Joel Garfinkle

Joel Garfinkle is a Leadership Development Consultant & C-Suite Coach with Executive Development Associates. With 20+ years of executive coaching experience, Joel is well-known as one of the most effective and innovative coaches in the country, ranked as one of the top 50 in the U.S. His passion and energy are infectious, motivating, and encouraging. He has a no-nonsense style in which he advises, challenges, provokes, guides, and pushes his clients. Joel possesses great insight and knowledge, which he is able to convey clearly and with enthusiasm. Global Gurus recently listed Joel as #14 on its list of the top 30 executive coaching experts worldwide.

Joel is able to get to the heart of what is going on very quickly. He then develops specific, measurable strategies that get clients thinking about their challenges in an entirely different and more empowering way. Every session provides new, clear perspectives on how to approach a client’s work challenges with a clear plan of attack.

Joel has worked as a consultant for two of the top consulting firms in the world: Ernst & Young in Hong Kong and Accenture in San Francisco. His background in executive coaching, performance improvement, and change management equips Joel to help clients achieve results quickly and effectively.

As an executive coach, Joel has helped:

  • A CIO expand his sphere of influence by learning to build better collaboration across business units at all organizational levels.
  • A SVP improve communication with her team, senior leaders, and employees by learning a completely different style of communication that eliminated argumentative and aggressive behaviors.
  • A department head develop executive presence, learning to be more self-assured, decisive, powerful, and polished in how he presented himself.
  • A general manager transition from being a low-profile manager of twenty people to a highly respected leader of 150 employees and seven direct reports while markedly improving relationships with peers, subordinates, and key decision-makers.
  • A newly promoted senior director smoothly and effectively handle increased job complexity, responsibility and expectations, alongside transforming difficult team dynamics.
  • A VP acquire leadership skills that inspired ownership and empowerment in her team, amplifying respect, influence, and working relationships with other business units.
  • A VP became a more confident leader, propelling her into a more relevant and influential role within her organization.

Past Clients Include:

  • Microsoft
  • Starbucks
  • Deloitte
  • Google
  • IBM
  • NBC Universal
  • Hewlett-Packard
  • Charles Schwab
  • Cisco Systems
  • Bank of America
  • Wells Fargo Bank
  • Gap Inc.
  • Nissan
  • Accenture
  • Amazon
  • Genetech
  • Peoplesoft
  • Intuit
  • Shell Chemicals
  • Citibank
  • Aetna
  • Oracle
  • Coldwell Banker
  • Sapient Corporation
  • Electronic Arts
  • Capital City Bank
  • Procter & Gamble
  • Macromedia
  • Union Bank of California
  • Visa International
  • Macy’s
  • Portland Parks Foundation
  • Intuit
  • Corning
  • Levi Strauss & Company
  • PricewaterhouseCoopers
  • Kohl’s
  • EDS
  • Motorola
  • Williams-Sonoma Inc.
  • New York Times
  • Morgan Stanley
  • BEA Systems, Inc.
  • Fidelity
  • Pacific Gas and Electric Company
  • The Peninsula Hotels
  • The Omni Hotels
  • The Ritz-Carlton Hotels
  • The Marriott Hotels
  • CVS/pharmacy
  • Ebay
  • Netgear
  • Autodesk
  • Brother International Corporation
  • Eli Lilly

Keynote Speaker

Joel is a sought-after keynote speaker and corporate trainer who is regularly called upon to address conferences across the country and around the world. He has delivered more than 1,000 workshops, speeches, and keynote addresses to groups such as the Commonwealth Club of California, the Pennsylvania Chamber of Commerce, the Kentucky Society of Human Resource Management, Wells Fargo Bank, Haas School of Business, Financial Women’s Association, the University of California Berkeley, Marriott Hotels, Gap Inc., Cisco Systems, Charles Schwab, Bank of America,  Accenture, Sapient Corporation, Pacific Gas and Electric Company, Kohl’s, and Ritz-Carlton Hotels.


Joel has written nine books that have been distributed in 25 countries. He was featured in The Art and Practice of Leadership Coaching and contributed to Leader to Leader – the award-winning quarterly journal launched by the Peter F. Drucker Foundation as well as to the PHR/SPHR Professional in Human Resources Certification Exam Guide. Other works are as follows:

  • Getting Ahead: Three Steps to Take Your Career to the Next Level
  • Executive Presence: Convey Confidence as a Business Leader
  • How to be a Great Boss: Learn the Seven Traits of Great Bosses
  • Difficult Conversations: Practical Tactics for Crucial Communication
  • Time Management Mastery: Stress-Free Productivity in the 7 Key Areas of Life (time, projects, people, schedules, information, work/life balance, and abundance)
  • Love Your Work: Make the Job You Have the One You’ve Always Wanted


Joel holds a degree in psychology from San Diego State University and has completed a three-year coaching certificate program with Coach University.

Client Testimonials

“Joel’s feedback and encouragement were instrumental in my quest to find the better leader in me.  Joel should be a member of every executive’s personal board of advisors!”

Brother International Corporation – Vice President & Chief Legal Officer

“Currently I am CEO of a media holding company that manages global media-related assets of $34 billion U.S. Joel’s executive coaching had a significant impact on developing the strategic capabilities of my twelve direct reports. They improved both their direction setting and their execution. I learned to guide my leadership team so that we created a mind-set of urgency, ownership and accountability.”

IPG Mediabrands Benelux – Chief Executive Officer

“Joel Garfinkle is one of the most effective and innovative executive coaches I’ve worked with. Thanks to his guidance, I was able to push my limits and discover my true potential as a senior leader.”

Oracle Corporation – Vice President, Customer Services

“I was lucky to be assigned to Joel as my executive coach. What makes Joel an outstanding coach is his ability to get you to really think about your goals, identify what you need to change to achieve those goals, and help execute on the changes.”

NBC Universal – Vice President

“Joel advised, challenged, provoked, guided, and pushed me, often beyond my comfort zone; but then that was why I selected him over all the other coaches. I greatly appreciate that after 20 years as a manager, Joel has helped me make the transformation to leader.”

University of La Verne – Vice President & Chief Information Officer

“Thanks to Joel’s coaching, I have grown revenues by 30% while improving employee retention and my personal job satisfaction.”

Oracle Corporation – Vice President, Sales

Downloadable Bio