Archives For Executive Coach

Brian Patrick Cork:

One of the best parts of my own “job” is connecting best-of-class people.

I had a Gartner executive tell me recently that my rolodex is worth $1B.

I had a coaching client report in last night after I had connected him with a past executive coaching client. My response to him was:

“You both breathe ‘rare air’. Bad-asses have their own radar. The Laws of Natural Selection create the right kind of pack.”

One of the best things I ever heard my Grandad say was, “if you’re going to judge a man, do it by those around him”.

Let’s be part of the Solution.

brian patrick cork

I found myself engaged in meaningful and mostly self-inflicted review of my own career-path as I helped one of my past coaching clients navigate his own efforts to be a coach, of sorts.

You can read about some of that below:

Not All Coaches Are Created Equal

That will help you put the following into perspective. It’s a continuation of my exchange with “Walker”.

We all have to pause and consider a career plan, why we plan, and what we want from the plan. That generates the strategy.

By the way… There is a vital difference between a plan and a strategy. The plan represents the objective, and the strategy is how we achieve it.

I’m intrigued by the guidance you have received regarding coaching. Its either inspired or based on some foundation that confounds best practices.

With todays hiring, consulting and investing focus being mission-specific, it’s a head-scratcher for me that anyone would think being a generalist offers an advantage.

NOTE: If your only take away after reading this blog post is that simple point, then I think you have good footing in terms of evaluating your career-steps.

But then, perhaps being a “contrarian” is that very advantage. I need to be open-minded because I have often considered myself a contrarian. You and I both share the example of a very unusual career-path. And, I think you are really cool.

Mind you… My contrarian views are mostly focused on financial investing. However, my own career steps are probably more divinely inspired that purposeful. In other words, damn lucky. But, I don’t believe the sky is the limit. I am convinced our native abilities and our access to opportunities define limits. That said, if I can make $1,000,000 a year coaching within a limited band of focus, as opposed to $250,000 trying to chase anything, I’ll choose focus.

So… You say: “Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible”.

Many good men that are looking for a career change believe they need to keep ALL of their options open. Do you recall that discussion with me?  Its my experience that most men believe they must have a big net and reduced focus. However, I’m convinced that is why most people remain desperate and look at the minority with wonder in their success (is this an aspect of the laws of natural selection?)

That has always struck me as a good juxtapositional example of a definition of both irony and insanity (“doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”. Albert Einstein).

You might recall that when you came under my own coaching I had to convince you (and your stubborn self) to refine your filters and criteria and focus your efforts on a narrow-band search that leveraged relevant skills and experience that could legitimately lead to your financial goals. The target was “the perfect job”, or the “staging-opportunity”. Once we accomplished that the result was [REDACTED]. That is a stage-setting role that should lead to a significant opportunity.

That effort mirrors a methodology, coaching philosophy, and approach.

All that said, if your current mentor says go generalist, and he has himself realized success accordingly, heck why not?

You also said, “I do agree that there are limits in a coaches ability to coach.  Eventually I will probably focus more on one type of coaching vs another.  Time will tell”.

If you have time and bandwidth to approach your own path that way it may prove fun and interesting. But, I’ll continue to offer some reservations.

That word, “interesting” now has me thinking “Chinese interesting” and pondering the Chinese Panda parable around, “maybe”:


“There is a Taoist story of an old farmer who had worked his crops for many years. One day his horse ran away. Upon hearing the news, his neighbors came to visit. “Such bad luck,” they said sympathetically. “May be,” the farmer replied. The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses. “How wonderful,” the neighbors exclaimed. “May be,” replied the old man. The following day, his son tried to ride one of the untamed horses, was thrown, and broke his leg. The neighbors again came to offer their sympathy on his misfortune. “May be,” answered the farmer. The day after, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army. Seeing that the son’s leg was broken, they passed him by. The neighbors congratulated the farmer on how well things had turned out. “May be,” said the farmer.”

But, I’d not bet against any man blessed with the paradoxal name of [REDACTED].

Maybe you try is this way… “My name is [REDACTED]. I stand as both a business and life coach. I believe those paths must be intertwined, providing we do it under a mantle of Christian belief“.

Me? I’m going to follow the path aligned by emerging trend, convergence opportunities, venture and other capital, my gut, experience, and luck.

Let’s be part of the Solution.

brian patrick cork

It’s hard to believe that I have been purposefully “coaching” decision-makers for almost ten years now.

