From CEO to CEO coach(Nashville Business Journal , Friday, September 28, 2007 )

Charles Story used relationships forged during a long career as a corporate manager and CEO to jump into a mid-life career change as an executive coach.

Now he jets all over the country helping rising stars in corporate America realize their abilities and talents.

As the face behind Exceptional Coaching Solutions Group Inc. Story specializes in working with employees who have the greatest chance of reaching their potential. Companies are increasingly willing to invest in individuals they believe in, Story says.

“They want to retain their strong performers because they know it gives them a competitive advantage,” he adds.

Story’s customers are based in cities all over the United States, although he’s lived in Nashville since attending Fisk University in the early 1970s. This includes his long stint as CEO of INROADS, a St. Louis-based nonprofit that develops and places talented minority youth in business and industry.

Story worked for INROADS for 24 years, which meant he had a deep pool of contacts to dip into when he launched ECS. He began making the switch from CEO to executive coach in 2003 when he received certification as a Master Coach by Dr. Suzanne Skiffington, a leader in the executive coaching movement.

A close associate at Kraft Foods was instrumental getting him his first coaching job.

“I am really indebted to this individual,” Story says. “He was my first client and everything took off from there.”

ESC services typically involves a 12-month contract for $15,000, exclusive of expenses.

Recent industry statistics indicate that corporations and companies embrace executive coaching.

A recent survey by CO2 Partners in Minneapolis found that half of managers in the United States have received some form of coaching.

The Harvard Business Review estimates that American companies spend more than $1 billion annually on coaching.

Generally, Story coaches clients about how to overcome specific barriers to performance and teamwork. His approach is to help the employee identify solutions to the blocks, rather than tell them what to do.

“It is always better if the answer comes from the person, rather than you,” Story says

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Author: Shalini Verma

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