This week, my writing colleague Louise Campbell interviewed my coaching colleague, Tim Edris of the Emerging Leaders Institute, to get his view on leadership and how it is evolving.
“What got you here won’t get you there,” was coined by business leadership guru Marshall Goldsmith to underscore how leaders need to regularly update the way they lead to keep pace and be effective.
Emerging Leaders Institute
Enter Tim Edris, of Emerging Leaders Institute in the U.S., who has built his reputation on helping senior leaders evolve their winning strategies by getting up close and personal with their blind spots and limiting tendencies. His approach to leadership development made him an excellent coach partner for Chandler Coaches.
“Not only have Lisa and I drunk the leadership development Kool-Aid, we’ve even drunk the same flavour in that we embrace the same model of leadership and coaching approach. And we put ourselves through leadership boot-camp continually, too, so that we grow as coaches and leaders to keep pace with the leaders we coach.”
At Lisa’s invitation, I had a chat with Tim to get his views on leadership and how leaders can evolve.
You could say that Tim was “roped into” this specialty. In the mid-1990s, he was working at Geneva College in Pennsylvania, coaching students on leadership development. One day, a group of corporate executives came to the college to tackle a ropes (challenge) course.
“I was fascinated that education, transformation and development happened not only at the university level but also in the business world. Suddenly, my next step became very clear,” says Tim. He registered for a Masters of Science in Organizational Leadership and, upon graduation in 2000, launched Emerging Leaders Institute with partners.
Effective leaders = successful businesses
Tim describes leadership as both art and science. What makes businesses effective? Well, data points to the idea that wherever you find effective leaders, you also find successful businesses. The converse is also true. As Bill Adams, co-founder of the Full Circle Group, says, “a company never outperforms its leadership.”
Older ways of leading are simply not able to keep pace with the newer ways of thinking and newer approaches critical to navigating the increasing complexity in the business world. In fact, leaders’ older ways of showing up will actually set up barriers to their effectiveness if they continue to employ them; hence the phrase, what got you here won’t get you there. In order to reach new levels of effectiveness, leaders need to surface their older assumptions about leading, and find new ways of showing-up that match the complexity of the challenge they are facing.
Even when leaders recognize their old way of operating is no longer working, they are often stymied on how to move ahead. That’s where Tim and Lisa come in.
They are among the few hundred executive coaches in North America (there are fewer than 20 in Canada) certified to coach using The Leadership System™. This best practice program takes an entire leadership team through a year long+ program of assessment, 1:1 coaching, follow-up measurement and team sessions to improve individual and collective leadership. As leaders become more effective in their own right and as a collective team, business results improve.
These programs are intense! Being a coach means being supportive but it doesn’t always mean being gentle, as Tim will tell you.
“I don’t shy away from feedback, even if it is tough for leaders to hear. Like the rest of us, they need to be challenged in order to grow. Typically, the higher a leader is on the org chart , the less willing their direct reports or other employees are to give them any negative feedback.”
Tim says it is only when clients open up to giving and receiving honest feedback with their boss, peers and teams that effective work and transformation can begin.
My conclusion, based on working with Lisa and interviewing Tim: Poor leadership can hurt people and the business bottom line. Effective leadership creates a distinct competitive advantage and a company people clamber to work for.
It sounds like a hard and worthwhile path to me.