Emotional Intelligence: The Leadership Difference-Maker


A true story:

In March 2013 Susanna Rohm’s seemingly-healthy two month old baby had stopped breathing causing mom to go into a panic. She began screaming for help as loudly as possible.

In the panic Susanna had lost her cell phone and had the presence of mind to go get help rather than search for the phone. She ran outside and saw two boys playing across the street. Susanna yelled to them for help and screamed for them to call 911.

Ethan Wilson, age 11, and Rocky Hurt, age 9, immediately placed the emergency call but Rocky ran across the street to see what else he could do to help.

Noticing that Susanna was not administering CPR correctly, he coached the panicking mom to give proper chest compressions and breaths to her distressed baby.

Rocky later told a reporter, “I told her to push on the baby’s chest five to 10 times with only two fingers, tilt back the baby’s head, plug the baby’s nose and breathe into the baby’s mouth.”

Suddenly, the baby began crying at which point Rocky told Susanna, “That’s a good sign because it means the baby is breathing.”

Paramedics soon arrived and transported the baby to the hospital for further treatment but Rocky certainly saved the day. Rocky and Ethan said they had learned CPR from a restaurant poster.

What is Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional Intelligence is the ability and presence of mind to make rational decisions and to take action that may be directly opposed to the inner emotional stimulus. More broadly is the ability to identify, assess, and control the emotions of oneself, of others, and of groups.

Emotional Intelligence may be explained best using stories in which it may be illustrated. The story about Rocky helping to save a baby illustrates a great human interest story but also Emotional Intelligence, also known as EQ or EI.

Rocky clearly did not panic as might be expected of a nine-year old boy. He maintained control of his own emotions, recalled memory of a poster describing CPR of an infant, and through his composure he calmed the emotions of Susanne so that she could follow the instructions and resuscitate her baby.

This is not to suggest that Susanne has a low EQ but rather that Rocky certainly is a good illustration of high emotional intelligence.

Emotional Intelligence is the ability and presence of mind to make rational decisions and to take action that may be directly opposed to the inner emotional stimulus.

Emotional Intelligence is Leadership Intelligence

Rocky Hurt appears to have natural Emotional Intelligence at an early age, with limited education, maturity, or training. His presence of mind and control of not only his own emotions but also those of Susanne is compelling. Historically this is an ability of the best leaders.

  • Bvt. Maj. Gen. Joshua Chamberlain serving as a regiment commander in the battle of Gettysburg overcame the overwhelming sense of defeat by his soldiers on the second day of the battle. He ordered a bayonet charge of Confederate forces and took over 100 prisoners and restored confidence as his position on Little Round Top was held.
  • Lee Iacocca was an incredibly successful executive at Ford Motor Company in 1978. Even though the company posted a $2 billion profit that year, Iacocca was fired. While many people get down on themselves after being terminated, Iacocca quickly rose to the top again as the chief executive of the troubled Chrysler Motor Company and is credited with turning the company around.

True Control: Controlling One’s Self

Whether in the military, business, politics, church, or any other endeavor, leaders with high Emotional Intelligence are able to change the mood, motivate the people, and lead the organization to success.

Emotional Intelligence is the difference-maker for leadership. It requires that the leader suspend their own mood and emotions and communicate optimism and a positive vision.

It is the difference between leadership that creates dissonance and leadership that creates resonance. There are many examples in history of leaders with high Emotional Intelligence.

Dissonance or resonance may be seen in the culture of a leader’s organization by how he or she motivates people. Dissonant leadership can motivate for a while but requires great energy to sustain. On the other hand, resonant leadership that is actuated by Emotional Intelligence coupled with effective leadership abilities is self-sustaining by the synergy of the whole organization.

Developing a Higher Emotional Intelligence

Many scholars of Emotional Intelligence believe that people can improve and grow in this area of development. The premise in virtually all of the books and resources on the EQ subject suggest that one may improve his or her Emotional Intelligence area.

However, developing a higher Emotional Intelligence requires determination and presence of mind.

It requires moving from:


The last stage shows the presence of mind that Rocky Hurt dad as he helped save that  baby.

For those of the Christian faith, actuating Emotional Intelligence is the realization of Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” It requires that one internalize the principle until it is lived value.

So what are some examples you remember of emotional intelligence from history? Why is it difficult to act contrary to emotional stimuli? Are you growing in emotional intelligence? Does your workplace exhibit resonant or dissonant leadership? I would love to hear your thoughts!


