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Sign Up For EXCELerate FORUM 2024 Here

Mar 28th, 2024Comments Off on Sign Up For EXCELerate FORUM 2024 Here

EXCELerate is a 5 hybrid (virtual or in person) instructor-led modules, assessments, networking with leaders from various industries and executive coaching.

Enroll for EXCELerate Now

Coaches Corner: Kathleen Woodhouse

Aug 7th, 2017Comments Off on Coaches Corner: Kathleen Woodhouse

We sat down with one of our beloved coaches, Kathleen Woodhouse, to learn more about her deep experience with coaching – from both sides of the table! Kathleen has over two decades of global HR leadership experience with Fortune 500 executives in 15+ countries and is a recent contributor to Forbes. We discussed how coaching has changed her client’s life, her life, and where she thinks coaching is going in the future.

Check out Kathleen Woodhouse’s impressive credentials on her bio page.


For the last 10-15 years in the corporate world, my role became more and more about helping leaders lead. My ability to work with leaders to build individual and organizational capability was impactful for them, and rewarding for me. Coaching seemed like the logical culmination of my work experience, education, and passion. This intersection is one that I often coach people to seek out in their own careers!


I love to see the “lightbulb” go off for people as they get new insights. Sometimes, this is a small tweak in their one-on-one communication or interaction style. Sometimes, it is a more fundamental shift. One of the things that has been great about watching Michael facilitate the Unconscious Bias workshops is to see senior level, seasoned, successful executives have that “lightbulb moment”. In a recent workshop in Houston, a burly, quiet leader in the back of the room, who started the day with the skeptical, arms crossed, “I’m here because my company is making me be here” stance, had a complete transformation. Once he realized how his own unconscious biases impact his work and personal interactions, he became an active participant and, I would guess, an advocate for the work. It is helping people make that shift that makes our work as coaches rewarding, because the ripple effect of a great leader is tremendous.


There have been a number of proud moments, and they are each examples of those lightbulb moments turning into action. Our role as coaches is, of course, not to provide answers, but to help people access their innate wisdom. One proud moment in particular is when a client told me, “I could hear your voice in my head, urging me on,” as he took on a BIG stretch assignment. What made me even prouder is that he shared this with me months after we had wrapped up our formal coaching engagement. When people come back to me weeks, months, or years later to tell me the conversations we had, the questions I asked, or the enlightenment they gained as a result of our work still resonates, that is a proud moment!


Get out of your own way. I remind myself of this, and share it with my clients as well. We all have stories and tapes in our heads – some are valid, some are not, and some are outdated and need to be replaced. I was working with a client and shared a challenge that I was anticipating – and he turned the tables to coach ME! He suggested I listen to my own counsel and get the heck out of my own way. I had the capability and the platform to be successful, I was letting my own outdated story get in the way. He was right. I had my own lightbulb moment, and the event was quite a success.


If I knew, then we would all be getting really rich! When I started my career, coaching was a last-ditch effort. It was often the last step before an executive was exited from the company. Then, companies went to developmental coaching for executives, to coaching high potential leaders, and now, it is an accepted developmental benefit for so many companies. One of the things I love about Brainard is our partnership with the internal HR leaders. This inside/outside collaboration really makes the coaching work, and I expect this to continue to develop and get stronger in the future. I would love to move to a place where coaching is the rule, not the exception, in executive development. I think we are not too far from that with more enlightened clients.

Talking Unconscious Bias in the Client Corner: Asuragen

Aug 7th, 2017Comments Off on Talking Unconscious Bias in the Client Corner: Asuragen

Asuragen is a fully integrated diagnostics company developing mRNA-based solutions for molecular oncology and early detection of cancer.

Recently, we spoke with Debra Thompson, VP of HR, to discuss her experience in partnering with Brainard Strategy to conduct Unconscious Bias training with the leaders at Asuragen and, more importantly, why she believed now was the time to provide the training.


I first heard of unconscious bias 2-3 years ago when I was doing research at Thermo Fisher Scientific and Life Technologies. We were working on culture, particularly across the globe on how people interact, and teaching some of my team members to be less US centric.


