Interview with Rita Hummel Crowe

Tell me about Coaching…

WELCOME! I’m looking forward to a coaching relationship with you that will help you to create the life you want to live!  I’m sure that you have questions about me, about how we’ll work together, about what to expect.  To help us partner together professionally, take a look at the following info, compiled as an interview with me:

1How will we work together and what does the program entail?
In one word: Closely.

I have a process for coaching that yields results.  I ask great questions, I provide strong accountability, I celebrate successes with you.

I will work with you to identify what you want professionally and personally, and to support you in achieving results you really want and need.  We work closely together to build on your current successes and to ready you for the challenges you are facing.   I invite you to think of coaching as a process.  Having a successful life you love starts with gaining clarity on values, enabling more meaningful choices and consistent action.

It’s about FOCUS and ENERGY.

I will:

  • Encourage you to set goals that you truly want
  • Ask you to do more than you would do on your own
  • Help you to focus so that you produce results more quickly
  • Hold you accountable for actions and outcomes
  • Provide you with the ideas, tools, support, and structure to accomplish more.

I coach, with a mentor’s touch, using the following methods:

  • Sharing information (distinctions, principles, perspectives)
  • Providing structure (asking for a lot, expecting the best, being unconditionally constructive) and
  • Training (being a role model, walking you through your growth, giving specialized instruction, aids and materials).

2What results can I expect?
Through our work together you can expect to:

  • Identify What You Have To Offer
    Everyone can lead and we each do it differently. Our first step is to help you learn more about yourself – your strengths and weaknesses so we know what is needed to make you a more successful leader and effective team member.
  • Make the Most of Who You Are
    Once we know what needs to be changed, we set about changing it. We develop a plan of action, set about taking one step at a time to make the changes that increase your effectiveness.  I will help you incorporate some immediate behavioral changes that get results. We will also build approaches for sustained shifts, sometimes small and subtle, that result in big differences in how you are perceived, on the job and in life.
  • Take Your Leadership Skills to the Next Level
    Whether you are organizing a team, or a large company, or a community project, your coaching program will be tailored to fit your circumstances and your vision. With ongoing support, you will utilize what you already know and adjust what you do to get unprecedented results.

3Who are your clients exactly?
People who want to make positive changes – in their work and personal lives.  In general, my clients have an important goal to reach or a painful problem to solve.  They come to me because they are ready to consider new directions – and they are willing and ready to work to achieve results.

Over the years my clients mostly fit in one or another of the following categories:

Men and women who are successful AND want to continue to be so.  They are typically dedicated to doing even better – in their careers and in their lives – and recognize that “doing what you’ve always done will get you what you’ve always gotten.”  They know that trying to go it alone is very challenging, seldom successful and frequently lonely.

Most of my clients have been steadily progressing in the leadership pipeline.  As they have risen through the ranks they often are surprised by the mysteriously different expectations place upon them.  A realization that middle management – and beyond -- is indeed treacherous terrain enters their awareness.

Many of my clients are proactively preparing themselves for greater responsibilities in the workplace.  Others are getting ready for career shifts – to new jobs, in new fields, to follow a dream, to enter a different life pattern.

Some clients have received tough feedback about their performance and their potential for derailment if certain behaviors are not addressed.  To my clients’ surprise, in some cases, former strengths are now becoming weaknesses as the job expectations shift.  Seldom if ever is it about the technical aspects of their performance or job, but it is often about relationship issues, about getting work done through and with others. The areas of development are often delegation, conflict, stress, setting vision, teamwork with peers, meeting business objectives through people, developing a high-performing team.  I work closely on the practical aspects of emotional intelligence to address these serious derailers.

4How long have you been a Business Coach/Mentor?
I have been coaching and mentoring in one capacity or another since my earliest days in management in the 1980s.  I began my own independent coaching practice, called LEAP Leadership Advantage, in 2003.  The move to my own business came about because of my desire to 1) do what I love, 2) help others grow and learn, 3) challenge myself in new ways and 4) live where I wanted to live.

Prior to that time, I was a faculty member and feedback coach at the Center for Creative Leadership in Greensboro NC.  I arrived there in 1999, after leaving the cozy confines and burgeoning opportunities of my leadership role with HP’s Corporate Information Technology organization, where I had been leading the change leadership initiative related to the HP-Agilent split.  It was a significant decision for me to leave Hewlett-Packard and all that it offered me, and it was a conscious decision to seek a close relationship with developing leaders.

The Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) offered an exclusive combination:  an exclusive focus on leadership education, extensive research and unparalleled expertise in solving the leadership challenges of individuals and organizations worldwide.  Creative leadership – the capacity to think and act beyond the boundaries that limit our effectiveness – is this organization’s stock and trade.  For nearly 40 years, its mission has been to advance the understanding, practice and development of leadership for the benefit of society worldwide.