One of the most gratifying elements of the practice is the incredible network of coaching clients that we have developed. We are seeing ever more instances where we can make introductions in-and-amongst these “best-of-class” professionals for tremendous mutual benefit.

It does not appear to matter what state the economy is in, or from what market they hail. These people can and will go out of their collective way to help one another. Commerce is being waged. Investment of both time and financial resources are being made. Lives are changing, and daily.

Let’s be part of the Solution.

brian patrick cork

karma at Work

January 18, 2011 — 1 Comment

I’ll stand firm in my conviction that LinkedIn is a relevant business tool.

I recently had an exchange with a local executive that keeps his contacts private. I believe this is an enormous mistake. Transparency rules, as does karma. And, LinkedIn works better (always) when we have opportunities to help one another in clear sight.

To drive that point home, I just received my 100th endorsement on LinkedIn. So, this post makes for a timely anniversary, of sorts, as well.

Vincent Birley and I met about seven years ago while our kids went to the same private school. He was already doing great work at Ron Blue & Company when he asked me to coach him through upgrading his position there. Those were early days of coaching for me. My coaching practice has obviously flourished along with our  executive recruiting practice. But, the following, and most recent, recommendation from Vince is a reminder and example that we can and should always be seeking ways to help one another.

Details of the Recommendation now found on my LinkedIn profile:

“Brian helped me to see my career from a perspective that moved from doing my job without seeing the big picture to investing my talent to help the company and me meet our respective goals. For those of you who are frustrated and need clarity, perspective and a boost, you would do well to engage with Brian Cork.”
Year first hired: 2005
Top Qualities: Expert, Good Value, Creative

Let’s be part of the Solution.

brian patrick cork

Hiring remains robust throughout the country.

However, employers searching up-and-down the food-chain (or, chain-of-command) are focused on mission-specific hiring.

This means you have to be specifically skilled and experienced to do a particular set of tasks – and, probably for a defined perioed of time.

The average “shelf-life” for a senior executive is approximately thirty (30) months now.

In any event, there are a lot of jobs available.  Problem is – no one knows where you are because you don’t know how to network smart and efficiently. This is a grim reminder that you need to hone and perfect that particular expertise WHILE YOU ARE EMPLOYED.

I see if from both sides – as an executive recruiter and an executive coach.

I get contacted and references from people who have been laid off or feel now is the time to optimize a career-path (Interestingly, I am also getting more contact from leaders that simply want to make better decisions in the work-place based on the need for great efficiencies and effectiveness).

Let’s get right to it.

Standard resumes and sending emails to people you thing you know – or, you hope might actually care about your plight (most don’t), rarely works anymore. Uploading resumes online sends them to document corruption hell.

Worse, if you are on Monster or other similar repositories, retained search professionals like myself can’t (or won’t) work with you.

If you are in transition, here’s what you might consider doing:

NOTE:  This is radical stuff for professionals over forty (40). However, keep in mind that 57% of corporate America is now thirty-five and under.

1. Your blog can be a form of resume. You need one (especially if you have Subject Matter Expertise (SME). It needs to have 100 posts on it about what you want to be known for (and, it should be linked to my own Blogs to help you with Search Engine Optimization (SEO) because I get over 23000 hits a day on

2. Remove all LOLCats from your blog (seriously) 1/. Do not argue me on through comments or on Twitter about this. Google finds Twitters. Do you want your future potential boss noticing that you post LOLCats all day long? Believe me, you do not. It will NOT help you.

3. Remove all friends from your facebook and twitter accounts that will embarrass you. If there are photos of people getting drunk with you that is a bad sign. Get rid of them. They will NOT help you get a job. In fact, if you want to KEEP your job, banish these images.

4. Demonstrate you are “clued in.” This means removing ANYTHING that says you are a “social media expert” from your Twitter account. There is no such thing and even if there were there’s no job in it for you. Chris Brogan already has that job – and, he’s not likely willing to give it up.

5. Demonstrate you have kids and hobbies, but they should be 1% of your public persona, not 99%. Stick with Subject Matter Expertise.

6. Put what job you want into your blog’s header. Visit Joel Spolsky’s blog. He’s “on software.” That’s a major hint that if he were looking for a job that he is expert and focused on software. If you want a job as a chef, you better have a blog that looks like you love cooking, like this. Post something that teaches me something about what you want to do every day. If you want to drive a cab, you better go out and take pictures of cabs. Think about cabs. Put suggestions for cabbies up. Interview cabbies. You better have a blog that is nothing but cabs. Cabs. Cabs. Cabs all the time. If you want to be a plumber, look for other plumbers to add to Twitter, friendfeed, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Remove all others. Be 100% focused on what you want to do.