A couple of things:

  1. Bringing it back up to my conscious level through getting involved with Michael Brainard and Brainard Strategy again by sending our Head of Operations (at the time, he was Head of Development) through the EXCELerate Forum. When I realized there was an Unconscious Bias program, that is what triggered the training. I thought, “This sounds interesting, somebody I know is delivering a program on Uncovering Unconscious Bias.”
  2. We do not live in a vacuum. We have a little microcosm of the world in little Austin, Texas. There has been a lot of conversation due to the political climate and all the things that have been happening. We could see it in terms of what I would call divisive. Not the behavior by our employees, rather, a divisive rhetoric in that we were all trying to think about how we are different regarding our culture. As we refreshed our core values, there was an opportunity to deliver a high-value program that would benefit all our leaders.


They have responded well. We have people who want to dissect the delivery from, “That was very TED talk-y,” to, “Oh, I am really glad that it was scientific-based since we are a scientific-based organization.” Overall, our executives have responded very positively. I think because we are a very data driven organization, we ask ourselves if we are going to get a return on investment. Are we going to leverage some of the topics and nomenclature into future trainings that we are doing around servant leadership? One of the things that continues to percolate around our company is the ‘spiky’ moment. We are using the language, “Oh, I think this is a spiky moment.” Using the terms we all learned is exactly what I was hoping would be an outcome. You can send people to a lot of different trainings. There are a lot of different seminars out there, and a lot of things that you can do. If you try to bring it back to the organization when no one else went through the same training, that is an additional hurdle and it eventually dies. Uncovering Unconscious Bias builds a common vocabulary that we can tie back to our organization as we are continuing to have difficult discussions.


More than anything, there is more awareness. There are more discussions and people are being more thoughtful. In terms of how people make decisions, they are using the term, ‘spiky’ moments. People are thinking about the nuanced ways they communicate when, unless someone put a mirror in front of them, they would have never otherwise thought about this. Really, what is more important, and what I have seen changing, is openness. For example, if I am telling you something, there is more accepting at face value and benefit of the doubt, “I am telling you because I want you to be better.” It is not necessarily changing the behavior or action, it is more around how people receive information and remain open to different points of view in a way that there is appreciation. It is, “I want you to be better and that is why I am telling you this.” It is more about openness.


No change, more just a reaffirmation of the direction in which I wanted to take the organization, which is a strengths-based model. We are not doing score card work. We are saying, “What is it that you do really well, and how can you continue to do well?” Then, again that kind of awareness. I will say, in the 5 to 6 weeks since we have had the training, there has been more awareness around interview panels in making sure we are putting those panels together with cross-functional and diverse team members.  We are making sure we invite the right people in order to ensure we make the right decisions.


More than anything, my hope is that we build tolerance. I think individuals are so polarized in this society, especially when we politicize every single comment. Dissecting things in terms of intent is so damaging. I would like to see more professional tolerance. What I mean by that is, I hope we continue to talk about Unconscious Bias and that it does not continue to be a black/white, male/female issue.


The only thing I would say is, I thought it was very helpful to learn something to try to be better versus judging other people.

BRAINIACS: Listen to Michael Brainard on Critical Mass Radio

Oct 26th, 2016Comments Off on BRAINIACS: Listen to Michael Brainard on Critical Mass Radio


On October 25, 2016, Michael Brainard joined Ric Franzi on his 951st(!!!) episode of the Critical Mass for Business radio program, part of the OCTalkRadio network.

In a 20-minute conversation, the two shared stories and insight on many pertinent and important topics in today’s leadership landscape, including emerging new metrics in leadership development, full-lifecycle career insight, unconscious bias and more. Here’s a snippet of the exchange, to give you a sense of the candor and quality of the discussion. This starts around 3:45:

FRANZI: It’s hard to get people to change their behavior, isn’t it?

BRAINARD: Particularly mid-career moderately successful executives.

FRANZI: Right. “What got me here worked.”

Michael then goes on to explain that it’s important to tie learning to new and urgent events or business challenges that are pertinent to that particular leader or industry. 

BRAINARD: The second thing we try to do is create a learning gap. It’s very, very important that we don’t develop people to be “nice.” We don’t develop people to be “caring.” We have to realize that successful adults are usually pretty righteous. They might not say it that way. We create a learning gap by using assessments, by using feedback, by using objective third parties intervention, 360s, things like this. I believe that without creating a learning gap, the uptake on any behavior change goes down.

