Shores Spotlight - Prudence Cole

Prudence Cole
Leading the Leaders
How Longtime GPS Resident Prudence Cole Helps Leaders Achieve Excellence

When leaders find themselves at a crossroads, they often turn to a coach for clarity and direction: Prudence Cole is one of those coaches.

Her first name says it all.

“My mom and dad picked my name with the characteristics they wanted their child to live by,” said Cole, who has lived in the Village of Grosse Pointe Shores for nearly 36 years. “They wanted a child who would be wise and judicious — prudent. I hope I’m living up to my name.”

Cole is Founder and President of being@work Inc., located in Grosse Pointe.

In this proprietary role, she coaches clients for career advancement and growth, performance improvement, leadership development, new executive on-boarding and assimilation into the leadership culture, and the critical transition to retirement. She specializes in developing authentic leadership skills by listening intently, asking the right questions and making spot-on recommendations. Her ability to challenge and inspire leaders has made her the executive coach synonymous with lasting legacies and human-centric leadership.

Cole has developed creative interventions for rapid understanding and change in leadership behaviors to both secular and religious leaders. Her innovative and signature executive coaching techniques have garnered accolades from distinguished leaders in both her professional and volunteer endeavors.

“Prudence has been a true servant leader in her various roles at The Helm,” said Krista Siddall, Executive Director, The Helm Life Center. “Prudence leads by example and is truly a visionary in her ability to push the work of the organization forward. Her follow through and tenacity have made pursuing a millage a reality for us. Without Prudence, any millage efforts would simply not have gotten off the ground. She is highly intelligent and her work ethic is unmatched. Prudence truly is an exemplary leader who The Helm has been lucky to have leading the way for our Board of Directors.”

Wayne H. Stapleton, North American Baptist Conference Vice President, Cross Cultural Engagement and Emerging Leader Engagement, said Cole has not only been a leadership coach of his for over a decade, but she is a dear friend. 

“Prudence led my church leadership team through the book study Lead Like Jesus,” he said. “This study helped our leaders realize the seriousness of our roles and helped us to process how to serve as leaders in a godly way together. Prudence is a skilled facilitator and she is very comfortable in settings that are not culturally monolithic, which fit our church perfectly.”

Transforming Leaders
Cole has become the cornerstone for executive transformation across various sectors, including Information Technology, automotive, government and the church. With a track record of nurturing top-level leaders toward their most productive and empathetic selves, her innovative coaching strategies have elevated leaders and reshaped the culture of leadership in numerous organizations. Strategies include asking clients to write short story observations about different periods in their lives and describing how they liked to play growing up and analyzing them together.

Her pragmatic approach to coaching is to believe people have the ability to solve their own problems.

“You have the answers,” she said. “I’m going to help you find what are the best solutions for you. I ask a lot of questions and listen. I see a broad spectrum, point out consistencies and conflicts and give share ideas and potential solutions or next steps. I have been doing this for a while and have a lot of tools in my tool box.”

Become Better Leaders
The key is to always focus on how to help clients become better leaders in all aspects of their lives.

“I’m always curious,” she said. “I ask a lot of questions to help me help others better understand why you may need coaching. Clients say I always ask the right questions.”

So, what are the right questions?

“Clients may not recognize that what they are saying may be hurtful,” she said. “I ask them, ‘Would you be willing to ask others you work with if they have any perspective on what you have said in the past?’ They are clearly not seeing the results of their words or behaviors. My job is to turn the spotlight back on them. Walk in the shoes of the people they lead.”

Leadership Alchemy
For over three decades, she has etched her mark within various organizations, underscoring the magnetic pull of outstanding leadership. As an executive who metamorphosed into a sage leadership success coach, her portfolio brims with recognitions that are merely the surface ripples of her profound impact on individual and organizational growth.

Professional evolution is Cole’s hallmark, having served as a Strategic Unit Director at EDS where she was actively involved in leadership development and crystallized her coaching philosophy, dedicating her endeavors to executive onboarding, leadership culture assimilation, and life transitions like retirement. Her career seismograph has also recorded significant stops at Luftig & Warren and Hugh Anderson Associates, where she magnified her consulting prowess and outplacement ingenuity.

Serving in a variety of roles at General Motors North America, she worked in project management as well as government relations, at one time considering a roll as a lobbyist.

Game Changer
The tapestry of Prudence’s leadership expertise is rich and multicolored.

Beyond her in-depth leadership knowledge, her business acumen is sharply honed, reflecting encounters with the complex mechanics of market dynamics. Yet, her interpersonal skills — a harmonious blend of an engaging inquisitive communication style and astute listening abilities — ensure client relationships transcend mere transactional exchanges into life-altering improvements.

“I’ve coached so many people who hated what they were doing,” she said. “I like to help people avoid leading a quiet life of desperation and finding the right job for themselves. Life is far more productive and rewarding with fewer hassles that way.”

Reflection of Diligence
Cole’s reputation is not simply self-made; it is echoed in the recognition of her peers and the accolades that powered her career. As co-author of “Finding Power, Passion and Joy Being at Work,” she has distilled her innovative coaching system into a manuscript that empowers others to kindle inner mentorship and leadership.

Her voice and expertise have graced the columns of The Detroit News, enlightening readers on career progression and the art of the job search.

Through the lens of organizations like the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) and Crain’s Women To Watch, Cole has been recognized as a frontrunner, shining among Michigan’s business elite.

Foundations and Collaborations
The depth and breadth of Cole’s knowledge is rooted deep in academia, earning a Bachelor of Science in Education and Master of Arts in Consumer Affairs from Wayne State University. She later earned a Master of Arts in Theology from Ashland Theological Seminary — an unexpected depth that reinforces why her coaching transcends professional domains into spiritual boundaries.

Her volunteer affiliations underscore her investment in community enrichment and senior living and include a directory of distinguished bodies. She faithfully serves on The Helm Board of Directors, has been the GPS representative on the Grosse Pointe Library Board over the past six years, was an Ambassador for the Detroit Chamber of Commerce, Treasurer and Secretary for the EarthWalk Community, and Health and Sciences Board Trustee for the Henry Ford Health System.

Cole is committed to improving the lives of seniors throughout the Grosse Pointes. She is visiting every city council in the five Grosse Pointes to request support for a millage this November to provide additional services for seniors to live comfortably and safely in their homes for as long as they choose.

“Let’s make the community be all it can be for everyone and that includes seniors,” she said.

Cole loves the Shores.

“Our property values are very good here,” she said. “Our police force is wonderful and our city services are phenomenal.”

Paragon of Progressive Leadership
Cole’s career is not just a chronicle of successes; it is an ongoing story of empowerment, polishing leaders and turning their mistakes into second chances. In the teeming marketplace of leadership coaching, Cole’s success is an archetype, an ideal melding of experience, empathy, and excellence.

Cole gets it. She understands people have deep wounds and sometimes wonders whether anyone  should be in a leadership position without a psychological check.

What is the best advice she has given a client?

“The worst mistake leaders often make is living out of a story they have created as opposed to finding out what’s real or recognizing that we each see the world through our own lense and not what others are seeing.” she said. The best advice she received early in her career was to be reminded that she was no longer just a worker. You are now a leader and you need to study leadership and the skills of leadership.”

For more information, visit her LinkedIn page.