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Transformational Leadership Coaching for Sustainable Change

Foreword by Rob and Kathy Bocchino

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July 2013 | 184 pages | Corwin

Leadership coaching that moves beyond the status quo

How do leaders who coach their peers and colleagues develop the next generation of leaders? What does it mean to serve as a “thought partner” for colleagues at the helm of meaningful change? How do powerful coaching conversations challenge assumptions and catalyze transformative innovation? How does leadership coaching lift people and programs beyond the demands of the status quo?


Named for a physics term that refers to sustainable energy in the absence of its source, Flywheel offers a comprehensive view of leadership coaching— including tools, coaching dialogues, exercises, and protocols. In Flywheel, Elle Allison-Napolitano draws on her extensive experience as a trainer of leaders who coach and as a practicing leadership coach, to fill a long standing gap in leadership coaching: to support leaders at the helm of the most important work in your organization. Flywheel offers these outcomes:


  • Emerging leaders through meaningful work

  • Deep implementation of your best initiatives

  • Better interactions and relationships through coaching

  • An engaged and committed workforce

  • Increased ownership and accountability

  • Innovative and inspired thinking


Make leadership coaching a movement in your organization and develop leaders capable of meaningful, sustainable change.

“In a world of ever mounting educational challenges, Dr. Allison’s work brings refreshing clarity in understanding transformational leadership coaching. Transformational coaching is the most compelling model in the coaching literature and will sustain the meaningful change needed to improve instruction and provide world-class educational opportunities for students.”
—Debbie Lee, Executive Director of K–12 Curriculum and Instruction
Waterloo Community Schools, IA

Foreword by Rob and Kathy Bocchino
About the Author
Part I. Promise
Chapter 1. The Meaning of Transformational Leadership Coaching
A Story of Transformational Leadership  
Transformational Leadership Coaching  
The Transformational Leader  
From Transformational Leadership to Transformed Organizations  
What if Your Leadership Coaching Initiative Played a Bigger Game?  
Chapter 2. Coach More, Lead More
Coaching Is Leadership  
Opportunities for Leaders to Coach  
To Coach or Not to Coach  
Portals to Coaching  
Answering the Call  
On to Part II!  
Part II. Projects
Chapter 3. The Greater Good: What Leaders Want You to Coach Them On
The Greater Good  
Helping Leaders Select Coaching Projects  
What Could You Be Coached On?  
Additional Tools Related to This Chapter  
Chapter 4. The First 100 Days
What's So Big About the First 100 Days?  
The First 100-Day Plan Defined  
Descriptions of the Actions in Each Phase  
Final Guidelines  
Part III. Practice
Chapter 5. The Flywheel System
Flywheel Leadership Coaching Components  
Additional Tools Related to This Chapter  
Chapter 6. The Powerful Coaching Conversation: An Overview
A Process Engineered for Inspiration  
How the Powerful Coaching Conversation Process Works  
Step 1. Greetings and Accountability  
Step 2. Connect to the Work and Focus This Coaching Session  
Step 3. Coachee Tells the Story  
Step 4. Question Assumptions and Deepen Understanding  
Step 5. Interact Through Thought Leadership Questions (TLQs)  
Step 6 and Step 7. Generative Reflection and Brainstorming  
Step 8. Wisdom and Commitment to Action  
Drawing the Conversation to Closure  
"You're Going to Be Great"  
A Series of Powerful Conversations Leading to Wisdom and Transformational Change  
It Ain't Always Pretty, But You're Going to Be Great  
Additional Tools Related to This Chapter  
Chapter 7. Listen, Just Listen
What Listening Means to Coaching  
What Stops Coaches From Listening?  
What Coaches "Do" When They Listen  
Listening and Leaders Who Coach  
Return to Listening  
Listening Is the Gatekeeper to Great Coaching  
Chapter 8. Question Assumptions and Deepen Understanding
Transition From Step 3 to Step 4  
Communication Skills Used by Coaches in Step 4  
The Ladder of Inference  
The Coaching Conversation in Step 4  
Step 4 Pitfalls  
Readiness for Step 5  
Chapter 9. Thought Leadership Questions
Inspired Thought  
A Coaching Scenario: Meet "Caroline"  
Adding Step 5 to the Powerful Coaching Conversation  
The Magic of Thought Leadership Questions: How the Mind Works  
Using Thought Leadership Questions for Good  
Deep Wells of Knowledge  
Chapter 10. The Jaunty Walk
The Jaunty Walk  
A Coaching Scenario: Meet "Adam"  
Part IV. Progress
Chapter 11. Monitoring the Results of Leadership Coaching
Is Leadership Coaching Operating as Expected?  
Do Leaders With Coaches Create Results for the Organization?  
Here Comes the Tricky Part  
Chapter 12. Start a Coaching Movement
Remember When We "Did" Coaching?  
Organizational Considerations That Support Leadership Coaching  
Final Words  
Appendix: Thought Leadership Questions