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Tom Cocklereece
Dr. Tom Cocklereece
 is CEO of RENOVA Coaching and Consulting, LLC
He is an author, professional coach, and leadership specialist
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Leaders: 12 Ways to Spot a Toxic Workplace

Toxic Eye

This article will benefit high-level leaders and company owners as they evaluate their organizational culture.

It will also benefit leaders and managers at all levels as they seek a new position.

How Do You Feel

How do you want your company (or the one for whom you work) feel to leaders, employees, and customers? Level 5 leadership requires that leaders be selfless and intentional to the tactility of the organization as well as issues such as professionalism, curb appeal, and profits.

What does the outside of your organization look like? It likely communicates a professional business. The professional licenses and certifications of personnel hang neatly on the walls and doors and nametags announce each employee’s official position.

How Do You Look

Many businesses put great emphasis on the outer appearance of their offices, brand identity, business cards, people, and even uniforms.

All of these communicate professionalism with one desired motive of recruiting new employees, managers, and leaders. However, before you accept a position you should look past the curb appeal and the impressive branding.

Perhaps you are an experienced manger seeking a position at another company and you have interviews scheduled for companies abc and xyz. Both positions appear fairly equivalent so how may you differentiate and make a choice?

You must choose, but choose wisely.

Do Your Research

A Google search will tell you mostly good things about the organization but you should learn as much about the company as possible before your interviews.

  • You can learn little facts such as how many offices do the businesses have and where are they located?
  • Do the locations of their offices suggest anything about the organization that will help you in your interviews?

Employers are often impressed when prospective employees know some details about their company. Yet, this only goes so far in helping you make a good choice.

You need to know about the culture but where can you find the best information?

  • What do detail sales people say? If you are a leader in a specific field, then you likely know detail sales people who service the competitor with whom you are interviewing. Detail sales people often know much about the companies they service and may offer useful information without violating any ethical boundaries.
  • What do other leaders say? Professional leaders within a geographical area often circulate between competitors and may share valuable information about the cultural feel or tactility of a workplace.
  • What do professional associates say? If leaders in your field require certification and continuing education units (CEUs), they may provide helpful information.

12 Questions to Ask

The following questions are not exhaustive and you should probably not ask them of the person doing the interview at your prospective new job.

However, the following questions will put you on the proper investigative path to learn some valuable things about the cultural feel at your probable new workplace.

The answers will help you know whether you truly desire to work there.

  1. How long has the CEO been in his or her position?
  2. In the last ten years, how many CEOs have there been?
  3. If there have been three or more CEOs in ten years, were two or more of them fired?
  4. Have mid-level managers been promoted from within or recruited from outside the organization?
  5. What kind of leadership training has the business provided to promoted mid-level managers?
  6. Do CEOs and upper managers micromanage and control or do they empower and develop leader-makers?
  7. Is guilt or intimidation used to “motivate” employees to perform?
  8. Are continuing education and conferences provided equitably to all employees?
  9. Are employees expected to work through breaks and lunch breaks on a regular basis?
  10. Are employees treated with respect when they need unplanned personal time off to take care of their children?
  11. What has been the turnover rate of employees over the previous 5 years?
  12. Would employees recommend their workplace to their friends?

A Toxic Workplace

A toxic workplace probably points to toxic leadership.

And here is #13:

Are employees’ answers to the 12 questions stifled and censured?

Troubling answers to two or three of the above questions is little cause for concern. However, if a pattern emerges from six or more of the questions, then the work culture is probably toxic. Be warned!

Is there a difference between the reputation you think your organization projects and the opinions of employees, sales, and customers? What are your answers to the 12 questions? What role does your Board of Directors play in the culture of your business? What steps would you take to improve the culture and tactility of your business?


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Dr. Tom Cocklereece
 is CEO of RENOVA Coaching and Consulting, LLC
He is an author, professional coach, and leadership specialist
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Leaders: Are you Building a “Bridge to Nowhere?”

Bridge to Nowhere

Many people have heard of the infamous “bridge to nowhere”  in Alaska that became a veritable hockey puck in the 2008 U.S. presidential election and occasionally reemerges in the current election cycle.

In fact one Republican candidate used the cliché to attack another candidate in the February 22nd debate in Arizona.

Most people hear the phrase “bridge to nowhere” and instantly think that to whatever issue the cliché is being applied. It connotes an example of political or bureaucratic waste.

