Unfiltered Executive Coaching


Rick Poplin is a retired USAF Colonel and F-16 fighter pilot, promoted to life and death leadership responsibilities on the world stage. He has known fear, heart break and victory at the highest levels. Today, after thirty years as a military and commercial pilot, Rick has a new mission as an executive coach.

Rick deployed to the Iraqi Combat theatre nine times as a F-16 Viper pilot and Mission Commander, and commanded the only F-16 Squadron to operate from Al Asad Air Base, the 125th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron, Anbar Province, Iraq.

After twenty years as a combat fighter pilot, Rick was assigned to the Pentagon, serving as the Integration Branch Chief, National Guard Bureau Plans & Programs Directorate, NGB A8. During this time, Rick was tasked with integrating the Air National Guard’s Future Years Defense Program into the Department of Defense’s $648 Billion annual budget.

Following his Pentagon assignment, Rick returned to flying the F-16 to command of the 138th Operations Group and served at the Joint Force Headquarters in Oklahoma City, OK.

On February 1, 2018 after 30 years of service, flying in and training future aviators in the most elite fighting forces on the planet, Rick retired from the F-16 and the United States Air Force.

Today. A new mission.

Rick is an International Coaching Federation (ICF) certified coach, certified Archetypes at Works Coach & APR Debriefer, and a Facilitator/Coach for Olivier Mythodrama, London, England. Invaluable experience for the mission of helping people see and become the best versions of themselves.

A life-long learner, Rick holds a Bachelor of Science in Management Information Systems from Oklahoma State University and a Master Degree in National Security & Resource Strategy from The Dwight D. Eisenhower School, National Defense University, Washington DC, where he was a Distinguished Graduate.


To combine a warrior’s courage and experience with the noble mission of helping people excel and thrive.

It is a combination both unique and effective.

Rick Poplin

It takes a certain kind of courage to fly into combat. But it takes a different—perhaps deeper—kind of courage to look within, to grapple with our human imperfections and bring our whole selves to the noble task of leadership. 


There is a distinct difference between mission and purpose.
Mission is intellectual, purpose is soulful.
Mission creates buy-in, purpose inspires.
And it alway starts at the top.

Most of our lives, we use our quiver of unique talents to advance our careers, win the day, seize the prize, and accomplish the mission.

At some point, we become so habitually focused on accomplishing the mission we lose contact with what brought us here in the first place – the why behind the what we do, our purpose, our authentic self.

When this happens our creativity suffers, our relationships become transactional, our joy diminishes, then ultimately the mission suffers – perhaps it even fails.

My mission is to help you find your way back to yourself.


During my year at the Eisenhower School we hosted several guest speakers including the Director of the CIA, a Supreme Court Justice, an Iraqi Army 2-Star General, and even the President of the United States. Most of them told stories and shared experiences, but one speaker asked a question I will never forget: “Who would you be if you weren’t afraid?”

This question stuck with me.

When I reflect on my greatest accomplishments, triumphs, and joys – I remember being bold, brave, free, and fearless. I laughed a lot more and didn’t take myself quite as seriously.

I welcome those who are prepared to look beneath the veil.


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