FRANZI: When you say “learning gap,” that is in the eyes of the person that you’re looking to help and improve and change their behavior? So they have to realize, “I have a gap.” Uh… Paul, can you hit the gong please?

We hear the sound effect of a gong, or maybe an actual gong.

FRANZI: I think Michael Brainard just gave us a teachable moment here at Critical Mass. I think that’s true across the spectrum. People have to feel comfortable with the fact that we’ve identified a gap and we’re here to help you cross that gap.

BRAINARD: Without that gap, where’s the urgency or the need to change?

10/25: Michael Brainard Live on

Oct 19th, 2016Comments Off on 10/25: Michael Brainard Live on


Tune in live at

Michael Brainard, CEO of Brainard Stratetgy, will be talking live online with host Richard Franzi, MBA. Tune in from 4:25-4:50 on October 25, 2016!

If you can’t catch the conversation live, it will be available for streaming here!

Austin! EXCELerate Forum is Coming Your Way

Oct 18th, 2016Comments Off on Austin! EXCELerate Forum is Coming Your Way


What is EXCELerate?

We know leaders because we are leaders.

We designed EXCELerateSM to meet the needs of seasoned executives. We offer “Leaders of Leaders” a curriculum that combines the latest thinking and technology in executive development with applied-learning projects aligned to your company’s organizational objectives.Six one-day modules over six months of deep executive development

Our peer-to-peer cohorts consist of executives from other organizations, connecting executives across different industries and regional locations.


10/11 Bias Trifecta at San Antonio HRMA

Oct 5th, 2016Comments Off on 10/11 Bias Trifecta at San Antonio HRMA

 Photo via Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License, Boston Public Library via Flickr

Tuesday, October 11 from 11:20am to 1:15pm

Hilton San Antonio Airport, 611 NW Loop 410, San Antonio, TX 78216

The bias trifecta refers to three specific biases that the human brain lens causes us to possess. These biases occur at three distinct areas in our brain. They are largely a part of the human condition and have little to do with being an affliction of the majority class. This talk explores how these biases interact to systemically affect leadership decision-making in many ways, including hiring, performance management, succession planning, team formation, innovation and change. It is important to acknowledge the fact that these biases exist within all of us and that, with appropriate training and operating mechanisms, we can effectively mitigate the impact of this bias trifecta from driving our thinking and behaviors.

1) Understand how the human brain works
2) Gain clarity on how the brain tricks us into making decisions – often unconsciously
3) Gain insight into how unconscious bias can be mitigated through adjustment in individual leader behavior and organizational systems and practices.

This program is Approved for 1 HR (General) recertification credit hours toward PHR/SPHR/GPHR recertification through HR Certification Institute and Approved for Professional Development Credit (PDC) toward SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP recertification from SHRM

Michael Brainard (MA, MS, PhD) brings over 20 years experience as a management consultant, senior executive, executive coach, entrepreneur and researcher. Michael has worked with many executives and organizations across industries blending a strategic, behavioral, and experiential learning approach. His somewhat edgy, humorous presentation style challenges participants to view traditional HR issues through a new lens. He has contributed to publications and presented his research findings on leadership development, change management and unconscious bias at a variety of professional organizations and corporations across the country.

Michael received a BA in Psychology at the University of Delaware, an MS and his Ph.D. in Industrial Psychology at Alliant International University.

For more information, click here.

10/5 at LMU: HR Professionals Mixer

Oct 4th, 2016Comments Off on 10/5 at LMU: HR Professionals Mixer

Photo via Creative Commons 3.0 License, User:Mishigaki at English Wikipedia Photo via Creative Commons 3.0 License, User:Mishigaki at English Wikipedia

Wednesday, October 5 at 6:00pm to 8:30pm

UH – University Hall, McIntosh Center 1 LMU Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90045

Michael Brainard, founder & CEO of Brainard Strategy, will present “Unconscious Bias: Impact on Talent and Business Performance.” Unconscious bias can have adverse effects on hiring, performance management, succession planning and diversity initiatives. This presentation will cover the origins and meaning of unconscious bias, consider its implications and discuss ways to manage your biases.

Free for students! RSVP here
$25 for alumni and HR professionals. RSVP here

Sponsored by the HR Society, LM-UMatch and CBA.

For more information, click here.

