Connecting with candour

What? Am I going soft on you?

Actually quite the opposite! One thing I know to be true is that LEADERSHIP requires hard core authenticity. No place to hide.

Are you struggling to empower and build capacity in your team, give and receive real feedback, motivate and delegate and share leadership …. this COULD be a useful ponder ..

How candid are you with your team members or those you are engaging with? How candid are you with yourself?

A story … yesterday I met with a client who committed to very tangible goals in our last coaching session. He seemed highly committed to meeting with his team to renegotiate the way they work – frank conversations around how to spread the work. We did loads of prep. He was taking on way too much work. When he did allocate projects or tasks to team members, he was dissatisfied with the outcome and had to redo them … his way.

Back to our session – he did not have the meeting.

He was frustrated with himself and we became curious about this tendency to not fulfil tasks that he set for himself, even though important. Why? How was he getting in his own way?

After some exploration, it turned out that doing other people’s work was:

  1. Tension relieving – it took time, but he did it well
  2. It kept him from the stress of dealing with his own strategic work which was less urgent but inordinately important. This was an area where he risked failure
  3. He persuaded himself he was being a good ‘role model’

So, some good intention, a blind spot and an adverse impact – the team were disgruntled – they felt he didn’t trust them to do good work. So they tried less, let him do it anyway and everyone became less empowered and less trusting of each other. Lose lose

His Coaching task, an open meeting, meant that he would have to expose himself by owning his role in the dysfunction and commit to change. It required HEART and courage. The HEART of Leadership takes us face to face with ALL of us, even the tough stuff. It turns out it is the TOUGH stuff that drives change – NOT the soft stuff.

So now what? Dealing with ourselves, our own inner stuff, is not an easy journey, but it is a worthwhile one. We are only as good a leader as we are authentic, as we are in touch with the HEART of ourselves.

TO DO – Spend the next few days noticing how you get in your own way, asking the following questions:

  1. How are my team members, or those around me, reflecting my own stuff back to me?
  2. What is my role in the disconnects?

Observe yourself with interest – next time I will share a tool to respond and grow TRUST

If this was useful, please share and invite others to sign up for more here

Chat in a few days.

Meanwhile, continue to be AMAZING,


Make #AIDS2016 Count

Monday, first day back at work after #AIDS2016, the 21st International AIDS Conference in Durban, South Africa, a week ago. A familiar experience, arriving back at the office, full or renewed energy, heartfelt determination and notebooks full of insights and new ideas. Teams and stakeholders await – teams awaiting feedback, board preparation, pending strategic decisions, funding deadlines, ongoing change management, the daily business of a vibrant NGO.

How to sift through hundreds of sessions, discern the priorities, align strategic shifts, integrate small shifts for great impact and very importantly impart and accurately and enthusiastically communicate the essence and energy, so that all team members synchronise and join forces to navigate ahead. It is a window of opportunity to ensure business as usual does not overwhelm.

I reflect on years gone by, which conference had the best return on investment? Durban, Toronto, Mexico, Vienna …. and what made the difference? Sometimes my briefing was so comprehensive that my great intentions inspired great passion, yet failed to convert to action and impact. By contrast I also recall the treadmill engulfing me, relegating the opportunity into a reporting task, with little accountable outcome. Mostly, it fell somewhere in-between, useful, but not quite optimal. So how can you ensure #AIDS 2016 doesn’t become a working holiday or a battery of reports?

Of the many strategies I employed, one that stands out the most was engaging a dedicated thinking partner, conscience, accountability partner to do this work. A Coach provides such a reflective space, to assimilate, test your thinking, notice misalignment and offer it back until it shapes into a well-crafted plan and outcome?

Photo Credit and thanks to Groundup

Photo Credit and thanks to Groundup

19th September 2016
Make #AIDS2016 Count

Can Women Leaders have it all?


Conventional wisdom says that you can’t have it all, especially if you’re holding down multiple roles as Leader, Mom, Spouse, etc. Despite being an outdated concept, an invisible glass ceiling often continues to limit us, robbing us of reaching our higher potential.

Whilst the road to gender equity remains long and convoluted, I am continually humbled by witnessing the journeys of countless woman I admire, starting with my successful grown daughters, numerous Leaders that I am privileged to coach, along with countless incredible friends.
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16th October 2014