On Being a Great Communication Adviser and Coach

For many communicators, work is all about the craft of producing articles, posts, videos and other content. Moving into the leadership ranks, however, requires more than great tactical skills and, in fact, more than great strategic planning capabilities. Senior-level communicators regularly advise and coach the company’s executives (and others) on how to communicate effectively, both in general and about specific issues.

This relationship works both ways: The more you can help your company’s leaders achieve their objectives through effective communication, the more trusted and indispensable you will become.

In episode 52 of the “Circle of Fellows” broadcast, hosted by Shel Holtz, four IABC Fellows discussed how to acquire coaching skills and apply them with company leaders. IABC Fellows participating in the discussion included Amanda Hamilton-Attwell, Jim Lukaszewski, Jim Shaffer, and Angela Sinickas.


About the panel

Dr. Amanda Hamilton-Attwell, accredited by both IABC and PRSA. She is Managing Director of Business DNA, based in South Africa, which provides strategic research and consulting, including communication audits, customer service, and women’s leadership topics. She is licensed in Adobe Connect and WebEx, using these to conduct virtual professional learning and education sessions. and other focused research and training in communication skills. Her career has also included a 15-year stint as a research manager for the National Productivity Institute.

James E. Lukaszewski, America’s Crisis Guru ®, is a bestselling author, national speaker, and trusted strategic adviser to FPO and NPO business operators and leaders during crises, disasters, reputation attacks, contentiousness and when the boss’s future is at stake. Corporate Legal Times listed him as “one of 22 crisis counselors to have in your speed dial when all hell breaks loose.” For more than 30 years, he has confidentially guided hundreds of company leaders thru tough, touchy, sensitive situations. Lukaszewski’s strategies inspire constructive, ethical problem resolving management behavior. A powerful and inspirational speaker, he teaches executives and managers the lessons he has learned. A prolific author, he is quoted and interviewed often as one of the most recognizable leaders in his profession. Lukaszewski is on the web at

Jim Shaffer is a business advisor, leadership coach, author, and speaker. As leader of the Jim Shaffer Group, he helps organizations accelerate results through superior strategy execution. The Jim Shaffer Group creates hard business results by translating the business strategy to the people who need to implement it, aligning systems, processes, and culture to make the gains sustainable. Jim was an architect and leading practitioner of Towers Perrin’s (now Towers Willis Watson) change management consulting practice. He designed and produced the IABC Academy course, “Managing Change Communication to Drive Results and Value.” Some of his change management clients have included: Abbott, ConAgra Foods, FedEx, IBM, ITT, Mayo Clinic, Medtronic, Owens Corning, Pfizer, Toyota.

Angela Sinickas is the founder of Sinickas Communications, which has worked with companies, organizations, and governments in 32 countries on six continents. Her clients include 25% of the Forbes Top 100 largest global companies. Before starting her own consulting firm, she held positions from editor to vice president in for-profit and government organizations and worked as a senior consultant and practice leader at Hewitt and Mercer. She is the author of a manual, How to Measure Your Communication Programs (now in its third edition), and chapters in several books. Her 50+ articles in professional journals can be found on her website, Her work has been recognized with 20 international-level Gold Quill Awards from IABC, plus her firm was named IABC Boutique Agency of the Year in 2015. She holds a BS degree in Journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and an MS in Leadership from Northeastern University.

Shel Holtz

Shel Holtz, IABC Fellow, is director of internal communications at Webcor, a commercial general contractor headquartered in San Francisco. Before joining Webcor, Shel spent 21 years as principal of Holtz Communication + Technology. In addition to integrating technology into communications strategies, his expertise includes strategic communications planning, change management, organizational culture, business initiatives and communications research.

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