Interview with the author of “Leaders: Their Stories, Their Words”

Donna Karlin (no relation…but people do ask!) has a new book out, and I was lucky enough to get a few insights from the author.  Donna has a unique viewpoint as a “Shadow Coach” – someone who shadows leaders as they do their jobs, and comes up with insights and feedback that make a powerful difference in their effectiveness. As someone who observes leaders in action, she’s in a wonderful position to capture stories and to give them to us in “their words”…

Every so often over the next few months I’ll be interviewing authors of business books I recommend, all of whom are affiliated with Karlin Sloan & Company. We have an amazing network of world-class executive coaches and consultants, and I want you to hear what they’re up to!

What is your book “Leaders: Their Stories, Their Words” about?

It’s about Human-Based Leaders™; people who marry a passion for what they do with compassion for those with whom they do it. These leaders from various fields of practice,  create a culture of caring, collaboration, consultation, and continuous learning. They recognize they’re only as good as the people they lead and in turn serve. This is their legacy.

What got you excited to write it? Who were you writing it for?

I believe we, coaches and anyone who grows people for a passion and a living, cannot do our jobs in the best possible way unless we understand people and what spark was lit to get them where they wanted to get…where they are today.

What should our readers know about you as an author as a shadow coach?

As a Shadow Coach®, I observe how individuals construct interpretations about their ways of being which are then reflected through their language and actions.  By asking illuminating questions, introducing paradoxes, and co-creating stimulating arenas and environments I expand my clients’ thinking as their worlds unfold.

I see talents, strengths, insights, insecurities, and fears emerge and shine a light on them for my clients to see. We challenge assumptions and see how personal programming might be changed to better serve them. In a political, military, or government environment, we work at the speed of light, dealing with what unfolds, looking at implications upon implications of change from a leadership and organizational context. In the corporate environment there are other pressures and stressors we deal with. We end up what I call ‘dancing in real time’, dealing with change as commonplace, and chaos as the norm.

What makes a great business leader?

One who shines a light on the greatness of all his or her people and let’s them all shine.  Great business leaders recognize they have power with their people.

Based on your research and experience, what tips do you have for our Good Business audience?

Continuously ask yourself “What don’t I know that I need to know?” “Who do I need to know who I don’t know?” And when something isn’t working as well as you know it should or can, ask yourself what limiting beliefs are standing in your way. And above all, build a community of thought partners so you never ever have to go it alone.

Where can we get a copy?

Thanks Donna!


About karlinsloan

Karlin Sloan has committed herself to finding out what makes great leaders tick, and to supporting leaders to be the change they wish to see in the world. As a corporate citizen she is an advocate for triple-bottom-line reporting, for creating sustainable ways of working and living, and for creating positive organizational communities that work together for the greater good. She is the author of the acclaimed business book Smarter, Faster, Better; Strategies for Effective, Enduring, and Fulfilled Leadership which has been translated into Thai and Russian, UNFEAR: Facing Change in an Era of Uncertainty, and co-author of the 2012 book Lemonade: The Leaders Guide to Resilience at Work. For more information see or
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