leading teams

How Coaching Leads to Excellence

Executives have understood the benefits of coaching in achieving personal goals for decades, and we are now seeing these benefits extend towards teams as well. Coaching as a leadership style can be much more effective with today’s workforce than traditionally authoritarian leadership. The value of coaching has become increasingly important to individuals and organisations as a whole for enhancing team performance and achieving success. 


Develop a Strategic Plan

To successfully reach the goals you set out to achieve, you need to develop a strategic plan. This is true both of personal, team, and organisational goals. The strategic plan is your road-map that guides you towards specific targets and milestones. Senior leadership training and coaching can be useful tools for identifying those targets, as well as the skills you and your team will need to achieve them.

The path to achieving success may rely on the integration of a leadership development program to mitigate challenges caused by potential skills gaps. Team coaching for leadership excellence can help to embed new skills to drive change as well as provide a safe space to discuss real-time results and conflict. This ensures that difficult conversations are constructive, allowing for problems to be resolved sooner, and performance to increase.


Coaching Leadership

In high performance teams, the role of the leader is more often one that supports rather than manages. The leader as coach is responsible for maintaining team focus on goals and outcomes, while individuals ensure day-to-day tasks are completed. A leadership excellence program enables executives to better coach, grow and develop people within their team while simultaneously improving performance. This allows for more manageable accountability for both leaders and direct reports.

Executive leadership training improves organisational performance when delivered across all levels of a company. The skills you embed in current teams and existing leaders does not only result in increased short-term performance. High potential talent and individuals who will become future leaders gain integral skills needed for elevated positions, contributing to their personal, as well as company growth.


About the Author: The Leadership Sphere
The Leadership Sphere helps small and medium businesses and larger organisations in Australia, in creating value through leadership. The Leadership Sphere provides a humanistic approach to the way it delivers leadership, performance and coaching services. We work with leaders and senior teams who need to gain increased clarity, build capability and ensure contribution at every level in the organisation, and enable a safe, inclusive and  high trust organisation.


How Coaching Leads to Excellence

Leadership Excellence

The Importance of Leadership Excellence for Performance

The consistently changing market, customer, and technology landscapes of today’s business environment has demonstrated a shift away from traditional hierarchical leadership structures. Emerging organisations have a different business paradigm, meaning that to remain competitive, existing organisations can no longer rely on the leadership of an individual or small executive team to meet the challenge. The talents, skills, energy, and ideas of the entire organisation must be harnessed to see continued success. 

Why you need leadership excellence

Effective leadership is integral to any successful organisation. Leading high performance teams requires the skillful application of influence and inspiration of others to transform potential into reality. In developing leadership excellence leaders understand how to wield their influence in order to inspire enthusiasm and passion for projects that lead to more engaged and productive teams. When organisations have effective leadership practices in place, an organisational culture develops that is open in its communication. Everyone understands the vision and objectives of the business, and has the opportunity to share ideas on how they can be achieved or improved. People feel a part of the conversation and that they are an important part of building the success of the organisation.

When these conversations are constructive, they have a valuable and positive impact. Effective leaders are able to bring out the best in their teams by encouraging personal investment. Offering high performance training to individuals at every level of the organisation not only demonstrates your investment in their development, it invites them to do the same. As individuals enhance their own capabilities, tailored development programs can ensure that you instill in them a clarity around the values and vision needed to achieve organisational goals. 


Using leadership excellence to drive performance

High performance team leaders understand the importance of providing space for teams to reach their full potential. Individuals who have held decision making positions within high performance teams will be better equipped to take on greater responsibility as the needs of the organisation evolve. Training and experience in high pressure environments ensures that future leaders have the skills needed to keep up with the rapidly changing business landscape. 

Developing emerging leaders through high performance training not only increases the longevity of your organisation’s leadership, it also improves individual’s performance in their current positions. The best high performing teams are frequently shown to have had resources invested in their development. The return organisations receive on this investment occurs repeatedly as individuals progress in their careers and development. 


About the Author: The Leadership Sphere
The Leadership Sphere helps small and medium businesses and larger organisations in Australia, in creating value through leadership. The Leadership Sphere provides a humanistic approach to the way it delivers leadership, performance and coaching services. We work with leaders and senior teams who need to gain increased clarity, build capability and ensure contribution at every level in the organisation, and enable a safe, inclusive and  high trust organisation.


The Importance of Leadership Excellence for Performance

lifestyle inventory assessment

Getting the Most from Leadership Assessments

Before embarking on a leadership development journey, you need to understand what the changes you want to make are and why it is important to make them. We can not get to ‘point B’ if we do not know where we are at ‘point A.’ Completing a leadership assessment survey provides us with clarity about our current capabilities. We can identify areas for improvement and create a pathway to help us achieve our goals. Reviewing our competencies will allow us to track our progress in real time and make ongoing, valuable change that make us better leaders.


As an Individual

A leadership assessment can reveal insightful nuances about an individual person’s behaviour and way of thinking. When developing leadership excellence it can be helpful to understand these nuances so that training programs can be tailored to suit the individual’s thinking preferences and so, be more effective. Leadership assessment tools like the HBDI® and Everything DiSC® look at leadership through a personality based lens. The decisions we make are intrinsically biased by the ways in which we prefer to operate. Knowing what our unconscious biases are allows us to mitigate their impact, or leverage them at times they can be most effective. Knowing which traits we avoid is also useful in providing us with a place to start our learning. Effective training programs will be able to frame these limitations in ways within the scope of the individual’s preferred leadership and learning style. This makes the skills they are still developing more accessible when approached from a place of familiarity.


As a Team

The importance of leadership assessment at an individual level should extend to benefit the teams being led. There is a great value in assessing the leadership capabilities of an entire team. It is of course important that the members of a team get along and work well together. But there is also a risk that a lack of diverse perspectives will lead to stagnating performance. The benefits of leadership assessment for teams is that it discloses areas where there are gaps in skills and ways of thinking. Understanding each other’s thinking preferences makes us better communicators and effective problem solvers.  Building balanced, well-rounded teams provides more opportunities for collective growth.


Showing Up

It is not enough to simply fill out a survey about your skills and be done with it. You have either chosen, or have been asked, to complete a leadership assessment because you want to know yourself better. This includes accepting the areas in which you lack strength, and being willing to put in the effort to improve those skills. The best leadership assessment tools can, and should, surprise you in some way. Recalling why it is important for you to undertake this assessment holds you more accountable to yourself, your team, and helps you ‘show up’ in your leadership as someone open to opportunities for growth.


Assessing leadership excellence creates a space for individuals and teams to deepen their understanding of themselves and how they show up to face challenges. It allows us to form stronger relationships and improve performance through harnessing the differences in where our strengths lay.






About the Author: The Leadership Sphere
The Leadership Sphere helps small and medium businesses and larger organisations in Australia, in creating value through leadership. The Leadership Sphere provides a humanistic approach to the way it delivers leadership, performance and coaching services. We work with leaders and senior teams who need to gain increased clarity, build capability and ensure contribution at every level in the organisation, and enable a safe, inclusive and  high trust organisation.


Getting the Most from Leadership Assessments

individual values assessment

5 Benefits of Leadership Self-Assessment

Conducting a leadership assessment can give you an objective idea of your capabilities and talents as a business leader. Having a strong understanding of your competencies allows you to capitalise on your strengths and mitigate the impact of potential skills gaps. The benefits of leadership self-assessments reach far beyond the individual to improve interpersonal relationships and organisational performance. 


Increase Self-Awareness

Learning more about yourself and the way you lead has a direct impact on your leadership effectiveness. An honest assessment of your leadership capabilities will reveal ways you can build upon your strengths and help you to confront weaknesses. This is not only key for your personal development, it will also increase your team’s trust in you and boost your credibility. It can be difficult for direct reports to offer candid feedback to leaders, so increasing your own self-awareness will have a greater impact on developing and sustaining leadership excellence. 


Create Goals

No matter what stage of your career you are in, a leadership self-assessment can provide insight into your abilities as a leader. There are a variety of tools that will help you to understand your strengths and performance in different areas. In developing this understanding, you will also discover the areas in which you need to focus future learning to be able to take on new challenges. For those with aspirations of becoming senior leaders, this can provide clarity and specificity on the experience and leadership training required to reach their career goals.


Progress Tracking

A lifetime career in leadership means that you should regularly be reassessing your own leadership skills. As the business landscape changes, so too should our approach to leadership. It is beneficial to both you and your teams that you stay ahead of current strategies and teachings. Undertaking leadership assessments at different stages throughout your career ensures your development remains aligned with your goals, and may even open up new opportunities that weren’t previously possible.


Clarify Development Plans

Leadership assessment tools play a critical role in the progression of organisational success when utilised as part of a leadership development plan. Assessing leadership excellence across all levels of the organisation helps executives to identify gaps within the talent pool, as well as those with the potential for senior leadership development. Opportunities for development can be prioritised to have the greatest chance of success. Leadership assessment allows individuals to gain a better sense of the part they play in the success of the organisation, and how they might expand their scope in the future.


Improve Working Relationships

Gaining clarity on your own styles of leadership and performance makes it easier to recognise in others. You can meet them where they are to develop personal connections and trust. More effectively influence their behaviours by adapting your approach. Understanding your own ‘life story’ and how to use it as a touchstone for leadership allows you to form meaningful relationships with your team and improve overall performance.


While it is important for current and aspiring leaders to gain insights into their leadership capabilities to excel in their career, they should also be aware of their impact on team performance as well. The best tools for assessing leadership excellence will have benefits that stretch beyond the individual. Role-modelling a desire to improve both personally and professionally, leads to increased levels of trust and productivity throughout organisations.


For more information about The Leadership Sphere and how we can help you unlock performance through leadership, by supporting your leaders at every level of the organisation with leadership development, executive coaching and high performance team programs please visit our website or call us on 1300 100 857.


5 Benefits of Leadership Self-Assessment

Authority and Leadership

The Difference Between Authority and Leadership

The ability to successfully influence the behaviour of others is entirely dependent on the source. Influence via authority may at first appear to be an obvious example, the influence it yields may not have the desired outcome. Conversely, influence affected by inspirational and self-modeled leadership is far more likely to result in the desired action being taken. While there can be overlap of these two concepts, it is important to remember that they are not mutually inclusive. Confusing one for the other may have damaging effects on team performance.



In many workplaces, a person’s authority often stems from the title or position they hold within either their team or the organisation. This is often the case when there is a clear distinction between the person ‘in charge’ and the rest of the group. Managers and executives may use the power their title gives them to make and enforce decisions. While necessity sometimes calls for this, a manager who makes uncompromising demands of their team regularly may also find that performance diminishes or that there is high employee turnover.


Having authority over another group of people does not grant you dedication or respect from them on the basis of your title alone. Authority is merely the right to use the power your position allows you. It  can be a necessary tool in leadership and developing high performance. However, a reliance on authority over more influential leadership skills, will only alienate your team from their goals. Training for leadership excellence shows us how to overcome the mindset that authority is equal to leadership. 



Where authority is bestowed upon a person in a certain position of a hierarchy, leadership is a characteristic that can be found in people regardless of their position. Those with strong leadership qualities are often able to motivate and inspire others simply by setting the example for them to follow. When this kind of person also happens to be a manager, the result is often high performance teams. A manager or executive who asks for the support of their subordinates to implement decisions will have a greater chance of meeting collective goals than those who order tasks to be completed.

Leading high performance teams requires some relinquishing of authority to ensure that achievements are reached through a collaborative process. Building and sustaining leadership excellence means that leaders understand how to have a more impactful influence on team behaviours because they take the care to engage on a more personal level. Important challenges are solved with peer consultation and individuals are empowered to put strategies into action. 


