Discover Your Leadership Score

Improve Your Results by Creating High-Performing & Ethical Teams

  • Takes less than 5 minutes

  • Answer honestly. There are no right or wrong answers

  • Receive your individual report upon completion

  • Complimentary 30-minute consultation

The Bonar Institute is a professional services organization based in Ottawa, Ontario, dedicated to promoting the highest standards of excellence in corporate leadership. We specialize in providing tailored guidance and advisory services to organizations, senior executives and entrepreneurs, both nationally and internationally. Our services focus on the areas of business strategies, leadership development and training, and results-driven executive coaching & mentoring. We offer a broad range of leading-edge programs that are customized to meet the unique needs of our clients.


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Results-Driven Coaching in a Rapid-Fire World - Bonar Institute’s Proven Methodology

“I have had a number of executive coaches in the past, but in the end of the day they went nowhere. I need real, lasting results!” We have heard this refrain from corporate, government and non-profit clients at the Bonar Institute. To ensure productive executive coaching, we offer clients our proven, customized six-month results-driven program - with clearly defined SMART Goals. We focus on client accountability and meaningful application in the execution of our clients’ managerial responsibilities.


Our proven methodology is tailored to the specific requirements of each client. We coach the whole person, as needed, including acting as a confidential mentor.

Step 1: Assessment: A 360 assessment prior to the start of the coaching engagement. This assessment serves as the benchmark of success for the coaching sessions to follow.

  • The recommended 360 assessment tool is the EQ360 Leadership Report which links emotional intelligence to leadership development. The Report includes evaluation of the following key elements: Self-Perception, Self-Expression, Interpersonal Relations, Decision-Making and Stress-Management.

Step 2: Discovery Session with the corporate sponsor (usually the client’s superior), the client, and the coach:

Reach a clear understanding on expectations and deliverables of the coaching engagement, including:

  • Desired outcomes
  • Progress reporting to corporate sponsor
  • Confidentiality requirements of corporate sponsor and client

Step 3: Finalize Program Design with client:

  • Debrief of 360 Assessment with client and the setting of SMART Goals

Step 4: Execution of the program

Step 5: Mid-point Progress Report Meeting with corporate sponsor and client:

  • Modifications made to program, if required

Step 6: Overall Evaluation of Engagement with corporate sponsor and client

  • Were the desired outcomes achieved?

Step 7: Follow-Up Client Mentoring by Superior

  • Monthly for 15 -30 minutes to ensure the integration of new learnings/behaviours into the client’s execution of managerial responsibilities.

Step 8: Optional Two Post-Engagement “Check-In” Sessions

  • Meet with client at 6 and 12- month marks, to verify on progress towards lasting results.

At the Bonar Institute, we believe that our powerful customized results-driven coaching program is one of the most important investments an organization can make in leadership development. To be successful however, we need our clients’ commitment to work collaboratively with us to achieve the lasting results their organizations require.

Please contact us for more information on how we can help you succeed.

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Time Management Conundrum in Rapid-Fire World

Our org chart has so many vacancies that our senior people have to fill multiple roles. And, in some cases, they’re even unaware of all their managerial responsibilities! Does, this situation sound familiar? If so, you are not alone. Many organizations are reeling in the turbulence of exponential change and relentless transition in today’s rapid-fire world.

Increasing velocity is the hallmark of today’s economy. How to meet urgent “must do” priorities that seem to exceed the capacity of the organization? What about unforeseen priorities, which arrive with a thud on one’s desk? Attempts to resist change and ignore this rapid-fire reality is not an option. Successful managers look beyond the daily time pressures towards the future. Time – to strategize, to engage with stakeholders, to create and to execute - is the most precious asset. Effectively managing time, however, is not a new issue. The Roman philosopher Seneca once noted: It is not that we have so little time, but we waste so much. Pointless activities distract from achieving longer-term goals. Effective and innovative time management, not surprisingly, is the number one priority of a growing number of my clients.

Today’s business realities require the setting of realistic longer-term priorities – and sticking to them - among pressing activities competing for attention. In coaching clients to improve their time management, I focus on setting the priorities which are not just urgent but once achieved will make a positive difference.

