Continuing my never-ending series of short interviews with interesting people related to the employment law space, I recently sat down for breakfast with Eileen Springer, the CEO of Central Park Executive Coaching. After 25+ years in Human Resources, Eileen is now coaching C-suite executives and senior leaders in corporations and services firms, as well as early-in-career associates. Her Coaching assignments include on-boarding coaching, transition coaching, performance coaching and leadership coaching. 

Eileen was most recently the Senior Vice President of Talent Acquisition and Development at Compass Group, NA; the sixth largest employer in the world. And prior to that, she worked for Pitney Bowes and Citibank, where she held a variety of roles as Vice President of Human Resources.  She knows the business-world inside and out and I hope you enjoy reading the interview as much as I enjoyed the conversation.  My sincere thanks to Eileen for her time and wisdom.  

1.      So Eileen – what IS Executive Coaching nowadays?

Simply stated, executive coaching is coaching people to arrive at their own solutions so that they are committed to the outcome.  Executive coaches are contracted as needed to facilitate the success of employees who are preparing for their next role, who are part of a high-potential development program, who require performance coaching or need support as part of their on-boarding to a new role.  The needs vary, but it is most commonly an investment reserved for highly valued talent.

In my practice, I am seeing an increase in small to mid-size companies who partner with me to coach their newly promoted managers, who are managing people for the first time.  With the scarcity of talent in the workforce these days, high-growth companies cannot afford to wait to promote the best talent.  They are promoting the best talent to management quickly, and providing the support of a coach to ensure success with their leadership development.

2.      I realize companies may find utility in an executive coach. What about individuals? What are situations when an individual ought to consider one?

Career and executive coaching are becoming much more prevalent as an individual investment.  Professionals are turning to coaching in higher and higher numbers.   Career advancement often requires having a plan, especially at the more senior levels.  Often a professional will face a pivotal moment in their career when they realize that what they did to get to where they are, is not what is required to get to the next level.  It’s at that juncture when I typically receive a call.

Executives are operating in an increasingly complex environment, where they may rely heavily on experts in finance, legal, marketing, technology, etc., and need to balance many priorities in short periods of time.  Managing teams, boards, meeting deadlines and staying competitive can lead to stress and feelings of loss of control.  Pressures of corporate life, regardless of level, can impact people differently.  Some professionals thrive in fast-pace challenging environments, while others find it unsatisfying.  These are examples of when individuals look for executive coaches – they may want to reach important goals and advance, or they may want less stress and better balance.  Whatever the reason, when individuals are motivated to work toward change, they find support and a thought partner with a coach who is focused on their individual agenda.


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presentsIf you like to open your presents on Christmas Eve, the U.S. Department of Labor is for you. Last night, the DOL posted the final revised rule on overtime on its website ahead of its planned announcement this afternoon.

What a gift for employment lawyers!  Needless to say, I was up late unwrapping all my

The New York Times reported this morning that President Obama will ask the United States Department of Labor to revamp its regulations on the so-called “white collar” exemptions to the federal overtime laws.

Specifically, he will direct the DOL “to require overtime pay for several million additional fast-food managers, loan officers, computer technicians and others

There are three major “white-collar” exemptions to the federal overtime rules that are, to some employers, a bit confusing to say the least.  One of them — the “executive” exemption — is mistakenly understood to just include, well, senior executives of a company.

A new case out by the Second Circuit (Ramos v. Baldor

Bringing back a recurring feature of the blog, today and tomorrow will feature an interview with Dr. Steven Lurie who heads Lurie Executive Development and is the author of a recently published book "Handbook for Early Career Success".  You can find his full bio here.

What has fascinated me about Steve is his role as an organizational psychologist.  Over time, he asked hundreds of executives across dozens of organizations not only about the lessons learned from their careers, but specifically, what qualities they see as most critical to early career success. He boiled these down to 8 factors or “Keys to Early Career Success” which he describes in great detail in his book. (You can even view a limited preview of the book here.)

A quick look at these success factors confirms what some of us know from our own experience – Technical-analytical excellence is necessary to getting in the door. But it is the quality of the connections you make with others that leads to being invited to play those higher impact managerial and leadership roles to which many of us aspire.

It’s easy to be jaded about the practical value of these “soft skill” books. Not because they don’t have lots to say, but getting the practical value that employees are looking for is almost impossible given how busy everyone is.

But what’s notable about this book is that it provides a relationship building roadmap with specific rules and tools you can apply to your day-to-day interactions in the workplace and it is written is a style that makes it easily accessible.

The interview with Steve was so enjoyable that I’ve broken up the interview in two parts: 

So Steve, welcome to my blog and thanks for giving us some of your time.

My pleasure Dan, and thanks for having me.

Steve, when you think about the lessons learned and advice you heard across all of these interviews you conducted, was there a “headline message” to entry-level employees?

People who recognize that the path to success is very different in the workplace than in school or and adjust to that reality have a big advantage over people who have no clue about where they are and what is expected.


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