“The Etiquette of Leadership: The Art and Science Of Leading Well.”

The Etiquette of Leadership: The Art and Science of Leading Well,” by Ben Baldwin and Ian Sampson

(The following is a review of our chapter on “The Etiquette of Leadership” in “Think Big” by O’Sullivan and Fitzgerald.)

“Leadership has its own etiquette, and there’s an art and a science behind leading well. Great leaders side-step the old formulas of leadership theory to transform their effectiveness, to strengthen their reputations and to increase their wellbeing.

“Sampson and Baldwin explain that there are some common, deep and often unrevealed factors at work behind most of the effective leaders. These factors enable natural leaders to emerge in times of crisis, and they can also be spotted in the most successful CEOs and entrepreneurs.

“Effective leadership is this: repeatedly getting done through others what can’t be done by oneself. And in the lead up to each moment of effective leadership, good leaders bring together four elements:

  • A model that works for them about what real leadership is
  • An awareness of their surroundings
  • A deep sense of commitment to maximise the wellbeing of those they’re seeking to lead
  • A strong desire to move the situation forward

“The etiquette of leadership is practised effectively when leaders take these four elements and use them as a basis to build their own unique approach. The art of leadership lies in how the science is applied to the situation by you as the leader. When the art and the science come together, effective leadership creates outcomes that would not otherwise have been achievable.

“To give you a little extra inspiration, here are a few examples of the etiquette of leadership in action:

  • A senior executive who puts aside his grand title and flashy totems of office to create a sincere conversation with his followers
  • A politician who speaks at a rally and puts aside jargon and platitudes to engage with the listeners’ intellect and emotions
  • A project manager who delivers results exactly as planned for
  • A case worker who leads a group of clients to new understandings of practical ways to deal with problems#

“Effective leaders are out there right now, making things happen every minute of every day. It’s time for you to become one of them.”

If you would like a first edition copy of “The Etiquette of Leadership: The Art and Science of Leading Well” please go to www.the leadership

Copies are also be available by contacting me at

Leading when the unthinkable or unpalatable occurs

Imagine a situation where some undreamed of calamity occurs and it is up to you to lead your people right now through the next steps, possibly while the situation is still chaotic.  Would you like to be able to consciously and competently speak and move during those first moments and then throughout the ongoing response periods, to restore order and workability?

Ian Sampson and Tim Dalmau are hosting to Brisbane in early April Michael Grinder, a world expert on micro self management and interpersonal skills.  Michael has worked with leaders across the world in all types of organisations for many years.

We believe that world and organisational events are becoming so spontaneous and intricate that these skills are now fundamental to every successful leader’s repertoire.  Michael is working to build new NON-VERBAL expertise and knowledge in leading during the increasingly complex circumstances that are emerging every day. He is going to share this work with this special group.
What you will walk away with
The workshop will be set up like a learning laboratory, where you get pick up and practice new skills and see them develop in real time. The working environment will be welcoming, warm, inspiring and encouraging.
Michael will model and teach the behaviours and skills we need in these situations throughout the very interactive and non threatening two days we will be together.

The skills you learn will increase the personal effectiveness of your role in Crisis Management, Disaster Recovery, Continuity of Business and Emergency Management plans.
You will experience a two-day high end training experience with Michael, packed with skills, practice and information that will allow you to:-
• Be credible and influential when the unexpected happens
• Provide a sense of order and calm to stakeholders and employees
• Understand the conditions which create fear and those which create safety and a sense of order
• Know the conditions under which it is and is not realistic to expect that teams exist and be high performing
• Know how to communicate and behave non verbally for impact and effectiveness when the unexpected occurs
• Know how to have difficult or volatile conversations with others easily and effectively
• Receive personal feedback and coaching in real time
• Strategies and tools for increasing both the cohesiveness and performance of groups and teams
What do people say?
“I have attended a lot of leadership programs, but never one that gives you the practical non-verbal skills (and the opportunities to practice) that really make a difference in your interactions with others. From my perspective this program is unique”
PARTICIPANT in similar workshop, March 2015.
”This was the very best training experience I have ever had. I am so appreciative to Michael. Michael skills are world class. 
PARTICIPANT in similar workshop, March 2014.
As a professional conference speaker and International President of the Global Speakers Federation I get to see a lot of conference speakers, trainers and presenters from around the world. I have had the privilege to attend many training sessions during my term as President over the last eight months and I rate Michael Grinder’s program as the also most practical I have attended. I have learned so much I can put into use straight away at both a professional and personal level.
LINDSAY ADAMS CSP, Teamocracy, President, National Speakers Association of Australia

