Recently I attended the Global Co-Active Summit in Napa, CA. Being in a space with 650 coaches for nearly three full days is a powerful experience in itself. To add to that, talking about what we individually and collectively do to shift the world from “Me to We” was mind-bending at times.
We learned a lot from each other, a lot about ourselves and shared how the work that we do with individuals collectively makes the world a better place.
I have always recognized that coaching is a powerful vehicle for leadership development but have not been able to articulate this transformation in a way that felt adequate or comprehensive. I would say, “Coaching helps individuals reach their full potential so they can contribute their greatest gifts in meaningful ways.” That didn’t quite cut it.
So when Karen and Henry Kimsey-House unveiled a new paradigm of leadership, it finally felt like I had some language to express the power of coaching. This new paradigm confirms what I always say when working with coaching clients and nonprofit leaders. “Everyone is a Leader”. It is a matter of identifying and reaching that untapped potential.
This new Co-Active® Dimensional Leadership™ (CDL) model demonstrates how “Everyone is a Leader” in 5 dimensions.
Leader from Within: It has to start with “you”, your core set of values and purpose in the world. We strive to always lead from within, aligning with our values, living authentically on purpose, with integrity. When a leader is not living in alignment with his/her values, energy that could be directed toward creating a better world is wasted.
Leader from Behind: This is the predominant dimension that coaches embody. In this dimension, your intention is to develop the leadership skills and competencies of others. This dimension is also seen in mentoring.
Leader from Beside: This happens in true partnerships. When you are in this dimension the focus is on how you form an alliance with your co-leader to make sure that you share a common intention. This is the experience of mutuality, flowing with others.
Leader from the Front: This is the dimension which traditionally is identified as “leader”. The person most visible, whose voice is heard, who stands front and center. However in this model, leader from the front has a collaborative element. Leader from this dimension provides vision and inspires others to take action to move toward that vision.
Leader from the Whole: This dimension was the hardest for me to grasp and I am still internalizing its meaning. This concept goes beyond vision, purpose and focuses on the BIG PICTURE, the meta-view, the energy, spirit and other elements that are in the space. It is tuning into the intuition, what else is present? Like a tuning fork, there are vibrations to tap into and fold into our awareness as leaders.
After hearing about this Co-Active Dimensional Leadership Model, we were placed in groups and had a task of a treasure hunt throughout the two days. Through this team focused activity, ten of us moved around the dimensions of the model at different moments. We learned from each other how each dimension presented itself. We saw the dimensions in each other and ourselves. It was a powerful action learning experience. Each of us learned about our natural tendencies and where we needed to stretch as leaders.
So what dimensions are natural for you? Where do you need to stretch to reach your full potential?