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We Help New and Emerging Managers Develop Leadership Skills

Growing startups and other technical and semi-technical organizations fail all the time. Not because they don’t have solid business plans, good processes, or brilliant engineers, but because their people don’t trust each other.

Business failure, project failure, missed deadlines, high turnover, unproductive teams—these all have a variety of causes, but one of the most common is a lack of good leadership.

If you are regularly promoting engineers into management positions, and lying awake at night wondering “How can I help them shift from being a technical contributor to being a leader of people?,” contact us today.

Have a new or emerging leader in mind? Sign-them up to participate in our next Leadership and the Middle Path public workshop, starting 19 Jan 2023.

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Don't Wait to Develop Your Managers

It's More Costly Than You Think

When an individual contributor transitions into his or her first formal management position, it’s far more significant and difficult than most people realize. And not something to be taken for granted.

According to a recent CareerBuilder survey:

  • 20% of first-time managers are doing a poor job

  • 26% of first-time managers felt they were not ready to lead others, and

  • 58% said they never received any training when transitioned into their first leadership role.

And from a Center for Creative Leadership white paper:

  • 50% of managers in organizations are ineffective.


Avoiding or delaying the development of your new and emerging managers is not a risk worth taking. It can quickly and easily lead to confusion, miscommunication, low trust, poor decisions, low productivity, missed deadlines, high turnover, and—if left unchecked, ultimately—project or business failure.


You're In the Right Place

You’re feeling stressed, you’re running around like your hair is on fire, you’ve got a business to run—and a thousand other things to do toward that end.

You sincerely want to help your new managers develop their leadership skills, but you have neither the time nor the expertise to figure out how best to do that.

You care. You want to do it right. You don’t’ want to spend too much. And you’d like to work with someone you can trust—a professional, who's knowledgeable, skilled, and been around the block a few times.



Leadership Development Workshops

Our leadership development workshops have been tried and tested in over 120 tech start-ups and other businesses (including Fortune 100 companies) in 15 countries around the world.

We offer three foundational leadership programs:

  • Leadership and the Middle Path

  • Leading One-to-One

  • Leading Teams


We offer two solutions:

Leadership and the Middle Path

Our foundational workshop, Leadership and the Middle Path, is a standard developmental steppingstone for many leaders around the world.

It helps new and emerging managers with technical backgrounds (e.g., engineers) develop essential mindsets, tools and frameworks for leading others. Its primary focus is on self-development, and helps the new manager build skills for problem-solving within a human system.


Participants learn and practice skills that help them:

  • solve problems collaboratively

  • make better decisions

  • run better meetings

  • form stronger agreements

  • handle conflict productively

As a testament to the power of this workshop it is not uncommon for investors to tell the leadership team of a new start-up, “sure, we’ll fund you, but only if you send your workforce through this program.”

This two-day program is offered both privately and publicly.

For more on the public version of Leadership and the Middle Path, visit this page.

Leading One-to-One

Leading One-to-One, the second workshop in the series, picks up where the foundational program left off. Where Leadership and the Middle Path is primarily focused on the development of self, Leading One-to-One is focused on the development of others.

This two-day program is for managers who influence or coach others. It builds on the foundation laid in Leadership and the Middle Path and helps participants develop one-to-one helping/coaching skills. The program helps participants:

  • Recognize, understand, and work effectively with others who have different work styles

  • Delegate productively

  • Give feedback

  • Coach in long-game situations (e.g., career development conversations)

  • Help others develop the problem-solving and communication skills taught in Leadership and the Middle Path

As in the previous program, participants bring real-life situations/issues they are working on to the program. We apply the concepts, principles and frameworks taught in the class to those situations—we do that in class and then again, four- to six-weeks later, in follow-up practice sessions.

For more on Leading One-to-One, visit this page.

Leading Teams

This workshop is for managers who lead teams. It builds on skills taught in the previous two programs and helps participants develop team leadership skills, including how to…

  • Manage by mission

  • Develop a team charter

  • Understand basic psycho-dynamics on a team

  • Assess team effectiveness

  • Diagnose and solve team problems

  • Develop a team

As in previous programs, participants bring real-life situations/issues they are working on to the program. We apply the concepts, principles and frameworks taught in the class to those situations—we do that in class and then again, four- to six-weeks later, in follow-up practice sessions.

