Client Testimonials

On Executive Coaching …

The things I like best about coaching with Jim? Even though I teach some of the very issues you and I worked on, your coaching led me to a greater understanding of my own negative self-talk in areas I wasn’t even aware it was going on. It’s allowed me to create much more positive beliefs about where I’m going and what I’ve done so far.

P.M., Entrepreneur who has grown his service business by over $100K based on the lessons he learned about himself in coaching

The things I like best about coaching with Jim? I felt comfortable trusting you. You bring wisdom to the relationship, and you do a good job of making me think. You listen to the whole conversation and pull out the parts that are core. You twist it around and help me look at it differently.

L.N., National Account Manager for a Worldwide Services Firm

The things I like best about coaching with Jim? Your compassion and the ability to immediately “read back” what I was trying to communicate; you have a knack for identifying underlying issues. Patience is another. A third is the ability to be nonjudgmental.

Cathleen Wheeler, Department Manager

The things I like best about coaching with Jim? His ability to listen, empathize, and really identify the root cause of a challenge I was experiencing. He was able to provide constructive criticism and offer encouragement from a neutral perspective. I also appreciated the fact that he understood the business and the culture at my company – that helped when he was providing guidance and suggestions.

Raenna Weaver, Manager

The things I like best about coaching with Jim? It was valuable to speak and interact with someone who has real world experience in management and the issues.

Adelbert Clayman, Department Manager

The things I like best about coaching with Jim? Your sense of humor, nothing fazes you in the process, those damn powerful questions, and a sense of an unswerving dedication to my growth.

Todd Packer, Entrepreneur

The things I like best about coaching with Jim? The honesty, truth, candor, and suggestions for stepping back and approaching things differently.

Suzanne Beatrice, HR Manager

The things I like best about coaching with Jim? The encouragement and positive energy I get from you! You make me believe I can do something even when I’m terrified…

Jennifer Knight, VP

The things I like best about coaching with Jim? Your compassion, honesty and depth of knowledge.

Beth Lukco, Marketing Director

You embody the true essence of an Ideator – you supplied the right amount of balance between offering ideas for me to react and allowing me space to generate and refine my own. You generated ideas, but you weren’t attached to them – that gave me the freedom to create what felt right in real time.

Michelle James, President, The Center for Creative Emergence

I have taken a new position. This opportunity is going to put me more in line with my ultimate career goals. I do want to thank you! Your coaching has helped my communication skills during the interview process and also allowed me to confidently make this decision for myself.

Bethany S., MBA, SPHR

Jim is a great listener, and does an excellent job of reframing conversations so that I could hear back what I was saying. Very good at asking probing questions.

Maureen Moffatte, Executive Director for a Senior Care center

Thank you for the coaching that you have provided. It has been a pleasure working with you! Your coaching showed me that there was always something I could do to solve my challenge.

Jeanne Walter, Department Manager

I am continually learning from you!

Donna G., HR Manager for a logistics firm

As my coach, you push me to reach beyond what I think or know myself capable of. You challenge me to explore new concepts and discover my world and my self from a whole new perspective. You precipitate dynamic action and purposeful response. I never know what will emerge as we move along with our conversation and inquiry, but it is always fascinating and ‘growth-inducing.’ Thank you for touching my heart and mind, for challenging me to move beyond what I think is possible and for supporting the extraordinary in me. Thank you!

Elaine E, Healthcare Manager

I wish I was offered your coaching early in my career – I now know what I have missed 😉 Financially you are worth 50% of my yearly salary. I need the rest to pay bills. 😉

D.T., Project Manager at a Fortune 500 firm

What’s the financial figure I’d put on what I got from my coaching? Priceless. I needed someone to assist me in changing, and someone to cheer me forward instead of those that just accept me as I was (which doesn’t help me grow). You are willing to listen instead of just hearing. And you always have a positive attitude, no matter what!