Finding a Balance

People often confuse the terms authority and leadership because we have historically considered authority as a defining trait of leadership. However, attempting to influence behaviour through authority alone can be met with resistance and changes take longer to accept. 

Gaining the respect and trust of colleagues is understood by great leaders to be a privilege. By forming a personal relationship with their teams, leaders earn the authority their position provides. High performance training programs aim to develop trusting relationships within teams that lead to increased productivity. Leaders who use their positional power to support, coach, and further develop their teams will gain followers who chose to be led. While it is true that authority is a necessary aspect of managing a team or running an organisation, it is not always the most important.


As a leader, how do you overcome the limitations of authority?


About the Author: The Leadership Sphere
The Leadership Sphere helps small and medium businesses and larger organisations in Australia, in creating value through leadership. The Leadership Sphere provides a humanistic approach to the way it delivers leadership, performance and coaching services. We work with leaders and senior teams who need to gain increased clarity, build capability and ensure contribution at every level in the organisation, and enable a safe, inclusive and  high trust organisation.


The Difference Between Authority and Leadership

barrett values centre personal values assessment

The Barrett Model™ Explained

The Barrett Model™ assessment aims to provide an understanding of authentic motivations for our actions. Our values, conscious or unconscious, motivate each action and decision we make. Inspired by Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, the Barrett Model™ identifies the seven most important areas of human motivation. The model ranges from basic survival to a greater, societal contribution. Looking at it through the lenses of Personal Consciousness and Leadership, we begin to see how we can use this model to become better individuals, and better leaders.


The Personal Consciousness Model

At its core, the Personal Consciousness Model tells us that we must first focus on meeting our personal needs for survival and relationships in order to establish our strongest sense of self. Before we can begin to work towards being of service to others, we should ensure that we have the capacity, ability, and resources to do so. The central, transformation stage in this model is important because it is the autonomy, freedom, and responsibility we establish for ourselves here that pushes us past satisfying only the needs that serve us. The top of the Personal Consciousness Model is where we begin to identify our externally motivated values and strive to achieve more for the sake of others.


The Leadership Model

Transposing these ideas onto the Leadership Model can see how they connect to their application at the team level. The survival and relationship needs of leadership require that the health and safety of teams are taken care of, and that there is a mutual connection and support to excelling in productivity. Innovation and risk-taking are key to evolving leadership capabilities beyond a results orientation. Authenticity, mentorship, and vision are demonstrated by leaders who leverage their success to bring further opportunities to their teams and greater community. They value creativity and collaboration to achieve long-term goals in service of their purpose. 


The Barrett Model™ is used to identify the values of individuals and groups through conducting a series of assessments. In doing so, you gain a precise picture of your organisation’s current and future dynamics. Understanding your values can provide an indication of potential issues or conflict within your organisation. By clarifying those values, you are able to address problems before they can be expressed. Action plans are then based on accurate insights that coincide with the particular circumstances and needs that are unique to you. A targeted and measurable strategy is created that leads to the development of a prospering workplace culture and high performing teams.


About the Author: The Leadership Sphere
The Leadership Sphere helps small and medium businesses and larger organisations in Australia, in creating value through leadership. The Leadership Sphere provides a humanistic approach to the way it delivers leadership, performance and coaching services. We work with leaders and senior teams who need to gain increased clarity, build capability and ensure contribution at every level in the organisation, and enable a safe, inclusive and  high trust organisation.

The Barrett Model™ Explained

everything disc

The DiSC Profiles

The Everything DiSC® profile personality assessment provides insights and strategies for improving working relationships, resulting in a collaborative workforce with an elevated organisational culture. Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, Conscientiousness. These are the four personality profiles of the Everything DiSC personality testing suite. Each distinctive profile is designed to help participants better understand themselves and others.


(D) ominance

People who fall into the Dominance personality profile tend to be confident and outspoken. They place an emphasis on accomplishing bottom line results and ‘seeing the big picture.’ Though people in this quadrant can be viewed as demanding or assertive, they will often be willing to face challenges and take action. Being competitive in nature, they are able to leverage their creative thinking to overcome opposition. As leaders, they are pioneering, resolute, and focused on achieving results. 


(i) nfluence

Influential personality types are able to shape their environment and persuade others though their enthusiasm, optimism, and trusting natures. They prioritise relationships and collaboration as motivators to reach team goals. i style leaders engage their teams by generating excitement and enthusiasm for projects. They will often take on the role of coach or counsellor due to this ability. The perception that they are charming and supportive people aids their proficiency in influencing others in their leadership.


(S) teadiness

The person who falls within the Steadiness quadrant may have difficulty in adapting to sudden changes, though they value collaboration and consensus driven problem solving. They aim to cultivate harmony and stability while striving for team accomplishments. Leaders with the Steadiness personality profile do not seek recognition for personal achievements. Instead, their humility drives them to favour cooperation. They will be supportive of others and use their influence to help them reach their fullest potential. 


(C) onscientiousness

Conscientious leaders largely value quality, expertise, and competency in themselves and their teams. They can be extremely detail-oriented and may find it difficult to delegate tasks. Despite this, they are disciplined in providing high-quality results through careful analysis and planning. Their conscientiousness drives a curiosity to attain new skills and knowledge. Critical thinking plays a significant role in their ability to provide objective feedback and in challenging the status quo to achieve better results.


Everything DiSC profile is designed to help participants better understand themselves and others. Gain insights on why we behave and perform the way we do, that is based on over 40 years of research. Leverage these insights to improve communication and organisational skills in all areas of the business. From engaging each individual to building more effective relationships, teaching managers successful leadership skills to tackling workplace conflict, there is an Everything DiSC profile to deliver strategies and insights.


About the Author: The Leadership Sphere
The Leadership Sphere helps small and medium businesses and larger organisations in Australia, in creating value through leadership. The Leadership Sphere provides a humanistic approach to the way it delivers leadership, performance and coaching services. We work with leaders and senior teams who need to gain increased clarity, build capability and ensure contribution at every level in the organisation, and enable a safe, inclusive and  high trust organisation.


The DiSC Profiles

management coaching program

5 Steps to Improving Performance Management

The prime objective of performance management is to work towards the improvement of performance at the overall organisational level. To achieve this, efforts must be made to develop the skills of all employees.  Without support and regular communication with leaders, you can not hope to see improvements in effective performance management. Small changes can have a significant impact on both performance and productivity.


Frequent Feedback

Performance management differs from performance reviews that are usually only an annual reflection of past behaviours. In comparison, performance management involves providing regular feedback that allows for improvements to be made when they will have the most benefit. It is better to take preventative measures to identify potential skills gaps and correct them immediately, rather than address them after the fact. By engaging in frequent feedback conversations, you increase employee engagement and productivity in high performance teams. 


Establish Expectations

One of the most successful ways to ensure high performance is to have a clearly defined set of expectations for your team to adhere to. Engaging in a high performance training program and useful in establishing roles and goals beyond the job description alone while providing participants with the skills to achieve them. Getting clear on expectations reduces confusion on the part of both employees and leaders that would otherwise lead to miscommunication and potential errors. 


Provide Support

To achieve successful performance management, your teams must have the support of executive level leaders. Not only through verbal communication, but in their actions and the culture of the organisation. Developing leadership excellence should be a priority of executives who wish to cultivate a culture of high performance. When leaders participate in the same performance management processes as their direct reports, they project the importance of developing skills in order to reach new levels of success. 


Adaptive Goals

One hindrance to achieving high performance is in setting non-negotiable goals. Specificity and deadlines are necessary for goal completion, but failing to account for changes in market conditions or other circumstances beyond a person’s control will only have a negative impact on performance. Making goals that are adaptable reduces pressure felt to deliver results when conditions may prevent it. Regularly reviewing goals ensures that both leaders and employees feel there is a balanced workload and identifies opportunities to set stretch goals.


Leader Coaching

There is a direct relationship between effective coaching and managing high performance teams. Leaders who invest the time to coach and develop their employees are more likely to see an increase in performance. Building leadership excellence allows leaders to become coaches capable of positively influencing the progress of others. Ongoing development conversations between leaders and their direct reports support better outcomes and have a positive impact on individual performance.


Leadership development training for both leaders and employees makes it possible to build effective performance management processes across the entire organisation. Engaging in conversations that address the goals and expectations of an individual’s role help to foster a workplace culture that values development and filling skills gaps. Providing role clarity, opportunities for growth, and regular feedback are simple ways to improve performance management that can make a significant impact on your business.


For more information about The Leadership Sphere and how we can help you unlock performance through leadership, by supporting your leaders at every level of the organisation with leadership development, executive coaching and high performance team programs please visit our website or call us on 1300 100 857.

5 Steps to Improving Performance Management

what is excellence in leadership

The Positive Impacts of Leadership Excellence

There are many benefits to developing leadership excellence for both individuals and teams. In building a deeper understanding of your personal leadership values, you establish stronger relationships with your team. The importance of these relationships is fundamental to creating meaningful change across all levels of your organisation. 

Coach, Grow, Develop Others

The benefits of leadership excellence extend far beyond only those in executive or management positions. Great leaders know that success comes from the combined efforts of everyone in the team. It is therefore the responsibility of leaders to facilitate the growth and development of others. In training for leadership excellence, leaders learn to take on the role of coach. As a coach, you provide support to those on their own development journey by helping them to implement their learning into their day-to-day responsibilities. By serving your team’s development, you also ensure your collective success.


Values Driven Leadership

There is no singular practice of leadership that applies to all situations. We often need to adapt our behaviour as the situation calls. What is important to remember when faced with a difficult decision to make, is to act in accordance with your values. Executive leadership development  helps participants to explore their values and narrow down those they feel are most important to practice in their role as a leader. Exhibiting behaviour that aligns with your identified values shows your team that you are dedicated to your commitments. You position yourself as trustworthy while establishing a culture of collaboration.


Create Meaningful Change

Leadership excellence is needed for creating meaningful change within your team and organisation. Through the development of leadership skills at the individual, team, and organisational level, executives can ensure their vision for success is a foundational component of daily practices. Interpersonal leadership skills are necessary for creating change. Leadership training programs teach us to communicate with clarity to inspire passion for the work. Those you share your vision with will become responsible for implementing it under your guidance. 


The positive impacts of training for leadership excellence flow from the individual level to ensure the growth of the team and organisation as a whole. Leadership development training provides a platform through which individuals and teams gain a greater understanding of their personal values. This contributes to the formation of deeper relationships and establishes a mutual trust. Trust is needed when creating change and coaching others. 


For more information about The Leadership Sphere and how we can help you unlock performance through leadership, by supporting your leaders at every level of the organisation with leadership development, executive coaching and high performance team programs please visit our website or call us on 1300 100 857.


The Positive Impacts of Leadership Excellence

leadership excellence meaning

5 Ways to Develop Leadership Excellence

Developing leadership excellence should be a top priority for leaders at every level of an organisation. Making leadership assessment tools accessible provides current and future leaders with the opportunity to begin their development journey. Investing in the further education of your organisation’s leaders, ensures that you remain at the forefront of innovation within the industry.


Complete a Leadership Circle Profile™

Developing leadership excellence begins with identifying key areas and opportunities for improvement. Completing a Leadership Circle Profile™ provides a holistic measurement  of an individual’s competencies and, more importantly, why they are the way they are. This can have a greater impact than just completing a 360º Feedback Report that only evaluates competencies. Understanding the reasons behind your past behaviours is imperative to being able to take the necessary action to lift your leadership to a higher level. 


