We asked our Coaches “What are the most important Leadership Capabilities?” – May 2021 Coaches Corner

Leadership Capabilites

May 17-23, 2021 is International Coaching Week. In honor of this global celebration of professional coaching, we want to celebrate some of the world-class coaches here at Sounding Board. These are just a few of our many talented coaches, sharing their perspective on critical leadership capabilities.

We asked our Coaches "What are the most important Leadership Capabilities?" - May 2021 Coaches Corner 1
Leadership Capability: Organization Collaboration

“Working collaboratively across your organization is a business imperative. The very nature of work itself and how work gets done has been irrevocably changed by the pandemic. Hierarchical organization structures no longer represent who or how work gets done. Purposeful organizational collaboration across informal structures is a new leadership protocol. To effectively lead in organizations requires you to navigate the turbulent waters of power, politics, and challenging organizational dynamics. Developing high degrees of self-awareness coupled with self-management enables a greater impact and better results.”

- Maryanne S., New Jersey

We asked our Coaches "What are the most important Leadership Capabilities?" - May 2021 Coaches Corner 2
Leadership Capability: Executive Presence

“When thinking about Executive Presence, there can be a tendency to look around you. How do you see other leaders show-up? What do they do? What marks them out? The risk becomes that you then try to imitate a combination of other’s styles. Instead, it is finding your own version. Thinking about what makes you different, and owning it. What can you be counted on for? How do you want to be perceived? These questions can help set a direction and assess progress, while building your consistency and visibility.”

- Craig H., United Kingdom

We asked our Coaches "What are the most important Leadership Capabilities?" - May 2021 Coaches Corner 3
Leadership Capability: Developing Others

“Good leaders realise pretty quickly that it’s not about them individually anymore; it’s all about the team and what’s possible collectively. That means focusing on the developmental needs of the individuals in relation to the goals of the wider team. Time must be spent creating opportunities for team members to expand their skills, rather than simply allocating tasks to whoever can do it quickest. It requires a leader to take a longer term, strategic viewpoint - rather than a short term tactical one.”

- Nicki L., China

We asked our Coaches "What are the most important Leadership Capabilities?" - May 2021 Coaches Corner 4
Leadership Capability: Communication

“Communication is such a powerful leadership capability to work with leaders on and it’s not all about your ability to demonstrate your expertise through the spoken word. It’s a life-ship practice rooted in the ability to raise our self-awareness and sense (or feel) into the energetic impact one is having, intentional or unintentional. We do this through listening into the feedback that is swirling all around us. It’s learning to read the unspoken word and sense into what’s not being said and getting curious about that. This requires us to courageously set aside our assumptions, bias or being right for the sake of initiating and encouraging conversations and all voices being heard.”

- Sue J., Canada

Richard Nash
Leadership Capability: Managing Change

“In a way, you don’t manage change. Change is the weather, you don’t get to control it, but you also don’t let it dictate how you respond to it. You surf change. Some days, you surf it brilliantly; other days you wipe out. Whichever happens, the next day you paddle back out, and you do it again. Now, that’s the change that comes from without. In another way, you can manage change, that’s the change that comes from within. You achieve change.”

- Richard N., New York

We asked our Coaches "What are the most important Leadership Capabilities?" - May 2021 Coaches Corner 5
Leadership Capability: Decision-making

“Leaders are inundated with a constant stream of decisions and to make strategic, timely, and quality decisions is a top leadership capability. Strong decision-making entails using your head and heart. It is about considering and evaluating reason and logic, including diverse viewpoints from all stakeholders, and knowing how to triangulate responses, that is, taking three varying perspectives on one topic and synthesizing for the best outcome. It is also grounded in the values of the leader, team, and company, and encourage utilizing your intuition for positive outcomes.”

- Regina Z., New York

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We Develop The World's Most Impactful Leaders

Sounding Board offers virtual and scalable enterprise learning solutions that are flexible enough to adapt to rapidly changing work environments. Powered by behavioral science and core leadership capabilities, our proven coaching methodology drives measurable business impact.

Niall MacGearailt

SVP of Finance
Niall MacGearailt leads Sounding Board’s finance division as the SVP of Finance and Operations. Niall earned a solid track record of improving P&L and operational expense management for leading companies such as Whirlpool, Logitech, Avaya and most recently Soraa, where he prepared the business for acquisition by leading hi-tech lighting company, Ecosense. In his role, he is responsible for building and leading the finance & relevant operations functions for the company.

Ron Buell

VP of Engineering
Ron Buell is the VP of Engineering at Sounding Board and an accomplished software professional with extensive experience in leadership, software engineering, project management, and product management. Ron has led the development of highly scalable systems and applications across a variety of technologies for companies including OpenFeint (acquired by GREE), Rdio (acquired by Pandora), Lyris Technologies, and Lotus/IBM Software Group. In his role at Sounding Board, Buell is responsible for all engineering efforts in developing, deploying, and maintaining the enterprise software platform and team for the company.