Lydia B., manager in a non-profit agency

Throughout the coaching process, I noticed my manager’s increased understanding, openness and compassion for others around her, specifically those who report up to her both directly and indirectly. Her ability to see the other person’s perspective has increased immensely. And where there once could have been confusion, misunderstanding and even hostility; there is now an open dialogue of communication. The once rough exterior she possessed has now been replaced with an approachable respectability. Where I previously felt I had to intervene when one of my direct reports needed to speak with her directly, I now have the comfort of knowing the conversation will be peaceful and likely without incident. I no longer have to be the messenger or go-between. My manager’s growth has been a positive experience; for myself, others who work around & with her but mostly for her.

J.D. – Member of a coaching client’s team, reflecting on the changes he witnessed across five months of coaching

Jim, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your guidance, understanding, patience and smiles. I now have the excitement of watching the world around me and totally enjoying the sights and sounds. My responses amaze me. All of it revolves around me and within me. I approach life with the relaxation and joy you’ve given me. Thanks is such a small word.

The strength you’ve given me is in the mental and physical exercises that you provided. Having them is my personal arsenal for happiness. Specifically, I enjoy the ‘posturing’ you’ve taught and I received the most benefit from the ‘build a different path’ of getting through React to Respond. (This one allows me to fully enjoy and explore all the encounters life gives me.)

I also learned that I can learn and be better every day. You said that I was coachable, and I believe through our interactions you have ‘opened’ my heart and mind to be coachable at all levels, through all interactions.

And I will tell you that it has been an absolute delight getting to know you – getting to know who you are, and trying hard to mirror your special gifts in my own life.

Deb Timko, Director of Project Quality, AG Interactive

Lessons I learned from coaching:

– I discovered the difference between being an Efficient Manager and an Effective Leader.

– I realized I did not ‘cross function’ my tool kit. Tools I used quite efficiently in one scenario were not being applied everywhere they could be. I had to understand why I did NOT apply learned tools to other situations, and discovered a few areas I needed to adjust my thinking.

– I have learned to see the big picture and prioritize; to ‘be tenacious and optimistic in good and bad times’; to remember Health and Life before Business. That I am a person who performs a function – I am not ‘the function.’

Kathy B., Director of Logistics

Coaching with Jim is well worth the investment of time and dollars. I learned more about leadership and real world experience through this sometimes gentle, sometimes tough coaching experience.

Suzanne Nixon, Senior VP of Development

I’ve received great value from working with you. On a conceptual level, you have helped me articulate where I need to focus to move toward my goals. On a tactical level, you have helped me develop actionable plans to actually make the changes to improve my performance. In addition, you’ve helped me see things differently and see my blind spots. Unexpectedly, I think you helped me discover things about myself I didn’t know – I guess I didn’t expect the arc of the value you have helped me to realize.

J.W., senior partner in a Big Five consulting firm

The Team Perspective: “I want to thank you again for your work. Our manager took your sessions very seriously and was able to effectively apply what she learned. The great thing about what you do is that it not only applies to work, but more importantly to life. And in watching her transform, and her willingness to share her learnings with us, we were able to both directly and indirectly benefit from your guidance. You should be proud of yourself, as your influence may be but a drop in a bucket, but the effects of that drop have reached out and touched all areas.

DJ, technical staff member reflecting on the outcome of his manager’s coaching experience

Jim is a coach in every sense of the word. He’s in my corner cheering me (and all of his clients) on as we work with him to learn and grow. He actively listens to every word said and picks up on views and beliefs I did not realize I had communicated. Jim offers practical, ready-to-immediately-put-into-practice advice for personal and professional growth. With the patience of a saint, he ceaselessly encourages his clients or ‘coachees’ to stretch and grow at a pace that is challenging and yet somehow manageable at the same time. Jim brings a perfectly human perspective to all of his coaching conversations. Working with Jim is like working with a friend who has gone through the same struggles – rather than working with someone who has book-only knowledge of personal struggles. Perhaps it’s that humanness that makes the sense of safety Jim creates in his coaching conversations so genuine. Conversations with Jim about personal and professional growth are always challenging. And always safe. That is a rare and valuable combination. And creates an amazing environment for growth.

Lisa B., Office/HR Manager for a large Financial Planning firm

Jim’s strengths as a coach are his natural curiosity, willingness to challenge my thinking, and his passion for making a positive difference.