Who is presenting?
Michael Grinder

Dates and locations
6th and 7th April, 2017 from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm each day
United Services Club
183 Wickham Terrace, Brisbane
Parking is available at the club for a nominal fee and trains and buses are nearby
Click here to register today:
If you have any queries regarding registration please email Ian Sampson or phone +61  419 001 179.
Fee A$995

Why Leadership Programs Under Deliver. What to Do

So, you’ve been to the Leadership Development program run by your organisation or a university.
You have the folder, the electronic materials, even a certificate of attendance.
You’ve been assessed, interviewed, monitored, evaluated, tested, fed-back to.
You have formed some new associations to follow up with as your career continues to unfold.
You have been back at work for a while, endeavoring to find ways to introduce the tools, models, structures, processes and techniques you learned.
(You most probably have found by now that engaging your significant others at home regarding what they need to know or do as a result of your attendance at the Program is fraught with danger and very patchy results!)
You sit quietly every now and then and reflect kindly on some of the speakers, presenters and facilitators and in occasional moments also reflect on your leadership and what it means to you and the world you live and work in.
A famous song by Peggy Lee has the lines:
Is that all there is?
If that’s all there is my friends
Then let’s keep dancing
Let’s break out the booze and have a ball
If that’s all there is
Leadership development is often a tool for managements to make assessments about the capability and potential of new and emerging leaders. It serves a purpose. It provides insights, tools and techniques for keen participants to pick up.
But while participants may be keen or merely compliant, the cost and efficacy of Leadership Development Programs in building real Leaders is a cause of considerable debate and much concern by organisations that seek to build ongoing leadership capability improve writing and writing skills

. If “all there is” is a warm feeling about doing a program and developing data for succession plans without actually improving organisational results through the application of great leadership, there really are problems. Put another way, the problem is this: there is little evidence that they build leaders or increase practical
leadership in the everyday life of organisations as they face the challenges and opportunities of fast paced change.
Formal programs and even mentoring/coaching arrangements after programs are not, of themselves likely to produce as much as their sponsors hope or providers promise.
Emerging leaders and even seasoned leaders seeking to continually learn and build their capability need the opportunity to reflect, increase their self-awareness, build their leadership identity, practise leadership skills in a safe environment, develop their personal leadership plans and goals, learn from others’ real experience in the field.
Opportunities to engage in these activities are fundamental to success.
The Leadership Foundation stands in the unique place of providing opportunities for real leaders to develop real leadership. At regular monthly meetings either at a central venue in Brisbane or in-house in organisations:
They get to reflect on what’s working and not working for them at the moment.
They get to explore new ways to uncover leadership insights for themselves and to develop that in their followers.
They get to take whatever leadership identity they developed for themselves through courses and programs to new levels of insight.
They get to experiment.
They get to practice and debrief their particular approaches in short practical scenarios.
They get real feedback on issues they are dealing with in high impact speed coaching sessions
The Leadership Foundation is a community of leaders that have decided that leadership is not an individual pursuit, it is an ongoing team event where within any given leadership moment experiences are drawn upon, courage is called upon, decisions with intention are made and action happens. These four key elements are not only drawn from an individual, they are collated from and supported by a team of people made up of leaders and followers.
If you are interested in building your leadership capability to the next level with the support of a leadership community, come to an event at The Leadership Foundation You will be warmly welcomed!
Or call Ben Baldwin on 0400 743 170 to plan the next steps for your personal or organisation’s leadership.

Sensitive Leadership

(I started to publish this as a series of posts but received some feedback that they would be best published together, so here they all are as one document.)

