Karen Coplan

Karen Coplan's picture

Dr. Karen Coplan, Ph.D.                        

Karen has nearly 20 years of corporate and consulting experience working across a variety of industries, including pharmaceutical, industrial, consumer packaged goods, telecommunications, utilities, technology, financial services, education, private equity, healthcare, and food and beverage.  She has extensive experience in executive coaching, leadership development, and assessment.  Karen’s coaching approach focuses on helping clients see patterns and trends in their behavior/experiences, challenging their assumptions, in order to help them push beyond their own boundaries.  She is fluent in Spanish, completed an expatriate assignment in Spain, and has also led global talent management projects.  These experiences enable Karen to be particularly effective in coaching leaders who are working in global or multi-cultural environments.   

Experience and Expertise

Karen is experienced in coaching leaders from the United States, Europe, Latin America, and the Caribbean who range from the C suite to high potential managers.  Examples of recent client engagements include: executive coaching for leaders transitioning to senior leadership roles, coaching as part of an ongoing leadership development program for emerging women leaders from Latin America and the Caribbean, and providing assessment, development planning, and coaching for an organization’s high potential leaders for the past 4 years.  Karen also serves as an occasional lecturer in the Effective Leadership series at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business MBA program.

Karen has developed a keen understanding of ‘best in class’ leadership, as she has had the opportunity to work with clients across a wide variety of industries.  She has conducted in-depth assessments of hundreds of executives for purposes of executive selection, internal development, succession planning, and mergers/acquisitions, as well as provided subsequent feedback and coaching for clients. As part of this work, she provided feedback and coaching in Spanish to dozens of individuals who were located in Latin America.  Previously, at Motorola she led large scale projects, both domestic and international, within the areas of corporate succession planning, high potential leadership development, expatriate selection and repatriation, and training. 

Karen’s key areas of expertise include:

  • Coaching and feedback – focusing on executive presence and communication, emotional intelligence, coaching skills for leaders, influence, conflict management and leading in global environments
  • Assessment for executive selection, internal development, succession planning, and mergers/acquisitions
  • Leadership and high potential development
  • Cross-cultural skills
  • Spanish fluency

Partial Client List

She has worked with numerous clients including: Caterpillar, Inter-American Development Bank, PepsiCo, Shire, Abbott, Kimberly Clark, UL, Sterling Partners, Fortune Brands Home & Security, Laureate International Universities, Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, Horace Mann, Zurich Financial Services, Fifth Third Bank, EDS, Northwestern Mutual, Banner Health, Notre Dame University, DuPont, Skyline Steel, Henkel, Phelps Dodge Corporation, Hampton Sydney College, Seminis, Cornerstone Records Management, HarborCrest International, Brooks Automation, UGI, and Cervecería Regional.

Client Quotes

  • “Karen patiently listens and works to understand her client's point of view; yet, she has the strength and courage to challenge when necessary. She truly excelled at asking thought provoking questions, making one rethink assumptions. Karen's commitment to my success and passion for coaching were evident throughout the time we worked together. I would strongly recommend Karen to others who want to focus on their personal growth/development and take their leadership effectiveness to the next level.” Chief Information Officer, UL -  Coachee
  • “I recently concluded a 6 month span of coaching sessions with Karen that focused on my specific developmental areas of need. The time was extremely beneficial and productive, as I am now able to delegate more effectively, have improved business relationships, and am equipped to give direct, timely feedback to subordinates…I would recommend her expertise to any manager striving to provide a higher level of support to their team, as well as anyone who wishes to improve their own overall performance. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to work with Karen!” Director Business Development, UGI Utilities, Inc. - Coachee
  • “I have known Karen Coplan approximately 12 years… our careers have crossed paths again with Karen providing us at Laureate Education outstanding consulting services as part of Korn/Ferry’s Talent Practice, with executive assessments and talent development.  Over the years, I have appreciated Karen’s professionalism, expertise, cross-cultural sensitivity and thoughtful insight in the area of leadership development.  I value her opinions and recommendations and look forward to continuing working on projects with her in the future.” Vice President, Leadership Development & Strategic Staffing, Laureate International Universities
  • “It is an honor to recommend Karen to potential clients. Karen is dedicated to her profession and has demonstrated a strong ability to identify, analyze and present solutions. She is an active listener and provides insight, advice and guidance. Karen is also consistent in her approach and helps her clients through challenging situations. Karen has proven herself an asset in my professional dealings thanks to her unwavering commitment to high ethical standards and thorough feedback and follow-up." Manager, Maxvantage – Coachee

Professional Certifications

  • Korn Ferry International: Korn Ferry Assessment of Leadership Potential, Leadership Architect, VOICES 360, viaEDGE, CHOICES Architect, Learning From Experience Interview, Interview Architect
  • Hogan: Hogan Personality Inventory, Hogan Development Survey, Motives, Values, Preferences Inventory
  • SHL: Occupational Personality Questionnaire
  • Center for Creative Leadership: Benchmarks, 360 By Design, Executive Dimensions, Prospector
  • Discovery Learning: Influence Styles Inventory
  • Decision Dynamics: Decision Styles assessment

Education and Professional Associations

Karen holds a B.A. in Psychology and Spanish from the University of Texas and a Ph.D. and M.A. from the University of Houston in Industrial/Organizational Psychology.  She is active in the Human Resources Management Association of Chicago and the Society of Industrial/Organizational Psychology.