Integrate Learning

Forward-thinking organisations understand the critical importance of developing high potential talent, though are concerned about the challenge of maintaining day-to-day operations while training occurs. Actionable Habit Builder is a leadership development tool that allows participants to incorporate their training into everyday practices in a way that creates meaningful and noticeable change. It empowers individuals to take control of their learning by identifying the habits they want to build, and encourages regular reflection to track progress. By integrating your learning, you establish lasting habits that lead to continued success.


Build Team Alignment

Trust and clarity are the two most important factors in building team alignment. Identifying where the lack of alignment lies can help you to re-establish your team’s commitment to achieving goals. Though an unconventional tool for measuring leadership excellence, the Team Alignment Survey will reveal the specific areas that are blocking the team from communicating effectively and what needs to be done to remove those barriers. Collaborative teams are more efficient, will generate better ideas, and share in the responsibility of decision making.


Develop Your Emotional Intelligence

It is widely understood that to be successful in business requires intelligence and expertise in your industry. But to be a successful business leader requires much more than a practical knowledge of the products or services you offer. Long term success in performance also requires having a strong emotional intelligence, or EI. Emotional intelligence is a measurement of your own self awareness, empathy, and emotional regulation. All of which contribute to the way we form relationships with co-workers and clients. Developing a strong EI and relationships with your team will have a direct impact on improving your leadership excellence


Leadership Impact

Leadership excellence is often thought of in terms of the level of influence an executive has over the behaviours and resulting performance of others. Effective leadership assessment tools will be able to determine whether an individual’s influence is prescriptive or restrictive. Do they guide others towards goals, or do they create limitations? The Leadership Impact Survey is designed specifically for senior managers and CEOs to evaluate their current effectiveness against their desired impact. When developing leadership excellence, you can not ignore the significance of the influence you have on those around you. 


The best tools for assessing leadership excellence are those that provide valuable insight into an individual’s current behaviours. More importantly, discovering your subconscious or forgotten reasoning for certain actions establishes a starting point for reinforcing strengths, and unravelling weaknesses. For a complete understanding of your impact as a leader, it is helpful to assess your leadership at the individual, team, and organisational levels. 


For more information about The Leadership Sphere and how we can help you unlock performance through leadership, by supporting your leaders at every level of the organisation with leadership development, executive coaching and high performance team programs please visit our website or call us on 1300 100 857.


5 Ways to Develop Leadership Excellence

leadership learning objectives

How Leadership Excellence Benefits Others

In developing leadership excellence we cultivate a workplace environment that encourages constant growth and improvement. Through leadership excellence programs, participants gain the confidence and capability to lead teams effectively. They are role models of behaviours that become standard practice and inspire others to perform beyond expectations. 


Leaves Room for Improvement

Often when we talk about leadership development, people confuse excellence with perfection. It is impossible to achieve perfection, attempting to do so limits creativity and results in more failures due to added pressure. Striving to achieve leadership excellence, allows space for mistakes to be made and performance to be improved with each iteration. Executive leadership training emphasises the importance of reducing workplace stress that frequently accompanies organisation with a totalitarian approach to achieving goals.


For teams to become consistently high performing, it is necessary to both develop and sustain leadership excellence. Sustainability means that there is always the goal of producing the best quality product or service, while also striving to be better in the future. Processes, technologies, and industries progress all the time. Believing that your organisation already has the ‘perfect’ version does not leave room for innovation or improvement. Ignoring the value of creativity will leave you stagnant and struggling to catch up to more open-minded companies. 


Executive coaching programs provide leaders with a means of developing innovative thinking that opens the doors for input from a diverse range of sources. Coaching for leadership excellence requires an established, trusting relationship between coach and client. The right coach will be able to challenge you to expand your capabilities and become more receptive to new ideas. 


Become a Role Model of Leadership Excellence

Leadership excellence programs aim to teach participants ways to coach, grow and develop the people they work with. The most effective way leaders can do this is to set the example of influence they are hoping to impart. It is the actions we perform that others will watch and critique. Your team will notice if you are not living your values. If you are expecting excellence, you must also become excellent. 



It is much easier to influence the behaviour of others and unlock their potential by being the model that you wish to see. Senior leadership training doesn’t only benefit participants, but everyone they work with from then on. What is learnt in such programs impacts the way you lead and develop others. Being the standard and role model of excellence, you not only realise your own potential but the potential of those around you as well. 


Learning how to harness and model leadership excellence can have a number of advantages on individuals at every level of the organisation. While it is important that our leaders provide a clear example of behaviours to be followed, they should also set the expectation that perfection is not the ultimate goal. Leaders who engage in executive coaching programs to develop their ability to influence their teams, will see an increase in overall performance throughout their organisation.


How do you demonstrate excellence in your workplace?


About the Author: The Leadership Sphere
The Leadership Sphere helps small and medium businesses and larger organisations in Australia, in creating value through leadership. The Leadership Sphere provides a humanistic approach to the way it delivers leadership, performance and coaching services. We work with leaders and senior teams who need to gain increased clarity, build capability and ensure contribution at every level in the organisation, and enable a safe, inclusive and  high trust organisation.


How Leadership Excellence Benefits Others

skills for excellence

Defining Leadership Excellence

It is easy to recognise leadership excellence when we see it, but when asked to define what that looks like many people struggle to identify specific characteristics. The truth is that leadership excellence looks different to everyone. However there are two key areas which, if intentionally cultivated, help to bring us closer to defining leadership excellence. Training programs that focus on these two aspects of excellence should form the basis of your executive leadership development.


Practical Excellence

There is no escaping the necessity for leaders to see to the practical day-to-day operations of running a team or organisation. Ensuring that tasks are completed on time and are of high quality is an important aspect of successful leadership. Demanding excellence from your team is not enough to guarantee that their resulting work will meet high performance standards. It is the role of a great leader to set, and then help them to achieve goals for your team that will push them beyond their perceived limitations. 

To do this, you must be clear with your team about what these goals are and why they are important. Providing them with motivation to reach their goals will result in more success and stronger performance overall. Developing leadership excellence in a practical manner does require that your team has access to the resources they need to achieve the goals you set out for them. This demonstrates to them your own dedication reaching those same goals with excellent results. 


Interpersonal Excellence

Establishing strong interpersonal relationships with the individuals you work with is pivotal to building a high performing team. Developing senior leaders must understand this and strive to create these connections early in the formation of their teams. 


Leadership development programs like Dare to Lead™, teach participants how to form these deeper connections within their workplace in order to build trusting and honest relationships. Gaining a personal understanding of the individuals on your team can have lasting mutual benefits. Learning the personal values and goals of your team allows you to offer support and opportunities for them to develop their skills while they are contributing to a greater vision.


Training for leadership excellence should include a focus on both practical and interpersonal excellence. Individuals who have strong personal connections with their leaders are far more likely to be motivated to perform at a higher standard and aim to reach their goals. Executive leadership programs that teach participants to establish and sustain trusting relationships are the foundation to developing leadership excellence. 


What is the most important aspect of leadership excellence for you?


About the Author: The Leadership Sphere
The Leadership Sphere helps small and medium businesses and larger organisations in Australia, in creating value through leadership. The Leadership Sphere provides a humanistic approach to the way it delivers leadership, performance and coaching services. We work with leaders and senior teams who need to gain increased clarity, build capability and ensure contribution at every level in the organisation, and enable a safe, inclusive and  high trust organisation.


Defining Leadership Excellence

effective leadership outcomes

Building Effective Leaders

The process of  identifying those capable of taking on senior leadership positions is an ever evolving challenge for most organisations. Potential candidates whether they be internal or external, must be assessed on both their existing skills as leaders, and their ability to develop the necessary competencies for more senior roles in the future

One tactic for building effective leaders has been to engage prospective candidates in simulation-based learning. It allows individuals to develop the specific skills needed while giving them practical experience in applying them. From here, the challenge becomes how do we assess the outcomes of this learning? How does this feedback contribute to the creation of a focused, development plan?


Assessing Potential Leaders

When developing high potential leaders, simulation-based learning can be used by senior executives to get an idea of the candidate’s strengths and provide them with opportunities to improve. The feedback that candidates receive is integral to their development as future leaders. Leadership assessment tools such as the Hogan 360º Report help in building a leadership profile for candidates that outlines the competencies in which they are skilled as well as those that they are developing. Executives who hope to support the career goals of their employees can also use these assessments to build focused development plans for those individuals. This may include leadership training programs or providing them with an executive coach who will work closely with them to achieve their goals.


Developing Potential Leaders

Whether one, the other, or a combination of both, the candidate should also be accessing leadership assessment and development tools regularly in order to keep track of their progress and success. By building regular assessments into their development plan, potential leaders are able monitor their growth using measurable data. When the time comes that they are being considered for an elevated position within the company, executives can look at the various assessments that have been made through their development and determine whether they have achieved the necessary competencies for the role.


Assessment is a vital component of leadership development, though it is not one that many individuals regularly take advantage of. Building effective leaders can only begin once a profile of the competencies has been completed. Leadership assessment tools should be prioritised as a primary resource for executives and potential talent for ensuring that individuals are receiving the training that will have the greatest benefit for them and the organisation as a whole. Leaders who develop a tangible awareness of their abilities become more effective in leading their teams because they understand their limitations. This establishes a culture where the most important thing is not to have all the answers, but to collaborate in order to find the solution.


About the Author: The Leadership Sphere
The Leadership Sphere helps small and medium businesses and larger organisations in Australia, in creating value through leadership. The Leadership Sphere provides a humanistic approach to the way it delivers leadership, performance and coaching services. We work with leaders and senior teams who need to gain increased clarity, build capability and ensure contribution at every level in the organisation, and enable a safe, inclusive and  high trust organisation.

Building Effective Leaders

leadership assessment tools

7 Reasons to Consider a Leadership Assessment

Leadership strategies and methodologies  get much attention particularly during times of uncertainty and change. It can be difficult to determine where individual and organisational leadership capabilities rank amongst industry peers, or what is the best method to understand this. That is why a leadership assessment tool can be a useful way to evaluate your current performance and help understand what leadership development activities will be most suitable for your organisation. The benefits of using leadership assessment tools extend far beyond the individual level. The feedback you gain from such assessments can impact on the development of high performing teams and with the culture of your organisation.


Establish Leadership Profiles

One of the benefits of leadership profiling is that it allows you to form a complete picture of an individual’s capabilities as well as their potential for development. Effective leaders are aware of both their strengths and actively seek to improve in areas they may not be as successful. Establishing leadership profiles allows executives access to a resource that informs them about those high potential employees who are just beginning their development.


Develop High Potential Employees

When we are looking to fill leadership positions internally, the most obvious choice may not be the right one. Using a data based approach, we are able to assess potential leaders in order to determine the best fit. Completing leadership assessment tools for individuals gives current leaders an unbiased look into the capabilities of high potential employees. Even those who may not be right for leadership roles just yet, may have development plans created in order to support their advancement and career goals.


Filling Skills Gaps

Before embarking on a development program, participants and executives should be aware of what gaps exist within their skillset or organisation. Leadership assessment tools provide insight into exactly this. An executive coaching survey will outline an individual’s particular strengths as well as areas for improvement. Completing a leadership assessment prior to any training programs allows both the individual and the organisation to reap the highest benefits.


Remain Competitive with Industry Standards

For those who have been in positions of executive leadership for several years, it can be easy to believe that you don’t need as much feedback as you did earlier in your career. This is simply not true in industries that are constantly innovating and expanding. The best leadership assessment tools will help you to understand how your skills match up against the current industry standards. You may be surprised to discover that there are some competencies you need to build upon so that you and your organisation can stay ahead of the competition. 


