"If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader."
John Quincy Adams
What kind of leaders do we work with most effectively?
We are often asked this question, and in all honesty, the answer is as unique and multi-faceted as the leaders we have the honor to work with. Consistent themes include leaders who are focused on some aspect of their sense of:
Purpose: Desiring to develop, refine or re-imagine a clear vision and to lead with a deep sense of purpose in the pursuit of something even more meaningful than the next career move, job title or revenue goal.
Authenticity: Ready to do the deeper, more courageous work of leadership, which is often an inside-out job.
Mastery: Dedicated to a continuous journey of personal and professional growth on their individualized Journey to Mastery.
Why do they come to us? We often hear it is because we excel at working with diverse, purpose-driven leaders who are:
Seeking a confidential thought partner to challenge and expand their thinking
On-boarding to new roles and/or new to the organization (accelerate your ability to add value)
Focused on scaling your leadership competencies (and confidence) for greater beneficial impact
Addressing succession planning needs to sustain long-term organizational growth and health
Leading a significant transition and/or change initiative
Committed to developing a high-performing leadership team
Focused on enhancing the ability to effectively grow and develop leaders (may include further developing coaching skills and/or building a "coaching culture")
Desiring to build and sustain a 100 Best/Great Place to Work culture of high performance
Dedicated to their own authentic "journey to mastery," including the desire to be "on purpose" and leave a meaningful legacy in business and in life
A Reflection on Leadership...
Q: What makes being an "effective leader" important to you at this time?
Effective leadership usually stems from our own passion to achieve a meaningful outcome. This could be a near-term challenge or opportunity with a time-sensitive window, or a longer-term compelling vision of an ideal future that benefits something of great importance to us. Reflecting on your own sense of purpose and your role as leader are key foundational elements of our coaching engagements. Exploring these creates a solid foundation to customize and accelerate your authentic and sustainable journey from "here" to "there."
Q: How do you define "leadership?"
What are some of the assumptions you bring to your role as leader? What expectations do you have for yourself and/or other leaders? What do your "stakeholders" expect from you as leader? These are some of the key questions we'll want to explore together to ensure solid footing for our journey.
Q: How do you define "leadership effectiveness?" The path to sustainable effectiveness often begins with clearly envisioning what success will look like (where we are going and why) and engaging the minds and hearts of key stakeholders at every level (what makes that meaningful and how they play a key role). We'll explore what that means in your context, which may involve challenging you to think even bigger and more broadly about the possibilities and impacts of your role.
We believe effective leadership is about...
Link to HBR Article
Purpose: The desire to pursue something greater, more meaningful, and more impactful than (just) the next metric, job title or bonus package. We definitely support the importance of continuing to advance in our careers. We also understand that numerical goals, titles, and promotions are valued ways of "keeping score." However, we find that leaders overly focused on these goals are far less likely to engage a passionate following, and are far more likely to be held back and/or to limit the full potential of their impact. Part of the reason is that this orientation "bleeds through" to key stakeholders who are expecting you to think and act bigger than a metrics deck, job title or desired promotion. Therefore, if you choose to work with us, we will push you to dig deeper and think bigger about your role, your opportunity, as a leader.
Authenticity: Ready to do the deeper, more courageous work of leadership. Many of us have been taught to build a wall separating who we are "at work" from who we are as a whole and complete human being. However, research shows that "authentic leaders" are more effective at leading their teams and organizations to meaningful results. We believe that authenticity comes from being clear about who we are, what we stand for, where we are going, and why that is meaningful to us--at this time in our lives--and finding effective ways to share this with key stakeholders up, down and across the organization. Authentic leadership is an inside-out job.
If we're not clear and intentional about why and how we lead, our foundation is not as strong, nor is our sense of direction, nor the authenticity of our "leadership presence." Depending on your natural style, this creates a tendency to be over-reactive, inconsistent, to take on too much at once and appear to "lurch" from thing to thing. Or we may second-guess, hesitate, delay key decisions, and become a bottleneck. When this happens, we're also not tapping into the richness of our full capacity to lead. There is a saying, "You can tell how tall a building will be by how deep they dig the foundation." We think this reflects the work at-hand, and this deeper work can be quite a meaningful journey. The more effective we are at tapping our inner sense of purpose, passion, skill and perhaps lesser-known talents, the richer our capacity to lead. This deepens our own sense of reward in the role, and our resulting effectiveness. It becomes a virtuous cycle.
Link to most popular TED Talks
Link to Carol Dweck Video
Mastery: Dedicated to the continuous journey toward personal and professional mastery. Leaders who get the most out of coaching tend to embody a "Growth Mindset," as written about by Carol Dweck. This includes an inner drive to continue to challenge ourselves to learn, grow, and reach for our full potential. It becomes a journey, not an end, for as we continue to learn and grow, so does our capacity and potential to do and be more.
Another benefit of the coaching relationship is to help identify meaningful milestones, and a reason to pause and reflect to at least acknowledge (if not celebrate), progress along the way. It may come as no surprise that many of the leaders we work with are more focused on the next ocean to cross or mountain to climb than on celebrating where they've been. However, there is value in the reflection, for when we recognize what we've accomplished and what made it possible, we can more effectively build on that progress to achieve the next milestone.
This also taps our inner motivation as written about by Daniel Pink, who found that our three key motivations are to have a sense of "Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose." Our intention is to tap all three of these in our work together, and with and through you, which has the potential to create ever more positive downstream impacts. Your personal level of engagement makes all the difference.