A colleague recently described me as a new age type of leader… sensitive, caring, wanting to serve others. Does that make me a sensitive leader? Yes and No.
Good leaders use their sense, their sensitivity and their senses in being leaders in the moment.

There is some debate whether the old five senses- touch, sight, sound, smell and taste still are the right and only senses we human beings have.
Be that as it may, good leaders use all their senses when leading effectively.

The wonderful thing about our senses is that they allow us to scan our environment and make assessments about the context in the moment. Effective use of our senses increases our capacity for awareness, both of self and others.


A few years ago there was a management craze about Management By Walking Around. It still pervades some management training programs. The central idea was to get managers out from behind their desks and seeing what is going on in their operations. Paying attention. Making observations. Noticing what is really going on. Being aware. Being seen.

One post I read recently included a comment from an executive dean of a university. He “makes it a policy to meet quarterly with the people he manages to ensure they remain engaged and enthusiastic about their work. If not, a candid conversation may open the door to new, more meaningful ways in which that employee can contribute.”
Yeah, right. I can just imagine the rose petals strewn in his path as he deigns to chat with the plebs and reviews the troops. I can just imagine, too, the flocks of “the people he manages” rushing to his door for a candid conversation!

Of course there is another interpretation of Management By Walking Around. It involves Management By Walking Around…Problems. This can involve literally going around them as if they are not there, like sidestepping a turd on the footpath.

Or MBWA might mean not being stuck, held up, stopped, thwarted, limited by an issue we see and instead ‘finding a way’ around the problem so that outcomes are still achieved. Will you find a way around a problem so that progress is maintained or will you ignore it?

These are just three ways of interpreting how Management By Walking Around looks. How do you see things when you are interacting with others?

Here’s a useful way to hone you sense of leadership sight:
Think of a situation that will come up today where you will be a leader.
What will you pay attention to? What will you need to be very aware of?
What do you notice in just thinking about this right now?
That is Sight Sensitive Leadership.


In December 2015 I travelled to Mexico to be part of a program with leaders from around the world. 260 of us spent 8 days experiencing what actually happens when we are being leaders and experiencing what happens when effective leadership takes place.
A good part of the program covered listening. Many leaders think that leadership is about speaking.

Speech acts are one of the ways we move others to action as leaders. When we are speaking as leaders, what we say, and how we say it are deeply listened to by others. In that process, others make assessments about the content of what is being said and whether the person saying it is followable. That is why face-to-face speaking is so powerful.
Listening is just as important in a conversation as the speaking. Good leaders know how to speak effectively. They also know how to listen effectively. In the course we talked about the listening that goes on in people’s heads as they are listening to what is being said by others. These thoughts, interceptions, interpretations, assessments and the like act like a veil between the listener and the speaker. The speaker has no idea what is going on inside the listeners’ heads but what is going on is what ensures that every single listener gets a completely different and unique experience of what is being said.

Followers who are in a dream, listening to their thoughts etc, can’t get the full unveiled stream of communication. Poor leaders who don’t appreciate the power of clean listening can’t get the reasons why their communication is one sided.

Pay attention to effective leaders who are masterful listeners. As they are speaking they are deeply listening for their listeners. They are not making up stories in their heads about what the listener is thinking. They are making a clearing for communication to occur. How do they do that???????
They create communication by taking responsibility for their own listening. Then they listen from the speaker’s place. As their own internal voice keeps interrupting their thoughts they acknowledge it and take responsibility again for listening and getting what the speaker is really saying. It’s like being present in the place where the speaker is: not “in here”, not “out there”, but “out here” with the speaker.

Here’s a useful practice for building your listening as a leader:
Be aware of the context you are entering.
Recall what your models of thought and leadership are teaching you about the situation
Clarify what you intend to come from the conversation
Deepen your care for the other person
Begin the conversation, listening from “out here”
Notice what happens.
That is Listening Sensitive Leadership


So much of what passes for leadership these days is rotten, on the nose. Our political leadership is causing repugnance and recoil. Many are disillusioned that election campaigns, which seem to go now for half the political terms sometimes, are just self indulgent exercises in casting bread and promising circuses to the masses.
As this smelly phenomenon continues, our so-called political party leaders become ever more isolated from their real role: to provide leadership through the development, articulation and passage of policies that contribute to the advancement of our nation.