Track Development Progress

Many leadership assessment and development tools are used simply to track an individual’s development processes. The Hogan 360º Report can be re-done at regular intervals to get an external perspective. Actionable Habit Builder is a fantastic tool for self-reflective assessment of progress towards specific goals. No matter how it is done, individuals looking to develop their leadership skills should utilise assessment tools to track their progress in a tangible way. This demonstrates a commitment to the role and the organisation that executives will look at when considering prospective leaders.


Motivate Performance

Continually assessing a team or individual’s skills development allows them to not only track their progress, but the improvements in their overall performance as well. Being able to look back on past performance instils a sense of accomplishment that motivates further improvement. By assessing performance as goals are achieved, you can look for methods that worked well and identify ones that hindered success. In doing so, you have a ready made benchmark from which to set new goals and further optimise performance.


Improve Company Culture

Leaders who participate in assessments set an example of commitment to growth within an organisation. A willingness to have your own leadership assessed demonstrates what is expected and supported across all levels. It promotes a culture of growth, education, and development. Organisations with a culture that places value in these areas foster a positive workplace environment where morale and performance flourish. Leadership assessments encourage frequent communication that establishes deeper levels of trust between leaders and their teams. 

The development of those who participate in a leadership training program is predominantly determined by their own willingness to grow. Undertaking a leadership assessment prior to a training course helps to set the basis of their learning. The best tools for leadership development will reveal both the strengths and shortcomings of potential leaders, giving them a measurable starting point from which they can begin their leadership journey. Building an organisational culture of growth and development can have a significant and positive impact on performance both now and in the future.


For more information about The Leadership Sphere and how we can help you unlock performance through leadership, by supporting your leaders at every level of the organisation with leadership development, executive coaching and high performance team programs please visit our website or call us on 1300 100 857.

7 Reasons to Consider a Leadership Assessment

executive coaching

Developing a Coaching Culture

When it comes to coaching in support of professional development, a coaching culture is one that takes what has been taught in development programs and continues to prioritise learning outside of a formal setting.  In building a coaching culture, it is important to remember the impact that emotion and mental health play in performance. Leaders who coach, as opposed to manage, their team will see a greater improvement in performance and success. 


Coaching vs. Managing

Many management styles of leadership tend to focus on task delegation and optimising work practices in order to achieve as much as possible. While this is great for the bottom line, it is not always so great for our employees. The pressure to reach certain targets can often lead to poorer performance and unsatisfactory results. When individuals fail to meet expectations, a manager may reassign them to another project, leaving the cause of the issue unresolved. 


A coach will instead take the time to work through mistakes with individuals to give them a better understanding of what has gone wrong. This allows them the opportunity to develop the skills needed to perform their task correctly while remedying their mistake. It addresses the issue directly without punishing the individual. One of the positive effects of executive coaching on culture is that it establishes an environment that builds high performers by allowing them to gain valuable experience. 


Coaching to Lead

When leaders develop a coaching strategy, team performance improves due to increased engagement and personal relationships. Using leadership and coaching tools for cultural change is the most effective way to increase team performance. Leadership coaching uses a combination of formal feedback reporting and honest communication to establish trusting relationships between leaders and their teams. By developing their own coaching skills, leaders establish a precedent of continual development and education. 


Executive coaching helps leaders understand their strengths and work towards achieving their personal and professional goals. By employing these same techniques in their leadership practices, a culture of coaching naturally develops. To make skills development a sustainable component of an organisation, establishing leaders as coach rather than manager is necessary. When leaders become educators, the autonomy and productivity of teams improves. 



Establishing a coaching culture can have a significant impact on how your organisation approaches skills development. It shifts the role of leaders from being directive and task oriented, to being much more of a mentorship. Teaching your leaders how coach skills build teams that are more independent and collaborative. Coaching reduces the fear of failure and builds confidence in individuals that allows them to take more risks and become more innovative. 


What coaching strategies do you employ to promote skills development?


About the Author: The Leadership Sphere
The Leadership Sphere helps small and medium businesses and larger organisations in Australia, in creating value through leadership. The Leadership Sphere provides a humanistic approach to the way it delivers leadership, performance and coaching services. We work with leaders and senior teams who need to gain increased clarity, build capability and ensure contribution at every level in the organisation, and enable a safe, inclusive and  high trust organisation.


Developing a Coaching Culture

executive coaching services

5 Coaching Skills all Leaders Need

Many of the best leaders also act in the role of coach for their teams and company. It is a critical position that requires the implication of both assertive and passive management techniques. Leaders who have worked with executive coaches themselves, understand that individuals do not always need direct instruction in order to perform well. There are a number of coaching skills that leaders who wish to develop and inspire their teams in achieving their goals, may learn to include in their own management practices.


Offer Support

For leadership development programs to be successful, participants should be placed in an environment that provides support and encourages honesty and vulnerability. Being equally as vulnerable with participants, demonstrates a leader’s commitment to developing a coaching culture that reduces power imbalances which may make individuals hesitant to share their personal experiences. When adopting a coaching style of leadership, a mutual level of trust must be established to allow the person who is being coached to feel confident in making significant decisions.


Provide Guidance

The best leadership coaches understand that their primary role is to guide others through the decision making process without imposing their own agenda. Executive coaching programs are most effective when a collaborative relationship is established. The coached individual should be given the permission to dictate the focus of the coaching session. Let them decide which goals to work on and even methods for improving. Experienced coaches will of course be able to provide knowledgeable advice on a number of topics, but for the participant to get the most benefit, they must be afforded the opportunity to make the ultimate decision for themselves. 


Encourage Reflection

For most people, personal and professional growth occurs when they are able to reflect on their past experiences and are open to learning from them. By analysing what has worked well and what has not, leaders and potential leaders develop a deeper understanding of their own strengths and weaknesses. Assessment tools like the Hogan 360º Report are often used prior to beginning executive coaching programs to provide a clear indication of which areas the participant most needs to improve. Regular reflection should be a component of the ongoing coaching sessions as a means of tracking the individual’s progress. Using tools like the Actionable Habit Builder provides further support to help the person who is being coached to reflect in their own time privately, and this tool also allows the coach to post comment, challenge and encourage along the way.


Growth Culture

In a culmination of the above three skills, establishing a culture of growth within your organisation can result in a more open and collaborative team. What we have so far discussed can be focused on singular instances where decisions need to be made or mistakes have occurred. By coaching the individual through a mistake rather than punishing them, you provide them with an opportunity for growth. When you conduct leadership coaching for cultural change, you create an environment that reduces fear of failure and encourages experiential learning. 


Adaptive Communication

One important and effective coaching strategy that leaders should engage with is that of adaptive communication. This means knowing when to be active or direct in your approach, and when to back off and let the coachee take the lead. Communication is the most versatile coaching and leadership skills at your disposal. Passive communication like listening and asking questions, help coaches to understand concerns and receive information. Active communication is used to move processes forward and to deliver feedback. 


Incorporating coaching skills into other leadership styles can have a greatly positive impact on individuals within a company. Using coaching skills to develop high performers and potential leaders creates a workplace culture that demonstrates a value in gaining experience as a means of education. The organisation becomes an environment where learning and development is built into day-to-day practices, and mistakes are seen as opportunities for growth.


For more information about The Leadership Sphere and how we can help you unlock performance through leadership, by supporting your leaders at every level of the organisation with leadership development, executive coaching and high performance team programs please visit our website or call us on 1300 100 857.

5 Coaching Skills all Leaders Need

importance of culture change

The Importance of Culture for Performance

Developing and sustaining high performance culture within organisations over the long term can be a challenging task. Successfully done, it establishes a standard of practices and communication that lead to strong performance and reaching goals. Encouraging high achievement creates a culture that celebrates innovation, overcoming challenges, and exceeding targets. For an organisation to consider themselves exceptionally successful, its leaders must be willing to invest the time and resources into cultivating a culture of high performance. They become organisations of action rather than words on a page, and everyone can feel it, and live it on a daily basis.


Encouraging Innovation

Companies with healthy and positive workplace cultures are predisposed to attract creative thinkers and produce innovative ideas. Empowering individuals to become creative problem solvers allows organisations to establish themselves as forerunners in their industries. Developing high performers builds a culture of excellence that thrives on innovation. 


The culture of a business is dependent on the attitudes and behaviours of those that work there. When innovation is incorporated into everyday practises, productivity and engagement will increase. High performance training programs provide participants with the skills needed to make creative thinking practices part of their daily process. Innovation in problem solving leads to more effective and successful performance.


Employee Retention

Boasting a positive workplace culture is becoming a significant marketing strategy for attracting new talent. The culture is defined by those who build it – your current employees. While organisations will frequently be looking to onboard new high potential employees, developing the skills of those who contribute most to the culture creates incentive for them to continue performing at an exceptional standard. 

Providing opportunities for high potential talent to grow their skills, demonstrates a commitment to their development and career aspirations. As these employees continue to progress through the organisation, they will become responsible for leading high performance teams themselves. In doing so they ensure that the culture of the company is consistently able to produce outstanding results.


Offering high performance training to your team is an investment long-term excellence. It provides the opportunity for them to expand their skillset and capabilities for innovative problem solving and decision making. Leaders who invest in developing a culture of high performance will find that theirs is the organisation capable of growth, innovation, and sustained success.


How are you cultivating high performance culture in your organisation?


About the Author: The Leadership Sphere
The Leadership Sphere helps small and medium businesses and larger organisations in Australia, in creating value through leadership. The Leadership Sphere provides a humanistic approach to the way it delivers leadership, performance and coaching services. We work with leaders and senior teams who need to gain increased clarity, build capability and ensure contribution at every level in the organisation, and enable a safe, inclusive and  high trust organisation.


The Importance of Culture for Performance

culture change benefits

How Leaders Shape Culture

A company’s culture can be difficult to define as it is so intangible and immeasurable. In fact, some might say that culture is best explained by the feeling you get when you walk around the office, or worksite that best represents culture.  It is this feeling which represents the totality of values, assumptions, and accepted norms and that is what affects the behaviours of individuals. For such behaviours to become engrained throughout the organisation, executive leaders must be the primary examples and set the standard to which others can follow.


Defining Culture

Driving change leadership takes more than simply implementing new processes. Individuals must be inspired to change their mindsets, behaviours, and beliefs. Leaders must have within themselves a clear vision for what they want the culture of their company to look like and then ensure that they have the right team in place to actualise it.  Engaging in leadership training for culture change can make a great impact on integrating new or re-defined ideas from the outset. Onboarding and leadership development programs offer organisations the opportunity to instill the importance of their core values in their employees and to build a culture that reflects those beliefs. 


When shaping company culture it is important to develop a strong understanding of why you are doing so. Why is it important to the company? And why is it important to your employees? To do this, you may consider engaging in executive leadership training to develop a deeper understanding of your personal values in relation to what you hope to accomplish as a leader. The role of an executive coach is often one of support and discovery. By asking the right questions they are able to guide their client to reaching the answers for themselves. This can be an effective tool for leaders building towards a shift in culture.


Reinforcing Culture

It is not enough for leaders to decide on a new approach and expect that their employees will immediately adapt to these changes. Communication and accountability are both paramount to the success of leading culture change. Information must be clearly and regularly communicated across all levels of the organisation, and leaders must be willing to be held accountable for following through themselves. Through leadership and management training courses, employees throughout the organization can be kept informed of new processes and given the means to further their knowledge to members of their team. 


A single leadership training course is not enough to shape an entire culture on its own. It must become a regular part of a company’s agenda in board meetings as well as in everyday conversations between team members. A culture can be built with relative ease, sustaining it, and making it second nature to individuals is a challenge within itself. By discussing change and why it is happening, creates a company-wide understanding of what is most important. What is taught in a leadership training program becomes contextualised in the realities of everyday practices. Different levels of leaders get different take always from leadership development programs, and like most professional development, as a minimum, it serves as a reminder of the things we should be doing, but have not set as a priority to do so. These little things all add up to make a big difference when it comes to driving a positive workplace culture and creating a high trust organisation.


