Leadership and Coaching

Everyone loves a promotion, right? But be careful what you wish for! Every time we are given a new role with increased responsibilities, the transition can be rough, and the new skills now required can feel daunting according to Huffington Post, Forbes.com, and a variety of Harvard Business Review articles.

Any shift in role involves more than simply adding new tasks to one’s daily routine; it actually calls upon us to expand our sense of self. When roles change, leaders encounter challenges that are usually unfamiliar and not part of their self- concept. Leadership coaching can help executives manage the inevitable challenges involved in role transition, promotions, attention to long range planning and productive team work.

When leaders are able to walk their talk, people listen and are likely to follow, improving the levels of enthusiasm, trust, and team effectiveness throughout a team or organization. Leaders get even better by recognizing that leadership comes from who you are: your own values, unique strengths, overall well-being, and the ability to inspire hope in yourself and others.

There is a direct link between emotion and successful communication. And in day to day situations, as well as in times of crisis, it’s the leaders who can use a wide range of emotions effectively who gain the most support from their audience.

When it comes to building your personal brand, a coach can be a powerful resource who can help you get out of your own way, stand out, and take action to achieve the things that are truly important to you, that’s why in Stetson University’s Executive MBA program, coaching as an integral part of the curriculum throughout the 18-month program experience.

Your coach can help you to:

  • Get clear about your goals. Your company may be pulling you in one direction, while your manager is giving you different advice based on other criteria. Your coach will help you determine what’s really important to you and help you stay focused on that.
  • Keep you on track and moving forward toward new levels of achievement by identifying blind spots. They help you figure out what you don’t know, and they clue you in to things you may not be able to see.
  • Know the difference between weaknesses you need to fix and those that are best left as they are. This can help you invest time and energy only in the most fruitful opportunities.
  • Get from point A to B faster than you could on your own, helping you differentiate yourself from the pack and advance your career at a quicker clip.

After you work with a coach for a while, you can start to adopt those powerful questioning techniques, which helps you become a better listener. This is just one of the many ways you can integrate a coaching style into your own leadership approach.

Simply put, a coach will help you stoke your success. How much is that worth to you?

Negotiations Workshop – Cohort 11

Dave Rothfeld - Executive in Residence for Stetson University

Dave Rothfeld – Executive in Residence for Stetson University


Cohort 11 participated in an all-day Negotiations workshop delivered by Dave Rothfeld, Executive in Residence for Stetson University.  During the negotiating session, students were instructed that virtually anything in the business world can be negotiated as long as the negotiator knows exactly what they are trying to accomplish in advance.

The cohort discussed common trends when negotiating professional agreements, salary increases, and extending job offers. Proven negotiation tools and techniques were shared and then modeled group exercises were conducted to practice the application of effective use in future encounters.

The executive students also learned the significance of non-verbal clues and their importance in any negotiating situation, and in fact that sometimes this communication is more impactful than what is actually being communicated verbally when negotiating.

The facilitator, Dave Rothfeld, stressed the importance of both parties in a negotiation walking away with the feeling that they have “won”.  Being creative and flexible is key. Innovative ideas were discussed in how to assist in the process.  The significance of such could result in a continued partnership, references, and an overall level of satisfaction by all involved.  This is the POWER of NEGOTIATING!

Cohort 11 - Negotiations

Cohort 11 – Negotiations

 The workshop concluded by the student teams working through “real” business scenarios and practicing their negotiation learnings.  Many commented that their confidence grew in handling delicate conversation and by their willingness to be open and flexible, sometimes even agreeing with their negotiator, to ensure that the negotiation worked out in their favor.

After successfully facilitating the workshop, Dave stated “In my 20 years of addressing MBA students at a number of universities, I must say that I enjoyed the enthusiasm and participation of Cohort 11 EMBA at Stetson University the most. Everyone was engaged and truly appreciative of the real-world approach to negotiating that I was able to present. I look forward to a future opportunity to address this group of committed executives.”


