Inspiring Independence and Embracing Coaching Science

Episode #1011: Take in the experiences and learnings of Barry Goldberg, an executive coach, Vistage Chair, and former faculty member of the Leadership Coaching Program at Georgetown University. From effective coaching tools and the ethics of coaching to leading purpose-driven sessions and asking forward-focused questions, read on for a closer look into how Barry has inspired independence and embraced coaching science in his own practice.



About Barry Goldberg


Barry Goldberg is a Vistage Chair and executive coach out of Little Rock, Arkansas. Barry served as the ICF Vice Chair for Global Ethics and Standards Committee from 2010 to 2013, and taught coaching ethics at Georgetown University’s Institute for Transformational Leadership from 2013 to 2018. Barry has ample experience in the corporate and executive coaching world. He has experienced operational changes within the executive coaching industry and has developed his own style and coaching technique as a result. Barry believes in the necessity for experience and educational training in the coaching field, and has used his experiences and scientifically proven data to aid his coaching practice. Barry Goldberg is a lifelong learner who always seeks excellence, new strategies, and scientific principles that he can apply to his practice as a game-changing executive coach.


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Key highlights


The meaning of Arete

Timestamp 01:37


Severin and Barry discuss the origin of the word "Arete" and how Greek mythology has inspired them. Arete is a word related to “excellence” and “refined nature.” Severin found this word from Greek mythology after it was pointed out to him by his son. Both Barry and Severin discuss the importance of excellence and the idea of Arete.


The journey to executive coaching and training

Timestamp 02:58


Barry’s journey to executive coaching from his time in the military and in the corporate world is full of learning and realizations valuable to the modern-day coach. Barry began his journey to executive coaching after leaving the military. Chasing opportunities that came his way with success, Barry began teaching at the University of Georgetown’s Institute for Transformation Leadership in 2013. As Barry reflects on his time with the University of Georgetown, he recommends several coaching schools and states the importance of attending a good coaching program that will set future executive coaches up for success. Barry’s career journey led him to becoming a Vistage Chair and executive coach. After his first executive coaching group, Barry fell in love with coaching and has been doing it ever since.


360 encounters

Timestamp 16:07


Barry has a distinct approach to 360s. He believes that they should “define leadership” and be supported by modern research. Barry uses Leadership Circle 360 and believes in the importance of “envisioning a reality and then marshalling the resources to create it…” This mindset creates increased leadership potential for those encountering a 360. Furthermore he believes that 360s should be used with tact and appropriate precautions.


Asking difficult questions

Timestamp 26:31


Severin and Barry discuss the importance of asking difficult questions. Barry uses the first few minutes of interacting with a client as a time to glean information that might be helpful later on in the coaching session, "I believe that everything we need in a coaching conversation shows up in the first two minutes."


Using tools and technique to inspire independence

Timestamp 30:36


When asked about early learning he experienced that he wished he knew earlier, Barry talks about how tools are helpful, but the most important part is how these tools are used. Barry shares some of the basic moves of executive coaching and speaks on the need to work on “yourself.” He states that being present during coaching sessions and absent from personal issues outside of the session is a skill that is necessary for executive coaching. Barry further explains that his “ability to be engaged” has one of the biggest impacts on his clients’ outcomes. The outcome that Barry is looking for in his clients is that they become their best selves and reach independence. He shares a story about a time this was achieved when a former client created their own blog about Barry. Barry was shown the article and inspired by the impact that he had had on this former client's life.


Conflicts and ethics

Timestamp 38:33


Throughout Barry’s experience within the executive coaching industry, he has learned to either coach the individual or the organization, but never both of them. He states that the organization’s and individual’s needs are often in conflict and that by coaching both, he opens the door to biased coaching. In his practice, he has experienced individuals who were being coached only because they were not able to be fired by the organization or were in a transition phase between coaches. In times of conflict, Barry has to tread carefully to avoid violating the Sarbanes-Oxley disclosure, which deals with fair trade and the movement of money in an organization. To help maintain confidentiality Barry keeps track of session notes in a private and organized matter.


The growth of the coaching industry

Timestamp 44:47


From Barry’s perspective, the coaching industry has grown in recent years, but knowledge has not expanded within the field. He believes that there will be a future need for state licensure and supports the use of effective educational programs that dive deep into the purpose of executive coaching. Barry expresses his concern with the effects of rapid growth and suggests more involvement in coaching sciences and the adaptation of the coaching field with the new values supported by the next generation.


Advice for those entering the coaching industry

Timestamp 49:43


Barry recommends attending a good coaching school and learning about tools early on in the journey to becoming an executive coach. He also recommends being present for your clients by developing your own practice. It is important for coaches to be able to separate themselves from their personal goals and ideals when consulting clients. This aids in the coaches ability to address the clients own issues and concerns without being distracted by their own. Barry shares his own personal practice of his time in nature. He states that this time keeps centered and greater enables him to connect and be present for his clients.




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