However, we need to look deeper.

On Leadership and Criticism

While this writer is not defending the “bridge to nowhere,” we may be missing something important that is of great worth. The Gravina Island Bridge  concept was to catalyze explosive development to not only Ketchikan, Alaska but the whole southeast region of the state.

Having lived for several years in Alaska, development of new areas can lead to big investment and growth. It is the one state where people in the lower 48 states have great say-so about how Alaska will or will not be developed.

The point is that we often cut our opportunities short based on the superficial criticisms rather than doing a genuine cost/benefit analysis. What opportunities have you missed because others said your vision is a “bridge to nowhere?”

Building that Bridge

When John was sixteen years old his dad asked him, “Son, what do you want to do for a career?

 John said, “I want to be a medical doctor.”

His dad replied, “You don’t want to be a medical doctor. Why don’t you become a dentist?”

“I don’t want to look in peoples’ mouths all day,” John replied.

His dad quipped, “So as a medical doctor you’re going to be looking in some much worse places.” HaHa he laughed.

John never became a doctor or dentist, as everyone he met seemed to have a reason why he didn’t really want to be a medical doctor.

Has Anybody Seen the Bridge?

What issue are you facing that you or others put down by calling it a “bridge to nowhere?” “Nowhere” could potentially be failure but almost every case of success is preceded by risk and an investment of money, time, and resources.

By this definition it may be wise for you to be on a bridge to nowhere because it may lead to a big successful somewhere.

Because of the high level of unemployment in the United States, the government has extended unemployment assistance to ninety-nine weeks. One politician recently observed that an unemployed person could potentially earn an associate degree from college in ninety nine weeks.

There’s you bridge to nowhere that could go somewhere.

Where’s the Confounded Bridge?

To Build or Not to Build. That is the Question!

Okay, how can you decide whether to build your bridge to nowhere and what substantive information may you give to naysayers that your bridge actually will go somewhere? Here are a few questions:

1.       If you don’t take your “bridge to nowhere” where will you likely be in six months or a year?

2.      The questions are thus: Can you afford not to take the “bridge to nowhere?”

3.      Define the potential benefit to your taking the “bridge to nowhere.”

4.      Define the potential risks such as a cost benefit analysis. Be realistic.

5.      Have you found yourself revisiting the potential “bridge to nowhere” because it just may be your calling or destiny?

6.      Do you feel it in your gut? If so, answer all of the questions, complete a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats)  analysis, decide, and …start building your bridge to somewhere.

>>> Please add questions you think of under the comments section. I would love to hear your thoughts!<<<

Your Bridges

You should not take every “bridge to nowhere” but indeed, some of them may actually take you somewhere.

In the words of Yoggi Berra:

“When you come to a fork in the road, take it!”

When you hear the phrase “bridge to nowhere” of what do you think? Can you remember a time in your life when you took a “bridge to nowhere” and it took you somewhere? Have you arrived at a place in life in which the “bridge to nowhere” may be your best option?


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Dr. Tom Cocklereece
 is CEO of RENOVA Coaching and Consulting, LLC
He is an author, professional coach, and leadership specialist
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Leadership Competencies: Creating Your Word Cloud

Wordle L2L

Do you find you are becoming an expert of many things outside of your primary career? Make your own leadership competency cloud.

What is your “Leadership Competencies Word Cloud?”

Most readers are now scratching their collective heads as they are wondering what I am writing about in this article. To understand where I am going with this you need to be familiar with the meaning of the term “word cloud.”

Word Cloud

A visual representation for text data.

Words that are used more frequently are given a higher weight and therefore appear larger in the final visual. Some search engines use the resulting information to rank websites according to their key words.

Highlighting Your Roles

It occurred to me that a similar exercise might be useful to visually illustrate leadership roles based on how much time a leader spends preparing and performing each role. The word graph is not as scientific as the word cloud used for website ratings but it is still revealing.

To create it, use descriptive words limited to various roles you fill in your day-to-day work. The same words should be repeated once or more depending on how much time the leader spends preparing and performing each role.

The result is a word graph with each word weighted by size according to how much time is spent doing each listed task. Create yours using one of the following links:

Wordle or  Word it Out

With either site you may create your word graph, save it on the site and have it sent to your email as a picture file that you can use.

The Problem of Multitasking

Leaders and managers often fill many roles and this is doubly true for those of small businesses.

“They must be masters of multitasking.

