Welcome Our New Talent Management Expert

Executive coach atlanta Lisa Lewen

We are pleased to announce that Lisa Lewen has joined our company as Principal Consultant. She has 13 years of experience internally and as an external consultant.

Her focus is on delivering technically sound and impactful business solutions that enable organizations to identify, hire, and retain top talent, as well as promote and develop top performers. Her emphasis on assessment design maximizes organizational legal defensibility, reduces employee turnover, and has included assessments such as: Work Simulations, Structured Behavioral Interviews, Employee Engagement Surveys, Computer Adaptive Testing, and Job Knowledge Tests.

Most recently she was with Aon helping in the development and implementation of employee selection processes that improved their Fortune 50 client’s retention and productivity. She graduated from Georgia Tech with a Ph.D. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology.

As we expand our leadership and organizational effectiveness assessment and development service offerings, Lisa brings additional expertise for our clients. You can see her full bio here. You can reach Lisa at Llewen@cpstrat.com. We are excited about our expansion and hope we can be of service to you in the future.

Choosing The Best Leadership Coach


Did you know that about 25% of all coaching relationships have to be terminated? That’s the finding from an AMA research study. When most experienced coaches are polled, another study found that almost half felt that unqualified coaches threaten the effectiveness of coaching.

As a professional executive leadership coach, I am constantly interviewed for assignments as well as interviewing other prospective coaches for my clients. Rarely, are we put through a rigorous screening process, so it’s no wonder some poor hires make it through to the intended coachees. How do you know what to look for in a quality executive leadership coach? And what is the best fit for your organization?

Download my presentation on Choosing the Best Leadership Coach and Maximizing Results to learn how to select the best leadership coach for you and your organization. You’ll also learn how to leverage that relationship to enhance leadership development and achieve stronger results.


Guidelines for choosing an executive coach

3 Top Coaching Tips For Derailers: Imaginative

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As part of our blog series “3 Top Coaching Tips for Derailers”, we will take a look at each of the 11 behavioral traits identified by Hogan’s research that cause leaders to derail and include examples with suggestions to overcome each derailing behavioral trait. This week, we highlight the derailing behavior Imaginative.

Having a lot of ideas and suggestions typically serves a leader very well on their way up the corporate ladder and it impresses their managers. Often these ideas are creative ways of solving problems, taking advantage of market opportunities, or addressing weaknesses. It’s when you “over-do” ideation and you are in charge of a group or function that you could end up derailing your career, or at the least alienating your followers.

Charlie was a Plant Manager who was trying to keep up with the increasing scope and complexity of his job in a consumer products organization. He was always perceived by his team as the creative leader who could articulate a clear and positive vision for the operation. Charlie enjoyed the thrill that problem-solving provided where he could exercise his creative muscle and show others how brilliant he was in the industry. He always wanted to be, “the smartest guy in the room.” Eventually, when several of his ideas were implemented poorly and the plant’s performance deteriorated below plan, Charlie’s manager began to question his effectiveness in leading a complex and detailed operation where quality was essential to success.

Charlie’s ideas were no longer viewed as helpful, and in fact, they were seen as distracting to the plant’s priorities and performance. What the role needed was a hands-on operator who could drive quality and efficiencies to greater performance levels. Charlie tried to adapt, but the thought of getting involved with the details over time just didn’t appeal to him and eventually he left the organization.


The leader should continue: Providing ideas, insights and original solutions to everyday business problems.

The leader should stop: Offering opinions and solutions without being asked.

The leader should begin:

  • Ensuring that others clearly understand your ideas
  • Checking with trusted colleagues regarding the practicality of your ideas before making them public
  • Focusing on ideas that seem the most interesting to others, not just you
  • Surrounding yourself with people who can execute your ideas

Leaders can be assessed using the Hogan suite of assessments which are very helpful to leaders by increasing their self-awareness and gaining a better understanding of why they are not getting the results required in their roles.


Coaching Tips for Derailers

How Do I Get Promoted? – Career Advancement Case Study

how do I get promoted

Do you feel you are often overlooked for a promotion? Have you ever asked yourself or your boss how you can get promoted? Most people feel stuck in their job at some point in their career and wonder how to get the next promotion. Consider the following case study:

Chris was a senior manager in Management Development and Training for a global consumer products company. She joined the company six years ago as a manager and was promoted after 2 years into the senior role. She was responsible for the development of talent in her assigned functions (i.e., sales, Marketing, IT, HR, R&D, and Engineering).

