When you own your own business you can be isolated, even when surrounded by partners, family, and employees. They just don’t understand the stuff that comes with owning a business. Who does?

That’s where I come in. I come alongside the owners of privately-held companies with the empathy, understanding, and tools to navigate the important decisions they face as business owners, leaders, visionaries.

As a former owner myself, I’ve learned the hard way (read on!), and have experienced firsthand what owners are up against: the trade-offs, the decisions, the best guesses. I also bring my training, as an adjunct faculty member of the Lake Forest Graduate School of Management, and as a Certified Professional Coach (CPC).

You know your business better than anyone else. My task is to mine the answers, wisdom, and drive within and around you, empowering you to make the right decisions for you, your family, your company, and employees.

Executive Coaching

Business coaching is not about telling the owner what to do. Professional business coaching creates a space in which to see with clarity what is in front of you and what makes sense to you, so you can make your best decisions. As a Certified Professional Business Coach who has run two businesses and is familiar with the decisions you face, my job is to create the space in which you explore and come to your own conclusions.


Some of the decisions you face might be new to you, even though they are common and well-researched in the business world. These include personnel decisions, marketing decisions, and financial decisions. As a business consultant and business school faculty member, I work with clients to augment their knowledge base and make the best possible decision that is right for their unique business situation.

“In our strategic planning retreat, you got us to reveal our intentions and increase trust in each other.  It uncorked the bottle and made possible whole new outcomes.  The process was incredibly effective.”

—226 Companies

“We wanted to move from the Tim and Jim show to functioning as an architectural firm.  Our work with Mike focused on relational and leadership issues involving our employees, our vendors, and our clients.  By addressing these relational issues we dramatically impacted every metric – revenue, client composition, profit, number of engagements.”

—Kaufman O’Neil Architecture

From the Front Lines

Why Aren’t They Listening to Me?

A quality assurance expert was frustrated.  He simply could not get across to his boss’s boss how important it was to schedule a set of compliance audits – audits that protected and assured the company would not violate governmental agency requirements.  The meeting ended badly: he kept offering the senior executive more information, convinced that Read more

Producer to Owner

Two architects worked for 15 years designing multi-unit residential properties for multi-million dollar architectural firms.  Motivated by the Great Recession, they decided to strike out on their own, leveraging excellent experience in design, client relationships, zoning, building codes and construction contractors. They were the classic entrepreneur-producers, who thoroughly understood their product and their customer – Read more

Bloggable Insights

How to Thrive After COVID-19: Effective Leadership.

Expanding on Webinar, April 22, 2020 Recall the three ideas on how to be an effective leader during times like these: 1. Define the problem.2. Tell me the story.3. Give me resiliency. Let’s focus on define the problem. How do you define the problem in such a way as to increase revenue and decrease expense Read more

This or That

Shortly after I had joined our business, we were confronting relentless downward pressure on pricing, and a buyer found very well-priced sport shirts.  These shirts were well-priced for a reason: they were not made with the quality standards of our brand.  My dad, the Shale of Mark Shale, was made aware of these shirts through Read more