8/30-9/1: Our Masters Series at the AZ SHRM Conference

Aug 26th, 2016Comments Off on 8/30-9/1: Our Masters Series at the AZ SHRM Conference

We are excited to announce our curated Master’s Series

Brainard is hosting a Master’s Series Lounge with a complimentary coffee bar and a free gift for Master’s Series participants.

Mindi Cox

Mindi Cox

Cultural Strategist, MKC Consulting

Tuesday, Aug. 30th
7:30 am – 9:15 am

Work Environments that Work:
The connection between strategy, results and workspace

Jose Cong

Jose Cong

Founder, Start-up in Stealth Mode

Tuesday, Aug. 30th
1:45 pm – 5:00 pm

Culture & Effective Engaging Feedback

Jim Link

Jim Link

Founder, Start-up in Stealth Mode

Wednesday, Aug. 31st
10:30 am – 11:30 am

Engaging the Workforce of the Future: the Emergence of Generation Z

Nancy Lyons

Nancy Lyons

CEO, Clockwork

Wednesday, Aug. 31st
1:45 pm – 5:00 pm

 Culture = Business Strategy

Dotcy Isom

Dotcy Isom

VP Human Resources, T-Mobile

Thursday, Sept. 1st
10:00 am – 11:15 am

Revolutionizing HR: How T-Mobile’s HR Team Transformed How It Supports Its Business

Tamara Christensen

Tamara Christensen

Founder, Idea Farm

Thursday, Sept. 1st
1:45 pm – 5:00 pm

Meeting in the Middle: Transform Tension into Innovation

San Francisco! Here’s Your Key to Uncovering Unconscous Bias

Jun 20th, 2016Comments Off on San Francisco! Here’s Your Key to Uncovering Unconscous Bias

July 20, 2016 • 8:00-11:00 AM
JW Marriott • San Francisco Union Square
500 Post Street • San Francisco • CA • 94102 (MAP)

For any last-minute questions about the event, please contact Jason Lopez
at 408-607-8000 or

Unconscious Bias in San Franciscox

Phoenix! We’re Coming for Unconscious Bias on 5/19!

Apr 8th, 2016Comments Off on Phoenix! We’re Coming for Unconscious Bias on 5/19!


May 19, 2016 • 8:30-11:30 AM
Fairmont Scottsdale Princess
7575 East Princess Drive (MAP)


NEW VIDEO: Why Develop Leaders?

Mar 9th, 2016Comments Off on NEW VIDEO: Why Develop Leaders?

Executive Performance is a simple equation. Productivity and Engagement aren’t just buzz words, it comes down to inspiring a workforce that is driven by a culture of cooperation and teamwork.

Lead your industry with innovation in every sphere with strategies from Brainard Strategy!

Silicon Valley: Fight Your Unconscious Bias on February 17th

Feb 9th, 2016Comments Off on Silicon Valley: Fight Your Unconscious Bias on February 17th

Event Details for Unlocking Unconscious Bias

February 17, 2016 • 8-11 AM
Silicon Valley Capitol Club
50 West Fernando, Suite 1700 (MAP)


Unconscious Bias is a neurobiological mechanism that is a form of social categorization which occurs outside of one’s awareness. This talk will discuss the origins and implications of unconscious bias and its impact on hiring, performance management and succession planning.

What an Epic 2015: The End of the Year Recap!

Dec 29th, 2015Comments Off on What an Epic 2015: The End of the Year Recap!


New Video: Why Interviews Are a HUGE Waste of Time

Oct 20th, 2015Comments Off on New Video: Why Interviews Are a HUGE Waste of Time

What if, instead of wasting nine or more hours of your candidate and your organization’s time, you could find a better way?

Lead your industry with innovation in every sphere with strategies from Brainard.

Join us at PIHRA 2015 and WIN BIG

Aug 25th, 2015Comments Off on Join us at PIHRA 2015 and WIN BIG

Southern California Brainiacs please join us at the PIHRA conference at the Anaheim Convention Center 8/31 to 9/1. We will be raffling GREAT prizes!!

Business Card Drawing

4/16/15 in San Jose: Executive Development Panel w/ HRCI Credit!

Mar 9th, 2015Comments Off on 4/16/15 in San Jose: Executive Development Panel w/ HRCI Credit!


