Ecsell Institute was founded in 2008 because there was a clear void in the business world. Leaders were falling short, and, as a result, team members weren’t performing to their full potential.

Today, we have researched the input from more than 300,000 documented interactions between leaders and their team members – across the world of business, sports and education – to develop one of the world’s most robust databases on leadership. We work with a myriad of businesses, athletic teams, and school systems to ensure employees, athletes, and students are receiving proven coaching techniques to achieve maximum performance.


To measure, act upon and improve the effectiveness of leaders to ensure growth and drive more performance from their team members.


Create a world where everyone can feel the success that comes from great coaching.

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We call our approach to leadership training and professional growth “The Coaching Effect.” We turn your leaders into coaches, because coaches inspire, support and encourage each individual team member to grow and improve, which generates results for the entire team and a lasting impact on the individual.

Utilizing more than a decade of research, Ecsell Institute knows the exact behaviors and activities that create the best leaders. And because of this, we are able to track and measure someone’s ability to lead (something no one else does). We can pinpoint specific areas for improvement and offer the right tools and support to make elite leadership your organization’s secret sauce.

Our simple framework provides a development journey that’s individualized, measurable and engaging. Your leaders will learn exactly what the best coaches do differently, what gaps they have in their own leadership abilities, and the specific actions they can take to close those gaps.

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What’s the secret behind our proven approach to leadership coaching? It’s the fact that we offer the best research methodology on the market, hands down. And that all starts with our detailed, web-based team-member surveys – The Coaching Effect Survey – that not only measure a leader’s capabilities and identify areas for change and development, but also allow us to measure how a leader interacts with each individual team member.

The data and insights we collect enable us to provide actionable tactics that lead to growth and an improvement in performance. In other words, we identify what a leader is doing well and how they can improve. Then we provide data-driven best practices that can be implemented right away.



An environment of little to no control where growth is halted by high turmoil.


An unpredictable environment where the outcomes are unknown.


A comfortable environment that leads to a predictable outcome.


A low performing, or negative growth environment.


we know that the best leaders keep their team members in a continuous cycle of order and complexity. And leaders who struggle create an environment of chaos or stagnation. This is what we call the Growth Rings—a life-altering approach to personal and professional development, developed by Ecsell Institute founder Bill Eckstrom.

The rings illustrate how dangerous it can be to remain in a state of comfort and how being in discomfort is the only way to sustain growth. You’ll be amazed at the world-changing outcomes discomfort can have on your life and the lives of others.

The Growth Rings are a conceptual way to think about the role comfort, challenge and stretching to our potential plays in our everyday lives. Whether you are a business leader, manager, team member, colleague, teacher, student, coach, spouse or parent, it is essential to understand where you, as well as your peers and team members, are currently located within the four Growth Rings environments. These environments include Stagnation, Order, Complexity, and Chaos and they impact how much, or how little, we ultimately grow.

Learn which ring you and your team members are in:

Take the growth rings survey
six leadership themes


Within the Growth Rings, we’ve identified six themes that, when executed correctly, create the most effective leaders. Our Coaching Effect Survey allows us to quantify how well a leader is performing within these six themes and where there is room for improvement. From there, we offer the tools and skills necessary to make those improvements.

Psychological Safety

Our research at Ecsell Institute has repeatedly revealed that, when a team member feels comfortable voicing opinions and asking questions free of judgment, it leads to fearless performance. And when team members are fearless, they have an easier time reaching the elite level leaders crave. Even more telling? When we survey teams and get a view of the leader from the eyes of the individual team members, we discover that psychological safety is the area where leaders have the most room to grow.


People thrive on trust. They need to trust that their leaders genuinely care about them and will be there for them so they can confidently chase their goals without hesitation and fear. Creating fun relationships, getting to know people outside of the office, sport or classroom, ensuring each person feels like they are an essential member of the team – these are ways a great leader makes team members feel relevant and needed, and that leads to trust and a better overall experience.


After spending thousands of hours observing elite leaders, coaches and teachers, we have seen a persistent theme: They're organized and consistent, with clear expectations. In addition, the best leaders create a framework for their teams that encourage individual goal setting, stability and accountability. In other words, they have structure, which creates a tighter-knit culture and relieves the sense of anxiety in an uncertain setting. When people feel safe, there is less stress and more room for growth.

Skill Development

This theme is rooted in a leader’s capacity to advance the competency and technique of their team members to help them perform to the best of their ability. One of the best ways to keep growing is to never stop asking questions. A leader’s ability to demonstrate the "why" in skill work is crucial. And most team members want to know the "why." When the leader answers those "why" questions, the team's growth is put on a fast track.


Results in a state of "order" will wane and eventually decline. And the only way to offset this inevitable slide is with a challenge. Leaders have the ability to shape an elite mindset by encouraging people to go outside their comfort zones. Challenges cause discomfort, which leads to growth. As a result, this skill becomes a key responsibility of the leaders – the ones who are in the best position to make the most profound impact on someone’s overall experience.


Communication is the glue that holds all the themes together. Communication is where true leadership shines, and it is one of the most crucial elements to what we do at Ecsell. It's how we measure a leader’s capacity to effectively share information, strategies and expectations with their team members. It also tells us how well they listen and how well they use technology as a communication tool.

Why Comfort
will ruin your life

Watch Bill’s TEDx Talk where he discusses how the Growth Rings work and why they’re important for a team’s growth. It’ll be the best 12 minutes of your day.