John Donner

John Donner

Location: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Languages: English


I am committed to helping leaders clarify their purpose, their path and the actions on that path. I believe we are all leaders – and we need to become conscious of our leadership and the purpose of our leadership. Some of the most difficult leadership is of ourselves.

My purpose – service – was advanced for 35 years by working in the Alberta Public Service at Senior and Executive levels. I served in multiple ministries contributing to sustainable development. During that time, I learned about leadership – learning from other leaders,
being mentored, mentoring, making mistakes, becoming intentional about leadership and, yes, reading a lot of leadership gurus. I realize that leadership is a journey, not a destination – and I want to support others on that journey.

Leadership at its best is about growing others to be leaders. What I value most from my career in government are the people that say in some small way I supported their development and enabled them to find their leadership paths. Over time I developed more of a coach approach to leading – asking questions to enable others to answer problems and in so-doing to grow their own capacity. Late in my career, I benefited from having a coach who was my thinking partner who enabled me to hear myself think both about immediate issues and plans for the future when I was getting caught up in the busyness of building an organization and meeting short term deadlines.

Which led me to coaching as a way of continuing to serve people to find and pursue their leadership purpose . My experience, my training at Royal Roads, following the principles and values of the International Coaching Federation are all in service to my clients, helping them to find and follow their own paths.

Leaders in all organizations face challenges as they step into new leadership responsibilities. They are faced with multiple demands which may make it difficult to find time set their own intentions, try new actions and reflect on what they have learned. Coaching provides time and support.

Since graduating from the Executive Coaching course at Royal Roads as a certified executive coach, I have been building a coaching practice and have earned accreditation from the International Coaching Federation.

I live in Edmonton, Alberta. At the beginning of 2020 I joined Rotary where I am working on areas of social justice including seeking to be an ally in building relationships to contribute to reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, anti-racism and peace building. I am married with 3 young adult children.

Industry Experience

  • Government — Alberta Public Service — leading divisions in a number of departments concerned with Sustainable Development including Energy, Environment, Agriculture, Executive Council and Indigenous Relations.
  • Coaching — leaders and executive leaders in government, and non-governmental organizations

Degrees & Certifications

  • BA
  • MA
  • Certified Executive Coach
  • ICF

John's Style

Deep listening with reflection and story-telling to help client clarify challenges, try-on new perspectives, and identify next steps.

Client Testimonials

“I enjoy working with you and your questions challenge me! Your questions have helped to enlighten me to think about an issue from another perspective and I’ve often realized that the way I was initially ‘looking’ at the issue – might have been part of the problem!”

“[John’s] coaching has helped me look at several work challenges and perspectives in different ways that have been very valuable for my personal growth. I can highly recommend John as a coach.”

“John has been a trusted and challenging partner in my development journey. His challenge and reframing to my thinking from a place of trust and caring has been deeply appreciated. I recommend John as a caring, capable and valued coach partner.”