Coaching Insights from a Marketing Maven

Episode #1031: Severin Sorensen interviews Carol Steinberg, a Master Chair, Vistage Chair of six years, two-time Vistage Star Award recipient and marketing expert, on her wealth of knowledge in marketing and executive coaching. Severin and Carol review the importance of customer-centricity and flexibility, and discuss how Entrepreneurial Operating Systems (EOS) and the Predictive Index can help today’s business leaders achieve greatness. Gain valuable insight on the importance of client-centered coaching and how to use social media to generate referrals in this episode of the Arete Coach Podcast.



About Carol Steinberg

Carol Steinberg is a Master Chair and Vistage Chair of six years. She has an MBA from the Fox School of Business at Temple University and hosts 6 Vistage peer groups. Carol is a two-time recipient of the Vistage Star Award (2013, 2020), and has received excellence awards more recently in 2018 and 2019.


Carol was the Chief Operating Officer of ShopHQ, the third largest home shopping retailer in the US, and has ample experience in the marketing industry through her positions at David’s Bridal and QVC. In 2015, Carol became a Certified Digital Prophet, where she provides e-commerce consulting and advisory services. Carol’s success in the marketing and management industry as well as her success as an executive coach make her a great source of knowledge on how others can enhance their executive coaching business.

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Key highlights

The customer is king

Timestamp 03:18

Carol’s experience at QVC and David’s Bridal gave her a great amount of marketing knowledge and expertise. When discussing what she has learned during her experience, she shares that it is vitally important to learn to listen. Carol states that it is very important for coaches to “listen to really what people are saying.” Severin responds by asking if the customer is king and Carol agrees. Carol shares that coaches need to think of their business “in terms of the customer and everything that the customer is thinking, considering, doing” and “feeling.” Carol sees every one of her members and clients as a customer that needs her flexibility and empathy.


How Carol uses social media

Timestamp 06:52

In Carol’s executive coaching practice, she focuses on what tools her audience was already using. She uses LinkedIn primarily to build her online presence and encourage referrals. For her LinkedIn account, she takes pictures of her meetings and collects testimonials. She wants others “to feel comfortable” and like “they can approach” her. She doesn’t post her own awards or accolades, but instead posts her peers achievements to reinforce her network credibility.


A love for business transferred to Vistage

Timestamp 10:28


Carol has been in the corporate world for over 30 years. She loves the corporate business industry. After experiencing an activist takeover at a publicly traded company, she noticed an Ad for Vistage. She soon realized that Vistage gave her the opportunity to stay “involved in business and to work with business owners.” From this point onward, Carol's passion for executive coaching through Vistage thrived and she launched her own groups as well as her emerging leader groups.


The Predictive Index

Timestamp 15:51


Severin asks Carol to further explain what the Predictive Index is and how she uses it. Carol explains that the Predictive Index is a psychometric tool like DISC or Myers Briggs. She uses it in her executive coaching practice to help her CEOs and business leaders attain greater alignment in their hiring and business functions. She also uses it to create action plans and frameworks that are structured around the way people are “wired to work.”


Carol’s experience with EOS

Timestamp 19:57


As Carol incorporates Entrepreneurial Operating Systems (EOS) within her executive coaching practice, she has found that the framework helps clients break down big goals into “manageable chunks.” Using the EOS 90 quarterly breakdown, instead of the traditional yearly or 6-month strategy plans, has helped her clients better achieve their goals.


Assuming innocence

Timestamp 26:27


Carol shares that she is “constantly using quotes” in her coaching practice. At every meeting, she has a handout with a leader and a quote from that leader. Two quotes that have been especially impactful in her coaching practice are, “What kind of shadow are you casting?” and “assume innocence.” Carol reminds her clients that they have people who look up to them and make judgements based on their actions. She also reminds them that it is important to “assume innocence.” She uses an example of receiving an email. Sometimes business leaders can read emails with a negative tone when the sender was trying to communicate in a positive way. Carol states that “it’s really pretty interesting how you can think somebody is doing something for whatever reason and it can be totally, totally different from anything that’s in your mind.” Severin relates to her statement and shares a quote about how leaders must be careful with the words they say.


Flexibility and customer-centricity

Timestamp 29:46


When Severin asks what lessons Carol wishes she had known on her first day as an executive coach, she shares that “it really is all about flexibility and customer-centricity” and “empathy.” She shares that since incorporating Zoom into her practice, she has been able to be more flexible in her one-to-one meetings which has allowed her to focus on the most important things in her coaching sessions. Carol explains that doing this has also enabled her to spend more time on research and developing her Predictive Index practice.


Reaching for the stars

Timestamp 32:40


Carol Steinberg is a two-time Star Award recipient. Carol explains that the Star Award is awarded to the top 20 Chairs. The top 20 Chairs are determined by three different areas: retention scores, contribution to the chair community, and network involvement.


Attracting people to your group

Timestamp 36:26


When discussing how Carol attracts people to her peer advisory groups, Carol explains that she really focuses on referrals. “What I do is I am an open book…I want to talk to somebody. I want to understand what’s going on…” states Carol. In these discussions, she often discovers whether or not a prospective client is a best fit for her coaching practice. Carol adopts the mentality of “the retainer” who is “here to help” her clients. She wants people to know that she is there for them and is the “go-to person to help them get over whatever hump, hurdle, or whatever they’re experiencing.” Having this mentality has helped Carol attract more executives to her peer groups and executive coaching practice.


Permitting mistakes

Timestamp 43:03


In response to Severin’s question of a failure that Carol has gained valuable insight from, Carol shares that she has learned to “ask questions” and allow her clients to make their own decisions when they choose not to listen to outreach from “fellow members” and their executive coach. Despite being nervous for her clients, she has learned that “we all learn…and so it’s not so bad to make a mistake.”


Asking “why?”

Timestamp 44:59


Some of Carol’s most impactful questions include asking her clients “why.” She will ask her clients questions such as “Why do you think that?” “What do you think made somebody do that?” “Why would you do this again?”, and “Why are you not considering this?” She uses these questions to encourage an open dialogue with her clients in a non-confrontational style. Doing this prevents her clients from getting defensive and closing up to protect their ego.




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