Luanne Paynick, Executive Trainer/Coach, Ohio, USA

Jim is a very knowledgeable, experienced, and positive coach. He is a master at leading someone through his/her own muck using his/her own compass. He doesn’t say where to go or necessarily how, rather, he checks in on where his student is, confirms where the student wants to go, and then provides all the support necessary for the student to find his/her way through.

I am now the head of [Business Advisory Council] and am leading a team of seasoned professionals. The team is smarter than me and yet I’m filling my role of leading them. Wow. What a concept! It’s given me a lot of pride.

Greg W., Global Sales Leader, Ohio, USA

Your ability to listen is your most obvious strength. Your ability to think on your feet is second and your ability to vary our methods on a moment’s notice is a close third. Practicing what you “preach” is huge! Your Facebook posts, your monthly newsletter, your blog. They all show a consistent message all of the time. Happiness is a choice. Happiness is a decision. Happiness is intentional. You are real and alive in what you write, in what you share. It resonates with people because it’s your real life. You are living it. It’s not just something you talk about and when hard times come you abandon. You use the same tools you teach. You go through the same crap all of your coachees go through. And you use the same things you ask them to use. You are so genuine. That’s a huge strength.You don’t hide your struggles, your challenges, your stumbling blocks. You use them as teaching tools.

Conversations with you about personal and professional growth are always challenging. And always safe. That is a rare and valuable combination, and creates an amazing environment for growth. Since you’ve given me different tools and helped me learn different ways of dealing with situations, I’ve been able to be more duck-like (you know… water off a duck’s back). Thank you!

Lisa Boise, HR & Administrative Services Manager, Financial Services

Jim wants to really understand his clients. Within 2-3 visits, my conversations with Jim felt as though I was talking with an old friend. Jim also wants to challenge his clients to dig deeper. This approach worked well with me as a motivating factor.

Ryan Evans, IT Manager, Banking

I desperately needed some guidance and you came to my rescue at the right time. You reminded me of how I want to live my life, and to be true to myself. I just want you to know that I truly appreciate you, not just for what you do to help others, including myself, but for always being a good friend to me.

Chad C., Analyst for the World Bank

We’ve been working together on and off for over 10 years. In that time, you have aided me in so many leadership transitions that it is hard to fathom the scope of what we have accomplished together. You have helped me navigate substantially larger leadership roles to the point where I find myself now as the global leader of one of our consulting businesses and dealing with issues of global competitiveness, working with a multinational/multicultural leadership team.

As I reflect on the coaching process, you have helped me through numerous cycles of experiential learning, discovery and letting go of old practices and making room for new and updated practices. You have helped me develop a strong sense of confidence that comes from successive accomplishments. You have helped me understand my mission as a leader and the critical levers for success. The cumulative effect of investing time with you in the coaching process is a substantially increased bandwidth for leading in the face of uncertainty, navigating highly complex situations that frequently arise in our globally connected world.

Our coaching time now is less about detailed preparation on leadership questions but more about having the space and time for critical dialog. I am much more in the moment and the things that need to be discussed emerge. The other key shift in your coaching approach a few years ago that has enduring value is about paying attention to the whole body, making the coaching experience much more than an intellectual experience. And from a sustainability of personal change perspective, this is absolutely critical.

Jeff W., Global Services Leader (based in Tokyo, Japan)

Bringing happiness skills to every conversation is a huge strength, and beyond this Jim has a certainly stability and focus that allowed me to relax, and hence, I didn’t need to take my challenges so seriously. Jim’s approach made my apparent problems seem smaller, more workable, less intractable. I think Jim also has what I’d call the ability to teach resilience just in the way he interacted with me.

Karyn Young, Life Coach, Arizona, US

I first hired Jim to help me get out of a professional rut. It wasn’t long before I was off and running in a more effective, more engaging, more balanced and much happier way. His coaching helped me recognize the value I bring to the executive staff of my company. My gifts and talents help that team achieve more than they would without my contributions! I feel more confident, more appreciated ‘at the table.’ Jim is a great listener, encourager, challenger. His services and counsel are worth every penny and then some! His coaching has had a lasting impact on my life both professionally and personally.

