Kathleen Romaniello describes herself as a “Mid-Career Change Agent” for Renaissance Coaching Group, a Northeast Philadelphia-based firm for clients who are in job transitions and searching for support. She is a new member of the GNPCC, and recently accepted the position of director of our marketing committee. She answered five questions from GNPCC Director of Marketing Don Brennan, an inFocus staff writer, for today’s Member Spotlight.
What is Renaissance Coaching Group?
Renaissance Coaching Group provides leadership training, executive coaching, and outplacement services to small to medium-sized companies. I also work with mid-career professionals who are at a crossroads. Generally, my clients are in transition and need support. It could be someone who has been downsized or laid off and they’re not sure what to do next. It could be someone whose career progress has stalled and they’re ready to take a more proactive approach to growing within their current profession. I also work with self-employed service professionals who want to grow their business or who feel overwhelmed.
What are your thoughts about leadership in business?
That is a tough question to answer briefly! After 20+ years in various business roles and in my work as a coach, trainer, and business owner, I believe that effective leaders must hold themselves to high personal standards and model best practices—honesty, integrity, respect for all people. Strong leaders communicate frequently and effectively, and are skilled collaborators. They develop a strong team of experts, know how to set expectations, and hold themselves and others accountable for results.
Great leaders don’t hide behind closed doors all day. They get out and interact with their employees. Great leaders—and I include in that group CEOs, team leaders and front-line supervisors–don’t need to have all the answers but they should always be asking good questions. Bullying employees or threatening their jobs is not good leadership. Effective leaders nurture an environment based on trust in which feedback is given and received frequently. Strong leaders are always learning and developing their skill set. Leaders need to like people and have the willingness to develop a strong team.
Effective leaders also need strong time management skills. Many are juggling customer service, client development, employee development, and profitability. Customer and client expectations can change quickly; leaders need to make time to stay ahead of the curve. Leaders must find a way to carve out time regularly to step back and process results–what’s working, what isn’t working, what information is needed to improve results.
In my experience, too many businesses don’t do enough to develop strong leaders. They tend to promote employees into leadership roles without assessing whether the employee has the necessary skill set to lead people. The skills needed to lead a process or serve clients and customers are very different than the skills needed to lead a team of employees. Businesses are best served if they identify leadership competencies and provide training to new managers on those competencies.
What are you hoping to gain from this leadership role, and, moreover, your membership in the chamber?
It’s my goal to support the Chamber and its individual members. I want to learn more about the needs of individual members and see what we can do to answer those needs. Personally, I hope to develop strong business relationships with other members and increase my visibility within the local business community. As a new business owner, of course I’d like to grow my business and want to reciprocate by helping other members grow theirs. I also want to share my skills and expertise whenever and wherever I can be of service to the Chamber!
How can Renaissance Coaching Group help to jumpstart a stagnant or flat business?
Business and markets are constantly changing. It can be hard to keep up. If a business is struggling or stagnant, the first step is for me to do what I call a SWOT analysis—what are the company’s strengths and weaknesses? What opportunities exist and what could threaten its future success. We do this through a half day discovery session during which I ask a lot of questions. I help the business owner or leadership team step back and ask the tough questions and help them identify what I call the pain points in their business. Where are you stuck? How has your client/customer base shifted? Why are you losing business? What are you doing well? Where do you need to improve? What do your clients want? What has changed in the economy or in your business that will require you to shift or broaden your focus?
Information really is power. Once we have an honest and objective assessment of the state of their business, I then help them develop strategies to move the business in a more positive direction. With my HR background, I offer the added benefit of helping the business sort through staffing challenges, team building, employee (and leadership) development, and recruiting the right people.
Tell us about yourself so our members can get to know you a bit.
I have a business degree from Temple University (Industrial relations and organizational behavior). I also received my coach training from CoachU. Before starting Renaissance Coaching Group, I spent over 20 years in human resources. I have extensive experience in recruiting, employee relations, employee and leadership development, and coaching. Some of my former employers include major area law firms including Cozen O’Connor and Fox Rothschild. I also worked in healthcare at Einstein Healthcare Network where I managed employee relations for the entire network of 6,000 employees.
In my free time, I am an organic gardener and DIYer and love taking on projects in my house. I have two dogs, practice yoga and meditate daily.
(For more information about Renaissance Coaching Group, please call 215-632-1872 or visit www.renaissancecoachinggroup.com)