Meet our team of
Neil Olson, J.D.
Leadership Development Consultant
JD, University of San Francisco School of Law
BA Economics & Journalism, The University of North Dakota
Certified Professional Coach, Executive and Team Leadership Development, Coaches Training Institute (CTI)
What inspired you to enter this profession?
After spending 15 years practicing medical malpractice and maritime law in San Francisco I came to the realization that I wanted to have a bigger impact on people than the practice of law was providing me.After a series of personal inflection points, I decided to leave law and become a personal coach for executives, especially those in diverse, fast paced and often multi-cultural, international contexts.I have never, not once, regretted the decision. I thoroughly enjoy supporting high impact, high performance executives and their teams as they face complex challenges in a fast-paced, diverse, multi-cultural, and high stakes world.
What are your areas of specialty?
I most often work with business leaders, along with their teams, who have a powerful vision that is inspiring, energizing, rewarding, and reflects a change the world mindset. They have set their hearts on something bigger than a new product niche, or a market opportunity or a philosophy of growing a business to eventually sell it. They have a desire for a bigger, sustainable game.
I specialize in coaching leaders to inspire, energize, and lead in words and deeds. Through out coaching process, they often become aware that that they have direct control only over their behaviors and attitudes. My role as a coach is also to remind and reinforce the context the leader and their stakeholders are operating in. With a full appreciation of their context, they become fully capable of choosing appropriate attitudes and behaviors that inspire others to follow.
What is most rewarding about your work?
There is nothing else more inspiring in my life than watching a person grow into being a better version of themselves – and in my work it is in the form of Leadership. Every day I work with smart, ambitious, accomplished individuals.My bliss comes when I am successful in reminding my clients who it is they are and what it is they are capable of achieving once they get out of their own way.I find time and time again that once one fully understands one’s context and identifies the impact one wants to have – that one is free to choose attitudes and behaviors that most likely will move themselves and others closer to the impact they want.Leaders stop trying to change other people and get to work showing up in a way that is Leader-like – someone that people gladly follow.
What is the one pain point for leaders/organizations that you commonly encounter in your work?
Because we are human, we tend to have an ambiguous relationship with office power dynamics and politics. On the one hand, we distain the artificial and shallow nature of politics in the office and work environment. It is manipulative, exhausting and what I refer to as a giant time & energy vampire! However, it is an element of human dynamics that is ignored at one’s peril. The best solution is to acknowledge the politics for what it is (people being people) and to purposely design if, how, when, and what a leader engages or not. It is a part of the leader’s context and a part of what effective leaders learn to acknowledge, use, ignore, or leverage in order to breathe life into a powerful vision.
What about you or your approach makes clients click with you the most?
I combine the strategic mindset of an experienced lawyer with the contextual presence of an executive coach with over 10,000 hours of individual and team coaching.I am told my greatest value to clients is my groundedness, honesty, creative thought-partnership, and my uncompromising support. My clients also appreciate my humor and the fact that I read a ton. I bring experience, lightheartedness, open mindedness, and a broad and informed perspective to my coaching.
I also have run a successful business.I have had P&L experience.I have hired people and I have fired.I can stand in my client’s shoes.
Finally, I approach contexts with a diversity radar. I believe the very best teams are diverse and that good leaders work relentlessly to seek out diverse input.
What gets you up in the morning?
Being the best version of myself for my family. Leading by example. Anticipating the many blessings in my life and the amazing people and industries I serve.
I live to be of service. I believe service is the greatest calling of the human heart. Each day presents me with opportunities to be of service – and that catapults me out of bed!
Well, that and really good espresso.