I HIGHLY recommend Jim. Did I mention he is honestly one of the happiest people I know?

Kay Panovec, Marketing Director, Tennessee, US

I experienced some very significant, career changing achievements in the first few months of my coaching with Jim. Until then, I had been under-achieving. The coaching gave me the boost that I needed to get over the bar necessary to make progress in my career. I remember my Dad saying to me, ‘I wish I was just 10% smarter. It would make such a big difference.’ Coaching has made me 10% smarter, and it has made a big difference.

Coaching helped me to be more positive about myself and my capability. Paying attention to where I am physically has raised my awareness of where I am mentally and emotionally, and also about what I am communicating to others. I find that ‘fixing’ my physical state doesn’t take me all the way, but it’s like a wake-up call and I can get my mental and emotional self aligned much more readily when I’m aware of the physical clues and strategies.

I’ve learned how to find my best self, and how to turn that into business results. My coaching experience has given me a real chance at the career that I want and given me a great start. Before coaching I really felt that I didn’t have the chance and couldn’t get started.

And on top of all that, I have a new friend!

Ed Britton, ChinaCoach, Executive Directory, Tianjiao Institute, Fujian Province, China

On Keynote Presentations and Speaking Engagements …

Jim Smith was one of the best facilitators I have seen. He kept the group focused and on track and used excellent examples to help us understand.

Participant feedback from a Vision/Values Retreat

You left us with lots of great ideas that have made a positive difference for us.

Debbie Groff-Woodworth, Employee Services Manager, United Consumer Financial Services

I’ve never called you that you weren’t able to help in some way. You have a creative approach, a capacity for training in different ways, and for always knowing the latest things. I admire that you’re able to read a situation quickly, and add so much value for participants. You are up there with the best I’ve ever worked with.

Dan Toussant, HR Practice Leader, Rea & Associates

It’s like he works for our company. He relates everything to our situation and he understands our culture.

Workshop participant, Lincoln Electric

I am continually learning from you.

Donna Gressman, HR Manager, Textron/Flexalloy Division

There is no question in my mind that your efforts have made a substantial difference on the progress of the organization in achieving its business objectives.

Gary Kusumi, CEO, GMACI Insurance Group

I really enjoyed this program; it was interesting and fun, which made it a joy. Most classes you tend to watch the clock, this one you didn’t think to even look at the clock. ~~~ It was awesome. ~~~ Jim Smith – high-energy individual – good contents in the class. ~~~ The facilitator, Jim Smith, kept everyone on their toes beginning with the first activity ‘Change 5 Things.’ This continued throughout the day. ~~~ Jim Smith was excellent. ~~~ The session was focused and the activities appropriately enforced the material. ~~~ It was a positive session and reinforced that change was a good thing. It keeps us alive plus keeps the company in a survival mode. ~~~ The session was presented in a ‘real life’ of our company context, not in a ‘textbook’ context. The activities were very effective, enforcing the discussions. ~~~ I walked away with a clear understanding of the vision of senior management. Considering this was a full day, the day went extremely fast! The interactive exercises gave the Operations leadership team a real opportunity to interact, network, and team build. ~~~ There was no down time—there was continuous activity/segments throughout the day. ~~~ I felt the entire session was beneficial and well planned with terrific interaction at the tables and among the entire group. The facilitator was able to get total participation from the audience. ~~~ I thoroughly enjoyed the day and came away with new ideas/attitudes that I will be able to apply in my current role.

Leadership retreat participants

Working with you is a true joy – your positive outlook and spirit is contagious. No challenge is too great – your toolkit always seems to have the right and perfect solution to our needs – whatever those needs are.

Mar Dulik, Vice President, Director of Employee Experience

Thank you so much for the motivational and inspiring session at the HR Conference. I left feeling very good about life.

Cindy DeVito

We “Wire Ops” and “Trust Ops” folks never really acknowledged one another in passing, and today I notice more and more that we greet one another and make/take more initiative to make contact. This was one of the pet peeves brought up and has since turned around. I feel that this is a very good thing that has come out of this group thus far. I have to admit I have enjoyed the meetings even though a lot of it is common sense, [and] we need to have it brought to our attention more often than not.

