CEOs, current leaders and aspiring leaders all have self-imposed barriers. The difference is the complexity of those barriers and each person’s capacity to face their own internal hurdles. Read my clients’ reactions to see how working with me taught them accountability, new frameworks for effective decision making and how to avoid falling back on old habits.



Marc Whinnem: Vice President of Operations, Hospitality Business Network Solutions

“Barbara was very adaptable to my style of thinking. I could tell that her personality and her style was different than mine, but she was able to really help me understand, and definitely set me up for success with the tools she provided me to self-reflect and reframe conversations.”

Jamon Alexander, Adult Program Director: West Michigan Center for Arts & Technology

I didn’t feel that I could afford to reflect – some memories were buried intentionally. Nor did I have the mental or behavioral models to dig deeper. That’s where Barbara came in – through her facilitation of the Leadership Advantage program at the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce’s Center for Community Leadership. Barbara helped me see the power of introspection and vulnerability and their connections to my work, and more importantly, life.

Tyler Nickerson, Director of Investments and State Strategy: The Solutions Project

Barbara has a keen sense of working with all types of leaders. She was able to traverse age dynamic to provide timely, relevant counsel that helped me in navigating my early career as a young professional. There is no doubt that my work with Barbara will allow me to be stronger, better prepared leader in the years to come.

Shannon M. Cunningham, Director of Marketing & Business Development: Smith Haughey Rice & Roegge

My first interaction with Barbara took place during my Leadership Grand Rapids class; from there, I was hooked. I’ve had the opportunity to work with her in a small group setting and the experience has been nothing but beneficial and eye-opening. Barbara challenged me to go beyond my typical leadership comforts and to see every interaction – both personal and professional – through a different lens. My time withher has certainly altered the manner in which I interact with all whom I encounter.

Jing Wang, Vice-President for Human Resources Operations: Shell Companies in China

Thanks so much for all the coaching and support rendered to me. Your coaching has enabled me to understand myself much deeper and you helped open up new doors allowing sunshine to come through more fully into my heart!

Robert Kegan,PhD and Lisa Lahey, PhD: Harvard University Faculty, Cambridge, MA. Authors of Immunity to Change, and founding principals of Minds at Work, Cambridge, MA

Barbara Rapaport is literally a ‘coach’s coach’–not only is she a master at supporting others’ transformative change efforts through our Immunity-to-Change approach, but we also are proud to have her as a faculty member in our programs, teaching experienced coaches how to integrate the approach into their own repertoires.

Connell Fanning, PhD: Director, The Keynes Centre and Former Professor of Economics and Head, School of Economics, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland

William James, the giant of American thinking in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, had a wonderful phrase for the ‘vision’ or ‘philosophy’ by which we each work and live: “one’s best working attitude.” This is what Barbara gives on every occasion. She exemplifies the ‘best working attitude’ and that in and of itself creates a space in which one’s working attitude grows and becomes better. Barbara had met me only briefly before she started working with me long distance by phone because we were in different continents and at a most difficult period in my working life when I was swamped by a number of complex professional and personal challenges. I am still, many years later, astonished at the extraordinary intuition and understanding – the whole feel of me as a person – that she brought to bear at every session and by which she found ways for me to move beyond the ‘stuckness’ that holds us in such situations. To be able to do this in phone sessions only is quite incredible. The best way I can vouch for that is to say that she could read even the long silences for their meanings and opportunities to point ways forward.

Eleanor Drago-Seversen, EdD: Teachers College, Columbia University Faculty, New York, NY. Author of Helping Educators Grow

Barbara is a masterful coach and wise, insightful guide who helped me to change and grow in ways that have made a tremendous difference and impact. Through her deep care, generosity, powerful insights, profound wisdom and her exquisite knowing and capacity to see inside, she helped me to make important connections and to grow. She is a truly gifted coach who will touch you and help you to change your life. You will feel very wise should you have the gift of Barbara as coach.

Nancy Treul, Former Senior Vice-President: Farmers Midwest ServicePoint, Grand Rapids, MI

Barbara facilitates a powerful seminar called, “Immunity to Change™”. This multiple session learning experience helps people identify and overcome assumptions that have for years impeded their personal growth and success. She does this by facilitating a methodical process of self-reflection that she has learned and refined through years of training and experience. Barbara is a gifted coach; she leads people through this process, but does not direct them. She stays with you during the hard work of honest self-reflection, providing opportunities to design “tests” of assumptions and new behaviors in safe environments. By following this process, I have seen individuals break through barriers about which they were unaware, and suddenly they are free and empowered to achieve their full potential. It truly can be life-changing!

Laura Traxler: Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce

Barbara has a wealth of experience leading cultural change and executive coaching in global companies. I will be forever grateful for the perspectives and leadership tools I gained through her coaching. My time with her has undoubtedly changed my daily life through improving my relationships, my stress management and my approach to obstacles.

Ellen Satterlee, Former CEO: Wege Foundation, Grand Rapids, MI

When I started the search for an Executive Coach I really didn’t know what to expect. What I found in Barbara, after interviewing several others, was someone who was completely open and honest. In working with Barbara I’ve found my own strength and my own voice. It was there all along. In reflection, I feel like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz and Barbara was Glinda. She walked along side me during a particularly difficult transition period and helped me to learn for myself new ways of dealing with our business both internally and externally. Barbara has been the best investment I’ve made in my career.

