work Wise: Trust That Used To Come Naturally Must Be Carefully Cultivated

'This is a high-scrutiny, low-trust environment," says licensed psychologist Susan Battley, CEO of Battley Performance Consulting L.L.C., in East Setauket, N.Y. "You'll have to work that much harder when there isn't trust to create it and maintain it." This column will tell you how to gain trust. It will also tell you what you might have to do if you are trustworthy but not being trusted.


Uncertain Situations

When faced with an uncertain situation, two in three leaders fail to first ask, “What is the goal?” This insight is based on a live audience survey by CO2 Partners, a Minnesota leadership development and executive coaching firm.

Leadership Accountability

I have four people reporting to me, and I feel like none of them are accountable.  What can I do to make them more accountable?

Establishing accountability is a common challenge for entrepreneurs and managers.  I suggest using a process I learned from a good friend, Henry Chidgy, who once ran several railroad and diamond companies.  Henry emphasized the use of monthly performance reviews – yes, monthly!   These reviews, however, need not and should not be complex; they work best when kept extremely simple.  Maximum accountability is the main goal. 

Business Planning

In last week’s column, you gave advice about starting a business, and you kept preaching about writing a business plan.  I own a business, I don’t have a plan, and I’m doing just fine.  What’s the big deal? 

How do you know your business is doing “fine” if you do not have a business plan?  This is like a runner stating that he is “fast” when asked his running pace.  Quality and success cannot be measured without having benchmarks and goals.  A business plan provides both, allowing you to compare your outcomes to your goals.  Without a plan, it is all too easy to keep moving the bar for yourself.  


Leadership At the Top

I lead a small company, and I manage it very tightly. In meetings, I find I am the only one offering ideas, while others do not contribute. Although my ideas have really worked to grow the company, I feel I am doing it alone. What should I do?



Dear Coach,

I own and run a company, but my leadership skills are sometimes lacking.  My Senior Team refers to me as “Mr. Softy,” because I fail to discipline those who breach company policies.  I am having particular difficulty with my VP of Sales.  While he does bring in new accounts, he consistently enters them incorrectly and causes all sorts of problems for production staff.  My team keeps telling me to “let him have it,” but I am not sure what to say.  How do I make him accountable without simply firing or threatening to fire him? 


Ask Don't Tell Leadership

Dear Coach,

I have always been intrigued by politicians, who utilize “Town Hall Meetings” to communicate with their constituents.  These meetings seem to be a great tool, allowing voters to ask any questions they want.  Recently, I decided to try out the Town Hall concept on a corporate level.  I manage a company of 2,000 employees, all in locations outside the United States.  In the course of two weeks, I visited 12 countries, presenting a slide show on the “state of the union” and taking questions.  Despite working hard to engage my employees and remove barriers, I feel something is missing.  Any ideas?


Team Building

In any company or organization, a new member can create tremendous waves.  These waves, or changes, may be obvious in small organizations or in large companies, particularly when a new member of management comes aboard.  Despite the size of the company or position filled, however, a new team member’s presence inevitably creates change. 


Sales Management

As a sales manager for a business in Minneapolis, I am responsible for all company revenue. Of the 5 sales people working for me, only one is a star performer.  Ironically, the problem I am having is with him.  He frequently breaks rules, creates tension among coworkers, and angers our entire senior team.  If I fire him, however, neither the company nor I will reach our number goals.  What do I do?


Leadership in Opposing Viewpoints

When you find yourself confronted with an opposing viewpoint, how do you first react?  It is likely you feel immediate discomfort, which leads you to employ some type of resistance.  Resistance takes many forms: defensiveness, withdrawal, anger, inflexibility,  passive-aggressiveness – the list goes on and on.  In coaching executives, I frequently emphasize that resistance to another’s viewpoint can be limiting, wasteful, and destructive.  For leaders, in particular, resistance limits growth – for both themselves and their organizations.



After working at one company for 10 years, I would like to begin my own business.  What issues do I need to consider, and how do I know when it is the right time to take the “big step?”



What Is My Guiding Question? Whose Decision Is It?
Curiosity: A Detriment to the Organization? How Do I Demonstrate I Am Listening?
Is Your Ego In The Way of Leading? If I Were The Competition What Would I Do...
What Should I Do If I Am Stumped? Don't Solve Everyone's Problems and Why?
Challenging vs. Intimidating Questions What Causes People to Disengage From Conversation?
Motivate To Action Leadership Excellence


Press Room

Chief Learning Officer Archive
Business Week Survey
uclick, web content, Syndication Content -- Entertaining Comics ...
Percentage of US employees who are never or seldom asked for advice on solving a problem at work, according to a survey conducted by CO2 Partners : 33 ...

Most workers would trade suits for business casual
Portsmouth Herald News - Portsmouth,NH,USA
... 33 Percentage of US employees who are never or seldom asked for advice on solving a problem at work, according to a survey conducted by CO2 Partners...

Improve your listening.
Gary B. Cohen is co-founder of CO2 Partners. He does Executive Coaching for Entrepreneurs and was President and co-founder of one of the fastest growing ...

uExpress.com: Figuratively Speaking by John MacIntyre -- (10/01/2006)
Percentage of US employees who are never or seldom asked for advice on solving a problem at work, according to a survey conducted by CO2 Partners : 33 ...

MINNEAPOLIS  --  As executive coaching continues to expand, the field is shifting away from a therapeutic model to a greater emphasis on business performance and leadership development, according to Minnesota executive coaching firm CO2 Partners.


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