John Ferris

Executive Coach

Overview and Strengths

John is a business executive with 39 years of experience across a broad array of positions and disciplines up to and including President and CEO. He brings to the coaching role a wealth of “in the chair” experience that spans multinational organizations with Gillette, Oral B, Braun, and Duracell, and private enterprise with Swiss Natural – health and wellness products.

He has managed complete reorganizations, organizational rebranding, taken a company to market and successful sale, as well as being elected to the Program Advisory Board for Health Canada’s Natural Health Products Directorate. During the first 30+ years of his career he managed all the core disciplines across an organization; Sales, Marketing, Planning, Training, Manufacturing, Operations, Finance, and Human Resources. Regardless of the position, John’s focus has always been on six key business principles to drive lasting organizational performance:

  • Know your employees beyond their position
  • Understand your customers’ needs and your organization’s capabilities
  • React to the “root cause”, not the “symptoms” of your business issues.
  • Focus the organization on evolutionary development
  • Align the organization’s strategic direction and incentive plans across all departments
  • Communicate, communicate, communicate

John’s coaching / consulting experience focuses on helping Presidents and CEO’s better manage their business. His experience spans 7 years in industries ranging from CPG, Utilities, Printing, Event Management, Electronics, and Art. His unique style merges consulting, coaching, and mentoring to help clients objectively look at their organizations and themselves, to target meaningful goals and bring them to life. John’s commitment is to be in the moment with his clients, as he understands that issues surface outside of planned meetings. His pledge is to make himself available to help manage the issue when the issue needs to be addressed. He is very aware of the fine line between perception and reality in the workplace, and how small adjustments in behaviour can have significant impact on workplace engagement and motivation.

Coaching Highlights

Coached a Founder & CEO that owned a CPG business for 27 years. The business had been in decline for a few years causing the founder to start to lose personal confidence that he was capable to run the organization going forward. John utilized a 360 assessment to uncover that the level of respect and engagement was diminishing because the level of innovation the company was bringing to the marketplace had diminished significantly in recent years. This finding led to the Founder leading the organization to develop and implement a 3-year perpetual new product launch strategy, supported with quarterly Founder communications to engage and excite both customers and employees about the future. As a result, the Founder’s personal confidence to lead the company has peaked, he has developed a very entertaining communication style, and customer / employee engagement continues to grow.

A utilities organization had embarked on a major acquisition spree to consolidate 6 companies that complimented the core competency of the mother organization. Once the romance of the acquisitions was completed the COO’s confidence dropped dramatically as he struggled with how to integrate these organizations into the mother organization. John worked with the COO to first renew his confidence regarding both the strategic importance and alignment of the acquisitions. Secondly, they built his confidence on how he was going to lead the integration of these 6 companies by building an integration plan with defined steps and timing that he could present to the CEO for validation.

Senior VP of Operations (CPG company) had been in the position for 20+ years. She was very engaged in her job, competent relative to the technical requirements of the departments’ responsibilities, and highly reliable relative to deliverables. However, her operating style was curt, highly controlling, and her staff were relegated to completing tasks rather than owning and managing job functions. This resulted in a high turnover trend in her department, and some suppliers openly expressing that they did not want to work with her. She was quick to understand and accept the 360 assessment findings. Across a 6-month coaching engagement she made significant progress relative to her curt tone and delegation of management responsibility. However, in month 7 and 8 she quickly started to rebound back to her old ways. When the rebound was discussed she clearly stated her understanding for the 360 findings however declared that her muscle memory was too strong, and she could not change her operating style on a long-term basis. This resulted in a mutual agreement for her to leave the organization.

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