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Executive Coaching

Dr. Steven Blackman is both a Board Certified (BCC) and an Advanced Personal & Executive Coach (ICF) and brings decades of real-world experience for the benefit of SBLC coaching clients.


At SBLC, coaching referrals primarily come from three sources…


  • Public or Private Organizations: In these instances, the organization (coaching “sponsor”), reaches out to request “External Coaches” for selected professionals and leaders.


  • Consulting Firms: Similar to requests for experienced Assessors, both boutique and global consulting firms seek to hire SBLC as independent contractors, in order to assist them in serving their own respective clients (assigning SBLC Coaches to some of their client's leaders).


  • Individuals: Indeed, individuals with a wide variety of backgrounds are always welcome to contact SBLC directly to inquire about either executive or personal coaching. 


The SBLC Difference in Executive Coaching

SBLC is well-suited to coach professionals for a long list of reasons, however the following areas emerge as most aligned with its core niche…

  • Professional transitions: Adjustment to a new role/promotion, career shift, coping with a difficult organizational change, etc.

  • Preparation for eventual advancement to the C-level: Which skills/competencies are most critical to develop as soon as possible? What kind of work experience would give one the biggest bang for their buck? What are those things that can inadvertently derail a professional as they are climbing up the organizational ladder?

  • Navigating one’s way around once in the C-Suite: Without question, the higher up the organization chart that an executive ascends, the less direct and honest feedback they will receive. As such, mid- to later career executives, who are navigating their way at the C-level, find it highly valuable to have outside sounding boards or thought partners with whom they can bounce off thoughts and ideas in a confidential manner.

Coaching Definition/Background


OKAY, so we all have heard of Executive Coaching, but depending on whom you ask, you may hear a wide variety of definitions. Centuries ago, the word “coach” was defined as “a vessel to move people from one place to another”. Indeed, this ancient definition still holds up all of these years later such that the Coach aims to take the “Coachee” from where they presently are and partners with them in moving to a “different place” in the future.


One of the true gurus in the executive coaching field is Dr. Jeffrey Auerbach who, in the professional opinion of SBLC, played a key role in shepherding the coaching field from its “adolescence” to “adulthood” from the 1990’s until the present day. In 2005, he emphasized that one of the Coach’s critical roles is that of “Thought Partner”. Four years later, HBR published an article in which “acting as a sounding board” as one of the topmost reasons as to why coaches are engaged, in the first place. More recently, another description of executive coaching to which SBLC supports is the following which is composed of four key elements (R. Nadler, 2021)…

  1. Confidential partnership: The Coach-Coachee relationship is built upon trust. All information discussed must remain confidential. The exception would be if the Coachee permits the sharing of certain data – and exactly to whom.

  2. Structured process: In the initial consultation, the process should be designed collaboratively and agreed upon. Best practice states that because progress and change happen at rates that are unique to each individual, the Coach and Coachee should commit to work with each other for an initial three-month period. This allows the coaching relationship necessary time to develop and progress through objectives, obstacles and successes that occur.

  3. Developmental or Remedial: As for Developmental, the Coachees, sometimes with their employer’s support, select areas or issues upon which they will focus. Development Planning generally ensues.

    As for Remedial coaching, these engagements may be focused upon improving the performance of the Coachee in her/his current role; or perhaps to work on a specific developmental issue that may be “getting in the way” in their executive work. 

  4. Goal directed: This would include boosting both organizational performance as well as the Coachee’s professional/personal growth.

The Business Case for Executive Coaching


As was discussed in the Executive Assessment section of this site, the business case and positive impact is much easier to make with organizations in the present day because of its vast familiarity. Some of the more seminal research studies related to the business case of coaching include the following…

  • In 2008, the Consulting Psychology Journal supported the value of coaching. Results found that executive change occurred in the following areas…

    • People Management

    • Relationships with Managers

    • Goal setting and Prioritization

    • Engagement and Productivity

    • Dialogue and Communication


  • In 2013, in the Journal of Positive Psychology, published a meta-analysis study which found impact in five major areas…

    • Performance/Skills

    • Well-Being

    • Coping

    • Work Attitudes

    • Goal-directed Self-Regulation


  • In 2021, the College of Executive Coaching (CEC), one of the most well-respected organizations which trains and develops best-in-class, graduate-level executive coaches, mentioned the efficacy of coaching in four important areas…

    • Job Performance/Productivity

    • Learning

    • Self-awareness and Development

    • Leadership Effectiveness


Coaching Engagement Process


After the initial complimentary consultation, a written contract is agreed upon between both the Coach and Coachee. The Founder of SBLC, Steven Blackman, Ph.D., having been an extremely proud student of the College of Executive Coaching (CEC), adopts the verbiage in his standard coaching contracts from one of his Mentors/Professors…


“Coaching is conducted by utilizing assessments, asking the right questions, listening carefully to what you tell me, jointly developing relevant homework, identifying your resources (experiences and qualities), creating strategies to overcome obstacles to success, and identifying your values and vision. A key aspect of the coaching relationship is developing appropriate action steps to help you move toward your goals. Although there are no guarantees on the outcomes from coaching, most people report significant progress on their goals.


Coaching is an ongoing relationship between a Coach and a Coachee. The opportunity of success for the coaching client dramatically increases because changing habits and creating possibilities is a process.


Coaching is a structure that facilitates the process of professional and personal development. The Coachee and Coach agree that the coaching relationship will be designed together.”

The diagram below illustrates a typical coaching process…


A Final Note on Executive Coaching


As emphasized below the diagram, on certain occasions, a coaching engagement may be conducted without an assessment included. For example, when time is of the essence (e.g., sudden career transitions, unexpected life events, time-sensitive decisions, etc.). However, please bear in mind that it is optimal to begin a coaching engagement with some type of assessment in order for the Coach to truly be grounded in who the Coachee is.  As importantly, the assessment process can engender a belief or feeling on the part of the Coachee that the Coach actually understands or "gets" him or her. 

Finally, the recipe for coaching success involves highly motivated Coachees who are matched with Coaches with whom they have good chemistry.

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