CCL enjoys a remarkable reputation as an innovative learning organization and remains at the forefront of the leadership development field.  Since 1999, corporate clients and management development executives have rated CCL number one in leadership development in BusinessWeek’s Executive Education Survey.  CCL has also ranked in Financial Times’ worldwide survey of executive education for five straight years, placing CCL in the company of many of the world’s elite business schools. 
I proudly continue to serve on the adjunct faculties of the Center for Creative Leadership, the National Leadership Institute at the University of Maryland, and Leadership Development Systems Inc. of Winston-Salem NC.  For the last eight years I have traveled from my home in the mountains of Western Maryland to serve my clients around the world.

5How did you get to be a Business Coach/Mentor?
All of my prior experience as a leader and manager gave me a wealth of practical, solutions-based approaches, all of which I am happy to share with you as you face your challenges.  I come to you with over 15 years in line management within corporate giants like Hewlett-Packard and AT&T Communications, plus 14 years of leadership experience in nonprofit organizations as diverse as the Food Marketing Institute and the American Symphony Orchestra League.  I have worked in academia, in trade association management, in sales support organizations, in financial operations, in customer service and in manufacturing.

While at HP I held positions in financial, asset and education management.  I managed international projects, dealt with a corporate acquisition, and a constant barrage of change leadership initiatives. I have held leadership roles dealing with most of the prevailing issues faced by organizations, including centralization of functions, increased competition, downsizing, globalization, startups, corporate splits, partnerships and alliances.  I have utilized project management concepts to manage complex projects as well as coached others in effective project management skills.

I have rolled out several broad initiatives in the areas of customer loyalty, call management, performance development and account management.  I have managed and developed staffs, including geographically dispersed and international teams, and have conducted training extensively with the U.S., Canada, Europe and Asia.

My design efforts in using creativity to tackle non-value-added work within HP resulted in the Less-Effort, More-Results (LEMR) program, which was featured in Computerworld. I facilitated LEMR sessions which generated spectacular results in record time. I present at Creativity and Innovation Conferences.

I also have an extensive history of nonprofit service and volunteerism.  I have coordinated a women’s crisis hotline, and served as both the Chairman of the Board of Directors and the Executive Director of the Spruce Forest Artisan Village. I have also been a Docent for the Museum for Women in the Arts.

I hold a B.A. in English Education and an M.B.A. from the University of Maryland, College Park.  On top of my management and leadership experience, I have placed an education in the psychological and social aspects of organizational relationships.  I am certified as a feedback coach and as an administrator and interpreter of assessment results for a large number of psychological and self-awareness instruments.  The classroom and individual experiences at CCL were vital and elemental to my development of my coaching approach.

6How are you different than other Business Coaches?
You won’t find many – if any – coaches with the relevant background that I bring to the table.  As indicated above, my professional experience is both broad and deep.  I know the unique realities of both corporate and nonprofit environments, so I can relate to your circumstances, give advice from real-life experience, and bring you the best approaches from both worlds.

Best of all, my relevant work experience is coupled with latest research.  As an active learner, I constantly read the latest literature, research, books and articles on the topic areas of leadership and management.  When I’m not coaching or doing a host of leadership development programs, I’m networking with thought leaders in the fields of leadership effectiveness, emotional intelligence, generational differences and change and transition.

Through my continued affiliation with the Center for Creative Leadership, the NeuroLeadership Institute, Leadership Performance Systems and other professional organizations, I have access to the most recent and relevant research.   I am a member of the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD), and the National Association of Professional Women.  I have proudly accepted the role of Coaching and Emotional Intelligence Expert for the International Association of Women in Transition (IAWIT).

So while you’re busy reading and keeping up on your organization’s issues, your customers and your technical field of expertise, I ‘m learning more and more about the field of leadership effectiveness.  I bring that pertinent information to you in my role as your coach.

7What can I expect of the coaching experience?  Who does what?
Here’s how it works when you’re being coached by me, or a member of my staff:

  • It is up to you:  to let me know the results that you want from our coaching sessions.
  • It is up to me:  to plan the steps to take you to those results.
  • It is up to us:  to make sure the steps are taken and all necessary adjustments are made as we go along.  And, oh yes, we will laugh and have some fun, as that’s where the learning happens!
  • Our sessions are for:  debriefing past assignments, asking and answering questions, and setting up steps.