Culture is often first shaped by leaders wishing to take their organisation in a new direction. However, it is most successful when those leaders are able to have a positive influence on their teams to inspire a shift in mindset that drives behaviour. In an era where diversity, inclusion and belonging are becoming even more important, good leadership and positive workplace cultures is becoming a differentiating factor for businesses of all sizes and industries.


What is most important for you, as a leader, to shaping culture?


About the Author: The Leadership Sphere
The Leadership Sphere helps small and medium businesses and larger organisations in Australia, in creating value through leadership. The Leadership Sphere provides a humanistic approach to the way it delivers leadership, performance and coaching services. We work with leaders and senior teams who need to gain increased clarity, build capability and ensure contribution at every level in the organisation, and enable a safe, inclusive and  high trust organisation.

How Leaders Shape Culture

learning outcomes for leadership development

5 Steps to Improving Leadership Development

Traditional executive leadership training has placed a large focus on the development of the practical skills needed to manage teams. Increasingly, leadership development is shifting from this model to one that establishes soft skills that are key to decision making and performance. As the global business community continue to focus on diversity, inclusion and belonging, these secondary or softer skills are becoming primary drivers of leadership development programs. For leaders to get the most out of their development, there are several options that organisations have to ensure they are providing programs that offer a diverse approach to learning.


Understanding Values

When embarking leadership training for culture change, it is important to have a clear understanding of the values you wish to  instill in your employees and greater organisation. Developing this understanding of personal values and how you can build them into your day-to-day practices can play a significant role in establishing and sustaining workplace culture in the long term. This is a particular focus of the Dare to Lead™ program. Participants are encouraged to reflect on their personal beliefs and inspect the ways in which they practice their values in how they conduct their work.



It can be useful to run an assessment of a team or individual’s strengths prior to their participation in a leadership training course. Knowing what they already do well and in which areas they could improve, help to establish what kind of program they would receive the most benefit from. The 360º Feedback Report provides insight into how leaders are perceived by their teams and exposes key areas of success and growth. This can be a valuable tool for re-assessment and tracking the progress being made.


Be Vulnerable

Open and honest communication is key to establishing the interpersonal relationships that help sustain a positive workplace culture. It relies on leaders allowing themselves to show vulnerability to their teams as well as a willingness to listen to their feedback and concerns. Leadership development programs that teach participants how to embrace vulnerability and establish a culture of trust throughout the organization leads to improved performance and success. Vulnerability is not a skill that you download in one go, it is rather complex, but at it’s core is honesty and transparency, however, there are always elements of what to disclose and not to disclose. Transparency without thinking through what you disclose as a leader can be dangerous, as can more traditional leadership styles of armouring up and showing no signs of vulnerability in the process. It is the balance of both extremes that creates leadership that enables a high trust organisation.


Be Challenged

A strong measure of effective leadership comes when leaders are faced with uncertainty and challenges that push them towards innovation and creative problem solving. Leadership training programs that focus on developing creative thinking as well as practical skills, result in leaders who are better equipped to overcome unexpected challenges. As we have seen during times of challenge such as the COVID-19 global pandemic, leaders are required to respond to challenges over a longer term period of uncertainty and that requires new strengths in resilience and support and is a big part of leadership development programs to help organisations maintain organisational health through difficult times.


Establish Development Culture

Many leaders who profess a desire to improve their personal and professional development often put off doing so until they ‘have the time,’ without realising that the time to start is always now and that “some time” far too often becomes “no time”. Prioritising performance over development is to disregard the opportunity to get the greatest benefit out of both outlets. When learning and development are integrated into everyday practices, we establish ways of becoming better leaders in ways that enable us to improve overall performance. The evolution of leadership within an organisation is very much about a consistent loop of evaluation followed by a continued challenge of development where you need it most, and those who do it best are now building leadership development and high performance team programs with values and vulnerability at the core.


The development of leadership skills and practices is an integral part of both personal and organisational growth. Where performance is concerned, so too should leadership training be. The success of any organisation depends upon those who put in the effort each and every day to ensure it. Companies must provide support and opportunities for leadership and management training if they want to see performance exceeding that of their competitors.

For more information about The Leadership Sphere and how we can help you unlock performance through leadership, by supporting your leaders at every level of the organisation with leadership development, executive coaching and high performance team programs please visit our website or call us on 1300 100 857.

5 Steps to Improving Leadership Development

leadership coaching

5 Steps for Effecting Coaching

Executive coaches can play a significant role in the ongoing development of teams and leaders. Through a series of coaching sessions in which the coach and client work closely to construct a strategy to reach specific goals and build new behaviours, the client is empowered to take control of their own learning. In making continual assessments and tracking their progress, it becomes possible to see the tangible development of skills that contribute to ongoing growth and success. The relationship is one of accountability, development and support, and provides a safe place for an individual to talk through what is working and what is not working with their day to day business activities.



For executive coaching to provide the most beneficial results, the coach must first work with the team or individual to identify performance gaps and their cause. This is typically achieved through executive coaching programs that aim to address the specific goals and desires of the client, as well as any behaviours they may wish to improve. Those behaviours that will provide the highest opportunities for advancement should be prioritised. In some cases, the specific goals for the coaching program may be aligned to other development activities, or will be agreed between the individual who is being coached and other representatives from the business.



Coaching for behavioural or cultural change takes a significant amount of time and effort to be done effectively, and therefore should not be a rushed process. It may take several coaching sessions for there to be a noticeable change. Set an intentional objective prior to each meeting that focuses on one or two specific behaviours. Doing so means that you can solidify progress in those areas without becoming overwhelmed by trying to do too much at once. The preparation stage should also involve anticipating obstacles and discussing strategies to overcome them. As you begin to introduce new objectives, you can see the progress that has already been made. In some cases, leadership assessments and profiling may be required for a more detailed assessment of the individual who is being coached, or in other cases the main areas for behaviour and cultural change may be identified through conversation and consultation with the individual and/or others within the business. The most important part of this step is that everyone involved agree on the area that requires change, and are committed to making the change, and recognise the benefits of working through that process!



Executive coaching is a collaborative process between the coach and the client. Collaboration suggests relationship and for that reason, trust is a big part of any coaching program. Each session should involve open dialogue and shared perspectives to determine the options of moving forwards. Both coach and client must be fully engaged and motivated to achieve the goals set out. The best executive coaches understand that much of their role is simply to ask the right questions that lead the client to reach the solution for themselves. Of course, their experience and expertise will offer guidance in this but really, a successful coach will act as more of a sounding board for ideas rather than provide direct answers. What remains in the vault, is a big part of collaboration, and is a critical part of how a coach builds trust and ensures a healthy coaching relationship.



To truly benefit from the positive effects of executive coaching, each session should take rigorous documentation of goals, the steps that need to be taken, and timing (if applicable) so that progress can be monitored. A useful tool for this process is the Actionable Habit Builder that allows the client to set, track, and reflect on their behaviour as they work towards their goals. The platform allows progress to be shared with the coach so that they are able to be kept up to date remotely. At the end of this program, the individual is asked to answer a series of reflection questions that allow them to delve deeply into self-analysis of their behaviour and emotions. The advantage of this is that it provides a measurement not only of what they did, but how they felt about it. By having a reference of what has been worked on and the levels of improvement, delivers the necessary feedback to keep everyone involved motivated to work through difficult situations and acts as a reminder to the value of the coaching relationship and progress that is being made.


Follow up

The best leadership coaching businesses do not succeed on the basis of a singular session. For there to be continual improvement there must also be continual assessment. The reaching of one goal usually leads to the forming of another. In this way we are always able to achieve growth in our business and leadership. A cycle of feedback is necessary for building upon previous success. The Hogan 360º Report feedback tool is excellent for creating this loop. At the end of each implementation, clients are again asked to provide feedback on the skills and behaviours that are either working or can still be improved. One of the advantages of leadership coaches is having someone who is willing to push you to succeed not just once, but time and time again. 


The top leadership coaches know that change takes time, skill, and dedication. Through executive coaching programs and behaviour development tools, clients are able build within themselves the skills they need to grow and reach new levels of success. How do we know if we are reaching our goals if we do not assess our progress? By working closely with the coach and regularly monitoring their progress, clients become more confident and begin to take ownership of their own development.


For more information about The Leadership Sphere and how we can help you in creating value through leadership, by supporting your leaders at every level of the organisation with leadership development, executive coaching and high performance team programs please visit our website or call us on 1300 100 857.


5 Steps for Effecting Coaching

high performance culture

7 Steps to Building a High Performance Culture

When we talk about developing a high performance culture within an organisation, we do so with the aim of cultivating an environment that makes employees want to come to work. In fact, positive company culture is often cited as a significant factor for those who are applying for roles. For companies looking to expand their workforce or simply to further incentivise current employees, investment in culture should be given priority. 


Continuous Learning

Strong leaders must be willing to not only accept changes that occur within their business but encourage growth and innovation. The culture of the company should reflect their commitment to developing high performers by allowing them opportunities to demonstrate and expand their skills. High performance training programs help individuals by building upon their ability to engage constructive collaboration and the company then benefits from having established a culture that thrives on the passion of those individuals.


Empower Individuals

The best high performance teams course will teach participants to operate effectively with minimal direction from management. They have been entrusted to solve problems and make decisions that will produce high quality results. By recognising and even celebrating their success can have a lasting impact on morale. Something as simple as a thoughtful email will make a big difference. Remember this is about making your employees feel acknowledged and appreciated in ways that empower them to strive for success.


Collect Feedback

High performance culture thrives when feedback is regularly sought out and reciprocated. Not only does it allow teams to better understand the goals laid out for them, but by listening to the feedback of their teams, leaders learn what their teams require from them in order to continue their success. The Hogan 360º survey is designed to provide a feedback loop reinforces what is working well and what can be improved. The relationship this build between teams and management is deeply rooted in a sense of trust that allows for open and honest communication.


Encourage Accountability

One of the strongest assets of developing and sustaining high performance teams is their determination to achieve results. In order to do this they must hold themselves and each other to high levels of accountability to ensure that their goals are met. In building high performance teams, programs such as Dare to Lead™, can be useful in developing methods of communication that reinforce the importance of taking ownership of our actions. When the performance of the team relies so heavily on unity for success, accountability will define a large part of the culture. 


Select the Right People

High performance teams should consist of individuals who are not only dedicated to their role and the project, but who also understand the organisation and its values. By providing them with training and experience, you can ensure that they are helping you to create the environment that fosters high performance. Engaging in creating a high performance team workshop allows you to provide the skills and experience you desire in your team while simultaneously demonstrating your own commitment to their growth.


Integrate Behaviours

It is not enough to simply state your desire to build a high performance culture. You must act. This is achieved through communicating clearly with employees at all levels about what is expected of them. The behaviours and habits required to succeed should be regularly talked about and engrained in the day-to-day operations of the business.


Set the Example

The old adage of ‘practice what you preach’ still holds true. In business, it means more to your employees if you show that you are just as willing to put in the time and effort towards tasks that you’re asking them to perform. As a leader, you set the standard. If you want others to adhere to the values of your organisation, you must live by them yourself to be effective at driving the culture.


How well your teams perform is tied closely with the environment in which they work. For teams to achieve exceptional results, they require a high performance culture. Developing and sustaining high performance team programs are an invaluable resource in establishing a positive company culture. Though it is something that cannot be done through skills training alone. It is up to the individuals on the team to cultivate and engage with. 


