Executive Coaching / Leadership Development

I help successful leaders make lasting positive change using a diverse set of tools in my coaching tool kit, including being an ICF certified PCC coach, David Allen’s Getting Things Done, Crucial Conversations, Marshall Goldsmith’s Stakeholder Centered Coaching, Non-Violent Communications, Rational Behavior Theory, brain science, mindfulness, EQ360 and MBTI.

I support executive leaders, start-up founders and CEOs as they transition to higher levels of leadership, grow their companies and lead their teams.  I inspire my clients to pursue purpose and meaning in their work and lives. I'm relentless in holding my client's accountable to achieve their dreams.

 

 

There are three key areas of focus in my executive coaching practice: 

  • Start-Up Founders and CEO's
  • Executives in Transition
  • Emerging Corporate Leaders

 


Mentoring start-up Founders/CEO’s as they grow and build their companies:

Start-up founders and CEOs face a unique set of challenges and pressures that many of us will never know. Taking their vision and making it real, convincing others to invest (including friends and family members), constantly being concerned about the payoff in the end, whether or not it will succeed, if they will provide a return on the investment or if they'll leave everyone in the lurch if it fails. The pressure is enormous. The ability to tolerate risk crucial. 

The early stage of building a team, assembling a board, attracting investors, and pitching to VC's is incredibly stressful and much of it is completely new for the first time start up founder. Not to mention actually building the product and delivering on objectives. Being a non-partisan sounding board where others feel safe is my primary task, asking questions that help my clients make sure they're covering all the angles, providing insight on what it takes to develop and grow as a leader, helping them create structures, systems and practices to grow and develop their team, and gathering input from their team and the Board on progress are all part of our work together.

My clients have raised millions of dollars in funds, doubled and tripled in size and seen what was once a fledgling dream of an idea become actualized. There is no greater reward than seeing my clients succeed in their goals.

Laura helped me take a step back and re-evaluate our company’s monetization strategy. Her domain expertise saved us months of time and lost revenue.
— Founder, hi tech start up
Laura has been an impactful career and life coach for me. She deploys her natural gift for seeing through the clutter/excuses and cutting to the chase to help me understand why I am the way I am, who I want to be, and how to bridge the gap — professionally and personally. She has helped me in a number of meaningful ways that have improved my career and quality of life.

Most impactful for me is her style and demeanor - with her intellect and no BS style - she cuts to the meaning in a quick fashion, or asks the right question at the right time, in the right way, for me.

She doesn’t have time or interest in dancing around the periphery, and has the smarts and style to bring it all together for me in a way I can own it.
— Pam Storm, Founder, Rent Marketplace
Laura has been a great resource for me in my role as COO, helping me navigate complexities in the workplace, with my CEO, direct reports, and personal life. I’m excited to work with her for years to come.
— COO, Venture Backed Growth Stage e-commerce
Laura has played a key role in my continued development as a leader. Early in my career I was fortunate to work at GE which highly valued development and coaching. When I entered my current role no such infrastructure was in place. As a leader in a small business Laura was able to help me fill the gap and continue my development.
— COO Privately Funded Energy Industry Growth Stage Company
I have dipped my toes with other coaches but Laura was the first one who listened for what I really needed (even if I didn’t know myself). Laura doesn’t ever force textbook guidance on me and always adapts well to what is most important to cover in any given meeting. She also responds very well to feedback and is open to evolving how we communicate together. Laura makes having a coach easy.
— CEO, Venture Backed Growth Stage Company

Executives in Transition/Career Coaching for those seeking new opportunities:

I’ve been very successful at helping C-suite and executive clients find new roles as they navigate the unchartered territory of transition and change in their lives. One of my core strengths is helping people tap in to their purpose and find work that is meaningful for them. Crucial to this is understanding their strengths while identifying self-sabotaging mechanisms that can impede their ability to succeed.

In some circumstances I’ve helped clients re-engage in their current role or company where I’ve helped them secure raises, promotions and find greater joy and job satisfaction. When that was not possible, and the client desired to find other work or was removed from the position or company, my task has been to support them as they seek new employment, and in many cases, change careers or even create their own businesses, find Board opportunities or shape new lives post-career.

I'm happy to report that they almost always land on their feet and are exponentially happier with where they end up than where they started.

While her approach is seemingly subtle, her impact is profound. Shortly after beginning my work with Laura I was promoted to a C-level role, gave my first TED talk and now am a sought-after spokesperson and thought leader in my industry.
— CDO Major Financial Institution
Without the professional support from Laura, my career transition would not have been so fulfilling. I recommend her to senior executives facing severe challenges in his or her professional and personal life.
— Former Financial Director, European healthcare industry Current Financial Advisor and Board Chair
Laura is an exceptional and gifted coach. I had the privilege of working with Laura during a time of major transition in my life, she was enormously skillful in helping me look at my current situation clearly, set an intention for what would come next, and make the necessary transitions. Laura offers an opportunity to include the professional, the personal, and the transpersonal in one conversation without creating any artificial boundaries between them. I valued this deeply in our work together.
— Transitioned from CTO to industry consultant.
Laura has an amazing ability to see with clarity what in the moment you can’t quite label or define for yourself. It’s this uncanny “knowing” that she brings to a coaching relationship and uses to help you find the response that’s right for you. Whether struggling with a work situation – or what to do with the rest of your life, Laura acts as a true partner in unraveling what’s truly important and in helping you shape your most authentic path forward.
— Senior Executive, transitioned from SVP of major global energy company to first female Executive Director, Industry Regulatory Agency
Laura was instrumental in helping me develop my career as I rose the ranks at one of the top positions at NASA Headquarters within a challenging environment of Washington, DC politics. She helped me work through team issues, personal conflict issues, and career growth, helping me grow professionally and personally. Her coaching was critical to my career progression, as I gained increasingly more challenging roles, each time felt like a stretch that she encouraged me to take on. Laura’s experience, style, and drive is an awesome combination that delivers results in a short period of time with style and grace!
— Former Senior Government Executive, current VP Engineering, Aerospace
Laura is an amazing talent and intuitive coach. She seems to have a sixth sense of knowing what to say at just the right time. Working with Laura dramatically changed my professional and personal life for the better. She helped me recognize my inherent ability to create and embrace positive change in my life. Through our work together, I am now able to look inside to find my authenticity and appreciate it. I consider myself fortunate to know and work with Laura.
— Transitioned from CEO of local government agency to for-profit
 