8What can I expect of you during our coaching relationship?
Here’s what you can always count on from me:

  1. CONFIDENTIALITY – All of our interactions will remain strictly confidential, meaning that I will not share any information provided by you with anyone without your express consent (excludes disclosure of illegal or unethical activities).  The only exception to this may be that, from time to time, I may use a situation from your coaching experience as an analogy in another client’s session, or in a public setting such as a newsletter or seminar.  In this case, I will not use your name and will refer to the situation in such a way that neither you nor your organization will be identifiable to others.
  2. AVAILABILITY – You may contact me outside of our scheduled session if you would prefer not to wait until our next session.  I encourage you to stay in touch via email as this provides an accessible way for me to monitor your progress, and to add extra insights during your coaching journey.
  3. COMMUNICATION – I will always reply to your communications within 48 hours (except when out of town or on holidays, and I will do my best to notify you of such dates).  Even if no specific feedback is required or necessary I will (at the very least) acknowledge the receipt of your communications.
  4. COMMITMENT AND INTEGRITY – If I make a promise to you, this promise will be kept – in the way promised and in the timeframe promised.
  5. NONJUDGMENTAL ATTITUDE – I am not here to judge right or wrong.  My position is to coach you to get the results you want.  As there may be times when you will share information that may make you vulnerable, I assure you that I will treat your choices and actions (past, present or future) with respect.
  6. TENACITY ABOUT YOUR PROGRESS – As you have hired me to help you grow, I believe that some of the most valuable coaching I can deliver to you comes through the tough places you may be unwilling to visit on your own: honest feedback, challenging questions, assignments designed to challenge your comfort zones, accountability to your commitments, and an occasional, usually gentle and always caring “kick in the behind”.

9What is expected of me, as a client?
The first expectation I have is for you to evaluate your coachability.

You don’t know everything.  You do know  that, don’t you? A core belief of mine is that continual learning is a basic necessity to professional improvement. In many cases it will be other people who help you get there.  But only if you’re coachable. Are you?

To be coachable means to be…

  • Approachable
  • Attentive
  • Receptive
  • Curious
  • Objective
  • Trusting
  • Shapeable
  • Confident

It means you must listen with the intent to learn rather than to show what you know.

To be coachable means to lack arrogance and defensiveness… to minimize pride and ego. Completely teachable. Completely trainable. Completely malleable.

To be completely perfect, to need no more training or coaching, is to stagnate or die – and in many cases, to be dismissed. To know everything is to be un… believable.

The best professionals at all levels (and in most fields) require coaching to improve and they know it.  Are you one of them? Please take the 8-point test below to rate your coachability.

Which of these are true and to what extent?

  1. I usually allow my manager and others to complete their sentences before responding. (If you don’t, it’s not a good sign.)
  2. When I’m given feedback/criticism, I usually think about it before responding, waiting just a bit. (If you don’t, you’re likely not giving it real consideration.)
  3. When I’m given feedback/criticism, I rarely find myself defending a position or action immediately. (If this is true, you’re probably trying to really learn how you can improve.)
  4. When I’m given feedback/criticism, I ask questions about it in order to try to better understand it. (A good sign.)
  5. I feel my work’s purpose is to serve my external customers. (”You’re gonna have to serve somebody.”– Bob Dylan)
  6. I feel my work’s purpose is to serve my internal customers (managers, colleagues, other departments).
  7. I’ve changed/revised my position/approach because of the advice of another individual. (If not, how coachable do you really think you are? No one is always right.)
  8. My manager invests time in my professional development (If s/he doesn’t, it might be because of a perception that you’re uncoachable).

There’s no rating scale here. These questions are simply meant to raise awareness (when answered objectively and truthfully).

An additional consideration for Managers: How much development attention are you giving to your team?  20% of your week would be a full day of nothing but development time… 40% would be two full days, beginning to end.

And here’s what I will ask of you in the coaching relationship:

  1. TIMELINESS – It is important to keep our appointments for your benefit, as well as the benefit of my other clients and other work obligations.  Twenty-four hour notice is required to cancel an appointment; less notice will result in me charging for the session.  If you are delayed for an appointment, please call to let me know.  If I have a buffer we can work with that, but in some cases a delayed appointment will mean that our session will have to be cut short.
  2. COMPLETION OF ASSIGNMENTS – It is up to you to complete developmental assignments as given.  I would appreciate getting your assignment at least three days before our session so that I can review it before we meet.  Clients who diligently complete their assignments get far more out of the coaching program.
  3. FEEDBACK – Give and ask for feedback as much as possible.  Let me know when something is working for you, as well as when something is not; the earlier the better.  When you want specific or more in-depth feedback on something you are working on, please ask.  Direct feedback is the easiest way to ensure that you get what you need. If I ever say or do anything that upsets you or doesn’t feel right, please bring it to my attention so that we can resolve it as soon as possible.  My objective is to have a coaching relationship that is fully open, honest, real and trusting in our communication styles.
  4. FEES – Coaching fees are payable in advance of services rendered.
  5. REFERRALS – Many of my clients choose to refer my services to others.  I like to ask for referrals outside of our coaching sessions so that the focus of our work is exclusively on you and the results you want.  Whether you choose to refer people to me or not, I would like you to know how the referral process works:  I will first have a discussion with anyone who is interested in my services so that we can both determine if there is a good fit between their needs and my expertise.  If there is a fit, they will become clients.  If there isn’t a good fit, I will do my best to offer your referral to a coach who will better fit their needs and goals.  I do my best to place your referral.  Referrals form a substantial part of my practice.  They come from clients whose trust I have worked hard to build, so you can be assured that I will go out of my way to take good care of anyone you choose to refer.