During her tenure with the company she developed and implemented several company-wide programs that were new and very successful. She created a sales representative selection program, a District Manager selection program, an individual development plan process to help all employees with skills and career development, and improved the performance management system that was in place. One of the programs she developed was a goal setting and feedback process for sales representatives that increased sales in the pilot division by 5%. This accomplishment was rewarded with a promotion to Senior Manager. Besides the Director she reported to, Chris had the most tenure in the organization and had a lot of respect and support from the Training and Development and HR functions. She thought she was doing everything she needed to do to advance her career.

One day her Director called her in the office and told her he was getting promoted. When she asked about his job, he looked at her and said, “Chris, I tried to get you promoted, there is just no support for you in my job from the senior leaders in HR.” When she asked the Director why, he said because Chris didn’t have the intangibles needed to advance into that role. This was a demoralizing meeting for Chris who was ambitious and felt ready to lead a bigger part of the business. It took her several weeks to get back to normal but it was clear her career was stalled at the company. A short time later, Chris received a call from a former colleague about a senior role in his organization and eventually Chris left to advance her career elsewhere. The company ended up losing a very productive and loyal employee because they didn’t see that Chris had the leadership skills necessary for the next level.

how do I get promoted

Frequently, the competencies that helped us get promoted the first time or two, are not the same skills that are needed to continue moving up the career ladder. If Chris had understood what “intangibles” her company expected and then took the initiative to develop her skills and abilities in those particular areas, then she could have stayed with the organization and advanced her career there.


  • What leadership skills do I need to develop to be considered for the next promotion?
  • How can I better display and demonstrate these skills in my current position?
  • What other types of “intangibles” can I focus on?

If you don’t know what you are truly lacking to advance your career then you have a very low chance to succeed in terms of getting the very few job opportunities at the most senior levels of the organization. And, it’s easy to become complacent or believe that there isn’t anything else that you need to develop. However, great leaders know that there is always something they can improve in order to reach their next goal.

Advance Your Careerto the Next LevelComplimentary eBook

How Do You Prevent An Executive From Derailing?


It is disconcerting to read about the recent wave of executive leadership failure which are in areas that are not directly related to their performance. These types of failures have to do with policy, moral or ethical violations.
One of the most famous cases was Bill Clinton who showed remarkably poor judgment getting involved with an intern. He’s not alone, though, several other politicians and public servants including Eliot Spitzer, Mark Sanford, and John Edwards have made bad moral decisions which cost them their jobs and ended their political career.

In the for-profit arena, Mark Hurd (Former HP CEO) was one of the most recent public company failures for improper conduct. Brian Dunn (former Best Buy CEO) was terminated for having an affair. Christopher Kubasik (Former Lockheed Martin CEO) and General Petraeus (Former CIA Director) resigned for sexual improprieties. To say these could have been prevented is an understatement.

It is very important for senior leaders to have someone they trust and who serves as an objective and unbiased executive leadership advisor whose is responsible for pointing out the risks of these types of derailing behaviors. It is lonely at the top and very few people inside the organization will speak up and criticize the boss, especially when the leader may not be approachable or “open” to criticism.

Having a trusted and confidential executive leadership coach and being accountable to someone else can help prevent such lapses in judgment and save the leader, company, shareholders and the country a lot of pain and anguish. After all, as CEO or senior leader you have too much to risk when discussing issues with the Board or any other person who has a fiduciary responsibility to the company. I can’t help but wonder if more of these lapses occur and are just not revealed. For example, Brian Dunn’s fall from grace happened after a tweet was sent mistakenly setting off a chain reaction.

If you are a senior leader and do not have an outlet to discuss leadership issues and opportunities then you are at risk for not being effective and worse, losing your job. Ask your HR department or a peer CEO for suggestions on executive leadership coaches you might contact as a third-party resource to assist you. It is a complex job and it is not a sign of weakness to get some outside confidential help.

