Having worked over 30 years in the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and another 8 years as a corporate leader in the private sector, Dr. Lynn Saboe knows what it takes to be successful, both personally and professionally. Factor in her remarkable business acumen, extensive studies, and impressive series of accolades, it’s fitting that as an executive and personal coach, leadership trainer, mentor, and speaker, she’s helped thousands of people around the world to discover their passion, optimize their potential, and fulfill their dreams.
Dr. Saboe earned a bachelor’s in environmental science from The Johns Hopkins University in 1979 before becoming one of the first women managers at Procter & Gamble in Baltimore. She then received her master’s in administrative science, again from Johns Hopkins. After working for the Electric Vehicle Council trade association and later its parent organization, the Edison Electric Institute, she landed the opportunity to work for the CIA where she worked as a program manager for 33 years.
Today, she is a Board Certified Coach (BCC), graduate of The College of Executive Coaching, and recently earned an advanced diploma in neuroscience of leadership. We asked her to share her thoughts on the importance of coaching and the challenges brought on by the pandemic.
What sort of work are you currently doing?
I am a leadership and business executive coach working as a subcontractor through companies that market to the U.S. government, military, and across private industry. I have also coached executive teams such as the Navy’s Fourth Fleet executive team. I facilitate Implementation Mastery Sessions and roundtables for the World Business and Executive Coaches Summit, the Inc. 5000 conference, the MG 100 Leaders Live, and for CHIEF, an organization of C-Suite women. I am also a professional speaker.
What made you decide to coach other professionals?
I have always advocated for women and minorities in the workforce and have been an advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion all my life. During my CIA career, there was an upward feedback facilitator program for senior leaders, and I volunteered. This was my entree into the coaching world; I was actually coaching for the managers and the teams they led. I also became an adjunct leadership instructor for the CIA.
Why do you think coaching is important?
Coaching can change the world one person at a time. It is the most powerful tool to help people really make changes, to have an outside perspective to tackle all sorts of work crises and situations, and to deal with a changing world and changing expectations across the workforce.
How has the pandemic impacted the need for coaching?
Everyone needs help navigating this new world with changing expectations of the global workforce, which has been shaken by people having to work remotely, evaluating their financial situations, and having concerns about health issues or family losses. Coaches are also being called on to help teams connect and help managers be successful. Teams are in multiple locations, often collaborating globally with people who are experiencing different life situations in a variety of cultures. Communicating effectively is a critical component for executive coaches to help with now, especially helping leaders create psychological safety for everyone to speak up and be included in decision making.
What made you decide to obtain the BCC?
It was toward the end of my career at the CIA that I became certified as a BCC. It is a premier certification, recognized globally, and put me in such an elite group of professional coaches. I honor the validity of the BCC! It has been critical for all my coaching because it shows that a coach is a professional in this field.
Is there a particular achievement that you consider a personal or career highlight?
I have been honored to receive several awards, including 25 from the CIA, two career medals, and a Meritorious Unit Citation from the Director of National Intelligence. My proudest moments were when I was nominated five times as Mentor of the Year at the CIA, and when a program I founded won CIA’s Mentoring Program of the Year in 2014. I am also proud of forming the Board Certified Coach Community of Practice, and I encourage anyone who would like to participate in it to drop me a note at Lynn.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Learn more about the BCC here.
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