For more information about The Leadership Sphere and how we can help you unlock performance through leadership, by supporting your leaders at every level of the organisation with leadership development, executive coaching and high performance team programs please visit our website or call us on 1300 100 857.


7 Steps to Building a High Performance Culture

Executive Coaching

4 Ways that Executive Coaching will Help Your Business During Difficult Times

Executive coaching was once considered a last ditch effort for addressing toxic behaviour in the most senior level employees. Over time, the industry has evolved in such a way that now coaches are most often brought in to help leaders develop their skills and better perform their role. Companies have also found value in engaging executive coaching as a means of preventing the turnover of key employees, not just the ‘Executive’. As coaching continues to become more commonplace, old stigmas surrounding the practice will continue to dissipate and it will be sought after for its overwhelming benefits.


Develop High-Potential Talent

One of the key reasons that companies might decide to hire an executive coach is to develop their high-potential talent among middle management. When companies are faced with turbulent times, the risk of losing their top talent is something they may fear. To prevent this, they may instead choose to develop the skills of their high-potential employees. Usually, the individual is someone who is already making significant contributions to achieving results and will likely possess a sharp desire to learn and grow. Not only does this mean that employee turnover remains low, it shows the individual that their skills and talents are valued by top management and that they are committed to helping the individual to progress.


Creates Balance for Executives

When executive coaches are brought on board, it is usually to address a specific business problem or aid with transition to a new role. As time goes on and the coach comes to understand the client, they end up also addressing personal issues such as purpose and work-life balance. In a study conducted by the Harvard Business Review, they found that while only 3% of executive coaches are hired to address personal issues, that number jumps to 76% over the course of the coach’s relationship with the client. This suggests that the value of what a coach can provide goes far beyond what they are initially hired to do. During times of uncertainty, this aspect of executive coaching could not be more valuable as the added stress of confronting challenges can take a huge mental toll on the individual. By having another reliable source with whom they can discuss such issues, means that executives are given the opportunity to resolve them. This in turn allows them to have greater clarity and focus when problem-solving.


Choosing the Right Coach

Just as it is important that the individual be willing to undergo coaching, it is equally important that the coach is the right match for the person who is being coached. After all the coach-client relationship often spans a three to twelve month period. It would be a wasteful use of time and resources if the client does not gain any value from the relationship. Great coaches understand that much of their role is simply to be asking the right questions and allowing the individual to discover their own path. Such coaches will put the needs of their client first and not allow them to become dependent on their coach to make decisions. 


It is also important that executive coaches are able to help address personal issues, but there are boundaries, because after all a coach is generally not a health professional and it is not their role to play psychologist. This is not surprising considering how few coaches are hired to assist with personal matters, but interestingly, people often relate to problems at work in a way that by default helps them become better partners, parents and generally a better person in the process. There is some evidence to suggest that coaching those with unrecognised mental health problems can be counterproductive. Given the complexity and difficulty of identifying such issues without proper training it is worth organisations requiring that the coaches they hire have undergone some degree of mental health training.


Coaching for Future Leaders

As the coaching industry continues to expand and develop, we are beginning to see more and more executives turn to coaches to help them better understand their role and improve their skills. The constantly changing business environment means that the need for assistance in navigating it will only become greater. Executive coaches will become an essential part of the learning and development process for leaders across all levels of an organisation. The value and support that executive coaches provide to clients will be recognised as vital. One of the things that we have also found with coaching staff who attend leadership development programs and high performance team programs is that we can take a 3 x return on the development to sometimes as high as 10 x when underpinned by an effective coaching program to embed learning and apply it to business outcomes.


For more information about The Leadership Sphere and how we can help you unlock performance through leadership, by supporting your leaders at every level of the organisation with leadership development, executive coaching and high performance team programs please visit our website or call us on 1300 100 857.


4 Ways that Executive Coaching will Help Your Business During Difficult Times

5 coaching skills

Leadership Skills for Dealing with Uncertainty

Dealing with crisis and uncertainty is incredibly stressful for individuals at all levels of an organisation. For leaders, this poses the added challenge of needing to assuage fears and provide a sense of stability for their teams. Navigating change can make us doubt our effectiveness as leaders, but it is important that we learn to sit with this discomfort in order to face it. There is a strong connection between each of the skills we have identified as being important for dealing with uncertainty. Each on their own can have a great impact on how teams are led, but it is how they feed into one another that makes them truly successful.


Communication is the most crucial leadership skill to use during times of crisis. When times are uncertain, people rely on their leaders to keep them informed. Even though we may not always have a perfect answer, making sure everyone is on the same page can be an invaluable relief to those who struggle with unknowns. Equally as important as conveying information with clarity, is listening to the concerns of your team. Often overlooked, listening and hearing what others are saying is key to clear communication. By ensuring that we give others our undivided attention when discussing matters of importance, we demonstrate that we value their time and opinions.


Trust is integral to clear communication. This is especially the case during times of uncertainty. Leaders must not only be in frequent communication with their teams, but that communication requires honesty in order for there to be trust in what you are saying. Great leaders will have already spent a significant amount of time building trusting relationships with the individual members of their team over the course of their working together. Trusting and high performing teams are more likely to succeed at overcoming adversity because their dynamic as a unified group has already been proven.


Building trust is a large focus of the Dare to Lead™ program, based on the work and research of Brene Brown. She posits that real and lasting trust cannot exist without vulnerability. Throughout the course, participants are invited to ‘rumble with vulnerability’ so that they might gain a deeper understanding of who they are as people and leaders. ‘Rumbling with vulnerability’ is about giving yourself the opportunity to experience moments of uncertainty or perceived weakness. In short, to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Leading through times of uncertainty is uncomfortable. Learning how to manage effectively while while leaning into the discomfort is a valuable skill that leaders at all levels should develop.

When organisations face challenges that leave many people feeling worried about the uncertainty of the future, it is up to our leaders to be the driving force that guides teams through such significant change. Of course, the continuous communication between leaders and teams is vital for working through these difficulties. For this to yield successful results for the organisation as a whole, there must also be clarity, trust, and vulnerability. No team will remain productive and continue to deliver exceptional results if their leaders are not willing to be honest with them. By embracing all three of the leadership skills discussed above, the uncertainty and ‘what ifs’ will be much more readily overcome.

For more information about The Leadership Sphere and how we can help you unlock performance through leadership, by supporting your leaders at every level of the organisation with leadership development, executive coaching and high performance team programs please visit our website or call us on 1300 100 857.

Leadership Skills for Dealing with Uncertainty

what are the benefits of executive coaching

When is the Best Time to Invest in Executive Coaching?

Executive coaching is tailored leadership development for senior executives, other leaders, and high potential talent. Unlike other leadership development programs, executive coaching is a one-on-one partnership between leader and coach that addresses the leader’s specific goals and challenges. It offers the opportunity to explore and develop the skills that you aspire to possess to be a successful leader. This means that an individual may choose to take advantage of involving an executive coach at any point. There are certain times however, that it may be more beneficial to begin working with an executive coach.


Role or Career Change

One of the many benefits of executive coaching is having the ability to see the in progress effectiveness of the leadership skills they are developing. This may be of particular benefit when an individual takes on a new leadership position or enters a new industry. They may require assistance in navigating the unfamiliarity of their new position. In this situation, the coach is able to provide leadership development training that can be implemented immediately because it is contextualised within the bounds of the specific role.


Managing Conflict and Crisis

Executive coaching can also be a useful tool during times of conflict and of crisis. These moments can be especially challenging when there is a lot of change happening in a very short space of time. Here, the executive coach is a great asset to the individual as an objective sounding board for ideas. Through executive coaching programs, the coach is to help the leader gain a better understanding of their own thought processes so that they are able to resolve issues independently. 


Employee Development

Though executive coaching is often undertaken by C-level leaders and senior executives, it may be worth considering for those who have been identified as high potential talent. Investing in executive coaching prior to the appointment of a more senior role, prepares the individual ahead of time by developing the skills needed to meet their specific goals. This means that when they do take on the new position, they do so with a greater idea of their own capabilities and how they will contribute to overall company success. 


Improved Communication

One of the issues most often addressed in an executive coaching program is the need for better interpersonal communication. This is achieved using advanced leadership tools such as 360 reporting that allows the individual to understand how they are perceived by others, and also improve upon their emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is an important factor for being able to be understood effectively with people whose communication style differs from one’s own. 


The reasons an individual may have for considering executive coaching can be quite varied and, like executive coaching itself, all depends on what they hope to gain from it. The Leadership Sphere executive coaching programs help to embed new skills, improve interpersonal communication, and assist in change management at the individual, team, and organisational level. What matters most is that the relationship between the coach and the individual is built on trust. Therefore it is important to establish an understanding of where a person has been and where they want to go. Getting the balance of what one wants to achieve and how much they are able to be challenged is one of the hidden skills of a great leadership coach!

For more information about The Leadership Sphere and how we can help you unlock performance through leadership, by supporting your leaders at every level of the organisation with leadership development, executive coaching and high performance team programs please visit our website or call us on 1300 100 857.

When is the Best Time to Invest in Executive Coaching?

leadership development program

Safety Leadership Characteristics in a Post COVID-19 Workplace

COVID-19 restrictions have disrupted business as usual operating conditions for almost every business. Businesses have faced the difficult task of having to adopt new practices for safe work as a result of the Coronavirus. Furthermore, everyone has had to make significant adjustments to how we move about in public and in many cases, adapting to new ways of remote and restricted working conditions. These new measures have been a matter of public health and there is still somewhat of a haze about what constitutes ‘reasonable steps’ from an employer when it comes to safety leadership and complying with work health and safety obligations. With so much immediate attention put on safe returning to work and supporting a remote working model, little time has been spent considering the various profiles of our people and who will thrive in such conditions and who will not. If we take the view that situations like COVID-19 may become the norm as we live and work in a global business environment, then leadership tools and assessments will become even more important in our overall human capital management strategy.

How do leadership assessment tools help us in a post COVID-19 workplace?

Leadership assessment tools will play a significant role in determining a successful transition to operating in a post COVID-19 workplace. Such assessments will focus on a person’s ability to lead through change and measure their diligence, acceptance of new ideas, attitude toward difficult situations, and the care taken to implement changes. Traits like these were identified in The Hogan Safety Report as indicators of safety-conscious behaviours. Leadership assessment tools such as the Hogan Personality Assessments are useful and have most impact when supported by quality leadership development organisations such as The Leadership Sphere who can help you set up the assessments at each layer of leadership, and navigate an organisation through the many insights that are obtained, as well as the resulting actions to make an impact on your overall leadership capability.

Summary of the key findings of The Hogan Safety Report

Strong (diligence)

People who score highly in this scale show that they can retain their composure under pressure and are capable of maintaining health and safety standards whilst navigating stressful situations. This will be particularly important to keep in mind as you provide leadership development and support for your senior managers post COVID-19. Due to the anticipation and excitement of a ‘return to normality’, the onus will be on staff and management to remain on alert for the smallest infraction. The failure to do something as simple as wiping down surfaces can lead to a significant impact on others. By remaining diligent, we will be able to minimise the possibility of mistakes being made and avoid the potential reputational damage in the event that your business has a safety breach!


Hogan identifies vigilant individuals as valuable to the post COVID-19 workplace due to their attention to detail. Similarly to ‘strong’ individuals, those who keep constant vigilance are less prone to making mistakes that risk the health and safety of their co-workers. Where they go one step beyond is in their ability to not allow themselves to become distracted by their surroundings. They are focused on the task at hand and in this way are prevented from distractions. Vigilance is one of the more challenging areas to build into leadership development programs, yet one of the most important leadership traits when it comes to operating in business environments where safety requirements are rapidly changing, as has happened throughout the COVID-19 global epidemic. At The Leadership Sphere, one of our most popular leadership development programs includes live simulations that test decision making and provide real-time awareness for senior leadership teams with regard to traits such as vigilance and situational awareness.

