A New Level of Leadership: The Big Let Go

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Published by Angela Neighbours

As an executive coach I am often asked to help a client define the ‘perfect world’ for a leader with the question:


“what are those special behaviours and qualities that a good leader will have in their toolbox to enable great success and how can I get some of this?”


Followed closely by...


“what enables a great leader to excel in today’s complex, ambiguous and fast moving world and how will that change into the future?”


The questions tend to centre around “how” a person thinks they need to behave once they have ‘made it’ to the top job; what is important to ‘show’ to the wider world; what behaviours if any need to be dropped; and what messages (both spoken and unspoken) are important for success.

It’s an interesting discussion and can often open the topic further to an admission of and exploration into  – ‘will I cope and if so how can I be better prepared and resilient?’ 

What’s important to notice here is that the place where the conversation begins is not where the discovery needs to begin or end.  What starts as a request for new skills, which is a rather unrewarding transactional conversation becomes much richer and satisfying for both parties, when there is a move to the client owning their development from a different perspective. This creates a completely new way of viewing the world.

In short, there are no answers to the questions being asked. Owning it for yourself is the first step on the journey. You cannot be taught this.

What can transpire however is the following:


A discovery of capability

Helping a person to understand how they make sense of the world, creates a demarcation between current capacity and potential capability.  The gap becomes clear. 

This enables a ‘letting go’ of boundaries that are holding a person in a position, explores new ways of being, and allows a person to start to understand and reach for their full potential.  We don’t know what we don’t know, so exploration is key.

What makes you an adult is largely hidden from your own view. You cannot assess it yourself either.

What is available to you is a 3 dimensional assessment conducted by a trained professional.  This assessment is based on evidence and research from many academics particularly from Harvard Business School, who have worked on both the social/emotional position of an adult, as well as the cognitive ability of a person as they progress through life.   Added to this is a psychometric test, which completes the three dimensions. 

This gives you a frame of reference to work on, and an in depth personal plan that means you can own your development, understand it, and take action to grow new abilities for leadership.


Using the three dimensions requires a Developmental Coach who is trained in all three areas.  

A Developmental Coach will not only assess you using two one hour face to face interviews and an on line questionnaire, but will also present you with an in-depth report, and offer you a program of work to not only enable your developmental journey to begin, but also to evolve and achieve the objectives set within a specific timeframe.


It is an exciting process, full of evidence and from feedback received from our clients, it includes a deep understanding of a person in the present state, as well as a future perspective to strive for.

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