Each day is an adventure as the small business leader may wear many hats before retiring to bed. CEOs of large companies often have the luxury of being able to delegate or hire someone to do the tasks.

However, the small business leader does not have the luxury of being able to do this and must often learn how to do many tasks that were never discussed during their course of education.

Some small business leaders find that they must constantly develop expert level skills as marketing, webmaster, IT management, personnel management, accounting,  government regulation consultant, and many more.

The tasks are often necessary to the specific business; the leader would certainly prefer to delegate or hire someone to do the task; and often finds the he must develop the knowledge and ability to do the task.

One final point is the leader’s primary duties often suffer because he is spending so much time and energy on the other tasks.

“The leader’s primary duties often suffer because she is spending so much time and energy on the secondary but necessary tasks.”

Real vs Aspired Leadership Roles

Perhaps you are ready to curtail doing some of your tasks that are not directly related to your career or company.

The following exercise combined with the previous word graph you created might help bridge the gap and provide some motivation and direction to take charge of your life.

You might create two different word graphs: one to reflect how much time you spend preparing and performing each role, and another graph to reflect each role according to how much time you desire to spend in each role.

Visualization is a powerful motivator and may be useful to help you set goals to make your aspiration graph a reality. Here is a final question that you really need to face as a leader…

Are you doing some secondary tasks because of your inability to say “No?” 

After you create your word graph based on what you actually do, what activities do you desire to keep and which do you want to eliminate or delegate? Are you multitasking because you can’t say “No?” Is it reasonable to eliminate some activities until you may recruit a volunteer or assemble the resources to hire an able person? Is your behavior of multitasking a mask to your own control issues? In what ways are you enabling the continuance of your current use of time and energy?


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Dr. Tom Cocklereece
 is CEO of RENOVA Coaching and Consulting, LLC
He is a pastor, an author, professional coach, and leadership specialist

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Leaders: Strategy is Static, But Vision is Viral


What is more important for a true leader to understand, use, and spread: Tactility or Vision?

A recent article by Mark Federman on Linked 2 Leadership titled “Honest Leadership: The End of “Vision” drew my attention. At the outset, it must be said that he introduced me to a new dimension of strategy planning…that of tactility.

Tactility has to do with how the culture, products, and the organization “feel” to employees, customers, clients, and the community in which the business resides.

Is Vision Blurring Reality?

As Federman instructs, leaders must be aware of the direct and indirect effects your organization is creating along the way of achieving their vision. It is certainly an overlooked dimension of strategy plans for many organizations.

However, Federman stated that “vision is more than over-rated” and “is counter-productive to providing appropriate leadership.”

This writer must respectfully disagree.

Again, I appreciate Federman’s contribution to the organizational development discussion by the addition of tactility, but it should not be at the expense of well-developed “visioneering.”

20/20 Vision

Vision Statements That Moved People

  • Moses’ Vision of a “Land Flowing with Milk and Honey”: 

Exodus 3:7 presents one of the best vision statements in human history. It was presented by God to Moses who in turn presented it to the people of Israel. The vision catch phrase “land flowing with milk and honey” is repeated forty-six times in the English Bible, specifically in the Old Testament.

However mythical it may have been, the vision of King Arthur’s round table evokes a mental image of leaders of varying levels having an equal voice at the table of governance. Wace (c. 1115 to c. 1183)  was the first to coin the phrase “Knights of the Roundtable” to describe the equality King Arthur supposedly gave to his supporting leaders in order to quell jealousies between them. Again, however mythical, the vision has inspired many with the ideals of Camelot.

I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the Earth.

A vision that has yet to be realized but has the potential to transform and empower American culture at all levels.

These vision statements have motivated people to move heaven and earth to achieve new heights.

Vision +

Note that some of the examples of vision statements have other sensory perceptions embedded in them:

  • We may like the taste of milk and honey
  • The round table provides a feeling of empowerment and equality
  • Imagining the moon trip evokes much curiosity regarding feelings
  • And “I have a dream” provides feelings of good will and peace

The vision statements listed were or are actualized at a high level, yet there are vision statements at various levels that transform single organizations or businesses as well as higher level vision statements that transform larger masses of people.

Vision is Transformational!

Seeing Ahead or Staying Behind

Strategy is Static, But Vision is Viral

The point is that strategy for organizational development and planning leaves most people cold, except for the Mr. Spock geeks who get excited about the subject. One way to understand the difference between strategy and vision is to see the former as the space shuttle and the latter as the fuel.

