Developing Extraordinary Leaders

Ken Kesslin photoSince working as an Investment Banker on Wall Street in the 1980s and then as a Clinical Social Worker in New York City in the 1990s, I’ve been combining business experience with people wisdom to help develop extraordinary leaders.

After living in Philadelphia for ten years, and New York City for twenty years before that, I’ve met a lot people who think they’re great leaders… and a few of them actually are. I’ve gotten to know who’s the real deal, and who’s not; who’s full of potential, and who’s just full of themselves. In my experience, great leaders value truth, especially when it’s about them and the things they need to change. So I’ve developed a fairly sophisticated “BS meter” that I use to save my clients a lot of time in their leadership development.

I expect you’re here because leadership is important to you.

So what distinguishes outstanding leaders? Current research points to emotional intelligence as a crucial factor. And the foundation of emotional intelligence is self-awareness. Without that, you’re lost as a leader in today’s VUCA – volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous – world.

It’s all about self-awareness and soul.

I help leaders develop greater self-awareness along with a deeper connection to their soul – to the essence of who they are. If that sounds airy-fairy or New Agey to you, I understand. It sounds that way to me too sometimes. But I know this to be the most powerful way to generate dramatic and successful change for an individual leader, a team, or an entire organization.

If you know yourself well – meaning you’re clear on your personal motivation and future vision – and you have a high degree of self-awareness, you’ll produce dramatic results, consistently. The idea is simple; the process of getting there can be challenging.

I have no doubt that leadership can be learned. Some people come along with a great foundation and innate talent, but that’s not required for becoming an outstanding leader. Everyone has the potential to become an extraordinary leader. What they don’t always have is the motivation, determination, and resilience to get there.

My role as a coach is to help you uncover your personal motivation – your “leadership soul” – and then support you through the challenges of your own development.



Through executive coaching that focuses on developing Emotional Intelligence (EQ) and transforming outdated ways of thinking – thinking that “used to work,” or seemed to work, but is no longer effective. I help leaders get the honest feedback they need to identify personal blind spots and become aware of the real impact of their behavior. And then I provide individualized tools for ongoing learning and development so that growth continues well past the coaching engagement.


Most work teams I encounter are mildly to severely dysfunctional, which means they often operate well below their potential. I talk with team members and observe them interacting to identify what’s getting in the way. Then we work together to improve the team’s ability to collaborate and leverage the best from everyone.

Offsite retreats are another way to bring a team together and address issues that may be interfering with their effectiveness. For teams that are already high-performing, a well-designed and facilitated retreat is a wonderful way to take time together to slow down, step back and take a higher-level, more strategic view of their current reality and future needs.


Along with my strategic partners, we design and deliver world-class organization-wide training and development programs. These programs are typically tied to a strategic goal that requires a significant shift in the behavior of leaders throughout the organization.