I start with my beliefs as they are what define me. The rest is context for where I am now.
I believe leadership begins on the inside with our building new awareness that leads to new action. The self is the instrument of change, of evolution. This becomes more and more true as we move into the higher stages of consciousness until, when we awaken to grace, we understand the self grows into the Self and there are no boundaries. This is the leadership needed now.
I believe each of us is a leader and can make a difference through our thoughts and actions. This is especially true when we answer the call to wholeness, risk the unknown, die to the familiar, lead the way in our own life, to be born again with new eyes that see a whole new world in which to contribute our leadership.
I believe coaching is a way of being in the world. Beginning with ourselves, we develop the wisdom to release our ego attachments so we can support others’ journeys in doing the same thing. We grow as people so we can grow people who then grow more people. We lead and coach from the inside out. Leadership and coaching are one and when they are applied with grace, they have the capacity to transform us.
I believe we need to tell our own stories to demonstrate that we live our leadership, we are flawed and flailing and learning and growing. The Dark Night book puts the personal in the foreground rather than the background. It is a personal story enhanced by observation, contemplation, writing from others, and hopeful comments about navigating our futures.
I believe evolution wants to happen. It is up to us as leaders to connect with the evolutionary impulse in ourselves, the call to step out and step up to what is asked of us for the sake of That which shines through us into a troubled world.
How would you characterize your beliefs about yourself and your role as a leader?
I am President of The Coaching Project, a Canadian firm specializing in executive coaching, leadership and community development, and adult education. I have spent forty years working with a wide variety of corporate, government and nonprofit organizations on projects from small-scale international community improvements to implementing a new leadership culture for an entire global company. I am considered an expert on individual and organizational change. Some of my corporate clients have included Johnson & Johnson, MDS, AEGON, Franklin Templeton, Citigroup, CBC, Nationwide Enterprise, New York Life, West Group Publishing, Dial, Husky, and Minto.
I currently lead personal development workshops on developing consciousness, the art of dying, and Dark Night transformations. I was the Training Director for the inaugural Certificate in Professional Coaching program at Simon Fraser University. For ten years, I was on the faculty of the Executive MBA program with Athabasca University. For five years, I was a Program Director for the Professional Coach Certification Program at the Hudson Institute of Coaching in Santa Barbara. I was a part-time Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Environmental Studies at York for eight years.
I am the former Corporate Vice President of Human Resources at Ontario Hydro where I played a central role in business change strategy and leadership development for eight years. Previously, I was the Director of Organization Change and Leadership Development at Manulife. I have taught and consulted internationally in Malaysia, Africa, Europe, the Caribbean, China, Peru and Australia.
I hold a Doctorate in Education from the University of Toronto focusing on Leadership in Turbulent Times and a Master’s in Environmental Studies from York University focusing on Organization Design and Change. I have been a Master Certified Coach (MCC) of the International Coaching Federation. I hold a Certificate in Integral Theory from John F. Kennedy University and I am a Certified IONS Conscious Aging Facilitator.
I have written and spoken extensively in my field and authored three books:
Dark Night: Reclaiming the Discarded Other on the Journey to Wholeness. TCP Publications, Vancouver, 2020.
Leadership Alchemy: The magic of the Leader Coach, with Carol MacKinnon. TCP Publications, Toronto, 2003.
Also published in Spanish as Alquimia de liderazgo: La magia del lider coach, by Universidad Peruana de Ciencias Aplicadas (UPC), Lima, 2011.
Learning Works: Searching for organizational futures, with David Morley. ABL Group, York University, Toronto, 1989.
Leadership Alchemy was named one of the Top Ten Business Books of 2005 by the National Post
I am also the author of a number of published book chapters, articles and monographs. For example:
Dark Night: Navigating Turbulent Change Guidebook, with Carol MacKinnon, 2020.
Dying to Live: A Sacred Conversation. Course Handbook & Reference Guide, with Amy Phillips, 2016.
Coaches as Leaders: A Call for Social Action. TCP Publications, ISBN 978-0- 9733260-1-7, 2007. 2012.
The Leader as Coach: Creating high performance in change, in Leadership Compass, The Banff Centre, 2004.
Dowagers and Dreams: Coaching Women’s Later Career Stages,with Sue Griggs, in Career Planning and Adult Development Journal, Vol. 17, No. 1, 2001.
Portrait of My Mother as an Artist, in Women and Environments, Vol. 10, No. 4, 1988.
An Analysis of a Work Improvement Project at Air Canada, with Serge Lareau, in J.B. Cunningham & T.H Whyte, Quality of Working Life; Contemporary cases. Labour Canada, Catalogue Number L44-1169/83A, 1984.