Category Archives: Coaching

Leadership, Courage & The Small “t” truth

Group of Multiethnic Business People in Meeting

In a prior posting my business partner, Debra Bowles, expressed the courage it took to speak her small “t”  truth in front of her executive peers in response to a CEO’s inquiry.  I am often struck by the use of the word courage in business today and curious if the word is used in a way that encourages leadership in a positive manner or whether it is so loaded with mis-meaning that the actual experience of courage is impaired.

One reason that courage may not convey a felt sense is the dictionary’s definition reflects idealized social attributes or affected social attributes instead of human ones. Words such as pluck, nerve, valor, daring, and guts… are nice ideals, but all of us know from experience, that when courage is called for it is much more impactful and transcendent than the dictionary definitions.

So what gives?  When is leadership courageous and when is it not? read more

The Power of the small “t” truth

Truth

I was raised to respect authority, almost to a fault, and my Dad spoke most of the Truth in our family.   I was a senior executive in a large organization for 14 years and there was much Truth spoken with great belief and force.  I am intentionally using a capital T because to me it designates an opinion or belief that is spoken with strong conviction, yet is rarely open for other opinions, input or honest dialogue.   Capital “T” Truth can stifle innovation and collaboration with a single sentence.

In the Four-Fold Way, Angeles Arrien developed four principles to provide clarity for thriving in today’s complex world of constant change.1 Her third principle is: read more

Leadership is Not All “Get er done.”

 |  Coaching, Leadership

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“Don’t just stand there! Do something!” We’ve all heard this or said this to someone at some time in our lives. It’s a sign of our need to “do.” We have a preference for action. As a species we are homo completus. We like to get stuff done, tick, the box. We are doers. This provides us a sense of accomplishment. As leaders this can be a double-edged sword. We need to get things done. We have to drive the business forward. And, leadership is not all “get er done.”

We need to pay as much attention to who we are as what we do. We could stand a bit more homo reflectus energy. We could all benefit from being a bit more reflective and intentional when it comes to how we are living and how we are leading. Imagine if instead of leading by default, we gave some thought each day to what it would look like for us to lead ‘by design.’

Everything, including our lives, produces what it is designed to. What have you designed this year? Is your design now a default? Does what used to work for you no longer ‘get er done.’?

As the year winds down I normally give the leaders I coach some questions to spark their reflection on the year past. This year there are only two.

What have you done this year that you are proud of?

What have you done this year that you’re not so proud of?

“Don’t just do something!  Stand (or sit) there.” And consider those questions for a while. I’ll check back soon with a couple more questions to get you thinking about next year, about leading (and living) ‘by design.’

People talk. About your leadership. All. The. Time.

 |  Coaching, Leadership

People talk. The perceptions that drive the conversations about you in your team and organization are a reflection of your brand identity with people. Your brand is your legacy, the story people tell about us when we aren’t around or when we’re gone. You’re not immune; we all leave a legacy, a reflection of our ‘unique leadership brand.’ We leave a legacy at the end of a meeting or conversation, at the end of a career within a team or organization, and at the end of our lives.

The primary question for leaders is whether our legacy will be by default or by design. It is a daily, almost minute-by-minute choice. If you can’t say what your legacy is right now, it’s happening by default. You might want to do something about that. Remember, people talk.

Executive Coaching: Don’t Be a Firefighter; Be an Explorer.

 |  Coaching, Leadership

Leaders at every level – from CEO to frontline people manager – show up to coaching with issues they want to discuss. Whether you’re a leader who coaches or an external executive coach, you always have two options. You can cover the items they bring. Or, you can help them to see under, inside, and around those issues to uncover the patterns they’ve created, helped to create, or consent to that contribute to the issues they bring arising over and over again.

In other words, you can use your time as a coach as a firefighter helping your client put out fires; or, you can use your time as an explorer helping your client to look for the patterns that make things work the way they work. Everything produces what it is designed to produce. Powerful executive coaching explores the design underlying the production of results. It’s also more impactful and much, much more fun.