About Me

Amiel with hat

I am the author of Practice Greatness: Escape Small Thinking, Listen Like A Master, And Lead With Your Best. Fast Company ran an excerpt of one of my favorite chapters: How To Make Peace With Your Enemies At Work And Beyond.

Since the fall of 2014, I’ve hosted The Amiel Show, a thrice monthly podcast dedicated to increasing the quality of leadership in our complex world.

I work as an executive coach and change consultant to large companies, start-ups, and government agencies. I am passionate about helping leaders and organizations reach their full potential and navigate through complexity. My speciality is helping people identify the one thing that will make the biggest difference in their leadership—and then deliberately practice it on the job and throughout life.

Since about age five, I’ve had a fascination with words—what they mean, how to combine them, and occasionally how to create them. As an adult, this has translated into  a specialization in conversations. Get me on a soap box, and I’ll tell you that conversations are the backbone of organizational life and the lifeblood of leadership.

My top secret project—which is becoming increasingly more public—is to help leaders in clean technology and sustainability—and the policy innovators who champion them—develop their people for strategic competitive advantage.

Recently, I drafted an open letter from leadership coaches about the 2016 U.S. Presidential election. It’s called “Steady Hands on the Nuclear Codes.”

The hat in my photos isn’t just for show. I wear it—or one like it—every day. It keeps my shaved head warm in the winter, protects it from the sun in the summer, and helps people remember me more easily. This makes the check-in process at big companies’ security desks much easier!

Somebody once told me that I combine friendly warmth of my Michigan upbringing with the frankness and unflinching honesty of my New York City roots. Actually, what they said was, “For someone who honks at other cars the way you do, you sure have a friendly smile.”

What You’ll Find Here

This web site describes the executive coaching and consulting services I provide, as well as their benefits to organizations and leaders.

It also contains my blog. I typically blog twice a week.

My goal for both the blog and podcast is to entice you to take on new leadership practices that help you develop your mind, heart, and gut. I am for high-quality content that captures the depth of the challenge before you—with a light touch that makes you smile.

To make sure you don’t miss my newest posts, you can subscribe via e-mail.

My Top Posts

Powerful Action Conversations

Playing A Bigger Game

Deliberate Practice

My Biography

Early Start in the Leadership Development Field

The original plan was to be a doctor. Three months into medical school at the University of Michigan, I decided it was time for a new plan. After a long winter of knocking on office doors in Washington DC, I received a remarkable call out of the blue. On the phone was the senior partner of a small but blue chip consulting firm I had recently interned with. “Amiel,” he said in his Georgia accent. “We have a job for you.”

Thus, at age 22, began my apprenticeship in leadership development and organizational change. My job was to manage contracts with a dozen clients, serve as point person for three executive search processes, and oversee operations for a week-long executive development program. In spare moments, I read everything I could on the office’s bookshelves and pulled my mentors aside to ask them what it all meant. In this sink-or-swim experience, I swam, but not without gulping down a lot of water.

Shift into Executive Coaching

After getting an MBA and then running my own consulting business for several years, I decided to get into executive coaching. This shift, right around the turn of the millennium, happened for three reasons:

  1. I got frustrated. Even the best week-long leadership programs has little long-term impact. Without ongoing support, most participants returned to their old habits. Surely, I thought, there’s got to be a better way to support people than this.
  2. People started asking. First it was a friend who got dumped by his girlfriend and spent a week camped out on my couch, wondering what had happened. Then it was young professionals seeking advice on career changes. Then it was mid-career executives wanting support for taking on larger and more complex roles. One by one, people started asking for me to coach them.
  3. The work was meaningful. After coaching a couple dozen people, I realized that helping leaders improve their skills and find more meaning in their lives is immensely satisfying. So I doubled down and haven’t looked back since.

Partial List of Clients

Adidas, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, American College of Healthcare Executives, American Health Information Management Association, Bonneville Power Administration, Cisco, Colorado Trust, Ernst & Young, ESCOP/ACOP (agricultural leadership institute), Eugene Water & Electric Board, Fetzer Institute, Genentech, Midwest Bioethics Institute, MultiCare Health System, Nike, Puppet Labs, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Stryker, University of California-San Francisco, University of Michigan, University of Missouri-Columbia, Washington Mutual Bank

Degrees and Certifications

MBA, University of Michigan
BA in Public Policy Studies, Duke University

Certified Integral Coach through New Ventures West

Boards

External Advisory Board, Erb Institute for Sustainable Enterprise, University of Michigan (1999-2004)

Published

Practice Greatness: Escape Small Thinking, Listen Like A Master, And Lead With Your Best (JZ Leadership Press, 2013). Available on Amazon. Fast Company ran an excerpt of one of my favorite chapters: How To Make Peace With Your Enemies At Work And Beyond.

Leading When You’re Ticked Off: And Other Tips On Mastering Complexity (JZ Leadership Press, 2014). Available on Amazon. Fast Company ran an excerpt: How To Keep Your Cool At Work At All Times.

Co-authored seminal article on Integral Coaching, published in 2004 in the International Journal of Coaching in Organizations

Home and Family

I live in Portland, Oregon with my wife, Julie, two gregarious sons, a zippy electric car, and six solar panels.

In my free time, I enjoy reading, writing, lifting weights, and meditating. I follow a Paleo diet.