Highpoint Training & CoachingHighpoint Training & Coaching


Coaching is a relational partnership in which coach and client collaborate in a creative and thought-provoking process that elevates the client to his or her maximum personal and professional potential. As a coach I am ready to partner with you in developing your leadership effectiveness, business potential, or your team or organization’s health, alignment, and productivity. You can develop greater relational sensitivity and impact, effective communication skills, courage to confront and resolve conflicts, step into daunting personal or professional transitions,  and live with confidence and balance.

Here Is Your Clue

When I began working with non-profit and market place leaders as a business and professional coach, there was an expectation that our working relationship would be absolutely confidential. Those who sought out professional coaching sometimes did so with a sense that if they were smarter or more successful, they wouldn’t need another professional’s partnership or support. Coaching was sometimes regarded as a remedial necessity for leaders who needed clues.

Not anymore. There is now wide-spread recognition that executive coaching is both a gift and a privilege that raises strong and smart individuals to their best levels of self-awareness, individual achievement, and leadership effectiveness. Well-known leaders like Bill Gates now talk openly and enthusiastically about the profound benefits they gain from engaging with a coach.

Nevertheless, on this point, too many people of influence are still living within the old paradigm. The cost to themselves and their teams can be dramatic. Knox News, part of the USA Today Network, carried the story of University of Tennessee President Joe DiPietro’s decision to terminate university chancellor, Beverly Davenport (5/2/18). His hard-hitting letter of termination, which painfully outlined his specific reasons, went viral. His primary impetus for firing the chancellor included her lack of trust, collaboration, communication, and transparency in her relationships— something that could seem unexpected, as she had been a tenured communications professor.

In the second point of his termination letter DiPietro wrote: “You would have benefited from a professional coach, and your unwillingness to routinely engage one, despite my recommendation that you do so, has been frustrating.”

The university president’s letter details what it looks like when someone at the top of an organization is unaware of her or his behavioral weaknesses. The lack of self-awareness in someone so knowledgable and accomplished may seem startling. Ms. Davenport had someone on her leadership team advocating for her to engage with a professional coach and, instead of seeing coaching as a strategic tool for ongoing personal growth and professional development, reacted with a profound and entrenched lack of self-awareness. Tragically, her resistance cost her salary, title, prestige, and significant public embarrassment.

There is no joy in witnessing another person’s tragedy. However, there is wisdom in learning from failures that are not our own.

For everyone who holds a position in management or leadership, it is worth taking note that the president of a prestigious state university has publicly declared that a leader’s unwillingness to routinely engage with a professional coach may be personally irresponsible or even self-destructive. Worse, it may be damaging to the whole team or the entire enterprise.

New York Times best selling author Tasha Eurich is an organizational psychologist whose book INSIGHT explains in detail “why we’re not as self-aware as we think, and how seeing ourselves clearly helps us succeed at work and in life.” She argues convincingly that self-awareness presents our greatest opportunity for improvement in every category of life. And self-awareness is never a one-and-done exercise. To those managers and leaders who think they know exactly what they bring into the room and how they impact everyone at the table, Eurich warns that—left to ourselves—almost all of us are terrible judges of our own competence, character, and impact on others. The university chancellor is not alone in her blindness. We may be smart and strong but, we do not see ourselves as clearly as we need to see ourselves until we exercise the courage to ask for feedback—that is, to look at ourselves through others’ eyes.

This is the value an executive coach can bring to women and men who are working hard to rise to their next level: another professional’s outside perspective; fresh insights into unconscious, self-limiting behaviors; meaningful accountability for the real results of present habits; tools to initiate the process of transformation; strong and positive support for new, life-giving beliefs and behaviors; all from a trained thought partner who is committed to a client’s growth and success.

In the photos accompanying the the news from Knoxville, Tennessee, the university chancellor appears seasoned, attractive, confident, and strong—a picture of success. But underneath the public persona (and persistent resistance to counsel) was a dramatic vulnerability that exasperated her team and undermined her career. She was blindsided by her own lack of self awareness. Thankfully, this is not the final chapter in her story.

The former chancellor can now do what we all can do to initiate a new season of personal transformation: engage with a professional coach.