Executive coaching may be the most overlooked career hack — or so headhunters say. These are some leaders in the field, selected by Institutional Investor based on confidential recommendations.
The Former Old Mutual HR Exec With a Passion: Lou Chrostowski, Sloan Group International
“The classic coach is a psychologist or studied organizational behavior, and have worked in coaching their entire career,” Chrostowski says. “The other profile is someone like me: Practitioners. I was part of the senior leadership team at Old Mutual. I know what people are dealing with in the industry.”
Clients often hire coaches assuming the work ought to be done in secret, then become evangelists, according to Chrostowski. “If you want to do it privately, that’s fine,” he says. “It can be more beneficial to let your employer know you’re working with me — then I can do a qualitative 360-degree assessment using feedback from team members.”
His Edge: Sliding fee scale, based on clients’ financial situation and Chrostowski’s own. “I was very fortunate when I left the corporate world in that I didn’t really need to work anymore,” he says. He knows asset management exec life because he was one. A favorite of big mainstream financial firms such as Putnam, Old Mutual, and Bloomberg.
Cost: $20,000 for a full-blown corporate-sponsor paid engagement. He’s gone as low as $150 per hour for a private client, because “they were high potential and that’s all they could afford.”
The Warm & Friendly Harvard Endowment Vet: Manny Correia, Inclusive Coaching
“I started at the Harvard Management Company as an input clerk at night and left as chief administrative officer almost 26 years later,” Correia says. “We always had very strong leaders. I could see the culture change” when Mohamed El-Erian took over. “I love making people successful,” he continued. “It’s about helping them dream a little bit. We tell ourselves that we can’t do something. But are you good at it? Will someone pay you to do that? We figure it out.”
His Edge: Correia is a generous and proactive networker for clients. He’s also an endowment vet, and thus knows institutional allocators and their work intimately. At HMC, Correira developed his belief in and technique for extensive practice for interviews and other high-stakes conversations, so clients walk in prepared. A cheerleader and an empath.
Cost: $5,000 for individual coaching, which lasts several months and is best suited for those looking to transition. This includes talent assessment, performance style analytics, resume and LinkedIn profile review, unlimited introductions to Correria’s network, interview and “difficult conversation” prep, and more.
$8,000 for one year of leadership coaching. This is aimed at professionals who have jobs that they want to rise up in. Organizations often pay for Correia’s leadership coaching for promising (or occasionally problematic) employees.
The Transition Magician on Stanford’s Retainer: Sloan Klein, SloanKlein Advisors
“I came to coaching after recruiting for 12 years, and I bring that perspective to my coaching practice,” Klein says. She works almost exclusively in asset management, and has a growing clientele in family offices. “As they grow in size and power, you’re seeing these family offices become more institutionalized,” she says. “But often, talent and succession gets left by the wayside.” She’s a transition master and an alumni coach for the Stanford business school.
Her Edge: Psychometric testing is wrapped into most packages, and she also provides it as a standalone service, often to organizations looks to assess final candidates. Klein knows the ins-n-outs of the asset management universe as well as inside intel on recruiting. She’s a go-to for the family office world, and a pro at post-job-loss comebacks.
Cost: She won’t say on-the-record.
The Ex-Bridgewater Algo-Builder: Kate O’Sullivan, P.S. Your Career
“I ended up doing some coaching internally at Bridgewater, and have been a coach full time since I left in 2012,” O’Sullivan says. “And my partner Mike, who also used to work at Bridgewater, became a client. He was like, ‘Why don’t more people know about this?’”
O’Sullivan, 36, and Mike Schmitt founded P.S. Your Career last year, which uses an algorithm to match clients and coaches, who are contractors. O’Sullivan is CEO, but also works directly with clients, many from the investment world. “It’s been fantastic — our biggest challenge has been getting more coaches in the portfolio,” she says.
Her Edge: A tech-savvy Millennial, she brings Bridgewater rigor and radically honest assessments. O’Sullivan works with a stable of 15 or so other coaches if that’s not your thing. The firm’s services are remote by design.
Cost: $150 to $600-plus per session, depending on the coach. Budget is baked into the algorithm, such that clients get matched at their price point.
The Not-Quite-Celebrity Executive Coach: Matt Spielman, Inflection Point Partners
“I’m not the top-top end, but I’m probably at the higher end. I’m a few notches below the celebrity coaches,” says Spielman — a graduate of Columbia University’s vaunted coaching program, known for its rigor. “I have some really well-known clients, and so confidentiality is number one.”
He works with senior executives in finance as well as pharmaceuticals, media, and other industries. “The assumption is that the client is resourceful, capable, whole, and creative,” he says. “We identify where he or she is, and where they want to go. The client is the expert of his or her life.”
His Edge: International work, as he keeps active client relationships in multiple countries and visits them regularly in normal times. The wholistic approach, or body-mind connection, is a specialty. Spielman is also a certified personal trainer and exercise enthusiast. For those who need someone they can call anytime and aren’t afraid to pay for it, he’s a go-to.
Cost: $15,500 for four to six months of coaching for an individual. Some corporations pay $25,000 to $35,000 per employee for six months of leadership development.
The Asset Management Sales Whisperer: Laurie Thompson, Willow Hill Advisors
“I’ve always been a functional specialist in asset management distribution: investor relations, fundraising, consultant relations, product specialists,” Thompson says. As a recruiter, she found that legions of professionals would ask her for career feedback and guidance — things she loves to provide, but didn’t get paid for as a headhunter.
“It was tough: You’re trying to help them understand the business model, and why you can’t spend an hour over coffee,” she says. “I thought, let me build a real business out of it.” So she did. Thompson is running about five searches at the moment and working with 10 paid coaching clients. To her knowledge, she’s the only one in the game offering both.
Her Edge: She brings real-time job market knowledge and in-depth understanding of all things asset management distribution. “With me, people are getting all the things that recruiters would love to tell you if they had the time and reason to,” Thompson says.
Cost: $1,200 for three sessions or $3,200 for an eight-session “comprehensive” package.