EMERGING Corporate Leaders:

I am typically contracted by HR departments of mid-size to large organizations to support the transition of leaders as they move up the ranks in their organizations, increasing their levels of responsibility and influence. These engagements include supporting clients with strategic thinking, time management, delegation, presence and mindfulness, communication, interpersonal skills, conflict resolution skills, work/life balance, giving and receiving feedback, emotional intelligence and leading and managing others.

Laura is an exceptional and gifted coach. I had the privilege of working with Laura during a time of major transition in my life, and Laura was enormously skillful in helping me look at my current situation clearly, set an intention for what would come next, and make the necessary transitions. 

I remember clearly the first conversation Laura and I had over the phone. Within minutes we were in the midst of a deep and open dialogue that I would expect to occur between people that had known each other for months or years. Our conversations only continued to deepen over the time we worked together. 

I valued my work with Laura as much as I did because she shares my belief that all aspects of being human are included in the coaching conversation. Laura offers an opportunity to include the professional, the personal, and the transpersonal in one conversation without creating any artificial boundaries between them. I valued this deeply in our work together, and take that stance in the work I now do with my clients.
— Jeremy Seligman, President, Insight to Action Consulting Firm
Laura has an amazing ability to see with clarity what in the moment you can’t quite label or define for yourself. It’s this uncanny “knowing” that she brings to a coaching relationship and uses to help you find the response that’s right for you.  Whether struggling with a work situation – or what to do with the rest of your life, Laura acts as a true partner in unraveling what’s truly important and in helping you shape your most authentic path forward.
— (female) Senior Executive, major global oil company.
 

Meet Your Coach

Founder of Gates Group, LLC, Laura is an ICF PCC Executive Leadership Coach with over 25 years experience coaching, training and facilitating leaders to create more impactful teams, cultures and organizations.

Read Laura's full bio here.

Read Laura's full bio here.

Her clients span the globe and include NASA, Shell Oil, VISA, Capital One, AT+T, Hewlett Packard, McKesson,  the Department of Energy, the US Navy, the Pentagon, M+T Bank, Mahindra BT, Silicon Valley Giants and venture-backed start-up CEOs. Laura was a founding member of Learning as Leadership, a leadership training company she helped build for 22 years. 

Laura previously ran a marketing consulting business after beginning her career at Citibank on Wall Street. She is certified in International Coaches Federation (Professional Certified Coach) David Allen’s Getting Things Done, Marshall Goldsmith’s Stakeholder Centered Coaching, Non-Violent Communications, Rational Behavior Therapy, 360º Assessments, including EQ360, Meyers Briggs Type Indicator and DiSc. 

She has B.S. in Business from Syracuse University’s School of Management and is a graduate of the San Francisco Renaissance Entrepreneur Center. A constant learner, she is currently studying Leadership and Creativity through IDEO, the Silicon Valley innovation hub.

In additional to facilitating workshops for thousands of leaders in the past 22 years, Laura has presented, including the Project Management Institute of Silicon Valley, Visa Corporation for Return to Work, Wisdompreneurs, Wisdom 2.0 Unplugged, the Global Women’s International Network conference in Rome and Prague, Pegasus Systems Thinking Conference, the San Rafael Leadership Institute, HR Forum, Marin County Women’s Commission, California Staffing Professionals, the ARMA Houston Conference, the University of North Texas International Conference on Work Teams, San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, Women in Communications, and the San Francisco Business and Professional Women's organization and Mills College.

Click here to read more about the coaching process in depth.

What Do I Bring To Coaching?

Let’s face it, leading people is hard work. Inspiring people to do what you need them to do is hard work. Prioritizing what’s important is hard work. Changing yourself to be the person you know you can be is probably the hardest undertaking of your life. I get it.

I’ve coached hundreds of leaders in the past 20 years and believe me, you’re not alone.

You're not the only one feeling like you are drowning in chaos, frustrated with people’s inability to follow your lead and desperately seeking 5 minutes of alone time to be able to have one strategic thought amongst the daily barrage of needs and requests.

And let’s not even mention getting your kid’s college essay done so she’s not working at McDonald’s while you are simultaneously researching your mom’s living options after 80. We are in a time that requires more of us when we feel we have less to give.

This is where I come in.
The sounding board.
The voice of reason.
The clear cut, no BS direct mirroring.

The reminder of the bigger picture, the holder of your goals and aspirations and the nudges towards what has meaning and purpose outside of the daily grind.

And the occasional tough love, when needed.