Dennis Nelson, CPA
Chief Financial Officer

After a number of years working as a public accountant, Dennis Nelson made the transition to corporate accounting and is currently the CFO for a Southern California-based footwear company. It was in his previous job with TaylorMade-adidas Golf Company that he first got to know Lynn Schoener. TaylorMade had launched an internal coaching initiative and Lynn coached Dennis over a period of three years.

“I was in my early 30’s, had a good career in public accounting, and had risen quickly at TaylorMade,” says Dennis. The big question for him was “What’s next?” He and Lynn dialogued consistently about that, as they maintained focus on how Dennis could become more effective, efficient, and influential at work. Through the coaching process, Dennis was able to clearly identify what he liked and did not like about his job. Realizing that he enjoyed managing, he was able to move within his organization from planning, analysis, and cost control into a broader role. “I got to see new things and have new responsibilities,” says Dennis.

Strongly analytical by nature, Dennis was somewhat surprised by how quickly he took to the coaching process, so much so that he eventually enrolled in the coaching certification program at the Hudson Institute of Santa Barbara. “I wanted to add value as a leader in my company,” says Dennis. “It’s not mushy. The process of coaching is very rational. To have someone lead you through a process to explore and look at new things – that’s where coaching is valuable.”

Dennis appreciated the fact that Lynn’s approach was not formulaic. “It was open, and we could go where I needed and wanted to go. I learned from Lynn for my own coaching to be flexible and not stick tightly to a script,” says Dennis. “Lynn is good at going down different paths – she effectively balances her attention to the thinking and feeling aspects of things.”

Regarding the transition from TaylorMade to the CFO position he holds today, Dennis says that had he not been coaching with Lynn, he might have left TaylorMade too soon. “Rather than seeking out the right direction, I’d been going in a circle. The benefit of coaching is that you begin to understand what you want, rather than just getting away from what you don’t want,” says Dennis. “What am I really looking for? What will the next chapter be? That’s the value of coaching, answering those questions.”


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