Lisa’s Experience & Journey to Leadership Coaching

I started my career on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C.  I had several jobs but the most memorable was being the scheduler to a very powerful House Committee Chairman.  Leaders from all over the world sought an audience with this man every single day.  It might be a foreign dignitary or a farmer from the deep South, Oprah, or even the President of the U.S. 

In my early twenties I had to learn how to quickly assess a number of things.  Some were about others.  What was being said and what was really being asked.  Who was the face of something and who was really the decision maker.  How do seemingly disparate pieces of information or agendas come together to make sense. 

And, many of them were about me.  How I carried myself and communicated with a variety of people and personalities.  How I learned to deeply listen and observe everyone and everything around me.  How I learned to rely on my judgment and make strategic decisions.  How I managed my confidence and imposter syndrome when far out of my comfort level.  And, how to arrive at a win/win for most situations most of the time.

I used most of these skills and wisdom every single day in my 20+ year corporate career.  I started at Dell in my late twenties as it entered its high growth years.  All of us were a part of something that was bigger than us.  Every year or so I was moved into bigger roles with greater scope and span.  Always out of my comfort zone and experience.  Always relying on a quiet confidence that I’d figure it out.  I stayed true to who I was and open to who I was becoming. 

AND, every step of the way, I had strong mentors and coaches and colleagues.  I couldn’t have done it without them. 

Leading large global teams.  Elevating my executive communication and presence.  Developing people and creating culture.  Tackling large scale change initiatives.  Multiple Ex-assignments.  And literally thousands of talent conversations.  Promotions, Assessments, Succession.

I loved the people and talent focus most of all.  How do I grow and develop others?  How do I help them see and believe in their potential before they can?  How do I help them accelerate their growth and build their confidence?  How do I help them navigate effectively so they sidestep that potentially huge obstacle that could slow them down or stop them altogether.

I knew when I left the corporate world, coaching was my calling.

I have been coaching leaders full time for 10 years after a 25+ year very successful corporate career. 

I know what it’s like to sense that something needs to change.  And to not know what that is.  Or who to talk to about it.  To not know what to do and to think that there’s not another person on the planet that you could talk to about how you feel.

This could be you.  This could be any number of your leaders.

Sometimes that change is getting more comfortable with being uncomfortable.  

Your scope has increased and your confidence needs to catch up. 

It may be that your experience set doesn’t include the things you’re navigating now on a daily basis. 

Or you feel that everyone is speaking a foreign language and you need the speed version of translation for the precision communications your stakeholders now require. 

Or you’re stepping out into something entirely new when you’re not sure you have the courage or follow-though to go it alone or to do it at all.

I reached the tipping point for a change during another extended work trip taking me to NYC, Washington DC, London and India where I was speaking, leading, and learning/contributing.

It was Sunday morning at a stunning hotel in India.  Three weeks away from home.  Alone with lots of time to think.  Looking out over beautiful gardens, I was surprised to hear a small and quiet internal voice say “It’s time for a change but I don’t know what that is. “

What should have been rewarding and inspiring had just left me empty and exhausted.

I realized it wasn’t just this trip.  Everything had become flat in general.

I had reached what I now coach on a lot….the tipping point where staying in a situation is scarier than leaving it.  BEFORE you jump to any conclusions…you DON’T have to leave a situation.  Sometimes you just need a new perspective.

Nothing was specifically wrong.  There was no “burning house” that was driving change.  Someone looking at me from the outside would see many desirable boxes checked.

Even with this, over the period of a couple of years, there had been a growing awareness that something was shifting. 

Nothing was REALLY wrong.  But nothing was REALLY right either.

This prompted reflection and a deep look at every dimension of my life.  For the first time really.

What did I want now?

Where did I want to focus and spend my time?

What about me is unique and how do I bring that into my work?  My life?

Who are the people who inspire me?  Comfort me?  Know the real me?

When did I have fun?  Lose sense of time?

Why did I do things?  Or not? 

What really mattered to me?

Who did I want to be now?

When you open yourself up to existential questions like this and really listen for the answers, you start receiving signs.

You can think of it somewhat like “when the student is ready, the teacher appears”.

Or when anything wants to get your attention, it will send signs.  When you don’t hear or see these signs, it will send larger ones.  When you don’t see or hear the larger ones, it can get louder and more urgent.

There were so many experiences I had that seemed to be telling me something.  

I shared a few with a mastermind group I was a part of.  After a few moments of silence, one of the members said, “can’t you see all of these signs are telling you, actually shouting, that it’s time to take a leap and make a change?”

Maybe a new perspective was needed.  A different way of living and leading.

Three months later, after I made some big decisions and changes in how I was leading my personal and professional lives, I was driving down a street that I’d driven countless times. In a moment, like a light switch, I was aware of colors, landscapes, the air itself is a way that I hadn’t in years. Maybe ever. I had been asleep. Now I am awake.

I had seen coaching work over many years “inside” a corporation and knew I wanted to be one. Now I had an even greater incentive and inspiration to “wake up” leaders and help them live with intention. 

I want people I work with to not just go through the motions. To not just react to their environments or be directed by everything external to them. 

You can always be a better leader. I can help you with that.  I also want you to be a better person…one who allows what you want to be the driver.

There are few people who have led and lived (3 long term expat assignments) globally, been in 1000s of talent conversations with and about some of the most successful and challenging leaders out there, and led both HR and D&I at the most senior levels.

Who are you now? How do you want to work? What stays and what goes? And so on.

I, with questions and prompts, can cut straight through a carefully crafted shield that’s designed to keep you comfortable.

Growth and comfort usually can’t co-exist. 

Most clients have challenges asking for help. Asking wasn’t comfortable for me either. Ever.  Until I did.  And it made all the difference.

Do you need help on who you are today and what work you want to do in the world now?

Who are you doing it with? 

What is it? 

How do you talk about it?

What are you uniquely brilliant at bringing to others and to yourself? 

How do you manage yourself?

Let’s find out together.