Paul Matthews, Director: Mobius Leadership Company, Heir Island, Ireland

As a coach I experienced Barbara’s insight and courage. She is an exceptional human being who will not shrink back. She will stand in the fire with you and accompany your every step with compassion.

Twayne Howard, Chief Administrative Officer and Assistant Treasurer: The Right Place, Inc., Grand Rapids, MI

Barbara possesses a wonderful instinct for what an individual or an organization needs to grow and succeed. This instinct, coupled with years of training and practicing her art, has led her to be indispensable to anyone looking for professional growth or organizational excellence.

Bernhard Hilmarsen, Principal: TonMar Management Consulting, Oslo, Norway

Barbara has solid experience as a coach and professional development facilitator. Individuals she coaches speak very highly of her ability to combine coaching skills, presence and a genuine caring for their development. As a sub-contractor for one of my global clients, Barbara has worked with leaders from many countries around the world and she is able to connect at a personal level across these diverse cultures.

Director: Educational Testing Service: Princeton, NJ

The time Barbara and I spent together was an exercise in personal and professional development. Barbara listened beyond my initial words, providing insights into my comments that resulted in unanticipated depths of understanding. She also customized meaningful development assignments for each of our sessions. Barbara quickly got to know me, my personal life and the organization where I work. She provided feedback on the basis of that insight and was there for feedback and support along the way. My husband was my at-home partner relative to this development effort. At the end of our work together, he was compelled to email Barbara to provide feedback about the positive changes he observed and to thank her for her part in guiding me. Thanks, Barbara!

Manager: Farmers Insurance, Grand Rapids, MI

A few months have passed since our last meeting. I still feel so happy that you have helped improve the quality of my life with the skills you have given me. My confidence, which was always a weakness, has now manifested itself into my being happy and content with my decisions. My team feels less stress, pressure and micromanaging. I feel I have a better handle on my conversations and due to this they are accepting my coaching and reaching out to me when they hit roadblocks. Excuses are a thing of the past and the staff is starting to respect my team. That is the biggest win! With the freedom of time acquired by successfully managing issues and empowering my team to be accountable for their deliverables, I have felt my creativity come back and have been able to put it to use in two proposals that have been successfully received to date. Thank you is not enough for what you have helped me achieve!!!!!

Rick Baker, President/CEO: Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce, Grand Rapids, MI

As the new CEO for our organization, Barbara’s engagement was critical to get me and my team on the same page rapidly. Adapting to a new leadership style and expectations is challenging for any team, Barbara helped us condense the adaptation time and avoid unintended errors by facilitating our transition in real-time.

Sara Armbruster, Vice-President, Corporate Strategy & WorkSpace Futures: Steelcase, Inc., Grand Rapids, MI

Barbara has been an invaluable partner in working with my team to help individuals gain personal insight and to improve their effectiveness. Recently, one team member remarked that working with Barbara has been the single most important developmental experience of their career. Barbara’s involvement turned my most recent leadership team retreat from a good meeting into a pivotal experience that moved us forward as a team. We couldn’t have gotten to that point without Barbara’s coaching and support. And when I asked Barbara to help me think through some leadership questions, I found her blend of empathy, experience and directness just what I needed to gain new self-understanding. And I use that learning to this day to be a better leader.

Dave MacDonald, Former Faculty in MBA Program: Haworth College of Business, Western Michigan University, Grand Rapids, MI

For several years, as a part of MGMT 6170: Managing Human Resources and Behavior, Barbara regularly facilitated a session to help participants learn about the need for aligning organizational culture to its business strategy. Her engaging and interactive sessions always resulted in participants learning simple, practical content (the Competing Values Framework) that they could begin to apply immediately. Barbara is a thinking person’s facilitator.

Cindy Brown, Executive Director: Hello West Michigan, Grand Rapids, MI

Hello West Michigan was half way through a three-year strategic plan when we connected with Barbara. Our organization is growing. Barbara took all that was pulling at us, assessed the situation and guided us into creating a user-friendly process that we continue to use today. It allowed us to refocus our energy on our core work and enhance our existing program. I appreciate Barbara’s insight as she assisted in this process. We are a better organization because of the time spent with Barbara.

Sara Binkley-Tow, Co-Founder and Executive Director: MomsBloom, Grand Rapids, MI

I first met Barbara as a facilitator when I was a member of the Rising Women Leaders group in 2011. Barbara’s talent and passion for her work comes through in everything that she does. She is not only skilled in group facilitation, she has an innate ability in one-on-one sessions to help you discover what you want and what may be preventing you from getting there. Barbara will help you to achieve your goals by bringing a wealth of knowledge and insight to any individual or organization.

Julie Kelley, Senior Account Manager: Cyient

I wanted to send a personal thank you for everything that you did for our Rising Women Leaders class. You brought connection to our powerful, yet fragmented, thoughts and aspirations. You helped us connect as a group. You helped build friendships. You supported our insecurities and self-discoveries. You cleared our minds to reveal our true potential. You gave us foundation. I don’t know if the rest of the women feel like I do now, but there is an emotional breakthrough and gratitude that I feel after the graduation. Motivation has never been difficult for me to drum up, but this feeling of the field being somewhat cleared so I can speed toward my dreams is quite simply joyous. I want to thank you for helping me see how to reach my potential – how to be a better person every day. I have only just begun, and I will never stop.