Mary Jo Lahiff Casey, SVP, Corporate Operations, National City Bank

Your ‘Powerful Questions … Powerful Results’ presentation energized our entire group! Your approach and content have given my team a context for the importance of coaching as well as a practical guide for how to coach. Your fun and open style engaged the group and took the concept of coaching from nebulous and slightly scary to actionable and fun. Our nearly 100 attendees were positively percolating with excitement about coaching. Amazing!

Trina Evans, Executive Vice President & Director, Call Center Services, KeyBank

Jim Smith helped us evaluate and redesign our performance appraisal process as a part of our company’s move to a common review date. We had a very tight timeline but Jim embraced the challenge and was with us all the way! Not only did he help redesign the process, but the approach he used enabled us to quickly and efficiently collect input from our associates and management team members. Jim is a knowledgeable, high quality HR professional who will do whatever it takes. We look forward to working with him again in the future!

Amy French, Director, HR and Associate Communications, OEConnection

What do I consider to be the most significant “takeaways” from the programs & coaching you delivered?

– Relevance of the material – Associates were able to relate to this topic and apply their learning immediately after training

– Your delivery – Your style was very engaging; this was the first of the core training modules, and the attendees left with a very positive feeling about this program, and a desire to attend more training

– Comprehension of our goals – You were not just delivering this material; you were able to link this to our division’s goals and reinforce the message when real work examples were raised

– Your background and experience – I think you are very intuitive and quickly size up a situation.

Mary Jo Lahiff Casey, SVP, Corporate Operations, National City Bank

Prior to attending Friday’s conference I had been EXTREMELY stressed and realized I needed help. So, I took your advice. I have been getting up at 5:30 am, meditating (or at least trying – really concentrating on trying to breathe), then reading some of your book. At night before I go to bed, I have been writing my three things I’m thankful for and why. Well, Sunday morning I followed my new ritual and my daughter said to me in the morning – ‘Mommy, you’re so happy.’ Oh my gosh, what a statement to hear. I have been so negative and cranky and ugly to be around! So, I want to say thank you for reminding me that I need to stop, breath, stand tall and smile and all the other good habits I am going to try very hard to keep or should I say, just do!

Jane A. Barnett, PHR, Manager, On-Premise

I really appreciated the opportunity to hear your insights; thank you so much! It was definitely a valuable and informative session.

Amy Hodous, Human Resources Generalist

Great presentation and more importantly excellent takeaways. Your points about being a boiled frog and flying in and landing in the middle of your life now were funny, but so true. I adopted a ‘no drama’ credo some years back and will now add ‘tolerate nothing’ to better round that out. I brought FISH! to my firm last year at our annual retreat and a lot of what you shared actually expands on the points of make their day, choose your attitude, play and be present so much more.

Barbara McDowell, HR Rep, Public Accounting

‘I BELIEVE, JIM!’ At one time you told me that was going to be one of your goals, to get me to believe that I have what it takes to be a great manager. It may be time to cross that off your list. I just wanted to say THANK YOU for your time and hard work, it does not go unnoticed.

Del Clayman, Bank Operations Manager

I want you to know you left a positive impact at the conference. Because of you, I feel energized to help pull our group from their rut and focus on the good in us and our folks. I want to try my weekly version of a shared gratitude e-journal for at least a quarter to see what impact it has. I am hoping the leaders begin similar things with their direct reports and that it can trickle down into the organization. That would make me smile so big!

Dedra Parsons, Human Resource Specialist

Just wanted you to know how much you are touching lives. I met a gentlemen for whom it may be very difficult to find a new job. He attended one of your presentations. You handed out a post card with tips for what to do when out of work. He also took fast and furious notes and went through his notes with me. He latched onto your every word. Although down in the dumps, he is reaching to get out and you are one of the people who really helped him.

Norma Delp, Career Coach

You are such a good person and I want you to know that you are very appreciated. Everyone enjoyed the morning with you, and your message is always well received. Thanks so much for giving of your time and helping people learn the secrets of happiness.

