A Discussion on Coaching Fundamentals & Diversity

Episode #1044: Join Dr. David Arrington, executive coach, bestselling author, and COO of Arrington Coaching, in an insightful discussion on the importance of knowing your fundamentals, having a positive mindset, and diversity, equity, and inclusion in the executive coaching industry. Read or listen to this impactful conversation that will leave you thinking about whether you use your experience as a tool or weapon and ways you can increase the diversity of executive coaches and clients.



About Dr. David Arrington

Dr. David Arrington is an executive coach, a bestselling author, and the COO of Arrington Coaching. David started his career with ExxonMobil as a systems analyst which ultimately led him to working in nonprofit leadership for over a decade. During his time in nonprofit leadership, Dr. Arrington spent time coaching organizational leaders, developing partnerships, and chairing several committees.


Since 2012, Dr. Arrington has been the COO of Arrington Coaching where he provides business, career, leadership, executive, and team coaching, as well as several leadership development courses. More recently, he was named an Amazon bestselling author for his book entitled, “Promotable: How to Demonstrate Your Value, Highlight Your Potential, and Land Your Next Promotion.”


Dr. Arrington received his doctorate in Strategic Leadership and Leadership Coaching from Regent University and today, uses his expertise in leadership development to help guide leaders in their development as CEOs and business leaders. Dr. Arrington has a passion for helping other business leaders and continually encourages excellence in his high-impact coaching practice

Key highlights


A serendipitous journey

Timestamp 02:33


Dr. Arrington describes his journey to executive coaching as a “serendipitous response to external stimulus.” He shares that he loved computers as child and decided to go to school in that field, which led to his positions at ExxonMobil and Schlumberger. However, he quickly realized that he was a “people person” and decided to go into the non-profit sector.


Dr. Arrington explains that his journey was a result of his responses to different scenarios that have been put in front of him. In his experience with ExxonMobil and Schlumberger, he learned that when working with executives who are “frustrated in their roles,” he should ask questions to see if their career or culture is what is “rubbing them wrong.” David uses his learnings and experiences from previous careers and businesses as inspiration and insight for his coaching practice today.


Experience: is it a tool or a weapon?

Timestamp 11:37


Dr. Arrington uses his experience as a tool in his coaching. This means that he uses it as insight for what questions to ask and what discussions to start. However, experience can also be a weapon in executive coaching. Dr. Arrington states that experience can “be a weapon if [you’re] trying to mentor [clients] to be more like [yourself].” In his coaching, he tries “make sure that in every moment,” he is not telling advice or his own story, but offering “rapport,” “transparency,” and a “safe space” for his clients.


A coaching moment: your best time of productivity

Timestamp 14:58


Severin shares a story about a leader that learned the value of knowing the best time of day to be productive. Because of this, he plans his day around his own best time to work. David shares that his best time to work is early in the morning like Severin, but this is sometimes missed. In response, Severin calls a “timeout” and has a “coaching moment” with David asking what he could do to “lock” that most productive time so it “doesn’t get occupied by other things.” David shares some things he does in response and comments on the importance of physical and mental care during that time. Severin in response shares a time-saving hack that he learned from a client, which was to intentionally schedule and block out free-time during the most productive times of the day.


“Don’t take the fundamentals for granted”

Timestamp 24:35


Severin asks David about lessons he learned recently that he wishes he had learned earlier on, and David shares the importance of asking questions, not giving advice, and never taking the “fundamentals for granted.” David states that “staying true to the fundamentals” of executive coaching and “understanding what your client needs and how you can help them” is “critical” to the executive coaching process. He shares a quote from a basketball coach that states, “fundamentals win championships.”


Learning from failure

Timestamp 33:12


In discussing Dr. Arrington’s book, “Promotable: How to Demonstrate Your Value, Highlight Your Potential & Land Your Next Promotion,” Severin points out the importance of learning from failures “to get better.” He shares that many people can’t handle looking inwardly at their failures as a learning opportunity. Severin states that this is one reason why Dr. Arrington’s book is valuable, because it discusses some of the challenges faced by others and how they can be learned from. David agrees with Severin’s perspective and shares that society as a whole has “demonized failure,” even though it can be a great teacher.


Advice for aspiring executive coaches

Timestamp 40:43


When asked what advice Dr. Arrington would give to future executive coaches, David shares that aspiring coaches should first understand what exactly executive coaching is. He states that people often confuse coaching with “advising” and “mentoring.” Secondly, he shares that aspiring coaches should practice on their friends with permission and the understanding that you are an observer and assistant. Understanding and practice are essential tools to the aspiring executive coach.


Diversity, equity, and inclusion

Timestamp 43:42


Severin and David have a powerful discussion on the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Dr. Arrington shares his perspective and experiences on how the expectations of others have affected his career. He states, “I don’t look like every other executive coach and for a long time, that was a deterrent… People are coming looking for me now.” In response, Severin asks, “what could we do to get more people into the coaching practice?” Dr. Arrington and Severin follow this question with a discussion on ways to increase the diversity of executive coaches and clients.


Download the transcript

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