About

Strong collaboration built on individual effort

Early on, I set a course that led me to teach sailing, clean and deliver boats, coach a college sailing team, and serve as skipper of several championship sailing teams. I recorded my experiences in journals and articles, and found a job as a writer and editor. Racing sailboats and editing magazines taught me that individual accountability was required for success—and so was a willingness to let go of the ego and collaborate to improve the overall performance or product of the group.

John-Burnham-coach-writer-sailor-editorServing organizations that provide meaning and value in the world is important to me. At first, that led me to volunteer as fleet captain of my windsurfer sailing fleet or edit a local newsletter. Later, I became an officer of the Fishers Island Yacht Club and served on the board of the U.S. Sailing Association. I helped organize environmental work in Rhode Island, including events for Save The Bay, an initiative to start the state’s “Adopt a Highway” program, and becoming an advisor to Sailors for the Sea. I have also served in a succession of roles as a board chair, fundraiser, trustee, communications chair, and worship leader at Channing Memorial Church, in Newport, R.I.

As a husband and father of three daughters, I’ve learned—and am still learning—a slew of life lessons, especially in the category of “letting go of ego for the sake of successful group effort.” One of my favorite volunteer projects within our family has been as videographer, assisting my wife at an annual symposium she organizes that showcases modern dance for all people, including those with Parkinson’s disease.

As those of you who volunteer for non-profits know, this kind of work inevitably gives back to me far more than I put in, and among other things, it led me to my coaching practice. It’s my privilege to work with an array of clients ranging from business leaders, entrepreneurs, and non-profit executives, to ministers and their churches.

In both coaching and content development, my goal is to help clients produce excellent results in a learning environment that, by definition, includes a collaborative framework.

The resume: I have served as editor at Sailing World and Cruising World magazines, at boats.com, YachtWorld.com, and BoatTrader.com. I currently write, edit, and manage content projects for several marine and coaching organizations. I have a private leadership coaching practice and also coach for the Center for Progressive Renewal. I’m a member of the International Coach Federation and subscribe to its Code of Ethics. For more about me, see my resume.