Leadership Coaching

I help EAs build leadership and management skills, increase their effectiveness and performance, grow their organizations and achieve their visions. I’ve been coaching EAs in management and leadership since September 2022. 

Who I help and the benefits I provide

My coaching is most beneficial for current or aspiring managers/leaders who have 5 or fewer years of people management experience. 

My specialization is leadership and people-management, including building high-performance teams, healthy work culture, delegation, roles/responsibilities, coaching, enabling/supporting career growth, performance management, recruiting (sourcing, interviewing, onboarding), compassionate firing, and navigating sensitive HR-related situations.

I also help both manager and non-manager clients in widely applicable and important areas such as building trust, collaboration, reaching consensus/buy-in, productively navigating disagreements/conflicts, managing stress and anxiety, emotional intelligence, work/life balance, career transitions, professionalism, habit change, procrastination/avoidance, prioritization, productivity, project management, work process (including Agile development), reflection/retrospectives, continuous improvement, building processes and systems, decision making, customer focus, goal setting, OKRs/KPIs, funding requests, communication, and business writing.

My area of greatest specialization and passion is giving and receiving feedback, which is necessary for peak performance, but undervalued and underutilized

See my FAQ for some hypothetical customer profiles and concrete benefits they might get, and a list of management/leadership problems I can help with.

Clients who get results from coaching are those who engage deeply, reflect constantly, push outside their comfort zone, and wholeheartedly experiment with new methods, mindsets and behaviors. These are the most important qualities for working with me to reach high performance and next-level results.

My coaching approach

My coaching is defined by my commitment to positive impact, which is all about the success of the highly impactful people that I coach. Coaching EAs is an alignment of my most important values and my greatest strengths, and as such I apply myself intensely to my work. I try to exceed expectations in every interaction. I really love coaching EAs. 

My coaching is collaborative. I ask a lot of questions, listen carefully, and work with the coachee to build experiments and solutions based on their self-knowledge and intuition. 

Individual context varies widely based on experience, role, organization, skills and talents, goals, and personality. As such, my approach is flexible and adaptive. I do not force any particular methodology or coaching technique. 

I bring in industry best practices and proven strategies for behavior change from many different sources, with a focus on helping clients apply them in ways that make sense their specific situation. 

Feedback is of paramount importance to me. I constantly gather feedback and data from coachees to learn ways to support them best, using the same effective feedback methods that I coach others in. I request periodic assessments to zoom out and understand the overall trajectory of coaching, and have at times pivoted significantly on the basis of this feedback.

I work with coachees to develop and grow on multiple levels of depth. These range from application of useful tools and systems, to adoption of productive mindsets and mental models, to examination and transformation of deeper behavioral patterns, which can at times be difficult to illuminate and uncomfortable to examine. My coaching approach respects the fact that trust and vulnerability are essential to growth on these deeper levels, and work hard to earn that trust. 

I provide an open space for reflection, discussion and expression, free of judgment and negative reinforcement. I also provide gentle but firm encouragement to actively experiment with the approaches we develop. 

Work done between sessions is where the majority of the growth occurs. As such I help coachees establish and track clear action items, and provide accountability based on consistency and learning. Real growth is almost always uncomfortable - I provide positive moral support to help sustain effort.

Coaching often centers around challenges, pain points, weaknesses, and in general areas where coachees want significant growth. However, I encourage coachees to acknowledge and celebrate accomplishments and the things that are going well. Doing this captures energy from wins, and makes a more positive, gratitude-oriented frame possible, which provides a strong basis for taking on difficult challenges. I also work to understand coachees' greatest strengths, since so much of high performance is about doubling down on those strengths. 

I do a significant amount of work both before and after sessions to prepare, reflect, and provide resources aligned with the coachee's growth areas. 

My leadership approach

My leadership approach has been most influenced by my 6 years working at Amazon.  The work culture at Amazon is by no means perfect, but I found it to be balanced, supportive, and effective at producing high performing teams. Amazon's Leadership Principles provide an outstanding framework for leadership and making good decisions, both on a personal level and organizational level. Amazon's culture and practices have proven effective across many completely different businesses: e-commerce retail, cloud computing (AWS), advertising, music, video streaming (Prime Video), physical devices (Alexa, Fire TV), among others. I am able to bring these broadly applicable elements of Amazon's business approach into my coaching.

