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Digging Deeper: Rethinking Who We Are When We Lead

Unlimited Potential has teamed up with Yellow Boots Leadership to introduce the Deliberate Shift Coaching Program. The article below is from an interview with Ottawa writer Kaarina Stiff

It's About Leadership

Deliberate Shift has launched an innovative new leadership coaching program for people who want to think creatively about how they lead.

Deliberate Shift co-founder Ellen Melis says this program digs deeper than other coaching programs.

“It’s a different way of making leadership development come to life,” says Melis. “Fundamentally, it’s about bringing people to a different place.”

The program includes an intensive three-day workshop, followed by one-on-one coaching, group support calls, and a community of practice with other leaders.

“This is not just a workshop—it’s a leadership development program that is for people who say ‘I want to lead differently’,” Melis continues. “It’s about deliberate leadership that engages people, going from telling people what to do to getting the best out of them.”

Beyond Coaching Skills

Both Melis and co-founder Tammy McLennan are certified executive coaches. They created Deliberate Shift to fill a need they saw in the market for a program that goes beyond basic coaching skills. It combines traditional skills building, like how to listen effectively and ask better questions, with a heavy emphasis on self-awareness that creates space for people to think about how they want to “show up” as a leader.

“A big passion for me is reducing the tension between work and life,” says McLennan. “You can’t separate who you are outside of work from who you are at work.”

Most leaders are challenged to find time to explore these thoughts in a busy work environment that’s full of back-to-back meetings. Through the three-day workshop, the program guides people to think deeply about who they are as leaders, and to examine how they can lead more deliberately, based on what drives them to do their best work.

“We take time with people so they can reflect,” says McLennan. “We work with people to help them figure out who they are as a leader, how they show up, and how they want to show up as a leader—we create the space for all of that to happen.”

Integration with LEADS

The program has a unique link to the LEADS leadership framework, which is used extensively in the healthcare sector and promotes a holistic view of what it means to lead. Consistent with LEADS, the Deliberate Shift Coaching program includes a follow-up 360-degree feedback process, which helps participants broaden their understanding of the impact their leadership approach has on others.

The Deliberate Shift Coaching Program is best suited to individuals who are ready to think hard about the changes they can make, and want to have more deliberate conversations with the people they work with. It’s an excellent way for whole groups or organizations to bring about a culture shift because it gives people a common framework and a common language to work from, which builds trust across the entire team.

“This is really perfect for organizations that are committed to creating a more engaging culture with individuals who are prepared to do the hard work,” says Melis.

Beyond doing - It's about showing up differently

A key quality that sets this program apart from other leadership offerings is the follow-up work that continues after the workshop is over. Melis and McLennan call it “a leadership shift that sticks”, because they designed the program to be practical and long lasting.

“We give a lot of time in the workshop and in the coaching to look at where you are now and where you want to be, and then identifying the path that’s going to take you there and help you stay there,” says Melis.

The impact of a program like this is profound for people who embrace it, McLennan adds, because it introduces the value of slowing down and preparing for deliberate conversations in a way that they didn’t think of before.

“People have described that shift as ‘life-changing’ once they gain these new insights” says McLennan. “It’s so powerful to be able to have real conversations about things that matter and see how quickly you feel connected to other people when you do that.”

Melis and McLennan are also excited to be doing this together.

“When we work together, we play off each other’s creativity and we do our best work,” Melis says. “That’s one of the reasons I’m so excited about this — this really is our best work. It’s fresh, it’s different, it’s fun — and it really makes a difference.”

More info and to Sign up

For more information about Deliberate Shift and upcoming workshops, visit the Deliberate Shift website.

 

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A simple way to measure ownership of personal and leadership development in your organization

 

I often hear leaders in organizations ask about how they can “make” people take more accountability for their personal and leadership development. You can’t really “make” people do anything, but these 4 simple questions will provide you with lots of insight on how to make personal and leadership development matter to your team.

Four simple questions:

Robert Kegan and Lisa Lahey (2009) suggest that you know that an organization had people taking ownership of their ongoing development when you could walk into an organization and any person could tell you:

  • What is the one thing they are working on that will require that they grow to accomplish it
  • How they are working on it
  • Who else knows and cares about it
  • Why this matters to them


Reference: Immunity to change. How to overcome it and unlock the potential in yourself and your organization. Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey, 2009.

 

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Increasing Self Awareness - 3 leadership development tools

 

As part of my leadership reading list on Lead Self, the book: The power of Coincidence: How life shows us what we need to know by David Richo is probably one of the more spiritual books I have read on self-awareness… While some the content of this book is beyond my grasp (or maybe my interest) I do take away three self-awareness insights. 

Much of this book is centered around letting go of the things that lead to needing to “be right”, “be in control”, “stay in fear” or “wanting to retaliate.” In letting go of those you make room for generosity, openness and letting life and love in. It also allows you to be a better leader in making more room for others.

Pause at the Pauses in Life

Life comes with its share of unexpected changes and events. Many of us have the tendency to fill the “in between spaces” with action and activity to avoid the quiet. Maybe the pauses are similar to the quiet in between plot developments in a book. The pause we take in these “in between” stages are an important part of growth. The hard part is to be quiet and observe rather than fill the space with “busyness.” A quote: “impatience is a refusal to honour the built-in timing of events.”

Take away: Have the courage to be quiet and to let go of controlling and willing events in the “in between” stages. Great thing show up when we are least looking for them.

Spot Fear, Attachment, Control and Entitlement

There is quite a bit in this book about the Ego and the Self – lots of it is based on Jung’s theories. The bottom line is that the Ego can get in the way of who we want to be and can show up as fear, attachment, control and entitlement. Time is spent in the book on converting this to the opposites:

  • Fear becomes love
  • Attachment becomes letting go
  • Control becomes allowing and honoring others’ freedom
  • Entitlement becomes standing up for our rights without retaliation if they are not respected

Takeaway: Fear thrives on isolation and powerlessness. When we admit our fears and share, it decreases the power it hold over us.

Mindfulness Exercise – letting go of 5 layers


Many of us have the tendency to distance ourselves from emotional reactions or to give in to drama. Mindfulness is simply “noticing our feelings and paying attention to them.” The book speaks of mindfulness as a way to visit the mind rather than be a prisoner to it.

Here one exercise to try.
Form an image of your current problem, concern or crisis. Sit comfortable and imagine that your problem is cupped in your hands in the image of a ball - a ball that is covered in 5 layers. Feel the weight of the ball and ask yourself the following questions:

  • What is scary about this problem and how are you holding on to fear, or being stopped or pushed by it?
    • Once you are aware if it, imagine yourself peeling it away and dropping it as you let go of the need to fear this.
  • How invested are you in controlling the outcome of this problem and how are you trying to maintain control of others around you?
    • Imagine yourself peeling away this layer and letting go of the need to control this.
  • How are you blaming this problem on someone else?
    • Let go of this layer and affirm that you let go of the need to blame anyone for this.
  • How are you feeling shame or guilt about having this problem?
    • Peel it away too to let go of the need to feel ashamed of this
  • How are you letting your serenity become dependent upon whether you can bring everything back to normal?
    • Peel this final layer away and let go of the need to fix this.

Now ask yourself what is left of the original problem. What does the ball feel like now and what is left of it? Let go of that.

Takeaway: Letting go of fear, control, blame, shame and the need to fix things creates space for new insights.

If you are interested in exploring these aspects of self-awareness as part of your leadership journey – this book is a good introduction with plenty of practical exercises and reflections.

 

 

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