7. Do not beg for links. If you did the above, you can Twitter me and say “check out my great software blog” though. Include @unsinkable in the tweet so I’ll see it. I haven’t met a blogger yet who is not egotistical. Take advantage of it. But no begging.

8. On Twitter ou can tell me what you had for lunch, but only after you posted 20 great items about what you want to do. Look at Tim O’Reilly’s tweet stream. Very little noise. Just great stuff that will make you think (he wants a job as a thinker, so do you get it yet?)

9. Invite influentials out to lunch. Getting a job is now your profession. If you were a salesperson, how would you get sales? You would take people out to lunch who can either buy what you’re selling, or influence others who can buy. That means take other bloggers (but only if they cover what you want to do) out to lunch. That means taking lots of industry executives out to lunch. Call them up and ask them to lunch.  Tell them you have three questions you have prepared for them.  You want to hear their story. If you make a real connection you have a network link and potential advocate and reference.

10. DON’T send out resumes. Make sure yours is up to date and top notch on LinkedIn.  But, don’t BLAST it to everyone you know. And, once again,  if you are an executive DON’T use Craig’s List, Monster, Etc.

11. Go to industry events. I have a list of tech industry events up on If you want to be a plumber, go to where contractors go. Etc. Etc. Make sure you have clear business cards. Include your photo. Include your Twitter and LinkedIn addresses. Your cell phone. Your blog address. And the same line that’s at the top of your blog. Joel’s should say “on software.” Yours should say what you love to do. Hand them out, ask for theirs. Make notes on theirs. Email them later with your LinkedIn and blog URLs and say “you’ll find lots of good stuff about xxxxxxxx industry on my blog.”

12. When you meet someone who can hire and who you want to work for, follow them on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, their blog. Stalk them without being “creepy.” Learn everything you can about them. Build a friendfeed room with all their stuff. That way when they say on Twitter “I have a job opening” you can be the first one to Tweet back.

13. Do what you want to do. Let’s assume you’ll be laid off for a year. Are you going to lay around on the couch waiting for a call? No. You will do exactly what you want to do. Want to be an engineer at a great startup? Go and volunteer to work there for free. Make sure you do a blog post about every day you do what you’re doing for free. Say “I could do this for you, call…”. But, keep regular hours. Make sure your life remains balanced.

14. Do some work on SEO (see above). Make it possible for people to find you. THINK about how people would search for someone with your expertise and skills. Here’s how, Visit the Google AdWords Keyword Tool. Do a search on a word that you think represents best what you want to do. I just did one for “Disruptive Green Engineering” and it brought up a ton of great info about what people are searching for. Include those terms in your blog. And, even better, blog about those things!

15. UPDATE: Mark Trapp added to remove any hint that you hated your old job from all your online things.

Got any other ideas? Feel free to comment. A LOT of people read this Blog.

Another NOTE: you can still get a job even after weird photos and other things are posted about you. I probably have naked pictures of me out there on the Internet and I have a regulatory hiccup along my career-path (and my Alma Mater – Radford University - 2/ still asked me to be the Keynote Speaker for their 2008 Entrepreneurial Summit, and join the Board of Advisors). So, rules can be broken; but break them carefully!

Be part of the solution and, not the problem

Brian Patrick Cork


1/ A lolcat is an image combining a photograph, most frequently of a cat, with a humorous and idiosyncratic caption in (often) broken English—a dialect which is known as “lolspeak,” ”kitteh,” or “kitty pidgin” and which parodies the poor grammar typically attributed to Internet slang. The name “lolcat” is a compound word of the words “LOL” and “cat”. A synonym for “lolcat” is cat macro, since the images are a type of image macro. Lolcats are designed for photo sharing imageboards and other internet forums. The term lolcat gained national media attention in the United States when it was covered by Time, which wrote that non-commercialized phenomena of the sort are increasingly rare, stating that lolcats have “a distinctly old-school, early 1990s, Usenet feel to [them].

2/ Radford University Entreprenurial Summit.

SPECIAL NOTE:  Brian also has a personals Blog that apparently fascinates world leaders and decision-makers alike (but, few others). It can be viewed and relished at: The Unsinkable brian cork.