Executive Development Programs: Unique Perspectives

Nov 10th, 2014Comments Off on Executive Development Programs: Unique Perspectives

This article was recently published in’s monthly publication, Talent Management Excellence Essentials, and was written by Michael Brainard, CEO of Brainard Strategy, and James Hin, Client Management Consultant.

Effective executive development programs allow executives to develop a sense of introspectiveness and instill a “self-coaching” component to their own processes. Ultimately, this will allow these executives to consistently engage in genuine self-critique and self-development.

These initiatives are competency-based with an application focus. Although many leadership programs commonly focus on instructor led sessions, an equally important factor is peer/cohort engagement in sharing of best practices, experiential exercises, simulations, and online social learning.

Through obtaining the perfect “blend” of these practices, one is able to develop the “secret sauce.” This article examines best practices, explores new thinking in design and implementation, and discusses the return on investment of meaningful and measureable executive development initiatives

Executive dev article1

Best Practices

Many executive development initiatives focus only on “closing” developmental opportunities, which is not a thorough approach to true executive development. Executives are often complex thinkers who have some level of experience in the world of “practiced leadership.” Despite the angles of some best-selling books, one has to be willing to face all elements of oneself to truly gain the ability to self-coach and develop. While I understand the popularity of the 70-20-10 model (Lombardo 4), taking it further, in all parts of that “pie-chart” one must learn to identify “triggers”, or external and internal cues, that lead to a given behavior or thought pattern. Once that cue is identified the leader can develop “choices” to behave, or what Collins referred to as “disciplined thought” (1). From there the leader can sense the impact, intended and unintended, of his or her leadership action(s). The leader can then be self-correcting, and/or “double back” to win or recover a given situation.

We as designers need to resist the urge to believe “it must be built here.” We must not only help executives integrate competencies that have been developed internally to an organization but we must also help them integrate competencies that have an industry or social impact. A full functioning executive is often a “boundary spanner”- meaning they have many internal and external stakeholders and that their actions often impact an entire industry, not just the organization. The key is to develop executives as leaders within the organization, leaders within the industry and leaders among their peers. For a deeper look at executive competencies, I direct you to one of the best recent articles on the topic, “Return on Leadership” (Zender et al. 3). In their article, the authors consolidate many interviews and assert a very robust competency model for executive performance.


Executive dev article2The ideal executive development process involves learning through multiple modalities, a combination of executive assessments, social and action learning and instructor led sessions.

Executive assessments are used to identify growth opportunities and take a data-oriented approach to self-awareness. Specific, constructive feedback is critical to individual success and to the company’s ability to achieve its goals for the future. When managers receive feedback from others, they expect to use this information to change or improve. Because these assessments and feedback are comprehensive, clear, and relevant to managers’ jobs, results are readily translated into actions towards improved effectiveness. In addition, individual development plans enable each executive to target specific strengths to leverage and specific weaknesses to address. These plans act as a roadmap for their leadership journey and provide a framework for them to be coached to success.

In addition to assessments and individual development plans, the powerful combination of social learning, action learning assignments, and instructor led modules creates awareness of strengths and skill gaps while simultaneously developing a social network that sustains growth and allows for application of new leadership techniques in daily practice. Instructor led sessions take the executives through a series of modules drawing on material that is based off of theory, research and years of experience, delivered by an expert facilitator and tailored specifically to the executive audience.

Social learning is promoted through the use of an online learning portal. Between instructor led modules participants access the portal and develop a community through online discussions, Q&A with their facilitator, pre and post homework assignments, activities and access to resources, including white papers, articles, recommended books and videos on related topics for “fast facts.”

Finally, action-learning projects not only promote individual and cohort growth, but organizational growth as well. These projects are mission specific strategic initiatives developed in conjunction with the company’s senior executives that leaders work together in peer groups to accomplish. Their skills are stretched individually and as a team as they work to achieve these highly visible and strategic goals. At the culmination of the development program, each team presents the results of their projects to other executives and/or board members as appropriate.

This innovative approach to executive development is anticipated to drive growth at three levels within the organization:

• Individual Growth: Develop executive presence and leadership acumen while increasing leverage and scale of the leaders throughout the company.

• Cohort Growth: Greater networked peer learning and shared learning experience where leaders can draw from each other’s knowledge and experience.