Without the fuel the space shuttle goes nowhere, thus the statement “strategy is static but vision is viral.”

Understanding “Viral”

Working as a medical technologist provided this writer understanding of the meaning of the term “viral.” Working at the U.S. National Naval Medical Center in 1981 as a medical laboratory technician, the staff was informed of a yet unknown virus that had been identified mostly limited to homosexual males at that time.

Information was scarce and there was not even a name for the contagion.

  • By 1982 the contagion was given the name “AIDS” – Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome
  • By 1983 AIDS was reported among non-drug using women and children
  • By 1990 it was estimated that 8 million people were living with HIV worldwide

The virus had spread into various population groups around the world in nine years. While this is a negative example of vision going viral, it does illustrate the idea from which the concept comes.

Viruses can spread at an exponential speed.

Using a positive illustration of vision, President Kennedy cast the vision of the moon landing in 1962 and it was accomplished in 1969.

There was clearly a significant degree of interest, urgency, buy-in, and money invested into the vision to make it happen, but it would have never “gotten off of the ground” without the original vision cast by a person of influence.

Many vision statements are not visual.

Just a Statement?

Vision Creates Urgency

Federman reported that organizational leaders recited their vision statement with little personal passion or buy-in. I suggest that what they thought was a vision statement was no more that another strategy point or the vision statement was too long and never reduced to a mental image.

Vision creates urgency and buy-in among constituents and they will endure great challenges to see it become a reality because they can “see” it.

Real vision takes on a life of its own but it always has three characteristics:

  1. Vision is visual as it easily creates a mental image to which people can relate.
  2. Vision is inspiring as it is something that people want to become real.
  3. Vision is simple as it is easily passed from one person to another and to increasingly larger groups of people. Simple means that vision may be reduced to five words or less.

Again, Federman is right by including tactility in the organizational development arsenal, but without vision, tactility may remain as just another rung on the ladder of a weak or failed strategy.

The best strategy plan will include both tactility and vision!

Do you agree that vision is just as important as other elements of strategy planning? Will you include both tactility and vision in your planning? Is your organization’s vision statement visual, inspiring, and simple?


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Dr. Tom Cocklereece
 is CEO of RENOVA Coaching and Consulting, LLC
He is an author, pastor, coach, and leadership specialist
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On Leadership, Penn State, and an Ounce of Prevention

Jerry Sandusky

Preventing Childhood Sexual Abuse in the Workplace: An Ounce of Prevention…

For the last couple of weeks the sports news, and all of the news for that matter, has been saturated with the Penn State University child sex abuse scandal with Jerry Sandusky at the center. The winds of scandal have already taken their toll with the terminations of coach Joe Paterno, Penn State University president Graham Spanier,  Penn State athletic director Timothy Curley and university Senior Vice President Gary Schultz as they all lost their jobs.

And of course the reputation of the university has taken a significant hit…

This article does not debate whether the legendary coach of Penn State football should have been fired. The time has come to take a proactive look at your organization in order to minimize the possibility of such an occurrence and scandal.

Leaders, by Definition, Act Proactively

Analyze the Organizational Culture

Joe Paterno & Coach kDuke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski defended fired Penn State coach Joe Paterno as being from a generation far removed from such things as sexual assault of minors or that Paterno’s generation may have been ill-equipped to handle such situations.

However, even if we accept the misguided assumption that leaders of advanced age (Paterno is 84-years old) are not trained to deal with sexual abuse issues, it does not relieve them of responsibility for the cultural landscape of their organization.

Nor does it relieve them of the responsibly to protect basic human dignity and the innocence of childhood.

When I speak of cultural landscape, I mean the we are speaking of accepted official norms of behavior as well as tacit norms of behavior. By “tacit” we mean “unofficial and unspoken, but accepted by default.”

Lurking Scandals Ahead

Example of Pending Doom

XYZ Corporation has several hundred employees and has been a part of the community for years. The CEO and founder is a respected leader and has been recognized and awarded several service awards. What the CEO does not know is that sexual promiscuity and illegal drug usage has become an accepted part of the cultural landscape within his company.

New employees are often approached with offers of “friendship with benefits” (which means “sex.”) 

One might suggest that since these are consenting adults then it’s acceptable. However, in this example, the firm occasionally offers temporary jobs to high school students to do filing and reception tasks. Some employees occasionally bring a child to the office, even if briefly. The practices are ingrained and often go unnoticed or unchallenged.