The situation is not much better in many organisations, businesses, not-for-profits, entrepreneurial activities, academic and governmental bureaucracies.

In other posts on sensitive leadership in this series I have suggested a useful practice. For this one I am struggling! The best I can do is suggest that you try paying extra attention to those who provide leadership in your situation. What does your sense of smell tell you about their effectiveness? If it is on the nose, look to your other senses and see if there is a practice you could take on to either help their ineffectiveness or improve your own.


I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the etiquette of leadership. The notion of etiquette has pejorative implications for many: ideas of class, exclusivity, elitism. But as Elizabeth Post said: etiquette is the science of living.
Leadership etiquette might then mean the science of living a leaderful life. Etiquette is not about how one holds a knife or whether the spoons are in the right order on the table. Etiquette is about taste: doing the right thing, nobly, generously, inclusively, in a quality manner that brings out the best in situations and in others because it brings out the best in us.
Tasteful leadership is that approach to being a leader where others want to come on the journey with us, to explore and embrace the ideas we are presenting, to achieve the goals we are putting forth, to accomplish achievements in the way we are modelling by our own conduct.

Here’s a practice you might like to take on in building your leadership etiquette:
think about the qualities of leadership that you love to see yourself practice.
Recall those times when you have seen others respond well to your courage as a leader.
Incorporate that thinking into who you want to be as a leader going forward

For me the etiquette of my leadership, my tasteful leadership, includes; being at peace with my self, relating to others through deep care for them as amazing others, conducting myself so that others feel good about themselves and their situation.

What is your leadership etiquette? Whatever it is, that is tasteful leadership


Some years ago I watched a managing director of a very large organisation ranting at a management retreat. The woman sitting beside him eventually leaned a little towards him, and lightly touched his arm. The effect was electric. Without seemingly noticing the touch, his voice transformed, his volume decreased, his pace slowed and his language became more considered.

We all have the gift of touch as leaders. Sometimes it is a physical touch: embracing another appropriately to show care and concern, helping in a situation where physical effort is required. Sometimes it is metaphorical touch: reaching out to another to make contact, build relationships, promote connections, strengthen connectivity.
Of course at the other end of the spectrum, touch can be expressed as force. This is not leadership, so don’t do it.

Heres’ a practice for you to develop your leadership sensitivity to the power of touch:
In your leadership interactions this week, notice the impact of a slight, appropriate, physical touch offered to another. Observe the other’s response
Notice your own response
Use it as an opportunity to move your next leadership action to a new place of sensitivity and effectiveness.

Sensitive leadership is not namby pamby stuff. Being sensitive to ourself and others in our practice of leadership requires discipline, awareness, courage, intentionality, strength of character, the practice of ethical behaviours at all times.
As I said in the first episode in this series of posts: Good leaders use their sense, their sensitivity and their senses in being leaders in the moment.
Best wishes in your practice of sensitive leadership. I’d be delighted to hear of your experience in this domain.

Deceptive Leadership

I have been an admiring reader of Jeffrey Pfeffer’s work on Leadership for many years.

All that went out the window this week when he published an article in Forbes magazine titled: “Why Deception is Probably the Single Most Important Leadership Skill.” (Forbes, June 2,2016)
Pfeffer described the world of truthfulness, candour and transparency as being illustrative of “the kumbaya nature of leadership advice.” Really??

He advocates that it is OK to:

  • create false expectations in order to influence a persons performance
  • deceive others by creating placebo effects to create self fulfilling prophecies whereby an “idea produces behaviours that make the idea, even if originally false, become true.”

He says that leaders should not display uncertainty and insecurity even if they do not have “a real understanding of where they are heading.”

Notwithstanding that, in Australia at least, such conduct may constitute the criminal offence of deceptive and misleading conduct under the CorporationsLaw, this is just plain morally and ethically wrong. Do not do lie to those who put their trust in you.

Pfeffer attempted to justify his position with references to great American business leaders who successfully adopted this approach as a means to the end of creating business success.
No wonder so much of the world of business is in diabolical trouble.

