I recently had the pleasure of coaching eleven executives during Linkage’s annual meeting for the Global Institute of Leadership Development.
As a quick overview, leaders attended amazing sessions during the week with speakers including Carla Harris, Dave Logan, Nando Parrado among others. Leaders also attended a customized Purposeful Leadership 360, participated in a Learning Team and met with an executive coach during and after the week.
I am always curious to see if there are common patterns that surface while I am with the executives in the coaching sessions. Without revealing any particulars, here are the three patterns that emerged this year.
1. Leadership purpose
Richard Leider did a great job with the opening keynote to share the importance of purpose. It is key to understand why you do something as a leader and critical to take the time to reflect on what that means for you. With this contemplation comes choice and that is one of the sweet spots of the coaching experience I enjoy – helping leaders understand their purpose on how to lead toward the intention.
Questions to consider when determining your leadership purpose:
- What brings you joy?
- What gifts do you offer?
- What verbs describe you?
- What are you doing when you are “lit up”?
- When do you feel the most like yourself?
Being conscious and in flow will take your leadership to a whole new level.
2. Engagement through an invented future
Dave Logan spoke about engagement. The leaders I worked with were reflecting on the importance of moving from a default future to an invented future. A default future is what are you doing without any thought. It is the path without reflection or awareness. It is the path you take that is familiar and known often unconsciously.
An invented future occurs when you consciously define how you want to be and where you want to go. It is a path that is discovered, articulated and evaluated. Just as there is a conscious culture, there is conscious leadership. If you are asked how you are as a leader and how you want to help direct the organizational culture, you have moved toward rewriting the future with passion and aspiration.
The 360 feedback the leaders received and the persuasive talk they heard had these leaders becoming more intentional on their transformational leadership path that ties conscious being and leadership into their leadership purpose.
Michael Bungay Stanier shared his insights and process for integrating coaching to create change and empowerment. One of the key ingredients that leaders sometimes struggle with is to gain the engagement levels and empowerment they want. Coaching skills become one of the critically developed skills that increase the competence of the staff to allow for more empowerment and ownership of results.
Too often leaders fall back into “telling” their staff what to do. The leader has more knowledge and experience and therefore can create efficiency when providing the answer. Directing staff has its place and, as a default approach, will not allow the staff to learn and grow. Scrapping one’s knee in smaller circumstances teaches life lessons on performing and leading. When in the coaching role with staff, ask more questions than stating what needs to be done. Allow some room for discovery so they can find their own way to the result.
As I reflect on these themes, it now becomes clearer how tight these all tie in together: lead from the highest level of purpose, determine the invented future and use coaching methods to build effective teams.
It is an honor and privilege to work with these leaders and other clients who desire to step up to a higher, more effective and intentional level of leadership. From conscious leadership comes conscious culture. Once leaders understand their blind spots through insightful 360 assessments, they can move closer to the authentic purposeful leader they desire to become. It is a journey that can take a lifetime.
What do you think? Do these three patterns occur for you and do they intersect? Feel free to reach out to me at [email protected]