• Organizational Growth: Create a culture of consistent language and practices around leadership and apply leadership techniques to strategic objectives to drive execution

Return on Investment (ROI)

Executives impact performance, engagement and culture in all cases, good and bad. For this reason, ROI in terms of executive development actually becomes relatively easy. Following the 3 Kirkpatrick model (2) as well as simple ROI calculations, the HR leader is able to demonstrate impact when providing custom, thoughtful, innovative, and integrated development. We work together with HR leaders and their companies to define organizational performance metrics that ought to be impacted by both negative and positive executive leadership behaviors, such as throughput metrics, financial metrics, and customer metrics.

Engagement has consistently been shown to positively correlate with organizational performance (Kruse 5). When calculating ROI we are able to measure the level of engagement of those employees following certain leaders. That engagement is yet another indicator of effective executive leadership performance. Additionally, when a cohort of developing executives begin to practice better decision making, more inclusivity, more coaching and development and better relationships one can begin to measure the impact on a culture over time. Return on leadership development is handled analytically and impact variables are to be defined in the specific language of the organization. When these things are accomplished measuring ROI becomes easy.

“Behr EXCELerate, through Brainard Strategy, has enabled our executives across the continent to work closer together and connect at a much deeper level. In working collaboratively on the final action learning projects, our leaders are operating at an even higher level in bringing bring innovation and new business ideas to further advance our business. I am very proud of the change that continues to take place at Behr.” Wynnie Phipps, Sr. Director, People Services Behr Process Corp


Effective executive development is not only about building strengths or development opportunities. Effective executive development is about crafting self-coaching capability. The most effective executive development comes from a combination of development modalities in the form of instructor led sessions, multi-rater and introspective assessments, social learning and action learning. This approach drives growth among the individual, the cohort and the organization while bringing the organization a positive return on investment that can not only be felt financially, but has long term effects on an organization’s culture and performance. PM-ITM

Click here to download a PDF of this article! Executive Coaches Ease Leadership Transitions

Oct 8th, 2014Comments Off on Executive Coaches Ease Leadership Transitions

Join Us At Our Open House – October 2, 2014

Oct 8th, 2014Comments Off on Join Us At Our Open House – October 2, 2014


NEW White Paper | Unique Perspectives on Executive Development

Sep 16th, 2014Comments Off on NEW White Paper | Unique Perspectives on Executive Development

3LearningModelsEffective executive development programs allow executives to develop a sense of introspectiveness and instill a “self-coaching” component totheir own processes. Ultimately, this will allow these executives toconsistently engage in genuine self-critique and self-development. These initiatives are competency-based with an application focus.

Although many leadership programs commonly focus oninstructor led sessions, an equally important factor ispeer/cohort engagement in sharing of best practices,experiential exercises, simulations, and online social learning. Through obtaining the perfect “blend” of these practices, one isable to develop the “secret sauce.” This article examines bestpractices, explores new thinking in design and implementation,and discusses the return on investment of meaningful andmeasureable executive development initiatives.

Click here to download the rest of the PDF…

On-Demand: Michael Brainard Interviewed for Talent Talk Radio

Sep 2nd, 2014Comments Off on On-Demand: Michael Brainard Interviewed for Talent Talk Radio

Michael Brainard and Rod Feuer hit the digital airwaves recently to talk about talent, leadership, culture and more. Plug in your headphones, hit play and set yourself up for a boost in productivity and positivity in your workweek!

Click here to listen!

Q&A with Brainard Coach, Jack Farnan

Jul 5th, 2014Comments Off on Q&A with Brainard Coach, Jack Farnan

the experienced mountaineer inspires executives to bring passion into their career and personal development

Having scaled 7,000-meter peaks around the globe, Brainard Strategy coach Jack Farnan challenges leaders to bring the same passion for teamwork, preparation and excellence that is required for survival in high altitude mountains, into the workplace, in order to achieve personal and corporate goals.

BRAINARD STRATEGY: Why is coaching so important for leadership development?
JACK FARNAN: Coaching is so important for leadership development because it is an integral component for contributing to the growth and development of a leader. Leaders can and do learn a great deal from training programs, reading, observing others, and modeling best practices in their company’s leadership ranks. However, such development is incomplete without the final piece or the cornerstone of leadership development and that is the coaching piece. Only through coaching does one see long lasting change.

