The Essential Group LLC - a message from our Founder, Kore Koubourlis
We are a boutique leadership development consultancy, providing targeted performance elevating solutions to elite organizations (including Adidas, Apple, Intel, Facebook, Salesforce, Microsoft, and Zillow, to share a few names you might recognize). We work with our clients individually, in a group format, and at scale for our large and geographically dispersed organizational clients.
While I began this firm as an individual practitioner, I have been fortunate in delivering solid results to appreciative clients over time. As a result, my company has grown to include a selection of extremely talented leadership coaches, executive advisors, and thought leaders, hand selected by me, who meet the level of quality I am committed to providing to you.
The team at the Essential Group has been drawn together by several factors, one being our shared belief that a new way of working is emerging. This new way of working is oriented around business as a key lever through which we can create and influence world change. But we can only do that if we have conscious leaders in place at all levels of the organization, people who are awake and mindful, open and curious, and masterful at communication and coordination across boundaries of all kind. The aim of the developmental work we drive hand-in-hand with our clients is to create more leaders who can show up with these qualities.
Founder and Principal
- Executive advisor & leadership coach
- Curator of leadership solutions for corporations
- Creator of online leadership development curricula
- Harvard University, Alumni Mentor
- Project W, 1:1 With Black Founders Initiative
- Washington State Opportunity Scholarship, Executive Leadership Committee and Mentor
- J.D., Harvard Law School; B.A., Washington State University
- Certified Integral Coach, New Ventures West
- Professional Certified Coach (PCC Designation), International Coach Federation
- Certified Practitioner, Leadership Circle Profile
- Connoisseur of creative conversations, real live human being
My mission now is helping individuals and organizations discover & act from what really matters – the essentials – so that they can grow and thrive through deep engagement in service of achieving remarkable results.
Over the past several years, I’ve had the privilege of coaching hundreds of clients located around the globe. I work with professionals who are high performing and excited by the idea of shaping a way of life based on personal excellence (yes, excited, even though they may not know what that means before our work together begins). Clients who will gain the most from working with me are ready to make a commitment to their own growth. Very often, my clients self-identity as lifelong learners who seek to understand their own part in things, and who appreciate candor, a commitment to quality, and a sense of humor.
I founded The Essential Group in 2013 to provide leadership solutions and executive coaching to individuals and teams who want to perform at the edge of what is possible for them, the place where growth, meaning, and impact overlap. I work on the mindset, behavioral, and tactical levels simultaneously to help them get there.
In my work, I leverage over 18 years’ experience with top law firms and technology companies, including a rise to the executive level at Microsoft. In my various business roles, I've had the opportunity to learn how to influence broad, globally dispersed workforces, to create change, and to study human behavior in action. My work as a performance coach to elite professionals allows me to continue this close examination of human behavior.
Before that, my study of human behavior began with my early fascination with various mythological and folk traditions and theories of consciousness. What this means is, if we work together, I bring to the table not only a consistent record of high-impact results (and all the lessons learned along the way), but also a thoughtfully curated understanding of multiple traditions, all of which will be funneled into results. For you.
I have completed a rigorous program of post-graduate study and certification in Integral Coaching achieving the Professional Coach Certification designation from New Ventures West, where I now serve as Adjunct Faculty. I have also achieved the Professional Certified Coach from the International Coach Federation. I earned a J.D. from Harvard Law School and a B.A. from Washington State University.
Most importantly, I have first-hand experience with being a real, live human being, committed to deep conversations, great relationships, and living on purpose. My work as a professional coach and consultant provides the ideal platform for me to act on that commitment every day.
Performance and Executive Coach
My mission as a coach and facilitator is to help leaders deepen their skill and intuition in engaging their teams to build organizations whose performance and culture they are proud of.
My focus as a leadership coach on team and organizational dynamics stems from 20+ years as a management & technology consulting executive, where I learned to harness the power of teams, appreciate the unique dynamics that make different organizations tick, and study human and organizational behaviors. I draw upon that experience to help leaders learn to navigate and flex their leadership skill as their enterprises experience transformation, leadership change and rapid growth.
Through my consulting and coaching work, I’ve had the honor of working with leaders across a variety of industries, ranging from technology development to public policy, and of organizational scale and impact, ranging from 30 to 15,000 employees to nationwide programs at the federal government level. My work has helped individual leaders, leadership teams, and organizations develop awareness about their system dynamics – and their role within it – in order to strengthen bonds and differentiate how they “problem-solve,” allowing them to be more resilient in the face of change and challenge.
The question “How do you lead with your best self, in service of achieving goals and empowering others?” guides me. As a coaching partner, I will bring rigor, compassion, and possibility thinking to help you maximize your opportunities and help others perform at their operational best. As a team coach, I find satisfaction in helping people break through conflict, deepen relationships, and increase team effectiveness by designing interventions that allow people to be more aware of how work style and structural assumptions create roadblocks. As a facilitator, I relish designing meetings that raise the appropriate level of dialogue to topics requiring leadership attention.
I am a credentialed International Coaching Federation coach, a member of the Institute of Coaching at McLean Hospital, Harvard Medical School affiliate, a member of the Pacific Northwest Organization Development Network, and the chapter president of the Seattle chapter of Ellevate Network, a global professional women's community. I am also an ardent student of life, and the small life lessons I glean from the diverse set of activities I enjoy around nature, design, food, and human connection ground me in how we live our lives as leaders in our organizations, our families, and our community.