10For whom does coaching with you NOT work?
Experience tells me that I won’t have much impact with individuals who:

  • Don’t make/have time to focus on development
  • Don’t see development as a priority for them
  • Don’t take full responsibility – for actions, outcomes and responses to opportunities presented.

11What exactly is your system and what does it include?
I provide, either personally or through the services of the LEAP Leadership Advantage coaching team, three levels of individual coaching services:

  1. BASIC – one one-hour coaching session via telephone per month, including between-session developmental assignments and accountability.  Six months minimum.
  2. STERLING – “FAST TRACK” – two one-hour coaching sessions via telephone per month, including between-session developmental assignments and accountability; email access between calls.  Four months minimum.
  3. PREMIERE – initial one-on-one in-person session, then two one-hour coaching sessions via telephone per month, including between-session developmental assignments and accountability; full email and phone access between sessions. Sustaining follow up sessions (one-half hour per month) for six months following coaching program.  Six months minimum.

Specialized coaching programs are also designed for clients.  Depending on your goals and needs, other services may be added to the work.  Examples of other optional services are:  Self-assessment instruments and interpretation in a range of areas, or the administration of multi-rater assessments.

I am certified to use a wide range of assessment instruments, and in some cases I also run certification programs for others through my affiliation with I may choose the one(s) from the following assessments that will help you best meet your goals:

  • Type preferences:  Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), Golden Personality Type Profile, Breckenridge Type Indicator
  • Emotional Intelligence:  BarOn EQ-I and EQ-360
  • FIRO-B, Fundamental Interpersonal Relations Orientation - Behavior
  • WorkPlace Big Five Profile
  • TAIS, The Attentional and Interpersonal Style Inventory
  • Change Style Indicator
  • StressMap
  • Conflict Dynamics Profile
  • Campbell Strong Interest Inventory
  • KEYS to Creativity
  • California Psychological Inventory 260
  • Multi-rater assessments, including VOICES, Leadership and Career Architects, CHOICES, Hogan Inventory Suite , PROFILOR,  Executive Dimensions, Benchmarks, Skillscope.

12Does this really work?
Yes.  Read what my clients have to say:

  • “I was extremely apprehensive about the session because ‘I don’t do counseling’. But I was very comfortable. I was able to speak honestly with you and without restraint.”
  • “Thank you for being so generous with your time, talent and treasure.”
  • “You don’t give up and I’m glad.”
  • “What I appreciated most was how you helped me learn to use the appropriate words to strengthen my relationships with others.”
  • “Bringing to the surface and talking about things that were so hurtful was very helpful to my progress.”
  • "You did an excellent job of honoring my need to process my anger. I appreciate your persistence in helping me recognize that the anger was not helpful. That made a great change for me.”

13How quickly can I expect results?
It depends on what we’re working on, but you can expect two timelines:

Immediate – what you’ll notice within and about yourself; your approaches, expectations and awareness will begin to shift.  You’ll also see different responses to your behavior.

Longer-term – what others notice and begin to comment on.  Research indicates that it usually takes others 90-120 days to recognize any real change in your behavior.

14Can I contact some of your former clients to see what it’s like to work with you?
Yes, of course, I welcome that.  Please contact me and I will be happy to provide you with former clients’ names and contact info.

15Will I recover the investment I put into this coaching program?
Yes, and more.  What’s the value of less stress and more satisfaction with life and career?  For objective insights?  For your own personal support structure?  For an experienced ear whose only objective is your increased success?  For advice and guidance when you’re not sure who to turn to?

What would you pay for :

  • More passion in your work?
  • Better teamwork?
  • Improved working relationships?
  • More recognition of your strengths and efforts by your management team?

My clients – even the most skeptical ones -- continue to marvel at the value of our work together!

Your investment is virtually risk-free.  If at some point during our coaching you’re not getting value, we’ll both know it.  You may cease coaching at the end of any four week cycle, and get a full refund for the unused portion.

16How do we get started?
If you’re ready to make some exciting changes to your life or work, and are interested in working with me, then:

Contact me to request a complimentary “get acquainted” consultation.  You may do this by emailing me at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or by calling me at 301-687-1025.

I look forward to speaking with you and seeing how wonderfully we can work together!  I sincerely look forward to working with you and watching you get the life you want.

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