A scandal is just around the proverbial corner.

Even an aging leader of a cutting edge and trendy organization must establish accountability systems to prevent or at least minimize risk from the above scenario. Some organizations have employed “secret shoppers” and “secret workers” who do their undercover work and provide a report that reveals potential risks as well as immediate action steps to minimize risk and liability.

Leaders should be aware of the culture and subcultures within their organization.

Click2Vote - 12 Topics 2012

Being the Adult

Establish a “NO EXCEPTION” Culture

Once the leaders of an organization put measures in place to prevent child sexual abuse in the workplace, changes begin to occur.

Prospective perpetrators find it difficult to act on their desires.

However, make no mistake, the potential always remains as they assume a quieter and more invisible approach. This means that the leadership at all levels must broadcast a no exception rule for intolerance of sexual abuse and educate all employees in the policies and reporting procedures.

There is the caution that with a history of inaction the risk of equal and opposite reaction is increased, meaning a potential of false reports.

Thus, it is important to establish and reinforce reporting rules and procedures.

Responsibility in Leadership

Establish a “SAFE PLACE”

Several years ago I became aware of a useful resource to use as a beginning point to create policies and culture-scaping systems that minimize the risk of child sexual abuse. The book and CD titled Safe Place: Guidelines for Creating an Abuse-Free Environment is directed to churches and non-profit organizations, but any business would find it as a useful resource.

The Penn State University scandal offers an opportunity to take a “bird’s eye” look at our organizations. Theirs was a complex educational institution where there is a mixing and mingling of adults of all ages with minors.

In that institution are athletic facilities including group showers. Perhaps your organization has no such facilities but ask yourself this:

“Do employees sometimes bring a child to the workplace even for a few minutes?”

If so, then create a safe place for all.

An Ounce of Prevention

Follow Practical Steps

Here are some actions that may prevent child sexual abuse:

  • Properly screen any and everyone who will be working in the same area as minors.
  • Include training during orientation for all employees that includes prevention policies and reporting procedures.
  • Install transparent windows in office doors and make it a policy that they remain uncovered or unobstructed by blinds or curtains as a practice. Doors without glass should remain open.
  • Establish a two-person rule for areas where adults interact with minors.
  • Establish surveillance practices of managers who will roam around the facility in a non-routine fashion.
  • Establish rest room guidelines that encourage parents and approved childcare workers to care for children. No exceptions!
  • Minors should never be allowed to supervise other children without supervision of an adult.

Sexual predators dislike exposure, light, and transparency.

They will often change jobs or relocate to where they may hide their predatory behavior.

Shining the  Leadership Light

Be Transparent and Forthcoming

There is nothing that will totally prevent child sexual abuse in the workplace. When an incident does occur leaders must be genuinely transparent, cooperative, and forthcoming.

In the past some leaders reacted to incidents by trying to control the flow of information with the intention of limiting damage to the company image, brand, reputation, or profits.

Leaders must abandon this course of action and understand that transparency is the best way to get through the crisis and preserve the company. Learn from the crisis rather than creating more damage.

What are some additional actions that may prevent child sexual abuse in the workplace? How do cultural sexual attitudes affect this issue?  Take a walk around your organization and evaluate your risk of an incident. What policies and education are already in place in your company to prevent child sexual abuse? Do you agree with the “transparency policy” set forth in the article in the event of an incident?


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Dr. Tom Cocklereece is CEO of RENOVA Coaching and Consulting, LLC
He is an author, pastor, coach, and leadership specialist
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On Leadership and the Promise of Coaching

Professional Coaching

In the last twenty years a new profession of coaching burst upon the scene. From the local workout gym to the main street workplace; from the boardwalk to the boardroom, professional coaching has made inroads in many facets of life.

In 1999 Frederic M. Hudson said this in The Handbook of Coaching:

“Adult coaching is a new career area. Whether it will become a stand-alone profession has yet to be decided.”

Profile of a Coach

According to the International Coaching Federation, the average coach is between 46 to 55-years old, has coached for 5-10 years, and 53 percent of them have earned an advanced degree, either a masters or doctorate.

While professional and executive coaches tend to carve out a niche for themselves, most of them tout the benefits of coaching to individuals as well as to businesses.

