Archive for March, 2014

Expecting Spring

Here it is, March 27, 2014, and here in southern New Hampshire the bitterly cold wind is once again blowing up a storm. It’s technically spring, but you wouldn’t know it by going outside, where frozen tree branches sway dangerously over tired power lines.

Though I anxiously await the first popping crocuses and daffodils, before that can happen more than a foot of snow needs to melt enough for those shoots to turn their faces toward the sun. And before that can happen, the sun needs to come out. And on and on it goes.

When I hear the word “spring,” this isn’t what I expect. Ever. My naïve expectation is that once the vernal equinox passes through, Mother Nature should begin again to grace us with her warmer, sunnier days. But things don’t always work that way.

Expectations. We all have them.

Often my coaching business provides me with the privilege to work with leaders who wish to shift from being the expert in their craft or skill, to enabling the growth and development of others. This is a situation in learning to let go—of the way they think things should be done, of a self-imposed perfectionism, and of expectations about how they believe others should perform.

This can be hard. These changes in expectations can often create messiness. But it’s in this mess that learning happens, diversity is embraced, and creativity blooms.

Making the shift from the expert to an enabling leader is hard work, work that requires time, reflection, practice, and even occasional failures. Our expectations of ourselves—especially when we are perfectionists—has a tremendous impact on the expectations we have of others, and of their expectations of us. If we are committed to growing as leaders—as enabling leaders who provide the environment and means for others’ growth and learning—then we enter into a space of learning how to change our own expectations and our expectations of others. Wheatley (2005) suggests “As leaders ensure that the organization knows itself, that it’s clear at its core, they must also learn to tolerate unprecedented levels of “messiness” at the edges… Leaders have to be prepared to support diversity, to welcome surprise, to expect invention, to rely on highly contributing employees” (p. 69).

The winds of change in the way we lead, and in the way we enable others to show up and contribute their own flavors of accomplishment, are long overdue. We, as leaders, have an important role in shifting our focus to enabling others, allowing them to flourish in their work and become leaders in their own place.

This is the soulful work of leadership.

How might you enable those around you to grow and develop, be creative, and learn to lead in their own place?


Wheatley, M. J. (2005). Finding our way: Leadership for an uncertain time. San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler Publishers.


Grow Your Own Leaders: Using Assessment-based Coaching for Sustainable Leadership Development

Charney Coaching & Consulting and PeopleSense Consulting are partnering for a FREE webinar to be held on Thursday, April 3, 2014 at 1 PM Eastern. Program is approved for HRCI credits!

The power and potential of coaching as a valuable Human Resources tool has grown dramatically in the last decade. The International Coaching Federation, which began in 1999 with just over 2,000 coaches, has seen its membership grow to nearly ten times that number in the ensuing years. At the same time, various advanced performance assessments (often referred to, collectively, as “360s”), have also grown in use.

While each of these approaches is a strong component of any HR-led employee development program, our work with clients suggests that they are most commonly used independently, with 360s generally part of a periodic employee review process, and leadership coaching offered as part of specific leadership development program (often available to only a select few “high performing” individuals).

In this webinar, we will discuss the advantages of each tool, and then demonstrate the power that comes from joining these approaches into a single program aimed at creating sustainable leadership development, an approach we refer to as “Assessment-Based Coaching.” Benefits from the approach include improved employee retention, greater job satisfaction, and reduced turnover—all of which contribute to an ever-increasing bottom line. Assessment-Based Coaching combines the power of assessment feedback from direct reports, peers, managers, and interested stakeholders, and uses that feedback as the framework for targeted coaching in ways that can dramatically improve relationships and knowledge in ways that open up previously unseen leadership potential.

Leadership development has, and will continue to be, a critical investment for Human Resources departments worldwide. A 2012 report from SHRM, “Challenges Facing HR Over the Next 10 Years,” notes that 52% of study respondents indicated that “developing the next generation of corporate leaders,” was a key challenge, the second most concerning topic of all (just behind employee retention, which came in as the highest-ranked challenge, at 59%).  Interestingly—and most tellingly—the percentage of respondents concerned with leadership development was up dramatically from just two years earlier, when only 29% of respondents thought it critical.

This escalation in importance comes as the baby-boomer generation continues its move towards retirement; companies will continually face a loss of seasoned leaders in some of the most critical positions, and across every industry. The understanding and application of new approaches to rapidly and cost-effectively growing new leadership are therefore applicable to all Human Resources functions and departments.

By attending this seminar you will learn how to:

  1. Understand the power of using consistent 360 assessments for your employees
  2. Learn the value of providing coaching as a key component of growing leaders within your organization
  3. Understand the advantages and drawbacks of each
  4. Combine the effectiveness of both approaches into a sustainable, HR-driven leadership development plan

Join today by registering here. We look forward to having you with us.

Attendees of the webinar program will receive 1 (HR (General)) recertification credit hours toward PHR, SPHR and GPHR recertification through the HR Certification Institute. Note: The use of this seal is not an endorsement by the HR Certification Institute of the quality of the program.  It means that this program has met the HR Certification Institute’s criteria to be pre-approved for recertification credit.