This coaching process starts with the identification and recording, in a customized journal, of each task, staff meeting, business trip and event in their calendars. Clients then classify each item in one of three categories:

  • Makes a Difference (MAD)
  • Important (IMP)
  • Trivial (TRIV)

Time consuming in the short-term this exercise is an investment in enhanced long-term performance. Once completed clients appreciate how little time is actually spent on truly significant issues versus merely urgent (often trivial) ones. They also understand who they are spending their time with: superiors, colleagues, direct reports, clients, and for how long. Arriving at the right balance between addressing MAD activities and the delegation of other tasks is usually achieved. Successful management depends on getting this right. It involves embracing the principle: Don’t add before subtracting. And having the self-discipline to say no, as required.

But what happens when the number of meaningful priorities exceeds the ability to effectively manage them? One useful approach is to prioritize the MAD tasks based on investing in what will get the biggest return, over the longest time.

For executives struggling to successfully cope with turbulence of exponential change, this approach may seem almost utopian. Though a multitude of pressing decisions must be actioned immediately, running an organisation is not a sprint – it is a marathon. The most effective executives are those who understand this reality.

At the Bonar Institute, we support organizations in the Time Management Conundrum of a Rapid-Fire World.

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How Business and Government Leaders Create a High-Performance Culture

The role of an executive in today's global economy is not for the faint of heart. The pace of economic, technological and social change is unparalleled in human history. Executives must also keep pace with a flood of instantaneous gathered, disseminated and analyzed data and information. Many are left with a sense of insufficient time and lost opportunities.

There are three priority challenges which many need coaching to effectively manage:

  • Engaging and mobilizing employees to adapt and meet organizational goals.

  • Focussing direct reports on delivering innovative new products and services.

  • Hiring smart, energetic managerial talent and integrating them seamlessly into a team to quickly add value to the organization.

Meeting these challenges is often hindered by employee turnover and countless unforeseen situations.

Fortunately it does not have to be this way. My name is James de Gaspé Bonar and I assist senior business and government executives create high performance work environments based on motivated employees dedicated to completing multifaceted projects, reducing costs and improving results. (Click here to view my article The Private/Public Management Divide).


I work with executives to systematically address these challenges while meeting business goals and decreasing stress levels. The following results can be achieved:

  • Motivated employees, based on trust and respect for management

  • A high performance culture

  • Improved business results

  • Significant cost efficiencies

Clients choose to work with me for the following reasons: 

  • I bring a wealth of perspectives and insights garnered from over 30 years of executive leadership and grounded in the realities of today’s business realities.

  • I have senior executive leadership experience in Canada and the United States in both the corporate and not-for-profit sectors.

  • I have held multiple senior management roles including:

    • CEO of the Canadian subsidiary of an international corporation;

    • Vice President Sales, Marketing and Customer Satisfaction;

    • Head of $165M US Business Unit of a global provider of professional information and software solutions.

    • Notable accomplishments:

      • Increasing revenues by 51% and operating income by 54% over 3 years

      • Acquiring  and integrating four software providers

      • Negotiating strategic partnerships resulting in increased market share


I am fluently bilingual and offer my services in English and French.

I am an ICF-certified coach

To learn more about my results-driven five step coaching methodology, contact me at or call 613.404.8455.

Click here to read my article The Case for Employees as Stakeholders.


I look forward to hearing from you.

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Leadership & the Power of Influence

“Leadership is influence”

- John C. Maxwell, New York Times Best Selling author

One of my clients recently shared with me her frustration on being passed over for a promotion in her hoped-for ascent up the corporate ladder. A very capable executive, she is well liked and would appear to have all the requisite experience for a more senior management position. So, why didn’t it happen?

In my experience advising and coaching leaders, I have learned that the most successful executives lead through the power of influence. They inspire others to willingly implement their ideas. They have high-stakes influence conversations with their superiors, peers, direct reports and stakeholders. They maximize their probability of success by setting out specific goals for these conversations. There is no substitute for a thoroughly planned approach - including anticipating possible objections and rehearsing messages to be delivered in a concise and effective manner.

Too many leaders, however, rush into important meetings under-prepared. Some lack the skills and the confidence to present their ideas convincingly. Such interactions are unproductive, if not counter-productive and as such their leadership can be perceived as wanting.

