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Each week I receive an email from Medium telling me which of my articles have been most read. The article that tops the list most weeks is one I wrote 4 years ago titled Who’s in your leadership shadow?

Given that it’s been 4 years, I’ve been pondering the most relevant way to re-visit the topic of leadership shadow. It struck me that, since writing the original article, our world of work has changed significantly. Some of us are only working remotely while others are adapting to a hybrid model of working at home and at the office. …


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Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve delivered a series of facilitated conversations to help leaders to build their coaching muscle. We’ve been talking about the core skills that underpin good coaching. For me, those skills are listening, connecting ideas and respectful challenge.

I wrote about specific listening modes in a previous article, and these recent conversations have prompted me to further extend those ideas. I suggest that when we’re coaching, mentoring or managing, listening doesn’t capture what we’re doing — or more specifically it doesn’t capture all that we’re doing.

I think listening is more accurately framed as paying…


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For me, it’s hard to talk about leadership without talking about value. I challenge my clients to consider the extent to which they are maximizing the value they create— for each of their team members and their company. In a fast-growth scenario, assessing optimal value contribution is an ever-changing feast, requiring both deep reflection and agility from leaders.

Typically, when I ask this question, the conversation moves quickly to the tension between thinking and doing. The expectation that as their team grows, leaders will “step up” and shift to thinking more broadly about what is best for the business. …


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I’m often asked by clients to recommend books or articles to deepen their knowledge of a particular topic. Lately, I’ve found myself recommending Radical Candor by Kim Scott a lot. If you haven’t read it or seen one of Kim’s talks, Radical Candor is a leadership philosophy based on “caring personally while challenging directly”. It’s often introduced when talking about ways to give feedback, but I think it can be applied to a broader question that has popped up in a number of my coaching sessions over the last few weeks…

In the context of leadership, what does it mean…


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As leaders, we all face a few challenging, tension-filled moments. Making people redundant was the one that always felt worst to me. Hopefully, most of us don’t have to face that one too often. There are many other leadership situations that have less significant consequences but can still make us feel awkward or anxious. I was reminded of one of those this morning — the transition from peer & friend to leader.

Consider this situation…You’re the leader of a relatively new team. Together you’ve delivered great results — and the reward for those results is more work and a bigger…


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Just when I think it is time to move on from a topic, a client asks for my help on something that makes me see another angle worth exploring. That’s exactly what happened this week. I was getting ready to leave the topic of reflection and shift gears to something new. Then a question about overthinking prompted me to change my mind.

For this particular client, overthinking was literally keeping her up at night. She was playing back conversations from the day, questioning her words, her actions and her decisions.

“Was my feedback too direct?”

“Why can’t I seem to…


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In my last article, I shared a checklist that was designed to help you be at your best. The final element in the list was reflection. It’s a topic that’s hard to get away from when you’re a coach — it’s such a fundamental part of what we do. Helping others to explore and explain a situation — to go beyond a description and move into an understanding of why something is happening is the first step to being able to improve it.

You don’t need a coach to build a robust reflective practice — you can definitely build the…


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Every coaching engagement begins with a question. The question that each client is asking themselves, their reason for reaching out. The articulation of the question varies from person to person but almost always the underlying sentiment is connected by a single wish. The wish for something to be different. To be better.

It could be the desire to improve a particular skill, relationships with important colleagues or stakeholders or developing new ways of thinking about strategic, cultural or leadership-related challenges. The frame will vary depending, among other things, on the level of experience and the context for each person.

Regardless…


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It’s that time of year again. Time to look back, to reflect on the year that was, and reset ourselves for the new year. Let’s face it, in reality not much changes between December 31st and January 1st. It’s an artificial reason to stop, think and reset — but it’s usually one that works. I like to think of myself as someone who’s worked hard to develop an effective system and cadence for reflective practice — it’s pretty important in my line of work. One of my favourite examples is that for the last few years, I’ve devoted a full…


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Talking to founders about the challenges they face when scaling their teams, the first topic to come up is usually hiring — how time-consuming it is, how long it takes and how to decide whether a candidate is “the right person for the job”.

Once we’ve talked through that topic (leaning heavily on great resources like Higher Help), very soon the conversation turns to collaboration. With new people on board, how to make sure that the right information is shared with the right people at the right time. It has been especially challenging this year for teams who had to…

Melissa Rosenthal

Executive Coach | Mentor | Advisor | Podcast Co-host Remote Control |www.melissajrosenthal.com

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