"If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader."
John Quincy Adams
A Reflection on Leadership...
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 our path from "here" to "there."
How do you define "leadership?"
What are some of the assumptions you bring into this role? 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 answer to ensure solid footing for our journey.
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 broader about the possibilities and impacts of your role.
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've had the honor to work with. However, consistent themes include leaders who are focused on the three areas outlined below.
Link to HBR Article
Purpose: Desiring something beyond the next revenue goal, 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 pomotions are 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 business. Part of the reason is that this orientation "bleeds through" to key stakeholders who are expecting you to think and act bigger than a number, 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 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.
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, or "leadership presence." This creates a tendency to be over-reactive, inconsistent, take on too much at once, and appear to "lurch" from thing to thing, and/or to 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." This reflects the work at-hand., and this deeper work can be quite a fun and 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 a path of 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 the three key elements of motivation are a sense of "Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose." Our intention is to tap all three in our work together. Your personal level of engagement makes all the difference.