Compliant (acceptance)

A ready adoption of and compliance with new health and safety measures is perhaps the most integral trait to have in this new era of business. A person’s willingness to follow these rules without resistance displays their reliability. They accept new policies and closely follow them to protect the health and safety of themselves and others. Compliant individuals are more likely to adapt quickly to changes and can lead through example. In other words, when it comes to work health and safety, we want to make sure we stay on the right side of the law. This has become even more apparent in Victoria, where businesses and officers whose negligent conduct causes a workplace death may be guilty of workplace manslaughter. This has been a heavily debated topic and one which poses even greater threat when new waves of safety requirements come into play, as has happened with COVID-19.


We will face new challenges as many of us step back into the workforce for the first time in a long while. In doing so, we will require training in several new practices. We must be willing to learn and embrace feedback in order to continue moving forward. One of the many benefits of utilising leadership assessment tools for leaders and managers, and a broader range of assessment tools for profiling our teams, is that it gives them direct feedback about how they are viewed by their team in a way that allows for practical application of their results. It is important that you work with a reputable partner such as The Leadership Sphere, to review the results of leadership assessment and profiling within your organisation, because the insights range from strikingly obvious to subtle, and often it is the subtle insights that can lead to the greatest capability gains for an organisation.

Cautious (care)

In many cases, taking risks can be seen as an act of bravery. This is not true when considering health and safety measures. Cautious individuals are those who will stop to consider the impact of their actions on others before proceeding. It shows an understanding of good risk management as well as demonstrating their capacity to work within a team. Scoring highly in this scale indicates a likelihood of pausing to evaluate your options before making decisions that would be considered risky. During the COVID-19 restrictions, the virtual Dare to Lead program run by The Leadership Sphere had a focus on building courageous cultures and the part of the program that resonated most with senior executives was the notion of ‘clear is kind, unclear is unkind’ and when we consider giving and receiving feedback as being a key component of care, how this makes a significant difference in our own resourcefulness and allows us to provide clarity at every layer of leadership in an organisation.

Poised (attitude)

This is an often overlooked quality in a leader, but is definitely one that many of the best leaders possess. Those who can face difficult situations without rising to anger but instead remaining calm will be well suited to the post COVID-19 workplace. For some, remembering to wear a mask in public or sanitise surfaces after each use has been seen as too much of an inconvenience that they simply don’t bother. When the attitude towards rigorous changes like these shifts from seeing them as being a nuisance to one of acceptance, we significantly reduce the risk of becoming careless or ‘forgetting.’ Those who score highly for poise will be able to manage their frustrations, making them less likely to make mistakes. It is interesting to consider the attitude of our people, and how that has changed over several months as a result of COVID-19, because setting and maintaining standards is a massive part of being a strong leader. Where attitudes change or demonstrate non-compliance to changing safety measures, this provides us with a red flag. After all, COVID-19 is an example of just another episode in an ever changing world. There may just happen to be another COVID-19 waiting to invite itself into our world in the not too distant future.

Being safety-conscious in the workplace is more important than ever as we begin to come out of strict lockdown measures. It is therefore equally important that we understand what qualities will be needed as business operations resume. Leadership assessment tools can be useful in determining where you are well prepared and where you may need to improve. The Leadership Sphere implements the use of a variety of tools depending on what traits are being assessed. This is because there is no one type of assessment that is completely all encompassing. You may even benefit from a variety of job performance assessments at different times in order to gauge a deeper understanding of what type of a leader you are. The key is to work with a trusted partner to understand the ‘why’ of undertaking a leadership assessment and to understand that taking a longer term view to leadership capability development is an investment in your people and your business. 

For more information about The Leadership Sphere and how we can support your leaders with leadership development, executive coaching and high performance team programs please visit our website or call us on 1300 100 857.

Safety Leadership Characteristics in a Post COVID-19 Workplace

woman holding a hat made of armour

Why Values Work Better in the Arena than Armour

When we feel frightened, tired, alone, up against it or under pressure, it can be tempting to want to protect ourselves by putting on the armour when we walk into the field or play or arena. When we armour up however, we are much more likely to create the very outcomes we’re trying to avoid – disconnection, a lack of engagement, or trying to preserve our sense of identity – at least how we perceive it or want it to be perceived. This is a powerful paradox. The harder we try to prove that we’re capable, have it all together and are worthy of people’s trust and acceptance, the more likely we are to destroy it. Hustling for our worth is a zero-sum game. It destroys the very heart of leadership – value creation.

The arena is the metaphor used by Brené Brown in her book  Dare to Lead,, based on the speech given by Theodore Roosevelt in Paris in 1910. In this article, we’ll discuss why values might be all you have to take into the arena – and sometimes, all you should take into the arena. 

a sign with arrows pointing in opposite directions saying courage and fear In Parts 1 and 2 of this series, we laid the foundation about why braver leadership and fostering more courageous cultures in our organisations matters.  In Part 3, we got a better understanding of vulnerability. According to Brené Brown, brave leadership and courageous cultures require four kill sets: (1) Rumbling with Vulnerability; (2) Living into Our Values; (3) BRAVING Trust and (4) Learning to Rise.

The Arena

As Brené Brown says, “In those tough matches, when the critics are being extra loud and rowdy, it’s easy to start hustling—to try to prove, perfect, perform, and please.” In these moments, we forget why we are in the arena, which is particularly interesting given our values – our core beliefs – is what led us to the arena in the first place.

According to the research conducted by Brené and the team, the daring leaders who were interviewed were never empty-handed in the arena. In addition to rumble skills and tools, they always carried with them clarity of values. 

Let’s start by defining values, again through the lens of Dare to Lead. A value is a way of being or believing that we hold most important. Living into our values means that we do more than profess our values, we practice them. Values guide us, prompt us into action, and help us make the right decision.

Why We Need Better Leaders

The central role of leadership is value-creation, whether in our organisations, government, not-for-profit entities or our local school. And in order to create value – at least in the long term – we need to be able to practice effective leadership. I believe real leadership consists of two dimensions or pillars: ethical leadership, represented by asking is it the right thing to do and brave leadership, represented by actually doing the right thing, even if it’s hard.




Ethical leadership is best served by firstly knowing our values and then living by them. Brave leadership is best served by taking off our self-protecting armour and leaning into the work with purpose, grit and courage. 

We have seen some very prominent examples recently where ethical decision making and actions were not present and it destroyed value – literally. In May, the mining giant Rio Tinto destroyed two rock shelters that demonstrated 46,000 years of continuous human occupation in the Juukan Gorge in the Pilbara (Western Australia). The aftermath was fascinating and disturbing. 

Rio Tinto’s own internal review concluded that “Everyone and no-one was accountable.” The company stripped around $7million in bonuses from three executives but it didn’t recommend anyone being stood down. 

Shareholders and various stakeholder groups were not happy, believing that the penalty didn’t fit the ‘crime’.  After enormous pressure, Rio Tinto boss Jean-Sebastien Jacques and two senior executives will be replaced after an investor revolt forced the mining giant’s board to escalate its response.

There are numerous examples of failures of leadership, evidenced by the number of royal commissions and inquiries we’ve had in the last few years (e.g. Aged care, Mental Health, use of police informants, Hotel quarantine around COVID-19 in Victoria, and currently Crown Casino and it’s links to Asian syndicates and money laundering).

And every day in our organisations, we still tolerate bad behaviour in the form of bullying, sexual harassment, or people being treated poorly. We must demand a higher standard of behaviour in organisations and society for that matter. We must demand braver leadership. 

The question for each and every one of us is, “Are you a builder or a breaker?” 

Breakers destroy value through their actions or lack of actions, including trying to prove they’re right, using shame and blame to manage themselves and others, leading through compliance and control, not having the difficult conversations, professing values rather than practicing values, leading reactively, resisting change, and getting stuck by failures, setbacks and disappointments. It’s what Brené Brown calls armoured leadership.a hand placing 6 timber blocks on a surface

Leaders and teams alike face serious problems showing up in a vulnerable way at work; instead, sabotaging themselves and others and killing real collaboration, trust, innovation and creativity. 


Value creators – or Builders – create value by living in accordance with their values and what is deemed to be ethically sound by basic human standards. Builders work to create high-trust, safe workplaces where people can truly show up and be their best. 

Living into our values means firstly knowing our values and then actually living by them. It means being able to foster more humanistic organisational cultures. To do this, we need to continue to develop our level of self-awareness and courage skills.  We need to confront our own cognitive biases, limitations and fears. 

We need to work harder to cultivate braver, values-based leaders.

The author is a Certified Dare to Lead Facilitator. You can find out more about our in-person and virtual Dare Lead Courses here.

Why Values Work Better in the Arena than Armour

leadership development

Time for a Leadership Development Detox?

Time for a Leadership Development Detox?

Detox is a word that is often talked about in health circles. In more recent times the idea of a detox has moved from ‘diets’ to other areas to support our mental health, such as a ‘digital detox’ to get us away from our devices and minimise the overload of white noise being thrown at us via the internet and social media. But have you ever stopped to think about a leadership development detox for yourself or your organisation?

What is the purpose of leadership development anyway? Are our leaders expected to know too much? What is the right leadership training for our situation? Do we have strategic objectives in place to hang our leadership competency framework off of? What leadership training do we give our executive leadership team versus other senior managers and line managers? Wow, a new best seller on leadership development, I had better read that one. It all becomes a minefield of questions really quickly.

Regardless of how capable our senior leaders are, there is always areas for improvement. That is why each year, thousands of resources are presented to us such as leadership development programs, online leadership assessment tools, online courses for leadership, books on leadership and many other resources that deal with self-help, leading self and leading teams. So much choice can create confusion about what problem we are trying to solve, so let’s press pause, get out a blank piece of paper and start a leadership development detox for our self (or our organisation).

What problem are we trying to solve?

Let’s acknowledge that leadership development is about helping leaders reach their full potential. Leadership development experts at The Leadership Sphere use a framework that considers three important areas that we can reflect on:

Clarity – are we being clear or unclear to our leaders, to our managers and to our teams? In other words, are our strategic objectives clear and are we communicating this in a way that resonates at every layer in our organisation?

Capability – have we the capability to do what we need to do, or is there skill gaps that we can work on with our people? Saying we have a leadership capability issue is a cop out… instead we need to consider where the capability gaps are and that can take us down the path of understanding the right leadership development for the right group of people. Of course, it is not a one size fits all approach to leadership training and coaching agenda is important.

Contribution – how are the contributions at every level of leader in our organisation and what can we be doing to better support them?

When we start asking these questions in the context of what is really going on in the workplace it becomes clear as to why so many leaders feel like they’re drowning in their responsibilities and expectations of them as a senior leader. Between managing the business, staying reasonably current in their functional skills, and trying to be a good manager of people, it can be hard to stay afloat. Often expectations are so high, and we are being asked to achieve more with less resources that people become overwhelmed, things become unclear, we doubt our capability and contribution diminishes. As a result, many leaders feel extremely unsatisfied in their role and it can lead to less than desirable performance and in some cases burnout and mental health issues. Think about it. We ask individuals in leadership positions to be highly emotionally intelligent and excellent team players in addition to being enterprise leaders, situational leaders, transformative leaders, servant leaders, collaborative leaders, virtual leaders, strategic leaders; it’s a pretty long list of areas to be an ‘expert in’. Starting to sound like a leadership development detox is on the menu?

