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A Missoula native who settled in Seattle, Theresa Callahan has created a successful career as an organizational development consultant and executive coach. Callahan is the founder of Theresa Callahan Coaching and Team Synergy Institute, and works across the country consulting with clients to help improve management styles and teamwork.

Her most recent endeavor includes helping small business owners recruit talented people and match them with the right job.

Callahan has worked in both the insurance and financial services industries, but being a business coach is her dream job.

“It’s real, and often very raw, to get to the core of the individual and have the opportunity to create strategies for success with them and witness them achieve goals they didn’t know were possible,” she said.

Callahan has detailed her secrets to management success in her book, “Managing for Performance: Building Accountability for Team Success.” She will be at Fact and Fiction Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. for a book signing.

First, she answered a few questions for the Missoulian on exactly what business people might learn from her book, and how it might help their business thrive.

How would you pitch your book, “Managing for Performance: Building Accountability for Team Success” on Twitter, in a tweet using 140 characters or less?

In “Managing For Performance,” you will discover how to create the productive workplace of your dreams and become the true leader of your team.

Tell readers a little bit about your work as a business coach and what makes you qualified to write a book on team building and success in the workplace.

I have spent the past 18 years running my own businesses and helping small business owners and team leaders create high performing teams. It all comes down to having clarity on your goals and honoring the needs of your business by matching talent with the roles and responsibilities with what the business demands. I believe we all want to contribute in a meaningful way every day at work. When you have the right people in the wrong jobs, we are asking them to work against their grain! And we all know what happens when we aren’t happy at work, we leave. Tapping into our greatest resource, our talent, and leveraging that talent, is the most important element of running a high performance business. I’ve learned the hard way, personally and through the work I do with my clients, that this is the one thing we have to get right.

Why did you decide to write “Managing for Performance”? Is there one defining workplace experience or job that helped launch the book?

I wouldn’t say there is one defining moment that inspired me to write the book, but the book was inspired by my leadership development program, called “Managing For Performance.” This is a six-month leadership development program for business owners and team leaders. It takes you through a series of activities and self-work that all starts with you. If you aren’t good with yourself (so to speak), how can you lead a team? If you don’t know what you want from your business, how can you lead a team to greatness? The book is full of activities that you can use personally and with your team.

There are many things to learn from “Managing for Performance.” Can you pinpoint one chapter that every busy businessperson should read, and why?

Oh, boy. How do I answer this one? Every chapter has a gem that I’ve learned that I hope to pass on or share. Well, I have to say that I have built the core of my work around Chapter 7: “Recruiting, Onboarding, and Retaining Talent for High Performance.” In this chapter, I emphasize the craziness we all go through when we hire the wrong person. I have identified 10 key elements that I believe are vital to recruiting, onboarding and keeping your good people, and I have built a workshop around this very chapter. It’s so costly to the business when we make a bad hire, emotionally and financially! Recruiting, training and retaining talent is not easy, but it doesn’t have to be hard. Know what your business needs, honor those needs, and make sure there is a perfect “fit” for all positions. Anything is possible when you have the right person in the right job. And getting that match right makes leadership gratifying.

What do you like best about your job as an executive and team development coach? Can you tell us about your best client success story based on your advice?

I have said to friends and colleagues on a regular basis that I can’t believe I get paid to do this work! To be an intimate part of my clients’ business and have the opportunity to get in the trenches with them working directly with the team is an incredibly rewarding experience. ... I tried the corporate gig for a while, was well on that path for several years, and I realized I am an entrepreneur myself. I think that’s why I am so attracted to work with those clients. Working with a small business team, led by a driven entrepreneur, is where I do my best work.

What’s the best way for Montana business people to find a strong, talented workplace success coach?

Successful business coaches and consultants can be found through local International Coach Federation chapters and various coach training programs. The key is to find someone you trust, and who you connect with. And don’t hold back. Most small business owners can’t afford a full-time human resources person or even a real business manager, so partnering with a coach is often a strategic move to help you get the business and the team back on track.

Reporter Jenna Cederberg can be reached at 523-5241 or at

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