Developments in neuroscience have shown that when individuals discover ideas, strategies, tactics on their own, the changes that they implement are longer lasting. And this is what good coaches do – they assist the client, through a finely honed questioning process, in self discovery. This is extremely difficult to do on one’s own, but very doable through the coaching process.

BRAINARD: What separates a Brainard Strategy coach from other coaching that you have seen?
FARNAN: I think it’s the process. While each Brainard coach is unique and different, bringing with her or him their own coaching DNA, they nonetheless all use the same coaching process that Michael Brainard has developed and believes so firmly in. It’s that rigor wrapped in flexibility that I think appeals to clients and enables a Brainard coach to be successful in assisting their clients.

BRAINARD: Who is your ideal client?
FARNAN: My ideal clients are those who want to change their current situation and optimize their potential. I like clients who are internally motivated and who want to work at solutions to improve their leadership skills and their lives. As coaches, we are motivated by clients who successfully implement change in their lives. And motivated clients implement more successful change.

BRAINARD: Where do you see the greatest need for coaching in organizations? Mid level management, executives, or high potentials?
FARNAN: Yes! There is a great need for coaching with all three of these groups. Executives benefit from coaching because they are in the position to impact and affect the greatest number of people in the company. They are role models for corporate behavior and consequently need to reflect the values and culture of their organization each and every day in everything that they do. From their leadership style and management actions, mid level managers learn how to manage, lead, and be role models for first line supervision. It starts at the top and trickles down.

If we want first line and mid level managers to grow to become exemplary leaders, they need role models – hence the need for coaching executives. Mid level managers have a great need for coaching because they are most often squeezed between a rock and a hard place within companies and they need help to cope with their problems and learn new strategies for success. Many times as a group they have some of the lowest engagement scores in the company because so much is expected of them and they receive so little help.

Therefore, there is a strong need for coaching services for this group. The last group, high potentials, have a great need for coaching because these people have been identified as the stars in the company in whom the company is betting. If a company wants to retain these individuals and capitalize on their potential, they need to show them the interest in their development to ensure they maintain a high engagement level and remain with the company.

BRAINARD: When can coaching go wrong?
FARNAN: Coaching can indeed sometimes go wrong. Most often this occurs when the client fails to accept the concept that they have an area to improve upon. Their usual argument is “This is just who I am and I’ve been successful up until now so I don’t see why I need to change.” If there is no compelling reason for an individual to change, then change is very difficult. The other situation where coaching can go wrong is when the client is expecting the coach to tell them exactly what to do. When the client’s expectations include being spoon fed the answers, coaching usually goes awry. Clients need to be responsible for owning their issue as well as thinking through the solutions and implementing them – thus owning them.

8/26/14: Michael Brainard Speaking at PIHRA Conference

Jun 18th, 2014Comments Off on 8/26/14: Michael Brainard Speaking at PIHRA Conference

logoMichael Brainard will be speaking at the PIHRA (Professionals in Human Resources Association) Conference at the Anaheim Convention Center on August 26th, 2014 from 9:45-11:15 AM.

The topic is New Thinking in Executive Development and will cover a wide range of dynamic topics from the Brainard Strategy principal.

There is no doubt learning styles are changing. With new generations entering the management pool, how can organizations better enable evolution and development for high-performing managers and executives? Through agile, intelligent and contemporary learning techniques targeted for the executive mindset, we can become — according to James Burns — transformational leaders.

Michael Brainard’s presentation — New Thinking in Executive Development — presents the emerging paradigm in training and development for business leaders. With 20 years of experience, his methodology transcends the traditional classroom by integrating contemporary learning techniques targeted for the executive mindset. Participants will leave with new insights leading to behavioral change and an impact on ROI, while discovering web-based solutions for ongoing education
Brainard frames traditional models and theories before delving into the differences and responsibilities between leadership and management, Kouzes and Posner’s credibility paradigm, good-to-great leadership, what makes a level 5 leader, and the importance of emotional intelligence.

The group will discuss interpersonal and organizational skills, while learning to represent industry acumen and presence. By utilizing deeper self-awareness and authenticity-building techniques, they will begin to recognize self-deception as they move up the ranks, gain multiple perspectives on executive leadership, and understand the deep impact of relationships.

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