Personal Coaching

Coaching is one of the ways I maintain BGI’s commitment to its mission of making the world a more sane and happy place. My approach based on these beliefs:

  • All too often we can settle for a reduced kind of experience, and this is unnecessary
  • Optimal learning involves risk-taking in the context of support
  • Connecting with purpose and meaning is an invitation to freedom and happiness
  • Mindfulness and self-reflection are keys to letting go of limiting comforts and attachments
  • The heart of leadership is the having of courageous conversations

Who I Work With

I work with leaders of mission-driven organizations willing to stop putting up with what’s been holding them back. They seek an “accountability partner” for long-term change.

Clients are diverse in age, gender and background. They include:

  • An independent school administrator
  • A college administrator in charge of entrepreneurial program development
  • The owners of an international yoga training program
  • The owner/operator of a for-profit outdoor education company
  • Executives suffering from Founder’s Syndrome
  • The CEO of an artisan business employing indigenous workers in South America
  • Heads of organizations implementing BGI’s signature programs


How My Coaching Works

Clients work with me to establish a personalized vision and corresponding goals. Sessions occur 3-4 times per month over the telephone after an initial meeting in person or by Skype. Homework assignments maintain priorities, mitigate procrastination, and impel progress. These can include readings or written observations.

In between sessions, I am available for unlimited texts, email, and 10-minute telephone consultations. I can review documents, proposals, memos, and marketing materials.

Unlike psychotherapy’s focus on the past and present, my work focuses on the present and future: current challenges, relationships, career, and spirituality – all in the context of an authentic relationship.

My Coaching Content: A Sample

  • Managing time when the environment is constantly changing
  • Practicing self care as a foundation to a balanced life
  • Recognizing when operational systems have adapted to your bad habits
  • Cultivating donors for a non-profit startups
  • Resolving conflict with an over-involved board of trustees
  • Preparing an oral presentation for a key foundation
  • Conducting difficult conversations across the barriers of culture, class and power
  • Improving relationships with employees
  • Reviewing and editing memoranda vital to organizational success
  • Developing state-of-the-art policies and job descriptions
  • Appropriately delegating responsibilities
  • Mindfulness as a core discipline of effective leadership
  • Addressing Founder’s Syndrome
  • Branding the organization

What Are the Benefits of Coaching with John?

You will make better use of systems in your life and work. You will learn:

  • How to redesign systems to solve multiple problems simultaneously
  • How to integrate one initiative with other parts of the organization
  • Effective strategic planning for program improvements
  • More appropriate ways to delegate responsibilities
  • How to reduce activities that waste time and resources

You will achieve more. You will develop:

  • The ability to communicate a compelling vision for the organization
  • A capacity for inspiring others with that vision
  • Methods to communicate results with data as well as anecdote
  • How to allocate time and resources for optimal performance and self care

You will become more self-reflective. You will experience:

  • A capacity to listen more deeply to feedback
  • A willingness to learn from mistakes
  • An ability to investigate the deeper realities behind circumstances
  • You will become more courageous and authentic.

You will practice:

  • A willingness to surface issues others are reluctant to talk about
  • Direct and kind speech about about controversial issues
  • Healthy conflict resolution for sake of the integrity of the community
  • Less wish-washy decision making

You will experience more ease and happiness. You will enjoy:

  • Behaviors that are more consistent with your core values
  • More satisfying relationships in general
  • A keen awareness of habits that don’t serve you well

The Conceptual Framework

I believe that effective leadership involves a mix of skills and inner states of being. High fulfillment and high achievement result from awareness of these factors, as well as visionary, authentic behavior. I call this the Creative Domain of Leadership. The Reactive Domain, on the other hand, encompasses inner beliefs that limit effectiveness, authentic expression, and efforts that empower others. This is revealed in controlling and protecting behaviors. Belief systems inhibit emotional intelligence. Fear of disapproval or the expectations of others can dominate.

John’s Passion for Coaching

I love people whose work is connected to making the world a more sane place. I also love the transformation I see in them through coaching.

My passion for this work stems from:

Lessons learned from leading organizations during times of turbulence

I have been a leader of complex organizations of national scale, requiring hands-on management in all areas of operations, marketing, external affairs, innovative startups, and governance. This spans upheavals in the economy, the advance of the Digital Age, and disruptive innovation in all sectors.

A depth of teaching experience with people of all ages and backgrounds

My approach to coaching employs an orientation toward active learning, reflection on experience, and responding to what actually is, rather than our idea about what is.

I am an award-winning experiential educator. I lead workshops on leadership, team building, anti-bias work, conflict resolution, creative writing, and media making.

Active membership in the College of Life-long Learning

I bring to my coaching the curiosity of a life-long learner. In the past two years, while maintaining my BGI work, I was part of a writer’s workshop, participated in four week long mindfulness meditation retreats, studied Spanish in Ecuador, and sailed a 40-foot sloop from Texas to Cuba.

Here’s a chronicle of “The Crossing” which took me out of my comfort zone into the magic of discovery.