Frances Hesselbein

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Frances Hesselbein is the Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Leader to Leader Institute, formerly the Peter Drucker Foundation. She was CEO of the Girl Scouts of the USA from 1976 to 1990. Frances is Editor-in-Chief of the quarterly journal Leader to Leader, and a coeditor of the book of the same name. She is also the author of Hesselbein on Leadership.

Coaching approach

Frances Hesselbein's "coaching" is based on what each person needs. That need is always different and must be discovered through the course of working together. She does not label her work coaching. She talks with people and advises when appropriate. The discussion occurs in a framework of partnership. Together, she works with that person to draw closer to answers that are meaningful.

Frances believes that if a coach begins by saying that he or she knows what is good for a person, the engagement will fail. Preconceptions cannot be applied to another person's life to suit an established solution. Instead, a coach needs to truly know and take into account a person's needs. What do they value? What do they respect? What are they looking for?

There must be a beginning and an end to the engagement. The expectations must be clear. Overarching those criteria should be one unbreakable creed: First, do no harm. The moral obligation of coaching requires the coach to be at her very best – intellectually, emotionally, and responsively – in service of the person whose life is in her hands.