Debra L. Howard
Debra Howard has helped hundreds of leaders and their organizations learn and grow so that they can achieve dramatic results and solve their most perplexing problems.
She specializes in executive coaching, and in redesigning complex companies and nonprofits that are struggling to grow or are suffering from the result of growing too quickly.
Deb founded her consulting firm in 1991. She’s been coaching leaders since well before executive coaching became the gold standard for leadership development.
She helps four types of managers and executives reach peak performance: 1) rising stars who have ambitious goals and are seeking the skills, systems, and support to achieve them; 2) superstars who are derailing because they're so hard-charging that they're having an unintentionally negative impact on others; 3) seasoned, successful executives who are feeling uninspired, unhealthy, or unfulfilled; and 4) newly hired or promoted executives and CEOs who want to accelerate their onboarding to quickly succeed in their new role. The centerpiece of her approach is candid and confidential interview-based 360-degree feedback that is honest, detailed, and actionable.
Deb coaches leadership teams, and helps businesses, nonprofits, and foundations reorganize to remove bottlenecks, to clarify management roles and responsibilities, and to build the systems to support growth. She specializes in moving the right leaders into the right roles, without losing the senior contributors who didn’t turn out to be good managers, but who are talented and valuable members of the team.
An expert in competency analysis and behavioral interviewing, Deb teaches leaders how to make substantially better hiring (and firing) decisions.
She has a “Hermione’s handbag” of models, assessments, articles, and workshops to help clients understand their colleagues and employees so that they can collaborate more effectively with the cast of characters in their professional life, and actually enjoy their time at work. She facilitates conversations, team workshops, and retreats to help frustrated teams and exasperated leaders improve communication, increase trust, hit the reset button on unproductive patterns of behavior, and positively shift the aspects of their organizational culture that are holding them back.
She offers fun, high-impact Myers-Briggs team-building workshops, and uses the powerful FIRO-B assessment to help executive teams understand their sources of conflict and how to minimize them.
Her management training program provides leaders with a double-dose of feedback—from a competency-based 180-degree management survey, and a communication bootcamp using videotaping with peer feedback—to provide participants with immediate, difficult-to-dismiss data on what they’re doing well and what they need to improve.
Certifications and Training
Deb is certified in the Myers-Briggs Step I and Step II, and has had advanced training in the FIRO-B personality preference instrument. She has also received extensive training in competency-based behavioral interviewing, Bowen Family Systems Theory, and Waterline Action Learning peer coaching facilitation.
She has worked with CEOs, owners, partners, and their teams from a range of organizations and sectors for more than 25 years, including the Jim Joseph Foundation (San Francisco), Johns Hopkins Department of Biostatistics (Baltimore), Crown Family Philanthropies (Chicago), Cooley Dickinson Health Care (Northampton), TetraTech ARD (Vermont), the Center for Reproductive Rights (New York), NRDC (Washington DC), Universeum (Gothenburg), and Kew Gardens (London).
Deb is one of a handful of executive coaches selected for the Leading Edge CEO Onboarding Program, an intensive and competitive leadership development program in its second year of supporting the new CEOs of Jewish nonprofits.
She is one of a small cadre of coaches affiliated with DRG, a highly regarded search firm that is so committed to the success of the executives they recruit, they offer executive coaching as part of their placement contract.
She was also one of seven coaches selected for the Noyce Leadership Institute (NLI) in California, a prestigious leadership development program for promising science and technology executives from around the world. During the seven-year program, she coached 18 NLI fellows from organizations such as the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, the Boston Children’s Museum, the Franklin Institute Science Museum in Philadelphia, and the Bloomfield Science Museum in Jerusalem.
Prior to 1991, Deb was a consultant with Cambria Consulting in Boston, a human resource consulting firm that conducted job competency assessments and training for Fortune 500 and government clients. Before that, she was the director of program development for Training Concepts in Braintree, Massachusetts, where she designed stand-alone programs for telecommunications and high-technology companies, such as AT&T, SNET, and Polaroid.
She graduated from Brown University in 1981 with a BA in semiotics and is currently writing a book with the working title How to Be the Boss Everyone Wants to Work For. When she's not working or writing, Deb enjoys landscape photography, SCUBA diving, skiing, and hiking. She lives in the foothills of the Green Mountains near the college town of Burlington, Vermont.