The Public Relations Strategist

Coaching Leaders

April 14, 2015

There’s a moment in an executive’s career where he or she shifts from working with employees and teams to coaching other leaders. As frequent Strategist contributor Ken Jacobs explores in this issue, leading leaders brings its own set of unique challenges and rewards.

As principal of Jacobs Communications Consulting and Jacobs Executive Coaching, he talks with three “leader coaches” in the PR profession — Rob Flaherty, CEO, Ketchum; Ellen Ryan Mardiks, vice chairman and president, consumer marketing practice, Golin; and Jim Joseph, president of the Americas and chief integrated marketing officer, Cohn & Wolfe.

Starting on Page 8, the three share best practices and other wisdom from their time coaching other executives. “When someone first becomes a leader, he or she is primarily a teacher,” Mardiks says. “The challenge is recognizing that if you don’t pivot from teacher to mentor to coach, you won’t be an effective leader of leaders.”

Meanwhile, on a related topic, Korn Ferry released a survey of more than 200 professional coaches that identified the most frequent coaching topics by level of management. The responses reflect the importance — and the challenge — of this leadership imperative. Responses identified interpersonal and communication skills such as influence, listening and empathy as key coaching topics across all levels of leadership.

John Elsasser

John Elsasser is the editor-in-chief of Strategies & Tactics. He joined PRSA in 1994. Email: john.elsasser@prsa.org

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