Innovators and Influencers: Michael “Coop” Cooper

Michael "Coop" Cooper


Michael “Coop” Cooper is an internationally recognized executive coach, advisor, facilitator and trainer who specializes in working with executive teams to develop the leadership skills, alignment and strategies to grow and thrive in a constantly changing environment.

He developed and teaches leadership training courses for entrepreneurs and executives to learn coaching skills; how to define problems; how to give and receive feedback; how to recognize, manage, communicate and market to brain types; and how to manage multi-generational teams.

Coop founded Innovators + Influencers to help right-brain entrepreneurs and executives capitalize on the need for more creativity in business leadership.

Coop spends time studying neuro-science and practical applications for neuro-leadership and is recognized as an expert on managing millennials.

He has 23 years of experience as a coach, management consultant, strategist and project leader with Fortune 1000 companies and small businesses in over 20 countries. He has worked with leaders at Sony Computer Entertainment, Wells Fargo, Novell, Southwest Airlines and hundreds of other organizations large and small.

Coop is a contributing writer to Fast Company, Entrepreneur and Wired Innovations.

At the core

At the end of that formal introduction as above, I asked Coop what would stand out for him, from that list, or in addition, that he would want people to know?

His response:

“What I love doing the most is getting inside people’s heads….

“Since the very beginning of my career, I’ve always known that the way we think not only predicts the way we act, but we can also predict behavior and we can change the way we act. And our belief systems also have a lot to do with what we give ourselves permission to do or not to do….…

I just understand how people think and act and how their brains work. That to me would be the core thing.

Changes in executive leadership coaching

A lot has changed in the past 13 years or so, since Coop and I first connected.

  • Executives are now much more aware of what coaching is
  • Many have used coaching multiple times
  • Executives are now “really great” at evaluating whether or not a coach can help them
  • Coaches now have to do a lot more than coaching, become much more embedded in the organization, be up to date with issues and trends relating to their clients’ industries

Reminiscing about Thomas

I mentioned Thomas Leonard, founder of Coachville.com and other ventures, including the International Association of Coaching, of which Coop was the Founding President, and Thomas’ dedication in keeping up with developments, especially in technology.

Coop explained that this was about Thomas’ brain type of Analyser/Systemazier. He needed to have that information to be comfortable, to know he was asking the right questions.

Leadership by entrepreneurs, especially in the digital space

He has worked with a number of innovators and influencers in this space.

They don’t play it safe, they’re risk-takers, they’re trying new business models, not trying to do something that’s already been done – and that “takes a little bit of craziness”

Because it’s a new space for many of them, they have to learn and change their behavior pretty significantly over time

Innovators and Influencers

4 ways the brain processes information

William Moulton Marshall research in 1920s, his Social Styles – Driver, Expressive, Amiable, Analytical

Others as derivatives, including Myers Briggs – and Innovators and Influencers

Coop’s framework of types, with percentages of population

Controllers & Managers               15%

Innovators & Influencers            15%

Nurturers & Harmonizers           35%

Analyzers & Systematizers          35%

Innovators & influencers need structures in place for teams/organizations. Only 15% of population and there is a deficit of coaching for this brain type.


A lot of negative views about Millennials – fear of change and fear of the unknowns.

Coop sees Millennials as “a fascinating, rich resource that’s completely untapped”.

Several issues:

  • Education systems changed when they were in schools – emphasis on feedback, which they now expect when they go into an organization
  • First time there have ever been five generations in the workplace
  • The way we transfer power is being upended by Millennials
  • Resentment by older managers
  • Many Millennials are not equipped with critical business skills – they know they need to learn, they know they need to develop skills
  • They don’t want a manager, they’ve been taught how to manage themselves: they want a coach. But many managers do not have great coaching skills

Coop’s upcoming book

The book is about the seven blind spots for each brain type: now with the publisher. How to recognize your brain type’s blind spots and what you can do to address them.

What keeps business leaders awake at night?

It depends on the leader.

Some similarities. Disruption happening in nearly every market around the world is keeping a lot of leaders up at night. It used to be about innovation. Now it’s “What am I not thinking about?” “where am I going to be blindsided?”

Innovation leaders at some big companies are anxious about executing on innovation.


Innovators & Influencers web site

Coop at LinkedIn

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Des Walsh

Business coach and digital entrepreneur. With coach training from Coachville.com and its Graduate School of Coaching, and a founding member of the International Association of Coaching, Des has been coaching business owners and entrepreneurs for the past 20 years. Over the same period he has also been actively engaged in promoting the business opportunities of the digital economy. He is a certified Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP) coach, and a certified specialist in social media strategy and affiliate marketing.

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