Certified Leadership Coach

Inside Success Stories: Leadership Development Through Learning, Coaching, and Real-life Practice

Description: Learn about the breakthrough moments for Pam and Nick from the leadership development coaching program with Michelle and how they’re using it every day at work and in life.

As a new leader, Nick was focused on his team’s engagement and building trust. But he found a lot of his time and energy was going towards one problem employee. The negativity was affecting him and he was struggling to figure out how to balance time with all employees.

“In a coaching session, Michelle asked me, do you think he trusts you? Maybe he’s genuinely unhappy about something else. She encouraged me to be open and honest and just straight-up ask him.”

After a few roleplays with Michelle, Nick gained confidence. When he talked to the team member in an open and intentional meeting, he realized a lot of their requests were pretty easy to address and then the relationship improved.

“It was really an ‘aha’ moment for me because I’m new, and need to remember trust is built over time. It was also a trust issue between me and myself,” Nick said. 

Nick was one of the participants in Michelle’s three-month leadership development training program.

When you speak with Michelle about the programs she builds, her passion comes through. Skill development requires a dynamic approach that encompasses three main stages:

  1. Learning
  2. Personalized feedback through coaching
  3. Practical application in real-life 

It’s the integration that creates transformation and impact for the participants.

The breakthrough moments and applying them every day

Pam, another participant in the program, has been leading employees for a few years. She has a self-development mindset and is always looking to improve her leadership skills. 

A lightbulb moment for Pam was learning her DiSC Personality Test and starting to see work interpersonal situations differently. She describes herself as very direct and started to see how that could come across negatively to another personality type. 

Everything DiSC® is a personal development learning experience that measures preferences and tendencies. It gives you a report with your personality traits and how they apply to your leadership and management style. Paige found her report was spot on. 

“Now that I better understand my style and how I manage, I’m able to put myself in other people’s shoes, especially my team and with other managers at my organization.”

When you’re busy in your everyday work, Pam said it seems hard to find time to take a step back and consider others’ perspectives before contributing your own ideas. But one of her takeaways is that she can make the time and it only takes a few minutes. 

“When you’re running from one meeting to the next, you can get so caught up in the work. What I learned is you actually can take a few moments to listen first. Now even in a meeting when someone’s presenting something maybe I don’t agree with, I remind myself their approach is just different. It doesn’t mean it’s wrong or bad, it’s just different. I’m constantly seeing myself take a step back now,” said Pam. 

How to build team trust and break down silos

The ingredients for a cohesive team are common goals, trust, and effective communication. Learning about what this looks like in the program, Pam started to see the gaps at her own company. Teams worked in silos and didn’t always communicate with each other well. This meant people didn’t feel that connected with teams outside of their own. 

After one of her first coaching sessions with Michelle, Pam organized a meeting with her organization’s leadership team.

“I explained how the foundation of a cohesive team was trust with each other and we had opportunities to build that better. As managers, we weren’t always aligned. It was really empowering and one way I quickly applied what I was learning in coaching to my workplace.”

Pam helped create an organization-wide action plan to help build trust, that starts with a few team-building activities and she recommended all leaders take the DISC Personality test. 

Nick also started to see the gaps in his team around trust. In the day and night shift teams he worked with, he noticed there was a distrust between them and people were worried about getting blamed if something went wrong.

“One of the main things I took away from coaching was being real with people. Not sugarcoating things to try to please them. Sometimes people think trust is about being nice and not being a jerk. But really, it’s that the person can be blatantly honest with you,” said Nick. 

He started bringing issues up at weekly team meetings and encouraged people to be open with eachother. Noah continued reminding the team of their shared goals and the importance of helping each other on the opposite shift. They started to see more peer-to-peer recognition and more help with training new people to be the best they can be. 

“Try to help develop people rather than letting them sink. Put your hand in to help. Now we’re really living that and I’ve seen an incredible shift in my team,” said Nick. 

Coaching with a customized training journey

Michelle is a coach and founder of Human-Centric Leadership, a boutique management consulting firm.

She found there were two main gaps in leadership development programs:

  1. There weren’t opportunities to apply what you’re learning to your everyday work and get personalized feedback. 
  2. There wasn’t an all-in-one solution. Often leadership courses focus on one topic, like difficult conversations, team leadership, or personality assessments. This means you could be taking five courses and paying for coaching on top of that. Not very practical or cost-effective.

Michelle builds leadership development programs that involve three stages. Monthly group learning, weekly personal 1:1 coaching, and online coursework. Participants get feedback and support as they learn how to apply their new knowledge.

It’s a two-hour commitment every week and is set up to give participants opportunities to practice the leadership skills they’re learning daily. 

The program focuses on learning your own leadership style so you can bring out the best in yourself and others. It takes you through to lead people in a way that cultivates trust and accountability and how to communicate effectively.

It provides access to mentorship, coaching, and talking through the struggles you’re having in a context that means something to you. 

The ripple effect of coaching 

Michelle’s coaching centers around personal transformation to improve the leader’s effectiveness and performance. However, because her coaching focuses on the who not the what, clients see positive impacts in their entire life.

Nick found stress at work was extending into his evenings and off hours. Your energy and stress don’t turn off at the end of your workday, it affects everything in your life too. 

“Michelle takes the stress out of it. When you’re walking through a roleplay conversation with her and we talk through some issues, it takes the pressure off and helps expose the stressors. You hear that there are two sides to every story – Michelle gives you five. She helped open my eyes to see the bigger picture,” said Nick. 

Pam found she still refers back to her coaching sessions often.

“Michelle puts you at ease and builds trust immediately. It blew my mind in a lot of ways. She almost knew me better than me. Michelle could pull these things out in discussions I wouldn’t have thought about. Her ability to relate on a human level helps catapult you to be a better leader,” said Pam. 

“I’ve taken a lot away about how I perceive myself and the world. I’ve applied it to my friend group, my family, and my work team. This coaching is personal and applicable in every part of your life. Months after the program, the wheels are still turning for me.”

If you’re interested in developing your leadership skills, building trust with your team, and want support to take the stress out of those difficult conversations at work, let’s chat about coaching. 
Book a consultation.  

Written by; Erica Howes