For more on Leading Teams, visit this page.



Leaders sometimes need a little help along the way—some dedicated, personal, professional attention to assist in crossing a threshold, working through a transition, changing a habit, or developing a new skill.

While all coaching is some form of facilitated problem solving, there are many different situations for which coaching is appropriate.


We offer the following types of coaching:

Developmental Coaching – For the leader who has been tapped for a more senior position and wants assistance shifting his or her leadership skills and style to match the requirements of the new level.

The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them—glory and danger alike—and yet, notwithstanding, they go out to meet it.

–Thucydides, early Greek historian

Performance Coaching – Often leaders have specific situational or skills gaps they want to address. Performance coaching focuses on the situation and the capabilities needed to be successful in it.

Transition Coaching - Moving into a new position is a critical time for leaders. Transition coaching helps the new leader hit the ground running.

Contact us today to schedule a free exploratory session.

For more on Russ' style as a Middle Path certified coach, click here.


Year Established


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Client Satisfaction



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"We all get stuck in task and relationship problems. The Middle Path frameworks Russ teaches have helped us get unstuck and moving forward again—as individuals and as an organization."

Clara L.


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Modern Building


Founded in 2010, Russ Powell Consulting grew out of the work of veteran human performance technology (HPT) consultant Russ Powell. After working for over 20 years in the field of training and development, Russ has turned his focus to the development of high-performing teams and their leaders.

Learn more about Russ Powell Consulting >

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Russ began his career in hospitality and then moved to a global telecommunications company where he developed a reputation as a skillful training consultant and helped leaders in sales and customer service find more and better ways to win against their competitors.

Learn more about Russ >

Russ Powell holds several professional designations including certifications from Middle Path Consulting, Development Dimensions International (DDI), and Hogan Assessment Systems. He's also a certified facilitator of DiSC programs.

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My clients hire me over other coaches and facilitators because:


What This Means for You

Problem-Solving Orientation

  • Many coaches tend to have a communications-first orientation—and you see this in the titles of popular business books (e.g., Crucial Conversations, Fierce Conversations, We Need to Talk)—I put problem-solving first.

  • You're looking for help solving real-world people-problems. I get that. And I enable you (through my workshops and coaching) to do just that. We'll spend some time on developing communication skills, but it's always, always, always in the service of solving problems.

Biological Systems View

  • A great many coaches tend to take a mechanical view of human systems, treating people and teams as you might an automobile or a grandfather clock. And you hear this in phrases like, "I want my team to be a well-oiled machine."

  • I say "no"—solving problems within a human system requires a biological systems viewpoint. And biological systems are chaotic and non-linear. You can't fix a broken system by swapping out a worker as you might a defective spark plug.

Simple but Not Easy

  • If you're looking for a 17-step, academic model for having better conversations, you're going to need a different coach. I teach simple, relevant, practical, and useful models for everyday problem-solving—frameworks that are easy to understand, but not always easy to put into practice.

  • When you work with me, we practice. A lot! Whether in my workshops or my coaching sessions, you can expect to practice, far more than in most leadership programs. But you leave my programs knowing that you know this stuff—you're able to apply the models and frameworks immediately.

Middle Path / Integral Thinking

  • I help managers catch themselves when they get stuck in binary thinking—"either you win or I win," "I have to be a tough manager or a nice manager," "we must be a mission-first company or a growth-first company."

  • Binary thinking is not only rarely accurate, it often leads to poor decisions and unnecessary conflict. For more on this, see my coaching services page.

  • I help managers become integral thinkers (a.k.a., "middle path" thinkers). When they apply what I teach, they're more open to alternative ideas, make better decisions, experience less unproductive conflict, and improve their problem solving efforts.

Comprehensive Leadership Curriculum

  • My Middle Path curriculum for developing leaders—designed by world-class team- and leadership-development expert, Chris Holmberg—is hands down, one of the best foundational leadership programs out there today.

  • It avoids the overly complex 17-step plans for leading offered by many institutional learning organizations and cuts to the chase, offering practical, useful, relevant frameworks for today's leaders.



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Schedule a meeting with Russ to discuss more about services and offerings. 

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