Tommy Perkins


Tommy is at his best helping clients think through complex challenges in order to create a positive impact on their organizations. He thrives when interacting with others whether helping his team succeed or working with clients to build long-term partnerships. He has extensive experience consulting with organizations on driving their employee experience, guiding organizations through change, and working to ensure organizations are moving the needle when it comes to their results.

Most recently, Tommy was a Client Services Leader overseeing some of GP’s most prized accounts on a global level. His responsibilities included overall client growth strategy, retention, and satisfaction. He represented all of GP Strategies’ major business lines including leadership, coaching, and engagement, digital transformation, outsourced services, and technology implementation solutions.

Before GP Strategies, Tommy spent several years with TTEC Digital (formerly rogenSI) where he led the sales team,  eventually becoming the regional Learning & Performance practice leader for North America. While managing the P&L and sales team he also led the largest global relationship for the firm (Deloitte Globally). During his time at TTEC, he focused on delivering blended learning solutions that incorporate technology and hands-on training. Before TTEC Digital, he spent several years dedicated to strength-based leadership disrupting the business landscape regarding performance management and employee engagement with thought leader Marcus Buckingham at The Marcus Buckingham Company / TMBC (now ADP).

Tommy has had the privilege of working with some of the most well-known global brands in professional services, retail, technology, and healthcare including Deloitte, Facebook, Microsoft, Bank of America, Novartis, Gap Inc., lululemon, and Intel. Several projects he led for Deloitte were Global GNPS, New Partner Pivot, NextGen Partner Program Deloitte China, Present to Win, the RPM project on performance management, and Unconscious Bias.

Tommy holds a BS in Health Sciences from Texas A&M University, and an MBA from Universidad del CEMA.

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Lori Mazan

Co-Founder & CCO Sounding Board, Inc.
Lori Mazan is the Co-Founder and Chief Coaching Officer of Sounding Board, the preeminent global leadership development enterprise platform changing the face of leadership development through innovative technology for leaders at all levels of an organization. Lori is a seasoned executive coach who has guided hundreds of corporate executives through 1:1 coaching focused on business outcomes and developing critical leadership skills. Client companies advanced by Lori’s expertise include Fortune titans such as Chevron and Sprint as well as high growth and public companies like Intellikine, and Tapjoy, plus 10XGenomics, which became a public company in 2019 while top executives worked with Lori and the Sounding Board team.
Lori has spent the last 25 years coaching C-Suite executives to leadership excellence. Many of those public and private company CEO’s expressed that they would have liked this caliber of coaching earlier in their careers. Inspired by these experiences, Lori joined with Christine to launch Sounding Board as a feedback-driven, cloud-based leadership coaching platform that could maintain best-in-class leadership coaching while lowering costs to make it affordable and scalable for leaders at every level of their careers.
Before founding Sounding Board, Lori received her Masters’ in Adult Educational Psychology/Counseling from the University of San Francisco and a Bachelors’ in Psychology from the University of Virginia. Lori is an educator and has spent over 10 years as a professor of social psychology and group dynamics while acting as the interim Dean of Students at Holy Names University, She is certified by the industry’s gold standard, the Coaches Training Institute, and is a founding member of the Genentech Preferred Network of Coaches. Sounding Board is one of <3% of sole female founded startups receiving venture funding. In 2019 Sounding Board was selected as 1 of 7 startups (out of 100+ applicants) as part of SAP’s HR tech cohort, a group that represents the rising stars of the next-gen HR ecosystem.

Christine Tao

Co-Founder & CEO Sounding Board, Inc.
Christine Tao is the co-founder & CEO at Sounding Board, a Silicon Valley startup redefining how organizations are developing their leaders. Her extraordinarily rapid career growth to executive management in the media, mobile and tech sectors of Silicon Valley became her inspiration for founding Sounding Board. As she began to manage larger teams and be responsible for growing revenues, it became clear that she needed a “sounding board” to coach her on the development of her leadership skills. That’s where her Sounding Board co-founder, Lori Mazan came on the scene. A seasoned executive coach focused on leadership development, Lori coached Christine on real-world leadership skills that had a direct impact on business outcomes. Based on her positive and impactful experience with leadership development, Christine was driven to make leadership development coaching accessible to people at all levels of the organization.
Christine advises several startups, is a budding angel investor and is also a Tory Burch Foundation Fellow, a foundation dedicated to investing in the success and sustainability of women entrepreneurs.
Prior to co-founding Sounding Board, Christine was a Senior Vice President of Developer Relations at Tapjoy, a venture-backed, leading mobile advertising & publishing network. She led the growth of Tapjoy’s publisher advertising business from 0 to over $100 million in revenues in less than 3 years. Prior to that she led e-commerce partnerships and strategy at YouTube. Christine holds an MBA in Marketing & Operations from Wharton and a BA in Business Administration from UC Berkeley.