If you can:

  • level with your followers
  • tell the facts
  • affirm your determination to go forward, even in the face of difficulty
  • provide believable next steps that will allow others to step up
  • be honest about the possibilities of success,

you are a leader.

If you can’t, you should not be in a formal leadership position. No matter what your title says, you are not a leader. Get out of the way and let someone else with the fortitude to say what is so and provide realistic next steps, come forward.

In the world of ontological leadership, this is a great example of inauthenticity at work. Pfeffer’s advocacy of deception is a sad but powerful example of the inauthenticity of inauthenticity. Shame on you, Professor Pfeffer.

A Letter to Leaders about the Meaning of Life

Dear leader,
I was talking yesterday to a woman who has made some poor decisions and has begun to become a victim. She seemed not to have any purpose in her life.
There was little I could offer her just then, mainly because she was stuck in her troubles.
Most of us go through life seeking to answer questions about the meaning of our life. Some find answers. Some don’t look. Some look and don’t find anything satisfactory for themselves.
Some discover that there is no meaning to life and it doesn’t mean anything that there is no meaning. Others equate meaning with purpose and discover a religious insight such as the Christian teaching that the chief end of man is to know God and enjoy him forever. Others draw on philosophers such as Immanuel Kant who points to our need to find someone or something to love, something to do that we are passionate about and something to look forward to.
How do you describe the purpose and meaning in your life? What words do you actually use? How do you use that foundation in your life each day? If you are struggling in life as a leader or a follower, I strongly suggest that you look to the foundations of who you are.
If you don’t have a way to think this through you might consider an identity statement. At The Leadership Foundation we sometimes suggest members develop a Leadership Identity statement, to give their leadership a framework to be thought from as they exercise leadership each day.
The one we use allows access to the following areas:
• Where we are now
• Our sources and quality of information gathering and sharing
• Our relationships
• Our intentions
• The principles that underlie of thoughts and actions
• The tensions and issues we face
• The context in which we operate what we are actually going to do next and
• Our reflections and learning in this work
I particularly like Kant’s philosophy in relation to my leadership journey. As a leader I seek to always act from my care and concern for the people I love and the leadership opportunities present for others. I can get passionate about many things, so it is easy to direct my leadership wherever it is required at the time. I look forward each day to something to do and someone to be as a leader. On this basis I am living a great life and am planning to live to be 110. (Who knows if I’ll get there; the journey is the thing!)
If you desire to be a leader who lives with a central core of understanding about your life and what it stands for;
If you are on your leadership journey and you want to develop the quality of your leadership; If you are seeking new leadership opportunities;
If you are an effective leader who wants to build on your existing leadership skills;
If you are looking for some partners in your leadership;
consider coming to an event at The Leadership Foundation.
The next event in Brisbane will be focussing on building our courage as leaders. It will be on 20th April, 2016.
See or call Ben Baldwin on 0400 743 170.
You will meet other interesting and accomplished leaders and you will be warmly welcomed. Regards,
Ian Sampson
Ian Sampson – Chairman

Leadership and The 12 Days of Christmas

“Almost Christmas!” a friend exclaimed in March!
How the year is flying by.
Perhaps it’s flying by because you are reading too many Google entries and posts on Leadership. There are 500 million (if Google can and really do keep track after the first few million!)

It’s hard not to be dazed by the constant flow. Just for fun, I picked out some for the 12 Days of Leadership.

12 Leadership Behaviours that Build Team Trust
12 Leadership Lessons from Special Operations
12 Habits of Exceptional Leaders
12 Leadership and Happiness Tips from the Dowager Countess of Downton Abbey(!)

11 Leadership Strengths That Can Turn Toxic
11 Leadership Lessons From The Brits.
11 Principles of Leadership
11 Leadership Secrets You’ve Never Heard About

10 Impressive Characteristics Great Leaders Have life
The top 10 Leadership Skills
10 Leadership Techniques for Building High Performance Teams.
10 Leadership Survival Tips.

Top 9 Leadership Behaviours That Drive Employee Commitment
9 Qualities of a Leader.
9 Leadership Behaviours that Drive Customer Loyalty.
9 Leadership lessons From The Game Of baseball.