- Executive coach & organizational change consultant
- Curator of leadership solutions for corporations
- Creator of online leadership development curricula
- Mentor for Social Impact Startup Founders
- Mentor for DivInc, Diversity and Inclusion Business Startup Incubator
- Creator of World Changing Women, support ecosystem for female founders and executive leaders
- Advanced Professional Coach Designation - Coach U
- International Coach Federation Member
- Trained in Immunity to Change, with Bob Kegan, Ph.D., Harvard Graduate School of Education
I have the great privilege to work as a global speaker, trainer and executive leadership coach specializing in helping people make difficult changes. A master of managing transitions myself, I've lived in 7 countries, started and grown several businesses in the high tech and personal development industries, and even recreated my career from advertising executive to builder of champions. Throughout my career, I've been fortunate to work with hundreds of clients, from Fortune 500s to start-up social impact ventures.
I started my career in advertising and marketing in New York City in the late 90’s during the dot-com boom, where I led some of the first digital marketing initiatives for clients such as Mercedes, Blue-Cross Blue-Shield and Johnson&Johnson.
My corporate career armed me with a decade of experience as a leader, senior manager, trainer and IT project manager. I combined this with another decade of training in Coaching, Conversational Intelligence, Neuro-Linguistic Programming, Advanced Communication Skills, Business Turnarounds and Entrepreneurship to form my Executive Coaching practice today.
I now specialize in helping executives and teams develop their leadership and communication skills so they can get along and get ahead in their career. My clients typically have a deep passion for the work they are doing, and desire to leave a lasting positive impact on their colleagues and in their industry at large. Clients who gain the most in working with me want to align their career with their personal passion, and have a desire to contribute to the greater good as they make a great living. They often have immense ambition and drive to get ahead, and might also want to carve out more time for their families, personal lives, travel or to leave their legacy.
I speak and lead workshops on Immunity To Change, Communication Tips for Leaders, Giving Effective Feedback, Conversational Styles, Organizational Change, Creating A Culture of Trust, and Developing Thriving Teams.
I am a member of the International Coach Federation and a graduate of Coach U's Advanced Coach Training Program. I'm also the founder of World Changing Women, a support ecosystem for female leaders on the cutting edge of business evolution.
- Master’s of Business Administration (MBA) - UCLA
- Bachelor’s Degree - UW
I am a strategy and operations executive with over 20 years industry experience driving transformational change and measurable impact for entrepreneurs and Fortune 500 organizations. Trusted advisor and thought leader to senior leadership, I thrive when solving complex strategic and operational puzzles, skillfully aligning teams and interests to accelerate performance and achieve results. My field experience includes leading large post-merger integrations, company turnarounds, go-to-market strategies, and supply chain transformation and innovation — delivering value in the tens of millions.
I firmly believe in the power of measurement and accountability to support strategy and drive performance. My advisory practice is data-driven, pragmatic and energetic, providing executives with tools and insights that allow them to achieve results and take their team and organizations to the next level.
Leadership and Executive Coach
I partner with mid- to senior-level executives to unlock their unique potential and lead from a human-centered place. As a reimagination partner, I love working besides people to tackle challenges, explore possibilities, and realize success. Clients seek me out when they’re navigating a complex situation or a journey that requires a new approach. When they want to unlock what they are capable of as individuals and organizations.
My professional journey is founded on what I call the "three c's": communication, connection, and collaboration. These have been key guideposts in my 20+ years of leadership experience across the consulting, content licensing, media, and technology industries. Over the course of my career I have partnered with organizations to drive transformation initiatives, build industry-leading sales teams, spearhead communication strategies of all sizes, and been a trusted coach for individuals and teams. My broad knowledge-base and ability to cultivate deep relationships allow me to be a keen and empathetic listener who hones in on what matters most.
And as an active champion of female leadership, I am passionate about being a catalyst for women who are finding their voice or looking to evolve how they present themselves to the world.
My credentials include the International Coaching Federation (ACC), Hudson Institute Certified Coach, and Prosci Certified Change Management Practioner. I earned my bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English Literature & Cultural Studies from the University of California at Riverside. I am also an experienced keynote speaker and facilitator with broad communications expertise.
I am based in Seattle, having previously lived in New York City and Southern California. As a life-long learner, I’m inspired by new experiences that surface discovery and shift my perspective. My loves include quality family time, cooking, photography, and travel.
Amy Funkhouser Watkins
Coach and Facilitator
As a coach and facilitator, my mission is to help people grow and become their best selves while navigating the complex worlds they live and work in.
Over 25 years in business and leadership have sculpted my muscles in facilitating change, building healthy teams, and empowering individuals and organizations to reach their goals. With experiences in a variety of industries and companies - tech, consulting, start-ups, small to Fortune 50 companies – I have led people to success by enabling individuals and healthy organizational cultures. During my almost ten years as a leader at Microsoft, I co-founded and led diversity & inclusion (D&I) initiatives and groups to improve team health. I’ve worked with executives on leadership development and effectiveness, creating and landing strategic initiatives, and driving business results through strong culture. My own leadership is always grounded in my values and collaboration with all levels to improve business learning and accountability, while building an environment and support for people to do - and be - their best.
I am a credentialed International Coach Federation coach, graduate of The Hudson Institute of Coaching, and an EQ-i/EQ360 certified practitioner. I earned my MBA from Portland State University. I’m continually learning how to be a better listener and bridge builder in my volunteer work as the Washington State Blue Coordinator for Braver Angels and ICF Washington chapter University Partner Manager.
My values and purpose are core to everything I do: Integrity - Care - Courage - Curiosity – Creativity, and I’m honored to bring them into the coaching and consulting space.
“My experiences with “the people side of business,” and my passion for personal growth, led me to launch The Essential Group to focus my efforts full-time on identifying and creating the essential habits, systems, and frameworks that support the development and sustainment of humans living at their greatest potential.”
- Kore Koubourlis, The Essential Group Founder