Leadership through Eyes of a Coach...Alan Booth

Tuesday, November 1, 2016


I have come to the realization that I need to approach male clients differently than female.

Men seem to feel vulnerable when reflecting on themselves. Then further research told me that men are generally unavailable emotionally. Why?

  •         Our culture teaches boys not to cry when they get hurt
  •          "Don't be a sissy"
  •         "Be a man"
  •         Having a father who was emotionally not available

In adulthood men say: "This is too touchy-feely" or "stay focused on our business not soft stuff".

So when a male executive is dealing with unbearable stress, their understanding of their emotions is critical to dealing with what is the cause.

My Question:

What advice do you have for encouraging males to open up, to be more self reflective?

Tuesday, September 13, 2016


Client [Chairman]:

One of our outside groups is avidly pressuring me to resolve a life-threatening situation that we were both involved with.

Booth:        So what is the problem?

Client:        This person is unilaterally forming a meeting with 3 other executives, me and my deputy.

Booth:        Tell me about what you have discussed.

Client:         I get a text from this executive every 20 minutes. He won't let this go and is disrupting critical things I must do. He is raving mad.

Booth:        No talk? [no].So you are having a communication issue around policy that sounds like the start of a battle, "We vs. Them".

Take control by calling this person live, saying "I earnestly want to resolve what appears to be a reasonable point you bring up. Can I suggest the three of us convene, either in my office or yours?" And stop texting him back!

With this communication becoming more emotional, seems "TALKING" will be more effective in negotiating a fair resolution.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Disconnects with Corporate

"They change a compensation formula without involving us stakeholders at all"

"Our decision-making culture is purely top down"

"Morale needs to be addressed by executive management"

In my experience these real comments occur in any size company.

The solution: facilitate discussion [coaching] about the real role and value of "management"

Tuesday, June 28, 2016


In the last 10 years, I have toured over 150 business with owners and presidents.

But in those tours, rarely do workers get recognized.

During today's tour of Northeast Laser, I observed an owner saying hello to every operator, followed by an introduction to me with some background.

"Alan, meet Jacob.  He is a recent graduate of Housatonic College and is expert at XYZ."

NAME & PRAISE is motivating.
When visiting or talking on the phone with customers, take note of everybody's name and ask them what they do.

On the next contact, using those names, even with assistants, will add to building trust.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016


This is a quote from an article in Harvard Business Review.  It led me to approach clients with this question:

How do you in your manager's role add value to your organization's success ['beyond what your people contribute]?

The answer is usually focused on tasks performed, not value added.

Managers would be more successful in focusing on building successful cultures, building relations with other functions, inspiring their team to work up to their full potential and publicly acknowledging their people's successes.

Without that consider that management:

  •  Is an expensive overhead, generally 33% of payroll
  • Increases the risk of bad judgment...most powerful managers are the furthest from front-line realities
  • Slows down decision making with unnecessary layers and bias
  • Disenfranchises lower-level employees
Virtually every executive I have coached, struggles with adding meaningful value.  Just ask their employees their opinion.

Friday, March 11, 2016


Last week I attended a meeting with 82 executives with one hour socializing over coffee.

Most everyone had a story to tell; however, who was listening?  I counted 3 people. The rest politely nodded their heads or were quick to tell their story.

What a ripe audience for my practice of coaching!

My goal at these events is to get an appointment for coffee following the event. "XYZ sounds terribly important to you.  Shall we continue over breakfast or lunch?"

That little comment is listening and engaging my prospective client where they are. No need to tell my story.


CEO to President: "Fire your COO.  He has his resume on the street and not showing loyalty to our corporation."

President: "But, our COO is the best in guiding us to the next generation of products.  I need you to support him so he stays motivated."

Blind spot: CEO is unaware of how he is perceived. President does not have the courage to engage on how to better motivate people. [President is my client]

Consultant asks CEO, "what is it like working for you?" Answer: detailed oriented, bias towards action and frequently critical of how others do their job.

CEO is terminated by parent corporation.


You know I am not a defense attorney!  However I am a resource for helping top executives reduce their defensiveness that attempts to cover their weaknesses.

These executives are expert at avoiding conversations that may blow their cover...that is the defensiveness I am referring to.

Defensive Actions I have Observed
n  Control of meeting agendas to avoid potential topics less confident in dealing with.
n  Monopolize conversations so one is in greater control.
n  Blame others for causing conflict

n  Recently hired to be Chairman, becomes a fire fighter to impress Board
n  Having never been Chairman, feels a lack of confidence
n  Changing the culture is risky and makes one feel vulnerable.

A key problem of being perfect at avoiding attention on management weaknesses is that others see the truth and become expert at avoiding constructive feedback.

What weaknesses are you covering up?