20 Years Experience

Doug Sundheim

Coach Message

Doug Sundheim is a Fortune 500 leadership consultant, executive coach, and business author in New York City with over 20 years of experience. The majority of his practice is helping senior leaders, team, and boards align and make decisions in tough situations. Doug has served more than 45 client organizations, many of who acknowledge his work as the most impactful of their career. Clients include Morgan Stanley, Barclays, Kraft, Time Warner, Panasonic, Harvard Management Company, and The University of Chicago. Doug has also worked with a handful of startups.

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Senior Team Strategic Alignment: The majority of my clients hire me because they're having a difficult time making strategic decisions. They usually have a variety of insights about potential paths to take, but are struggling to get behind any one plan of attack as a group. As a result, trust is often low and tempers are starting to rise. I collect data through interviews and a variety of other sources (existing strategic plans etc) analyze it, and create a findings document that brings key issues into focus.

We then use that key issue analysis as the basis for a series of conversations (offsites, focus groups etc) that build deeper understanding, trust, and strategic alignment. Once the team aligns, I often I support clients in framing and supporting the ensuing strategy execution.

Executive Coaching: I also do one-on-one executive coaching, usually in the context of the strategic alignment process described above.

Executive Coaching

Grow Your Business

Get to the next level of success

  • CEOs/C-level
  • Entrepreneurs
  • Family Business
  • Start-ups

Doug Sundheim is a consultant and executive coach with over 20 years of experience in growing businesses and helping others do the same. He works with leaders and teams of Fortune 500 companies and entrepreneurial firms to help them maximize their effectiveness. No stranger to the firing line of business, Doug started a 100-person catering company in his early 20′s, followed by several years in the marketing consulting field where his clients included Sony, M&M/Mars, Mattel, and Motorola among others.

In 2000, Doug co-founded Clarity Consulting to help leaders and their teams break through the barriers that stifle performance in themselves and their organizations. A frequent speaker on a variety of business topics including leadership, organizational culture, & strategy, he has delivered talks at Columbia University, New York University, The Society for Human Resources, and The World Research Group conference.

In 2005, Doug co-authored The 25 Best Time Management Tools and Techniques, which has been translated into 5 languages and continues to be a bestseller. His latest book, Taking Smart Risks, was published by McGraw-Hill in January 2013. Doug’s clients include Time Warner, The Chubb Corporation, University of Chicago, Harvard Management Company, SAP, Morgan Stanley, Barclays, International Baccalaureate Organization, Prudential Douglas Elliman, Altria Group Inc, Bertelsmann, DoubleClick & WisdomTree among other companies.

Doug holds a BS in Environmental Psychology from Cornell University and an MA in Adult Learning & Leadership from Columbia University.

Case Study 1:


Background This 500 person firm has been a leader in its consulting niche for more than twenty years. In the last 5 years the business has gotten tougher. Several forces, including the financial downturn and new and more aggressive competitors, have created strong headwinds. These headwinds have required the firm to get smarter about how to grow the business and where to place its bets.

The CEO of the firm engaged Clarity to help align the partnership on a strategic path forward and accelerate decision-making and execution. How we supported the client Identified internal-facing strategic priorities – Through interviews and surveys, we identified the team, leadership, and organizational issues most pressing for the firm. The three biggest challenges were: (1) slow, ineffective decision-making (2) poor execution once decisions were made (3) lack of communication around the firm We wove solutions to these challenges into everything we did. Identified external-facing strategic priorities – We also helped facilitate a process to create a firm-wide perspective on highest-value business opportunities for pursuit.

By creating a coordinated picture of the best opportunities in the market, partners were better able to prioritize focus and collaborate on topics that mattered most. Facilitated annual partner meetings – We used annual partner meetings as the primary venue to discuss and align new strategic directions. As well, we created a safe environment for difficult and contentious issues to be raised and addressed. Supported “on the ground” execution – We provided direct support to teams tasked with executing some of the new strategic agenda items. This included project coordination, meeting facilitation, and leadership coaching and advising.

Results: There has been significant positive momentum at the firm in the past two years. Examples include a stellar 2013, significant inroads at key clients, decisions on key new hires, and increased collaboration and communication across the partnership.

Case Study 2:


Background A software startup found early success in selling mobile application tools to corporate IT departments across many industries. Unfortunately, after a few years it became clear this was a tough business to scale and grow. It was too diverse and customers were looking for finished solutions not tools. The leaders realized they had to niche their focus on a specific industry and build out a set of products in order to survive and thrive. Signs pointed to the commercial security market as a good target.

The leadership team engaged Clarity to help them get on the same page, make tough decisions, and accelerate execution of this new direction. How we supported the client Strategic Planning + Team Building – We started by designing and delivering a series of facilitated planning sessions to help the senior team clarify priorities and a plan of attack. The sessions got unresolved issues out into the open and out of the way so that much needed strategic dialogue could happen. Most importantly, these sessions helped the team take several options off the table so they could focus on the ones that could provide the greatest impact.

Execution Support – We provided direct support to the product and business development teams as they executed the new plans. Specifically we helped them improve project leadership, communication, and decision making in order to accelerate time to market. Leadership Coaching and Advising – Throughout the engagement we coached and advised members of the senior leadership team. The engagement spanned one year.

Results: Within a year, the firm had established a strong foothold in the commercial security market putting them in a solid position to capitalize on government contracts – which they were able to do 18 months later. Two years after that they successfully sold themselves to larger software firm.

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“Doug has been instrumental in helping us understand our challenges and finding more productive paths forward. The changes we’re trying to make aren’t easy because they’re grounded in years of legacy behavior. Doug understands this complexity and doesn’t rely on formulaic answers, but rather tailored solutions that work for us.” -CEO

Excellent Coach.


“Doug helped us ‘get our act together’ for lack of a better term. Before his involvement we had a lot of good ideas but we had trouble moving them to action. He were instrumental in our ability to ramp up quickly and build a great product.”