There are a number of books that have significantly influenced my leadership approach: Radical Candor, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, Managing in a Changing World (formerly Managing to Change the World). Other books that have had the greatest impact on me and my approach to work: Thinking Fast and Slow, The Confidence Gap, Deep Work, Search Inside Yourself, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, and How to Win Friends and Influence People. I resonate most with the leadership approaches of Kim Scott, Patrick Lencioni, and Adam Grant.

I take a fundamentally people-first approach to leadership and work. This is the approach that I followed in my career and which I found much more effective than a task/project/outcome-first approach. By creating trusting, supportive and balanced team cultures, I was able to attract and retain the best people, and as such I was able to achieve much better long-term outcomes than had I been focused on tasks/projects/outcomes at the expense of people-factors. A top-down, transactional management approach where people are pushed to deliver in a fear-based environment has been shown to be far less conducive to innovation and high performance that an environment of caring and psychological safety.

Here's my approach to leadership summarized in one sentence: To build a high-performance team, invest heavily in hiring the very best people, and create a safe, supportive, high-trust environment in which they are always learning, growing and giving and receiving helpful feedback, and as such want to stay with the organization long-term and do the best work of their lives.

Qualifications, Track Record and Testimonials

I have coached EAs since September 2022. I've given 60+ coaching sessions to EAs across different roles (founder, director, project/program lead, strategy lead, operations) and cause areas (community building, farmed animal welfare, AI safety, climate change). Here are my testimonials.

My testimonials and other feedback I've received show that my clients have achieved many concrete benefits from my coaching. I've been able to help them develop and refine their skills in giving and receiving feedback, delegation, and prioritization among other areas. I've supported them with navigating career transitions, including successfully starting new roles, ending employment to seek other opportunities, and moving from specialized roles to leadership positions. Clients have reported they've built confidence, improved communication, and fostered collaborative work environments. 

Over my 11+ year career as a manager, I coached about 50 software engineers and other managers in growing their skills and making progress towards their career goals. I have done thousands of professional 1-to-1 conversations, refining my listening, emotional intelligence and trust-building skills. I promoted 12 people at Amazon, requiring coaching over several months to help individuals grow in many different technical and leadership skill areas. I’m versed in leadership, best practices and work culture knowledge that made Amazon a world leader in many different industries (See "Leadership Approach" above). I scaled an organization from 8 to 25 people using my leadership practices, hiring, career growth and coaching approach. 

My comparative advantage for coaching in EA is my combination of people-management and coaching experience, knowledge of industry best practices in management and leadership (which led companies like Bloomberg and Amazon be global leaders), EA knowledge, alignment with EA’s values, and intent to adapt and optimize my offering for EAs. 

Time Commitment

The time-commitment of coaching is dependent on the specific needs of the client. A typical scenario is to have a 90-minute coaching session every two weeks, with 10-15 minutes to reflect and prepare before sessions. I also can do 60-minute meetings, or less frequent meetings in certain situations, but this isn't preferred as it is more difficult to make significant progress on long term goals.

For coaching to be effective and worth the investment, insights and action items obtained from the sessions must to be implemented and experimented with between sessions. This additional work is often 1-2 hours per week. I also provide optional reading/listening resources after most sessions that apply to the coachee and their challenges (15-30 min). Following this structure the commitment would be in the range of 2-4 hours per week.

I aim to provide concrete value from the very first session by helping the coachee discover simple, practical tools that can be immediately applied. Lasting behavior change, though, often requires 3+ months of coaching to achieve with the above time commitment, as that provides enough opportunity for repeated experimentation, reflection, and learning from challenges and feedback.

Cost

I provide discounted rates for Effective Altruists. My non-EA rate for a 60-minute session is $250, and a 90-minute session is $375. My maximally discounted rate is 40% off ($150 for 60-minutes, $225 for 90-minutes), and is only available for EAs who don't have a personal/professional development budget. If you're an EA or aligned with the movement in some way (values, approach to doing good, etc), please reach out and we can agree on a discounted rate based on your budget.

Let's connect.

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