"Dr. Elle Allison has once again brought her knowledge, passion, and energy to the coaching world to give us another layer that builds on her previous highly successful works. In a world of ever mounting educational challenges, Dr. Allison’s  work brings refreshing clarity in understanding transformational leadership coaching. Our school district continues to be totally committed to a coaching model and Dr. Allison provided the direction that started our journey.  Her guidance showed us the possibilities of what coaching could do to create systemic, long-term, and sustainable change. And there was no looking back!  Leadership coaching fully supports  our district’s vision, structures meaningful work, brings energy to the work, and builds capacity in our administrative teams, lead teachers, and classroom teachers.  Transformational  coaching is the most compelling model in the coaching literature and will sustain the meaningful change needed to improve instruction and provide world-class educational opportunities for students. Thank you, Dr. Allison."

Debbie Lee, , Executive Director of K-12 Curriculum and Instruction
Waterloo Community Schools

Flywheel is powerful, practical and empowering!  Elle Allison-Napolitano effectively provides the reader with a deep understanding of the tools and strategies of Leadership Coaching that support meaningful and productive conversations in educational environments.  Leaders will be inspired to apply the 'Powerful Coaching Conversation' process to promote growth, enhance performance and to transform the culture of their schools by investment in collaborative, sustainable change.”

Doreen M. Corrente, Executive Director
R I Center For School Leadership

Flywheel is a must read for any professional hoping to make organizational change through leadership coaching. Elle Allison-Napolitano’s writing is engaging with rich stories, strong research and easy to follow instructions that will build leadership capacity in any organization.”

Dr. Ann W. Davis, Clinical Assistant Professor
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro

“I know there are a lot of “brands” of coaching out there, but Flywheel puts together the skills of great coaching that makes it appealing and manageable for people who may never have thought of themselves as a leader who could coach. Flywheel has synthesized the craft of coaching to a form that is both understandable and accessible to anyone wanting to support others in their important work.”

Tracee Grigsby-Turner, Supervisor of Professional Development
Alief ISD, TX
Key features

The benefits if this coaching practice are:

  • More leaders growing new leaders on the job, as they accomplish real work
  • More people interacting with each other through coaching
  • An engaged workforce: employees fully participating in the most important initiatives of the organization
  • Ownership and accountability for important work
  • Increased happiness in the workforce through improved relationships, conversations, and interactions on the job
  • More people interacting with each other in ways that spurs innovation and out of the box thinking
  • More people accomplishing meaningful work
  • Wise and timely decisions and solutions to challenges, quandaries, and problems
  • A renewed workforce with energy to do more meaningful work

Readers will leave with a one of a kind Powerful Renewal Coaching Conversation Protocol and Transfer tool.

Sample Materials & Chapters

Front Matter

Chapter One

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ISBN: 9781452260914

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