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  • Writer's pictureDave Veale

Helping CEOs reach the next level

Reflecting on a busy and varied career, Denise Carpenter can’t help but wish she had a leadership coach to help guide her.

“I've always either run my own business or been a leader or a senior executive,” she says. “I would have been a much better executive if I had a coach starting when I was in my 20s.”

Today, she leverages her decades of experience and skills as a professional executive coach, often to those who are chief executives or on their way there.

We’re delighted to share that she has joined the Vision Coaching roster of leadership coaches – enticed to bring a focus on serving CEOs of companies.

'Lonely at the top'

While Vision has served CEOs since the company was founded in 2005, recruiting Denise to the roster is a deliberate step by the company to offer coaches with deep experiences as chief executives.

“It's lonely at the top. To be a trusted adviser or a thought partner is what CEOs need – somebody they can really trust to work through ideas and test them in a safe environment. It's easier to trust somebody who's been there,” Denise says.

Over the decades, Denise built diverse experience across an array of sectors from financial services and health care to security, natural resources and energy. She’s worked in the public, private, publicly traded and non-profit arenas.

“I'm very mindful and grateful for the career I've had. It hasn't been easy – it hasn't been perfect.... I'm glad that I can use that experience to help other people.”

Along the way, a friend suggested to her that she should consider becoming a leadership coach. It was an idea that stuck with her for several years. In 2019, she took the leap – enrolling in the executive coaching program at the Adler Graduate Professional School in Toronto.

And she loves it. The reward, she says, comes in helping CEOs and other C-suite leaders navigate their way.

“I'm very mindful and grateful for the career I've had. It hasn't been easy – it hasn't been perfect. Anybody who's had it perfect, I'd like to meet them,” Denise says. “I'm glad that I can use that experience to help other people.”

Looking for clarity of purpose

A native of Western Canada, Denise is an honest and direct communicator – and appreciates that in others.

In addition to coaching, she is active on a number of corporate boards, as a director and chair. Governance is an area of interest.

She has her Institute of Corporate Directors (ICD.D) designation from the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto. And this year she gained her (GCB.D) Global Competent Boards Designation which is environmental, social, and governance focused. (Yes, she is a lifelong learner.)

CEOs often turn to her for guidance on dealing with their own boards, whether it be driven by a desire to be the best executive the board has ever worked with or to maneuver through an unexpected turn of events.

Part of the journey

“Board members right now are looking at clarity of purpose to be able to attract young people. Our CEOs have to have emotional intelligence. Our CEOs have to have clarity and purpose. As that evolves, I would say there'll be more demand for coaching leaders in working with their boards of directors,” Denise says.

Today, leaders are engaging with her for a myriad of reasons – from navigating change to seeking advice on specific issues to improving their leadership skills and building executive presence.

Whatever it may be, Denise feels rewarded to be invited to be a part of the journey.

“There is this feeling of gratitude I have in walking beside these people as they're taking this journey,” she says. “I'm really grateful that I can help people succeed. My purpose is really simple – to help companies and people succeed.”

For more information on Denise, please see her biography on the Vision Coaching website.

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