The 8 Dimensions of Leadership
8 Skills Every Leader Must Master
Harvard Says These 8 Leadership Traits Are Critical For Success.
8 Massive Mistakes Companies Make About Leadership Development

The 7 Crucial Skills Of Leadership.
7 Leadership Mistakes To Avoid In 2016

6 Leadership Styles And When You Should Use Them.
6 Emotional Leadership Styles- Changing Minds.
6 Leadership Traits You Need to Develop On The Job.
6 Leadership Traits Seldom Mentioned.

The 5 Practices of Exemplary Leadership
Level 5 Leadership: The Triumph of Humility and Fierce Resolve.
5 Leadership Lessons from Dogfish Head’s Founder
5 Leadership Styles Good Bosses Avoid Like The Plague

Which of These 4 Leadership Styles Are you?
The Four Leadership Traits That Translate To Business Success
4 Leadership Milestones To become A Great Leader
4 Leadership Imperatives For Humanitarians

3 French Hens

2 Turtle Doves and

A Partridge In A Pear Tree (Taa Dah!)

If you are are keen to build your leadership before next Christmas, come to The Leadership Foundation’s next event on 20th April. or call Ben Baldwin on
0400 743 170. We provide opportunities to build on whatever foundations of leadership you already have through courage, reflection, high quality relationship building and self planning. It’s fun and effective. You’ll be warmly welcomed. But no partridges!

Management, Managerial Leadership and Leadership

Management is about organising systems to work faster, better, cheaper and produce more, reflecting the principles that underlie them: Quality, Cost, Rate and Quantity.
Of course, management must occur in a context of legal compliance and risk management.

Management is about control.
People who work in organisations are part of management systems and are therefore subject to managerial control.
This is the work of managers today: controlling others. If it is done effectively morale, engagement, job satisfaction and the like are all high.
Much of management today is about manipulation. Done well, manipulation is the handling of a person or thing with care. Chiropractic manipulation is a good example, when done well. Poor manipulation occurs when managers control others as an end in itself. This is the reason why so many support functions in organisations are struggling to make a difference: they exist to control others for their own professional, personal or organisational ends.
Control of others is also the reason why so many organisations are failing as sustainable entities: people increasingly don’t want to work in organisations where procedures and systems make them servants of the system rather than enable them to do productive, high quality work safely, legally and cost effectively.

Leadership is about organising people to enable them to work faster, better, cheaper and produce more. Leadership therefore overlaps with management, at least in relation to the people component of organisational systems. Managers manage things; leaders lead people. This might be called managerial leadership.

But. Organisations thrive not just through great management. They also require great leadership. Leadership is about calling followers to clarify who they are in a situation, to create a future that they can be part of, to give them an opportunity to choose what to do next and to do all that with high regard for the welfare of their followers.
Leadership is about creativity, purpose, intention and care.

Good leaders take whatever training, experience and self awareness they have and use it to create leadership opportunities. Great leaders learn to continually improve their effectiveness through reflection, coaching and by constantly putting themselves in places of opportunity.

If you would like to build on whatever foundations of leadership you already have and experience the satisfaction that comes to leaders who constantly work on their capacity to create leadership, come to an event at The Leadership Foundation. Details are at:

Being An Excellent Leader

There is no fixed definition of excellence in leadership, but we all know it when we see it; when we feel it.
There is a different skill set required in managing a project, than there is in leading the team and we all manage and lead in some capacity – whether it’s our children, our family, our community, or our workplace.
We all influence others.
This opens up a conundrum for us – what kind of leaders are we? What is the trail of afterthought we leave behind? Do we inspire people? Would we challenge people to be more than even ourselves?
What kind of leader do we want to be?
In knowing where we are, and knowing where we want to be as a leader – how do we walk towards it in a real, experiential, practical manner -using our own lives as the template for our own improvement?
Large corporates seek to build capacity as a leader by assessing their employees who are judged to be “high potential.” High potential leaders have a suite of leadership experiences, competencies, values and fit with their organization. They identify your specific areas for development and act to build your capacity (Study by Aon Hewitt).
Not all of us work for an organization where we are a good fit. Not all of us will be assessed as high potential and not all of us work well in this environment of support; but the beauty of leadership is that we do not need to be any of these things all the time – we only need to the right person in the moment and practice. Anyone can do that if they are willing to step forward to create change.
Leaders who want to build their total performance will be seeking opportunities to develop and practice their leadership in their lives. Being a leader occurs one moment at a time – sometimes we lead and sometimes we follow. We all build our mastery of leadership in the tapestry of life and our strength as a leader is defined by how we weather all moments in our lives. By playing 100% in life, we hone our leadership skills, and hopefully we evolve into the leader we hoped we would be.
At The Leadership Foundation, we support you to answer these questions for yourself, and provide opportunities for you to be exposed to leadership across a smorgasbord of professions. We create an environment where leaders can reflect on their leadership moments and explore their leadership style. From there, we can build our personal resilience and confidence as a leader, and better our performance as a leader.
We help people to understand the people that follow them, so that they can help create the leaders of tomorrow.
We welcome all new attendees, so if you are:
a person newly appointed to a leadership role and want to learn how to be more effective
a captain of a sporting, project or work team
a board member
a person who wants to influence a difficult situation or relationship
a new or experienced manager
a recent graduate of any kind of program
an office bearer of a community organisation
a leader who wants to develop a group of colleagues
a person who has just been nominated as being high potential,
Please join us at one of our events.
For more information go to or contact Ben Baldwin or Ian Sampson.
Ben Baldwin–CEO

Ian Sampson-

What ACTUALLY Is Executive Coaching

This week I worked with a business owner, Ron, on a problem that all business owners love.

We had a great coaching session and he got some great insights into the underlying issue and what steps to take next.
I also got some great learnings.

The first was when he asked me, a little shyly, “What, actually, is Executive Coaching, Ian?” I explained the differences between coaching, advisory and mentoring work.

Then he hit me with the blinder: “But I am not an Executive!”

Instantly, I saw that clients don’t need to be in “Executive” roles to receive Executive Coaching. That was learning number one.

Learning number two sprang from that quick insight: Executive Coaching is much more about the special nature of executive issues than the title or level of people in an organisation.

Some researchers and commentators call these special types of issues “Wicked Problems”, to distinguish them from other issues that people get coaching on.

Ron’s issue is a good example of a wicked problem:
•    It requires considerable mental effort to get its nature clear,
•    its symptoms are changing all the time,
•    the surrounding context is very fluid and
•    there are often multiple options on what to do next.

This is quite a different situation to other forms of coaching where, say, a player wants their coach to help them move their left foot in a different way when they are kicking the ball.

Albert Einstein said: “No problem was ever solved with the same consciousness that created it.” In the context of coaching, if you have a wicked problem you might resolve it by sitting alone in a dark room and “thinking” about it. But, you are likely to resolve it faster and better by having your coach help you get clear about what the issue really is and to bring new awareness of all the issue’s dimensions and options for resolution.

Ron and I started by talking about business referrals, then we clarified that it was more an issue of managing growth and then quickly developed on to how to organise his whole business. He is wrestling with how to get more referrals while trying to establish a new branch, increase his revenue base, keep his franchisor on side, recruit new staff, work less extreme hours and focus more time and energy on high value tasks.

In less than half an hour, he saw that if he took a radical approach to his fixed costs he could increase his profitability, generate new referrals, grow his business and concentrate on more high value activities. This is an option he said he would never have come up with by himself. Whilst I suggested the focus on costs and the particular idea to reduce them, the subsequent design and plan came from both of us working together.
Ron will be able to take immediate action and in so doing he will cause a whole raft of ripple effects to occur to resolve some of his other issues like numbers and quality of referrals, his personal workload and the immediate need for a new shopfront.

And that breakthrough for Ron lead to a third learning.  In our coaching conversation, Ron got to see that the creative, energising and radical proposal he chose to take on came not from him sitting alone in a dark room, not from him listening to me being wise and experienced but from our shared thinking. “It’s like one plus one equals three,” he beamed.

That’s what Executive Coaching actually is.