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  • Kathleen Phelps

Being the Leader of Your Life

A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.”—John C. Maxwell

March 2006.  I am atop a rocky outcrop on Cyprus, watching the sun begin to lower over Aprhrodite’s Rock and a shimmering Mediterranean Sea.  As one of the trainers at an advanced coaching training program in Europe, we have scheduled one afternoon of the program to connect with and experience the environment in which we find ourselves.

For me, it was a peak moment.  I had the privilege of leading talented coaches from around the world. I was learning continuously from the participants and my colleagues. And I felt fully alive and aligned.  I knew in my core that I was exactly where I should be and I was inspired by who I was being.

I’m interested in how to intentionally create more of those moments for me, and for all of the leaders I partner with.  What made Cyprus so special, was that the state of being I was in – the lens though which I viewed and interacted with the world.  The way I called out the brilliance in myself and others.

When I think about fully embodied leadership, I think about taking ownership and being accountable for the impact I have on the people and places around me, however big or small.  It has less to do with positional or hierarchical power – although the best leaders skillfully leverage that when needed –  and more to do with how I choose to show up for myself and others.

I often engage with clients on a specific area related to their effectiveness as a business leader. In my experience however, real transformation occurs when someone’s thinking shifts. When thinking shifts (as opposed to just behavior for short term gain) how people show up and who they are being can’t help but evolve.

In the book, Supercoach, Michael Neill talks about different levels of coaching.

  1. Level I coaching focuses on change in response to specific situation. This is traditional ‘performance coaching’ and has to do with changing an action or behavior to be more effective in a specific situation.

  2. Level II coaching focuses on change in a specific area.  It is still about shifting actions or behaviors but in a way that is applicable across a broader range of situations.

  3. In Level III coaching, what Neill calls ‘ global change’ – “a pervasive shift in our way of being” occurs.

He rightly points out that all three are valid, and that a Level III outlook is not necessary to solve a Level I issue! However, I am always most intrigued with the ‘being’.

I admire, and aspire to be one of those people who are always looking for new challenges, who intentionally expand their awareness, and who are willing to take interpersonal risks. Not only be leaders in their organizations and communities, but to be leaders and conscious creators in our own lives.

What is your Cyprus moment?  When have you been all of who you are and then some?  And who are you becoming next?

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