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David B. Peterson

David is Director of Executive Coaching and Leadership at Google. He coaches senior leaders, manages Google’s external and internal coaches, and supports many leadership, learning, and executive development initiatives at Google. Previously, David served as leader of world-wide coaching services for PDI Ninth House. In addition to coaching senior leaders in global 200 companies, he provided consultation on how to design organizational coaching programs, develop high potential leaders and critical talent, and accelerate learning and leadership development at all levels.

A recent history of coaching described David as one of the primary influencers in the field, both for his early influence on the emergence of executive coaching, and for continuing to shape the field as someone "on the cutting edge of the profession, doing and saying surprising and thought-provoking things.” David has published extensively on coaching and leadership development, most recently (2013) as co-editor of the Handbook of the Psychology of Coaching & Mentoring.

He earned his PhD in Counseling and I/O Psychology at the University of Minnesota. He is a Fellow of the APA, the Society of Consulting Psychology, and SIOP. David lives in San Francisco with his wife, Alexis Shoemate, and an adorable Tibetan Terrier named Pinot.


Presentation 1: Learning from Experience: Friction makes the sparks:  Better learning through challenge, conflict, and creative collisions

Abstract: This session examines the proposition that the most important and enduring learning for leaders comes exclusively through challenge, conflict, and struggling with complex, ambiguous, random, and diverse ideas and experiences. Focusing on the positive, teaching  through sound-bites, and contrive learning experiences are actually inoculating leaders against the profound  lessons they need to learn.

Presentation 2: Learning from Others: Is there an essential interpersonal element in learning – or is there a better way?

Abstract: Developmental relationships, which may provide coaching, mentoring, encouragement, and support, play a valuable role in individual learning and development. This talk explores which aspects of human interaction are essential and which elements might be better performed through technology, tools, and teaching people to be self-directed learners.


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