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Trista Schoonmaker

An expert in learning design, group facilitation, and leadership coaching, Trista believes that as our society and organizations become more complex, our ability to thrive requires us to foster new courage, explore fresh perspectives, and engage in powerful conversations that address tension and conflict.

Trista brings 25 years’ experience designing, evaluating, and teaching the curriculum that generates behavioral changes in individuals and teams.  Throughout her career, she has developed a distinctive teaching and facilitation style that emphasizes high energy, active involvement, and a defined focus on outcomes.  She facilitates seminars that help individuals and teams form more trusting relationships, reimagine possibilities in conflict, and improve the quality of workplace conversations.  Equipped with greater conversational competence, Trista’s clients report increased confidence and improved job performance.

Trista’s practice includes a rich and varied toolset in leadership and organizational development.  She is a Certified Daring Way™ Facilitator; grounded in Brené Brown’s research, her sessions invite courageous leadership through embracing the challenges of vulnerability.  She is also a trained Immunity to Change™ Facilitator, offering an approach to tackling personal changes resistant to past plans and intentions.  Trista has developed and implemented unique methods to assess and shift team culture in struggling organizations.  And as a certified workplace mediator, she offers individuals and teams processes to explore their disagreements and create new avenues out of the conflict.

An ICF professional certified leadership coach, Trista coaches individuals, groups, and teams.  She helps these clients explore and transform their stories, define and step into their personal leadership styles, and find the courage to directly address the tensions impacting their work.  She has a passion for coaching teams in conflict to rebuild trust and develop more effective communication strategies for the future. 

Her passion for promoting powerful conversations extends beyond the business world.  Trista volunteers in her community as a moderator for Better Angels, a bi-partisan organization creating meaningful civic dialogue across the political spectrum.  She also facilitates a community-based inquiry group exploring the African-American perspective in modern society.

The enthusiasm Trista brings to her work is compelling, and her clients welcome the infusion of energy to help define, structure and motivate their desired progress.

Education and Certifications

  • M.ED Instructional Design, George Mason University
  • Georgetown University Leadership Coaching Certificate
  • International Coach Federation Professional Certified Coach
  • Certified Daring Way™ Facilitator
  • Certified Workplace Mediator, through the Mediation Training Institute at Eckerd College
  • Trained Immunity to Change™ Facilitator

Preferred Assessments

  • DiSC®
  • Five Behaviours of a Cohesive Team™
  • Conflict Dynamics Profile
  • Thomas-Kilman Conflict Mode Instrument®
  • Team Dimensions Profile™
  • EQi 2.0
  • Hogan Personality Assessments
  • Leadership Circle Profile™
  • Leadership Versatility Index
  • MBTI®
  • DiSC®
  • StrengthsFinder 2.0
  • PMAI®/SVSS (archetype-driven tools)



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