You are the Captain of Your Own Ship

By Marcia Ruben, PhD, PCC on Fri, Jun 24, 2022


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What Does it Mean to Be Accountable?

By Marcia Ruben, PhD, PCC on Sat, May 14, 2022

Several years ago, I worked as a consultant for a Fortune 500 high-tech company. I was part of a team of consultants hired to help this company make significant changes. Specifically, I was hired to assist with the human side of change, which meant building strategies to ensure buy-in and adoption. I was part of a team of other successful consultants. I remember one particular moment when our team gave each other feedback at the end of the project. One colleague commented that I was accountable. I remember being very flattered and validated. Yet what did this mean?

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President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and the Power of Emotional Contagion

By Marcia Ruben, PhD, PCC on Thu, Mar 17, 2022


I have been closely following the news about the invasion of Ukraine with horror, and like so many, have been in awe of President Zelenskyy’s leadership. As an Associate Professor, I oversee a Master's of Leadership program at Golden Gate University and designed most of the courses. Because of my fascination with neuroscience and its application to leadership behavior, I've included that information in many of our courses.

One of the topics that we cover is emotional contagion. We start that discussion by describing mirror neurons. Mirror neurons were discovered quite by accident by Italian researchers. The story goes that they were researching Macaque monkeys. The monkeys' brains responded not only when they picked up food but when they saw a researcher pick up an ice cream cone. The experiment was replicated in humans. Researchers further discovered that the mirror neurons fired even before observing a specific action. 

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The Two-Faced Backstabbing Tangle

By Marcia Ruben, PhD, PCC on Tue, Nov 30, 2021

I coined the "Two-Faced Backstabbing Tangle" after experiencing a particularly painful personal interaction. Naming it led me to reflection and discovery and the recognition that this is a common phenomenon. I also discovered some ways to mitigate its impact. In my capacity as an executive coach and consultant, I have seen this nasty tangle snarl teams. Here's the story of its origins, its biological underpinnings, and how to not get snarled in the emotional pain this nasty tangle can inflict.

Topics: tangles
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Strong Leaders are Win-Win Negotiators

By Marcia Ruben, PhD, PCC on Thu, Aug 24, 2017

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STOP IT! Actually You Can!

By Marcia Ruben, PhD, PCC on Wed, Aug 09, 2017



A few years ago, some of my Silicon Valley executive coaching clients asked me if I had seen the Bob Newhart “Stop It” video. It was making the rounds in their company. When I saw it, I understood why they wanted me to watch it.

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Avoid Team Tangles--Call Pinches Before They Escalate

By Marcia Ruben, PhD, PCC on Fri, Apr 28, 2017

Are you or your team experiencing frequent pinches? The unwillingness or inability to verbalize and share missed expectations, or pinches, tangles team relationships and slows down productivity.
I learned about the "pinch model" many years ago while working at Wilson Learning. I have found it incredibly useful and n ow use it in my MBA classes and with clients. The Pinch Model was developed by John Sherwood and John Glidewell and then Sherwood and John Scherer  expanded it further.
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Know Your Brain, Grow Your Leadership

By Marcia Ruben, PhD, PCC on Mon, Apr 04, 2016

I have been learning about and teaching basic neuroscience principles for the past three and a half years. I use a brain-based coaching approach in my executive coaching practice. I have come to appreciate how much a basic working knowledge of our brains can help leaders function more effectively.

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VUCA Revisited Again –Volatility Rouses Fear

By Marcia Ruben, PhD, PCC on Fri, Oct 09, 2015


I first wrote this post in early 2011, just after I  began teaching in the MBA program at Golden Gate University as an adjunct professor. Since then, I have become a full time graduate level professor and still maintain my practice as an executive leadership consultant and coach. This continues to force me to stay current with leadership research and weave that research into a pragmatic solution for clients and business school students.


Topics: VUCA
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Know Your Brain, Accelerate Leadership Performance!

By Marcia Ruben, PhD, PCC on Mon, Aug 17, 2015

Last fall, I was privileged to be included in the first group of global executive leadership coaches certified in My Brain Solutions (MBS). The Academy of Brain Based Leadership sponsored the certification training. MBS is the only scientifically validated assessment that truly measures brain performance and has been used effectively by clinicians for several years. It was developed by an independent consortium of over 200 neuroscientists, led by Dr. Evian Gordon.  It was redesigned in 2014 to improve the effectiveness of business leaders.

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Marcia Ruben Ph.D, PCC, CMC

Marcia Ruben Ph.D, PCC, CMC

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