Catapult Leadership Labs Brings Flexibility to Leadership Coaching

Photo by Susan Post

Leadership coaching can be an invaluable tool for C-level executives to entrepreneurs, but one size doesn’t fit all. A new local coaching group looks to breathe fresh life into the industry with solutions that are more flexible, affordable and technology-driven than traditional options.

Catapult Leadership Labs brings together a variety of coaches with varying backgrounds, experience and expertise to offer one-on-one coaching, virtual peer groups, external peer groups and in-house consulting.

“Our goal, really, is to meet entrepreneurs where they are,” says CEO RJ Nicolosi. Catapult provides “the right information, at the right time, at the right place, for the right person,” he says.

Throughout his career, Nicolosi has been on both ends of the coaching spectrum. His business experience also shapes the perspective he offers to his clients.

Purchasing his first company in his late 20s, Nicolosi says he grew the business too fast and things blew up during the recession. What he now calls a great and awful experience all at once, Nicolosi came out on the other side doing CEO coaching.

As the adage goes, “If you can’t do, teach,” he says.

Through Inc., Nicolosi worked with CEOs from Fortune 500 companies across the country, among other projects. He turned back to business after several years of coaching with Inc., but last year found himself at an inflection point.

“I always loved CEO coaching and what it could do,” Nicolosi says.

And so it was back to coaching, but this time creating a new model to address the major issues he sees in the industry.

Instead of clients fitting into a rigid coaching program, Catapult focuses more on individualized needs and flexibility — meeting the client where they are. Catapult will work with businesses across a spectrum of industries and sizes, from one to two person startups, to large corporations.

Catapult serves such a wide range of potential clients by bringing in coaches with backgrounds in leadership, business, and life coaching, as well as subject matter experts.

Coach of Coaches John Baker sees Catapult’s unique benefit emerging as the coaches continually find more ways to work together. Although individual coaches might have more knowledge in a certain area, any one specialty tends to bleed into another.

Baker told Nicolosi early on, “I trust us more than I trust me in terms of our ability to really serve.”

Whether in a one-on-one or a peer group situation, Catapult’s coaching works around the theory of constraints. Outlined in The Goal by Eliyahu Goldratt, the theory is based on the notion that any organism, or organization, has choke points. Get rid of that choke point and things get better. Putting it in a business context, eliminate a choke point, and see a systemic jump in the performance of a company.

Catapult CEO Coach Otto Beatty says part of their process is to make sure an individual or organization is addressing the right choke point. Tools like a “Business EKG” and a “Choke Point Analysis” help ensure the actual question or problem is being addressed and not just a symptom of the issue.

“I’ve found that many parts of the entrepreneurial ecosystem or community have not been exposed to this type of coaching or these type of peer groups,” Beatty says.

Catapult will add another layer to its flexibility by bringing technology into the equation. The group is creating its own software platform and online community.

The platform will help connect clients and coaches and allow users to seek out subject matter experts. It will also house general information and resources which Catapult will make accessible at an affordable price point three to four times lower than traditional coaching.

Affordability is important to Nicolosi, and one of the industry issues he’s looking to solve with Catapult. It won’t be just the online options that are affordable, he says full service coaching will still be about 20-25% less than traditional coaching services.

Businesses can see the Catapult model for themselves at their upcoming Catapult Goes to the Dogs event on June 6 featuring BrewDog CDO Tanisha Robinson.

The event will kick off with a discussion Robinson about disruption, leadership and perseverance. Then, a group of coaches will discuss the theory of constraints, and how to identify those choke points in an organization.

From there, things get interactive. Attendees will split into groups and select one example from each group to run through the process. Nicolosi wants to give attendees a sense of the power of the collective mind, of what it’s like to be in a group and tackle an issue. Beatty hopes the experience will spur their first Columbus-based peer groups in the months after.

For more information, visit catapultleadershiplabs.com. For more information on Catapult’s upcoming event, click here.