Bonnie Dick, Career Counselor

Thank you for an engaging, informative session on Monday that exceeded my expectations. It was fun (and useful) to see how you are using various tips & techniques to bring a renewed awareness of happiness into the lives of the people you touch.

Suzanne Miller, IT Project Management

It was great to hear your message this morning. I found it very valuable personally, very encouraging. You are so good at reminding us all that we are simply human and it’s okay to accept that and go forward in joy! Many thanks, and may your work prosper for the good of all!

Kim, HR conference attendee

You helped us get on the same page about a number of issues, and in this session an understanding actually occurred. Miracles never cease!

Gretchen Donahue, Solon Club Apartments

On Mentor Coaching …

Jim’s strengths –

– previous business background complements your coaching very well

– organized well (contracts, initial checklists, expectations of coachees)

– experience as coach has given you ability to be insightful with coachees

– good at pulling the ‘inner thoughts’ of coachee out to the surface

– good with examples from previous coaching experiences

– lets coachee make the agenda and follows it

Robert Barkett, Business and Leadership Coach, Ohio, USA

Your feedback has been truly helpful and reaffirming. I have flailed around this issue all of my life and no matter the drilling down, analysis or the other strands of fixing possibilities, I have never until today had it articulated or been able to articulate it myself so clearly. So my happy coach, thank you thank you. You have really helped me learn for which I am profoundly grateful, so take a small share of that awe and celebrate with me. I want to thank you for your wonderful support, counsel and coaching. I have loved working with you and feel I have expanded my range under your guidance. My learning with you paid off big time.

Lisa Spiro, Leadership Coach, Hong Kong and London

You make others better for who you are. And you do so by example and ontology.

Bill Carrier, Carrier Coaching, Virginia, USA

Whenever Jim coaches me as an individual, he also teaches me something about being a coach. Most recently he gave me a tool to use to inquire about something that was keeping me stuck. It was simple, and elegant, and moved me from a small and simple inquiry into an area of much more fertile ground for inquiry – basically opened up an entire universe of questions and issues and assessments that I hadn’t been aware of. If he coaches you, you’ll learn about yourself as a coach and yourself as a person.

Grace Goodman, Attorney at Law / Coach, California, USA

The value that you are adding to my learning is perhaps one of the most amazing things I’ve experienced as a student. Thank you for coaching me and allowing me to observe the forest! You brought my emotions and my body to coaching, which opened the door for a real transformation and to embody ontological coaching! In my development plan I went through each competency and realized that you left a fingerprint in a journey that I hope will lead me to mastery. Thanks for being my excellent mentor coach!

Orit Ramler Szulik, North Carolina, USA

I have been experiencing super empowering sessions with you (hurray!). I wish my teachers were as great and positive as you are, in giving constructive/appreciative feedback the way you just did it.”

Ilana Acchoti, United Kingdom

On Happiness …

I really feel I’m in a better place than when we started this process. My head and my emotions are more grounded, and I feel I’m on top of the situation.

A.C., Division HR Director for a Fortune 500 services firm

I love you! You are awesome because you practice and believe what you teach! You’re someone I admire very much – it’s because of you that I am where I am today!

John C., HR Director for a services firm

Fabulous, simply fabulous.

Grace Goodman, Attorney

Working with The Executive Happiness Coach, Jim Smith, I have learned the power of happiness programs to help transform organizations and the people who work within them. Jim’s mastery of the subject and his expert facilitation create lasting changes in companies. Happy people work harder, get more done, miss fewer days and report that yes, they are happier at work! Rather than being a touchy-feely experiment, organizational happiness can be a profit center.

Rob Berkley, MCC, Executive Coach

I truly look forward to our chats. You have helped me more than anyone ever has and I know that you really care about my mental health and happiness.

Margaret Carlin, Executive Program Director

The thing I like best about coaching with Jim is his ability to transfer an optimism, to create ‘mental space’ in the course of our sessions. I could pretty much count on leaving a call with a very positive, forward looking attitude regardless of my mood going in which basically transformed my entire day!

Chris Knight, CFO