Tom Matthews (coaching)


Tom Matthews

Coaching Philosophy

As an executive coach, I see my role as an educator and champion. I use the Intentional Change Model to guide our work together, helping individuals to achieve a desired outcome through a focus on strengths, growth potential, and a learning agenda fueled by curiosity. I tend to ask questions and listen as I believe people want to be heard in a deep way that makes them feel understood, respected, and valued. When we listen, we give others the chance to explore both who they are and who they want to become.

Colleges and universities are changing, with ever higher expectations being placed on leaders at all levels. I believe managing a career in higher education is essentially a change management strategy: balancing the strategic needs of the organization, the professional development and psychological safety needs of individuals and teams, and the wellness of self.

As a coach, creating a safe environment is an essential priority. However, I make a distinction between a safe environment and a comfortable environment. If the coaching environment is comfortable, I undermine the chance for people to achieve their desired increment of growth; change comes from being challenged, not from being comfortable.

In the end, I believe the coaching relationship is a shared relationship. Sometimes, I’ll lead and the client will follow, other times, the roles will be reversed. More often than not, we’ll work together; that’s the difference maker.


Currently, I am the Principal and Owner of Career Heights Coaching, LLC and until July 2023 I was the Associate Provost for Student Success at Case Western Reserve University.  I have over 35 years of higher education experience including leadership roles responsible for student retention, satisfaction, and the six-year graduation rate. 

I have a depth of expertise in and experience with career development across the lifespan.  I’m especially interested in career transitions: college to entry-level professional, individual contributor to manager, manager to high-potential leader, and director to senior leadership.  This experience comes from working in a variety of higher education settings including a small private women’s liberal arts college, a medium-size public university, and multiple Research 1 universities.

I have a Ph.D. in Counselor Education & Supervision from Syracuse University, an M.Ed. from Penn State University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies from Bridgewater State University. 

Levels Coached: Early career professionals, high potentials, senior leaders, CEOs, CFOs, and Chief Medical Officers.

Industry Experience: Higher education, healthcare, finance, non-profits, and secondary education.