Prevent Executive Failure

Choosing the Right Executive Coach


Executive Coaching, once a sign of trouble for leaders, is now widely considered as a valuable leadership development tool. According to a recent American Management Association survey, coaching’s three most common uses are developing leaders, improving performance and optimizing strong contributors. The survey found that 50% of companies provide coaches only to midlevel or senior staff, while 38% make them available to anyone.

The Executive Coaching industry is growing at a rate of 18% per year, per Harvard Business Report. This increase can be attributed to the unprecedented challenges that today’s leaders face including economic uncertainties, global demands, complex technologies, and the pressures of being “on call” 24/7. Executive Coaching has proven to help CEOs manage their increased responsibilities, while enhancing the productivity, quality, strength, motivation, retention, and profitability of their teams and organizations.

Finding the best fit for a CEO is a science, so how do you choose the right executive coach? Here are some tips to consider when hiring an executive coach:

    • DUE DILIGENCE: When hiring a coach, apply the same stringent guidelines (e.g., background and reference checks) that you would for other consultants and contractors. Don’t just go with “reputation”. Conduct your own research and ask for referrals from others with similar types of issues to be addressed.
    • EXTERNAL VS. INTERNAL COACH: Qualified external executive coaches are most helpful when the level of the coachee is VP+, the developmental needs are highly complex, and the degree of change required is high. Internal coaches are most helpful when the level of the coachee is Manager or Director, the development needs are easy to moderately complex, and the degree of change is low to moderate.
    • SEEK QUALITY: Search for a highly qualified, experienced leadership coach who supports and challenges executives. Coaches who offer direct and honest feedback with an action plan for improvement are “must haves”.
    • GOOD CHEMISTRY: The personality styles of the CEO and executive coach must mesh well to maximize success. Building trust is the foundation of any coaching relationship and good chemistry can accelerate this outcome.
    • WATCH FOR RED FLAGS: If coaches appear to make unrealistic promises, such as immediate results with minimal effort, walk away. To truly improve, leaders must invest time and effort.
Selecting an experienced executive coach can be a life changing experience for the leader, team, and organization. The feedback of an experienced executive coach can help leaders develop the essential skills they need to adapt, grow, and thrive in an ever-changing business climate for continued success.

Are Leaders Born or Made?


Can anybody become a leader with the right training, or are some people meant to lead while others are meant to follow? Is leadership an intrinsic trait – some people are just born leaders – or is it a skill that can be learned? Many exceptional leaders have natural instincts and abilities, but others learn by doing. Either way, the right training, experience, and leadership coaching can significantly improve leadership skills and competencies. After working with hundreds of leaders with various abilities, I have found that:

  • Most leaders possess five major leadership traits – intelligence, self-confidence, determination, integrity, and sociability. People who aren’t intelligent can’t lead successfully. If they lack self-confidence, they’re afraid to try. People who aren’t determined lose out to people who are, and those lacking integrity often self-destruct. Social skills are key to connect with people and rally support. 
  • Many successful leaders begin with inherent leadership traits, intuition and confidence, but they need the right training, education and experience to truly excel.
  • Being a leader goes beyond running an organization. It’s a lifetime commitment to the highest level of behavior and ethics. Most people are either ethical or they’re not – it’s a hard area to teach.
  • True leaders are self-motivated, taking the initiative to grow, learn and evolve, without relying on outside motivators (management’s directives, financial compensation.) They’re self-aware to know where they’re weakest and when they need help, surrounding themselves with coaches, mentors and other trusted advisors.
  • The best leaders can strike a balance, knowing when to listen and when to talk, manage without micromanaging and be firm yet fair.
  • Different leadership skills and personalities can be equally effective and impactful. Two highly-respected leaders – Steve Jobs and Mother Theresa – have drastically different leadership styles, but are both widely viewed as brilliant, visionary, and inspirational leaders.


I am of the opinion that leaders are made during their life and careers. As an internal developer of leaders for many companies, including Frito-Lay, I experienced how challenging assignments help build leadership effectiveness. We identified leaders with high potential and placed them on assignment in the PepsiCo system to help them get exposure to large groups of people where they have to learn to lead effectively with a dispersed workforce and multiple layers. You learn to maximize the 30 second sound bites you face when interacting with your team.

What’s your opinion? Do you believe leaders are born or made? And how would you classify your own leadership skills: as natural and inherent or as learned and developed?

leadership skills development