It is difficult to achieve success when leaders struggle to successfully engage and influence stakeholders. Such was the case with my client. There is a science as well as an art to effectively influence people. It entails having the right conversations with the right person to achieve the right result. In working with clients, I employ the following proven six-step methodology:

Action Step
Key Mistakes
  1. Set a clear goal.
Influence starts with a clear goal. Gut instinct instead of a clear,considered goal; proposing a goal that is too ambitious for one meeting; proposing the wrong goal for the situation.
  1. Assess the situation.
Assess how the other person is thinking about the situation. Failure to consider ALL of the reasons,incentives, and factors that can influence the other person; failing to consider the other person's motivations and constraints.
  1. Choose the right approach.
Different approaches are effective in different situations. There are at least FOUR strategies that work in different situations, yet most leaders rely on only one.
  1. Structure the approach.
Plan carefully the best approach, including anticipating objections. Many leaders wing it, without planning  the best opening, responses to objections and how to deal with new information.
  1. Plan for the worst.
Have an exit plan. Staying in a meeting that is going poorly, instead of taking a break; failing to plan for the unanticipated.
  1. Rehearse
Tedious, but worth it.  Rehearsing with a coach can improve results exponentially; failing to rehearse reduces the chances for a positive outcome.

Adapted with permission by Center for Executive Coaching.

During the follow-up with my clients, we review the outcomes of their meetings. Were the goals achieved? If not, why not? What were the lessons learned? What are the appropriate next steps?

This methodology enables leaders to be more effective in achieving their goals by successfully influencing stakeholders. It is also an excellent framework to enhance their leadership presence: that elusive wow factor that is the combination of personal and interpersonal skills. In politics, it's called charisma. Leadership presence is how executives and aspiring executives present themselves to others and how others perceive them. It gives their careers that extra impetus towards success.

To learn more about this methodology, and how I can help you achieve your goals by influencing others, please contact

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Servant Leaders and Unicorns

During the Q & A session after a talk on Success Through Purpose & Service, I was asked to elaborate on my comments on servant leaders, specifically in business. Below is an expanded version of my response.

All organizations need leaders to provide focus, purpose, strategy and tactics. While there are undeniable differences and critical nuances among corporate, political and spiritual leaders, they all share fundamental challenges, including: vision, belief, courage, resolve, resilience, and authenticity. Such leaders strive to evoke in others the purpose and meaning which inspire themselves.

 From my experience, the most successful business leaders are ethical; they make the principled decision to achieve goals greater than themselves and their organizations. Their authority relies more on influence than on power. They are servant leaders who have earned the right to lead. For some, their vision is anchored in Social Responsibility (Toms and Starbucks), for others it’s Excellence (Berkshire Hathaway) and Innovation and Discovery (Virgin). Their vision inspires others to believe that their vision is attainable. These leaders encourage others to reach for their dreams too. They have the courage,  resolve and resilience to pick themselves up when they inevitably stumble and sometimes fall. They serve as examples for others to follow.  Servant leaders are true to their own values as well as those of their organizations.

 Servant leaders see corporate success beyond the narrow imperatives of quarterly earnings.  While profits are indispensable for survival and sustainability, they cannot be a company’s sole purpose.  It matters how the money is made and reinvested.  Many companies have policies to ban hate speech on their social media platforms.  Amazon and Shopify are but two examples. Long term success is based on creating lasting worth for all their stakeholders: shareholders, employees, vendors, customers and the environment.  All are unique yet interconnected in a vibrant community of mutual service.

For such businesses, service incorporates Moral Authority (adopting a higher purpose), Social Responsibility (creating prosperity for all stakeholders), Environmental Responsibility (promoting a greener, sustainable economy), and the Human Imperative (putting people first).


Not all corporate leaders, of course, embrace servant leadership and many companies succeed without doing so.  The most successful leaders, however, understand that corporate service is key to long-term prosperity.  They do not discard old assets; instead they develop new ones based on professional and personal values which conform to the company’s corporate culture. Business success, in the long run, is about creating lasting worth for all stakeholders.

I have observed that exceptional executives are not only servant leaders but 'unicorns' as well. I use 'unicorn' not in the sense of a privately-held start-up company valued at over a billion dollars, but rather as a symbol of human longing to dream of new possibilities. In their thought-provoking book, Spiritual Intelligence: The Ultimate Intelligence (Bloomsbury, 2000), Danah Zohar & Ian Marshall write: “In the vision of quantum science, the whole of existence is a field of unicorns – a set of possibilities plucked out of the quantum vacuum’s infinite sea of potentiality”.  The greatest leaders explore multiple possibilities and they innovate in ways others deem impossible.  When servant leaders are also unicorns, new ways for companies to serve society profitably and meaningfully are discovered. (See my April 2017 article, An Enduring Question: Can a Company Have a Soul?) In an important sense, servant leaders-unicorns represent the very best of what is required of our business leaders.

 At the Bonar Institute, we are committed to supporting these leaders.

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