Episode 18: Brian Underhill on executive coaching, politics, and presence [The Amiel Show]

Brian Underhill founded the world’s most experienced leadership coaching company, CoachSource. And he’s personally seen it all. So, I thought, what better person to ask about the “undiscussable issues” in leadership coaching?

In Episode 18 of the podcast, we discuss:

  • 10:30 Why many people still associate executive coaching with being messed up
  • 16:45 When leaders’ direct managers want them to be more like them
  • 19:45 The crucial role that HR leaders play in coaching
  • 23:00 How companies discuss the ROI of coaching
  • 29:00 Executive presence, grooming, and media skill
  • 38:00 Political challenges around executive coaching
  • 41:00 When coaches are asked to be surrogates for managers like George Clooney’s character in the film Up in The Air
  • 43:00 The challenge of integrating leaders from other cultures
  • 48:00 Brian’s personal use of peer coaching to stick to his goals



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Tweet a Quote

The boss wants him transformed to an extravert. I’m not sure you can or should do that

–Brian Underhill  Tweet this quote

Explore Additional Resources


Coach’s Source’s latest research study

Executive Coaching for Results: The Definitive Guide to Developing Organizational Leaders by Brian Underhill, Kimcee McAnally, and John Koriath

Alexcel Group, The Alliance For Leadership Excellence

Marshall Goldsmith

Stephen E. Sass, Managing Partner of CoachSource

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I’d love it if you’d take 60 seconds to rate this podcast on iTunes. It’s super easy.

  1. Sign into iTunes using your ID and password
  2. Search under Podcasts for The Amiel Show–or click here
  3. Click on “Ratings and Reviews”
  4. Give it a rating. Bonus for a review

Episode 17: Teri Woodland on China, leadership, and cross-cultural complexity [The Amiel Show]

A fascinating interview with Teri Woodland about developing leaders in China over the past three decades. Teri helped build McKinsey’s China practice, led the first ever business climate survey in China, served on the Board of the American Chamber of Commerce in China, and sees the complexity there as an incredible opportunity for leadership growth.

I learned so much from my hour with Teri and know that you will, too.



Episode Highlights

8:15  “The State Department thinks you should come home” (after Tiananmen Square)
11:45  McKinsey’s China practice—the early years
18:00 The challenge of recruiting Chinese nationals from U.S. back to China
21:15 Doing the first business climate survey in China
30:15 A place where Chinese leaders could speak up
36:45 A time Teri missed cultural signals
42:15 How a complex environment helps people develop
50:15 “Moving jobs to China”
53:15 Women in leadership in China

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Episode 16: Julie Daley on creativity in leadership [The Amiel Show]

Imagine that:

  • Creativity isn’t something “other” people have
  • Creativity is much broader than art–or even new ideas and products
  • Creativity isn’t just about you. It’s about what you create with other people
  • Creativity isn’t even just about creativity. It’s about being skilled in emotions, difficult conversations, and leadership

Many people consider these a stretch. Not Julie Daley, who teaches Creativity in Leadership at Stanford and helps women become a force of nature through her company, Unabashedly Female. Julie sees these as starting points for guiding people to access their creativity in leadership and the rest of life.



Episode Highlights

  • 6:00 Julie guides me to access my own creativity–live
  • 15:00 The man who used Julie’s class to decide whether to propose marriage
  • 23:00 How judging others keeps their ideas from coming forth fully
  • 28:00 What you can do to work with your inner critic
  • 32:00 How to see with your heart…or your toe
  • 35:00 How a single conversation can ignite you to feel more alive
  • 37:00 What creativity teaches us about difficult conversations
  • 51:30 What leadership from a place of love is like
  • 55:00 What Julie is personally practicing to grow as a human being

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Episode 15: Cliff Atkinson on giving high-stakes presentations [The Amiel Show]

Cliff Atkinson wants you to nail your presentations–particularly when the stakes are high.

Cliff designed the slides that won a $253 million jury verdict in Texas. And he wrote a book called Beyond Bullet Points that shows how to truly inspire and inform people. In episode 15 of The Amiel Show, he tells the back story of that trial and describes how to start strong, break presentations into powerful chunks, and create effective slides.


We discuss:

  • 4:00 The back story to Cliff’s work in the Vioxx case
  • 12:00 Strong openings. Don’t start with an agenda
  • 19:00 People like mysteries and challenges
  • 26:00 Start with the story, then create the graphics
  • 32:00 Make information easy to digest. Stop overwhelming people
  • 38:00 Start with a powerful visual, not your agenda or corporate overview
  • 44:00 How we’ve misused PowerPoint
  • 47:00 Chart junk
  • 48:30 Corporate capabilities presentations are about the wrong people
  • 63:00 How groups can collaborate

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I get interviewed plus my role in Duke’s national title

After a two week hiatus for “spring break,” the podcast will return next week.

In the meantime, some exciting updates:

Good interview with me about improving results by coordinating action with others

Jack Butler did a bang up job interviewing me recently. It’s a 45 minute summary of how to to get what you ask for and deliver what you promise–in business, friendship, and the rest of life. This is one of my favorite topics, and I think you’ll enjoy it. Listen here.

New article coming in Fast Company

Fast Company will soon publish the title chapter from Leading When You’re Ticked Off. In the meantime, if you haven’t seen the Kindle book, you can get it here for $2.99.

My contribution to Duke’s men’s college basketball title

On Monday night my alma mater, Duke, beat Wisconsin for the NCAA men’s national championship. After the game, Duke’s Coach K thanked me several times for my outstanding defense. Friends and reporters immediately called me to ask:

  • “How, at 5’10” with a modest vertical leap did you manage to shut down Frank Kaminsky at the end of the game.”
  • “Didn’t you graduate from Duke in 1992″
  • “Do you still have eligibility?”

As it turns out, I was a pretty good defender in my time (despite the fact that Brian Davis once dunked over me in pickup ball). However, my playing days ended in 9th grade. The person who deserves the credit for Monday night is Amile Jefferson, not me.

A podcast heard in over 70 countries

Cool fact: My podcast, the Amiel Show, is now heard in over 70 countries. The top three are the U.S., The United Arab Emirates, and the UK.