Leadership and Team Simulation: Everest

Cohort 12 – Leadership and Team Simulation:  Everest

During the Executive MBA Cohort 12 Management & Leadership course, students participated in a simulation exercise called “Leadership and Team Simulation:  Everest” by Harvard Business.

Students explored various group dynamics, the impact of individual vs. team goals, and the significance of clear communication to succeed as an overall team. Dr. Michelle DeMoss facilitated the simulation as student groups navigated various factors and problem-solved in this active learning challenge.Pic1

The overall goal was to summit Mount Everest. The students were assigned a role (photographer, marathoner, environmentalist, physician or leader) in each of their teams.

Each team member had their own personal goals they were trying to achieve throughout each part of the simulation.Team members may have been asked to sacrifice their personal goals in order to benefit the team commented Melanie Johnston and Tom Sharman, but ultimately it was up to the team’s leader to ensure the goals were met in the best way possible.

Complicating the work was the weather, food supply, medical supplies, health and mental acuity of the climbers, distribution of information needed for the ascent.Pic3

 The teams had several “a-ha” moments when information was individually being shared that would impact the overall performance of the team. This is when critical communication and decisions needed to be made for the team to succeed as a unit.

The valuable business lesson was that individual goals don’t always coincide with the team goals.

A valuable lesson that reinforces that each member brings unique strengths to a situation and by sharing them with integral members of the team, the entire group will perform better, whether that is in a virtual world or at work.

Marshmallow Challenge – Cohort 12

Cohort 12 participated in a design workshop facilitated by Dr. DeMoss called the Marshmallow Challenge as a component of their Management & Leadership course.  This challenge has been conducted by tens of thousands of people in every continent, from CFOs of the Fortune 50 to students at all levels.  For more information on Challenge, refer to The Marshmallow Challenge Ted Talk.

Teams of four had to build the tallest free standing structure in 18 minutes out of the following ingredients:  20 spaghetti sticks, 1 yard of tape, 1 yard of string and a marshmallow which needs to be on top of the structure.

Team members were able to use as many of the 20 spaghetti sticks or as few and as much of string and tape as needed to create the structure.  They also had the option of breaking up the spaghetti sticks. No one was allowed to support or touch their structure at the end of the challenge.

After the teams were formed, the atmosphere for the next 18 minutes remained intense and each team was engaged in problem solving. Some students were brainstorming ideas, others prepared some sketches of how they wanted their structures to look like and others rolled up their sleeves and began building the spaghetti sticks into structures.

Members of the winning team: Yoshi Takamura, Marissa Zerbo, Eduardo Vinocur and Heitor Bover from Cohort 12

Members of the winning team: Yoshi Takamura, Marissa Zerbo, Eduardo Vinocur and Heitor Bover from Cohort 12

As the teams engaged in creating their structures, the noise and enthusiasm reached a fever pitch, with five minutes to go most teams were topping their structures with the marshmallow that added additional weight to their structures. Some teams were happy with their structures and had to make a few adjustments while other team’s structures completely collapsed.  There were 2 out of 4 surviving free standing structures in the room.

As the countdown of the 18 minute challenge ended, Dr. DeMoss used measuring tape to measure the height of the surviving structures from the table top surface to the top of the marshmallow to determine the wining team with the tallest structure. The winning team members who built a structure 26.5 inches high were:  Yoshi Takamura, Marissa Zerbo, Eduardo Vinocur and Heitor Bover.

As easy as this activity initially seemed, it was actually very challenging because team members were forced to collaborate and problem solve very quickly. However, it was a fun team building exercise and it was very neat to see the progress of each group as well as the different building strategies that each team followed.

The purpose of the exercise was to reveal very interesting lessons about the nature of the collaboration, understanding how different personality types work together and how each team member contributes diverse skills to the table. The cohort also learned that the teams that incorporated trial and error and experimenting from the start of the challenge did better than the teams that spent time planning and trying to get the structure right from the first time. This indicates that successful organizations foster learning driven environments and risk-taking dynamics rather than ideal solutions/strategies. These students leveraged their learnings of the Myers Brigg’s Testing Instrument and their preferences to best assist their individual teams to reach success!