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CEO coaches workers to take responsibility

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by Sharon Gittleman
Detroit Free Press

Your top employee suddenly starts coming in late to work. His sales begin to slip. He’s making phone calls during the day and quarreling with family members, disturbing coworkers.

What can you do?

Patricia Cole may have the answer. She is the president, founder and chief executive officer of Cole Financial Services in Detroit.

“We provide training, coaching and human resource consulting,” said Cole, a Detroit resident.

Cole’s coaches don’t tell employees how to fix the problem — the worker takes responsibility, she said.

“I give exercises, like go home and write a list of everything you want to change in your life,” she said.

Cole started out in the business world 25 years ago in Detroit, with her company performing staffing services.

As modern-day human resource departments are forced to tackle everything from corporate-wide training sessions to protecting employees against gender- and age-based discrimination, things can get tough.

“Let us give you a hand,” she said.

QUESTION: What’s the most exciting moment in your business career?

ANSWER: I bought a building in downtown Detroit. I used to walk by and think, “I will own that building one day.” I bought it in 1993.

Q: How have you stayed so successful for so long?

A: I guess because I work hard. I also play. I get away and take vacations. I’ve been surrounded by friends and family and good clients and employees who have supported me.

Q: What advice would you give to a young girl dreaming of becoming a business executive?

A: Take your time and make a plan. Talk to people. I bounce stuff off people all the time. When you start your business, you don’t have time to do that. The bills don’t stop because you forgot to plan.

Q: What motivated you to participate in a number of charities?

A: I started my own nonprofit 15 years ago. It’s called Women’s Informal Network. I was looking at all the needs black women had in Detroit. I called 58 black women I knew. I said: “Let’s help women reach their potential. We don’t have a network.” … Our mission is to promote the growth and development of African-American women in metro Detroit.

Q: What went through your mind when you accepted a proclamation from Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano last month, congratulating you on your business’s 25th anniversary?

A: I looked out at my friends and family, and it was very humbling. I never thought about running the business for 25 years. I just did it. I was proud, excited but absolutely humbled. I can’t say thank you enough for all the support I got.

To learn more about Cole and her business, visit or call 313-962-7055.


Written by Symphony

May 18, 2008 at 8:03 pm

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