Benefits of Coaching

An example of the benefits of coaching from Donna Karlin’s 2010 A Better Perspective:

Main benefits of coaching to recipient:

Generates improvements in individuals’ performance/targets/goals: 84%

Increased openness to personal learning and development: 60%

Helps identify solutions to specific work-related issue: 58%

Greater ownership and responsibility: 52%

Developing self-awareness: 42%

Improves specific skills or behavior: 38%

Greater clarity in roles and objectives: 37%

Corrects behavior/performance difficulties: 33%

Main benefits of coaching to the organization

Allows fuller use of individual’s talents/potential: 79%

Demonstrates commitment to individuals and their development: 69%

Higher organizational performance/productivity: 69%

Increased creativity/learning/knowledge: 63%

Intrinsically motivates people: 57%

Facilitates the adoption of a new culture/Management style: 39%

Improves relationships between people/departments: 35%

Bonus Edition

I would add four more benefits of coaching for the organization to Donna Karlin’s list:

  1. Reduces workplace conflict
  2. Improves employee retention
  3. Lowers costs and increases profits
  4. Increases the company’s professional standing

The Promise of Coaching

While the use of coaching is increasing among businesses in an effort to address workplace stress, many leaders remain in the dark, seemingly content with a bygone command and control structure that fails to motivate workers today.

The top three causes of workplace stress are healthcare costs, workplace safety, and absenteeism.

Increasingly, companies are providing life-coaching for employees in an effort to retain them and lower costs. (Business News Daily)


The promise of coaching is enormous but many business leaders, managers, and bosses remain skeptical or unconvinced of the benefits of coaching in their workplace. Based on these benefits, what business leader would not employ professional and executive coaches?

Here are some possible reasons:

  • Leaders fear of loss of control
  • Leaders are educated and experienced in a command and control system
  • Leaders fear of personal accountability
  • Leaders are unaware of the discipline of coaching and its benefits

Before the profession of coaching can live up to its promises and benefits, many more business leaders, CEO’s, and managers must be educated. Some leaders view the coaching profession favorably after they personally benefit from being coached.


Here are two examples of employee outcomes:

Opting for Coaching

Joe has worked for a medical office for seven years. He is seen by leaders in the large private medical practice as a fair employee. He does good work when he is at work, but Joe has a lot of absences.

Over time some of his fellow employees discovered the Joe was stressed by excessive debt of his own making. He had finally reached a point where he suffered from stress induced depression which began to show in the quality of his work.

The leadership discussed what might be done and someone suggested hiring a life coach to help reframe Joe’s priorities and help him get back on track. Additionally it was suggested that the company help him get clinical help for his depression.

While some managers balked at the suggestions saying that the company had never done this before, the CEO decided to take a chance on Joe.

Turn the clock forward a year and Joe is now considered to be one of the best employees. His positive attitude is contagious, his productivity is markedly higher, and the company saved thousands of dollars despite the costs of hiring a coach for him and helping in his depression treatment.

Now, that company has retained the services of a life-coach who has helped several other employees avoid termination, increase their productivity, and saved the company money.

Opting against Coaching

Cindy has worked for a small wellness and fitness company for five years, but recently the company manager and CEO discussed terminating her. She had performed her duties well for several years and seemed to be in line for a promotion to manage another store.

Recently Cindy began arriving late and leaving early and the quality of her work decreased. Upon confronting her in the office, she revealed that she was going through a divorce, her baby had been sick, and she had experienced difficulty getting appropriate child care.

While Cindy begged for another chance to get her life in order, she was terminated.

Consequently, the company spent the equivalent of 150% of Cindy’s salary to terminate her and then hire and train her replacement. (The Real Cost of Retraining Employees)

Coaching is Compassionate

Do an internet search of “how to terminate an employee” and you will get over 15 million results.

Now do a search of “providing coaching instead of termination” or “coaching instead of termination” and you will get from 2 to 5 million results with only a few of them relating to the real subject of your search terms. Is this an indicator of the “lost promise of coaching?”

The sad fact is that unrealized potential is no potential at all, but developed potential realizes reward for all involved.

Coaching is not only cost effective but it is also a compassionate way to respond to the ups and downs experienced by everyone. It is an investment in the most important aspect of business—human capital.

What are some additional benefits of coaching to the individual being coached? What are some additional benefits of coaching to the company? I would love to hear your thoughts!

Dr. Tom Cocklereece
 is CEO of RENOVA Coaching and Consulting, LLC
He is an author, pastor, coach, and leadership specialist
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Image Sources: thekeystocanaan.org

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