If we are going to help leaders reach their leadership potential and to be satisfied in the process, we need to focus on what constitutes good leadership. Here is a list of questions that can get you started.

  1. Are we clear about our strategic objectives and what we are trying to achieve?
  2. Do we communicate these objectives clearly to our people?
  3. Does everyone understand (and live) our values?
  4. What is overperformance, full performance and underperformance and what are the impacts of each (to the organsiation and to our people)?
  5. Do we coach and give people feedback well?
  6. Do we collaboratively solve problems and make decisions?
  7. Do we delegate tasks and responsibilities effectively?
  8. Do we mediate and resolve conflicts and differences constructively?
  9. Do we spend enough time observing, listening, asking questions?
  10. Do our leaders maintain composure during times of adversity?
  11. How do we operate in an emergency?
  12. Are we encouraging people to cooperate as part of the broader team?
  13. Are we flexible in our approach (i.e. are we adaptable to meet the changing needs of our people and our clients)?
  14. Are you overwhelmed just by thinking of this long list of questions? Ok we will stop now!

A big part of your leadership development detox is to write down all the questions you can think of… think about clarity, capability and contribution in the process… think about it top down from strategy through to day to day tasks. Once you have done this brain storm, then for each question, simply answer two things, what effort would it take to get it right, what impact would that have on the results of our organisation. This is a simple effort versus impact exercise. Then of course, once you have done that we can apply the Pareto Principle and look to build a leadership development program that addresses the 20% of our questions that we believe will give us 80% of the result. You will find that your solution is not just about the next best leadership book, or leadership course on the market, but rather a longer term approach to building in a combination of leadership assessments, leadership workshops and coaching for leaders along the way.

At The Leadership Sphere one of our most popular programs is the Dare to Lead Program where we encourage leaders to consider a simple statement of ‘CLEAR IS KIND’… ‘UNCLEAR IS UNKIND’ which interestingly gets us thinking about the amount of time we waste in the world of unclear and what a difference it makes when we start to think about CLARITY first. We encourage you to think about all leadership development and executive coaching programs using this. That is, start by having the courage to focus on being clear and then take the next step into building a high performance leadership program.

For more information about The Leadership Sphere and how we can support your leaders with leadership development, executive coaching and high performance team programs please visit our website or call us on 1300 100 857.

Time for a Leadership Development Detox?

learning objectives for leadership and management

3 Reasons Why Setting Leadership Objectives Is Important

When an organisation has clear goals and objectives, it provides everyone with a better understanding of what they, as an individual, and as part of a team, are aiming to achieve. That’s why so often we see a focus on mission statements and functional plans that align with the overarching strategic objectives of an organisation. This all looks good on paper, however these goals are not reached in practice unless every member of the team performs as they are expected to do. Of course, each position will require their own set of objectives in order to fully understand the role they play. This is particularly true where leadership comes into play, as we rely on our leaders to be able to make things clear and guide others along the path to reaching these goals. 

Goal setting set the leaders intentions

Goal setting is important because it is crucial to communicate to a team what the expected results should be and the time it will take to reach them. In other words, we are beginning with the end in mind, and that is the outcome. It is equally important to provide a roadmap for achieving those results and how that roadmap connects to the greater good of the team and the customers that your organisation serves. This is the important part that leaders play in goal setting and the reason why leadership development programs to support your senior managers need to spend equal time on clarity, capability and contribution. So often, the ‘clarity’ part is missed because we get straight into the detail of capability as a way to drive the contribution of individual team members. 

Key considerations when setting leadership objectives

Here are a few things to consider when setting leadership objectives:

  • Are your goals specific?
  • How relevant are your smaller goals to your overall objectives?
  • Do you have realistic expectations for achieving your goals?
  • Are your goals challenging?
  • Will you be able to achieve them within your chosen timeframe?
  • Do the goals align to the greater good of the organisation and those you serve?

Responsibilities of Leaders

#1 Driving Focus

When working on a large scale project it can sometimes be very easy to lose sight of the bigger picture if for instance it’s a long-running project or we hit a speed bump. Having leaders who are able to return the team’s focus to the end result can reignite productivity and prevents energy from being wasted on aimless tasks. By focusing on particular objectives we can mobilise our energy, leading to higher and more consistent effort overall. Having defined goals should trigger our behaviour. When we are reminded (or remind ourselves) of our reasons for what we are doing, we become much more motivated to put in the work.

#2 Measure of Progress

By having set and specific objectives we are trying to reach, it is possible to monitor the progress being made. This creates accountability when we might be falling short and motivation to continue when we can see how far we have come. A portion of the Dare to Lead™ Leadership Development Program offered by The Leadership Sphere includes a focus on participants creating and building a new habit. Through regular check-ins they are encouraged measure their own progress in implementing the habit they’ve chosen for themselves. A big part of leadership at the individual, team, or organisational level is having the capacity to deliver, in other words, to do the things that need to be done, even when you may not feel like doing them. Habits aid in getting people to deliver.

#3 Improved Communication

We’ve touched on the importance of clarity when it comes to setting leadership objectives; now let’s look at it a little more closely. We cannot gain clarity and understanding of team goals without effective communication. If our objectives aren’t clearly defined and communicated with us, we run the risk of misinterpreting what was said. This could easily lead to mistakes being made that cost us valuable time, effort and, resources if we have to redo tasks. It would also mean that it’s going to take us longer to achieve our goals which would potentially drive our motivation to complete them down. When we take the time to be as direct and focused as possible, this risk is lessened. By defining what our collective goals are with each other, we open the door for continued communication and collaboration to achieve them.

Setting leadership objectives is no easy feat and ultimately they can be quite subjective. Despite this, it should be important to all organisations and their leaders that their goals are made clear to everyone involved. Without this clarity it can be difficult to determine the progress of our success or give it the focus it deserves. 

For more information about The Leadership Sphere and how we can support your leaders with leadership development, executive coaching and high performance team programs please visit our website at or call us on 1300 100 857.

3 Reasons Why Setting Leadership Objectives Is Important

executive coaching online

Considerations for Online Leadership Training

As a result of the COVID-19 global pandemic we have all been forced to reassess the way we operate in our daily lives – both personally and professionally. During this time we have seen businesses make the switch to remote working and transition face to face learning and development programs to an online format. Whilst this has presented challenges as we adapt to new ways of communicating with one another, there have been many benefits, one of them being the way we deliver online leadership and development training. In this article we consider some of the key actions that need to be taken to establish the right virtual learning environment for leadership training.

Before selecting the method of delivery, it is always best to consider what outcomes you are looking to achieve with your leadership training program.

  • Why is this leadership training important?
  • What is your goal? 
  • Who will be involved?
  • What are the areas of leadership development that you want to focus on?
  • Who will be involved in the leadership training?

Once you have determined your reasons for taking on leadership development training, it then becomes possible to explore how that training may be delivered to your team. It then becomes a question of what is the right technology for the task at hand.

Now that we have our “why” there are a seemingly endless number of ways in which we might begin to explore the idea of technology driven leadership training. What is important to think about here is how we might best make use of the technology available to us. Remember that the technology format is not the solution to our leadership problems, but rather, a tool to assist us in achieving our learning objectives.

Technology Driven Learning

The effectiveness of integrating technology into leadership development programs is far reaching. Leadership development experts at The Leadership Sphere were able to move their highly sort after face to face Dare to Lead™ Program to a virtual format within weeks of COVID-19 lockdowns in Australia. Several virtual programs later it has shown that great value can be gained from running leadership development programs in a virtual format using technology platforms such as Zoom and simple functions such as breakout rooms and online collaboration tools to make traditional face to face workshops come alive online. This has shown the benefits of web hosted programs and how participants are able to quickly adapt to new formats without compromising learning. When we spoke with Phillip Ralph and the team at The Leadership Sphere we soon found out that technology considerations for leadership development programs was more than just setting up a simple zoom meeting format. Careful consideration was taken with adopting new program formats, having additional facilitator support for online breakout meetings, and establishing clear communication tools outside of the online workshops to allow pre-reading and other practical tasks to be completed between sessions. Recorded information and other online resources help participants who may have missed a session or needed a little extra help with the content. This all adds up to a fully integrated virtual leadership development program that enables the same (or in some cases more) learning than traditional face to face workshop.

Leveraging Our Virtual World

One might say that over the past decade we have seen many traditional face to face training programs move online and the restrictions brought about by COVID-19 has accelerated that even further. Though there will always be times where conducting sessions in person will be preferable; it may not always be possible, not just because of a global pandemic, but for other reasons such as training budgets, physical locations of teams and other limitations. In these instances having the capability to participate online will ensure that companies and their employees are able to remain at the forefront of their industries. As e-learning continues to rise so to do the options for technology platforms to support it. Knowing what technologies are available can be advantageous even if you don’t adopt the use of all (or even many) of them. Like most things it is about knowing what to use and equally what not to use. Technology may be changing the way we get things done, but it is also allowing us the capability to grow in our professional development. Examples such as the Dare to Lead™ Program delivered by The Leadership Sphere pose benefits to virtual delivery in that a 2-day face to face workshop can now be delivered over a two-month period with short sharp check ins and the time to embed habits and undertake personal reflection through the process. The impacts have been overwhelming with many leaders reporting that they have removed some of the big rocks that were holding them back in their personal and professional lives and that were eradicated because they formed habits over the program and were given space to reflect on what was working and not working for them.

Advancements in technology are continual and can seem intimidating upon first encounter. But it is without such advancements that our learning and development ceases to progress. After all, where would we be if no one had thought to invent the wheel? As do many businesses, The Leadership Sphere implements the use of a variety of technological tools to ensure that we are operating at the most effective capacity. A blended approach to leadership development was always important, however, it seems that in 2020 and beyond it will now become a necessity.

For more information about The Leadership Sphere and how we can support your leaders with leadership development, executive coaching and high performance team programs please visit our website at or call us on 1300 100 857.

Considerations for Online Leadership Training

rumble with vulnerability

Rumbling with Vulnerability

Rumbling with Vulnerability

The title of this post, ‘Rumbling with vulnerability’ sounds like it’s from the south of the USA, and that’s because it is (or more accurately South Central).

Many readers will be familiar with the work of Brené Brown and her latest book, Dare to Lead. By her own admission and the way she told it to me last year in Texas as part of a cohort of soon-to-be Certified Dare to Lead Facilitators, a well-meaning person once laughed and said it was funny how a lot of the language you (Brené) use has something to do with rodeos and cattle and well….Texas. Apparently that was a big surprise to Brené. Most people can connect with the language, or at least it’s meaning. Regardless, vulnerability is at the core of leadership so deserves further exploration.

This article will discuss what vulnerability in leadership is and why we should be serious about what it has to offer us as leaders. In Part 1 of this series, it was mentioned that talking about ‘brave leadership’ sounds awkward and feels a little elusive. In Part 2, the focus was on brave leadership and courageous cultures and why it matters. True leadership, by its very nature, requires leaders who are prepared to be vulnerable.

You may recall from parts 1 and 2, that, according to Brené, brave leadership and courageous cultures require four skill sets: (1) Rumbling with Vulnerability; (2) Living into Our Values; (3) BRAVING Trust and (4) Learning to Rise.

What is Vulnerability?

Vulnerability is defined in Dare to Lead as: The emotion that we experience during times of uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure.  A rumble is defined as: a discussion, conversation, or meeting defined by a commitment to lean into vulnerability, to stay curious and generous, to stick with the messy middle of problem identification and solving, to take a break and circle back when necessary, to be fearless in owning our parts, and, to listen with the same passion with which we want to be heard.

Simply put, vulnerability is about having the courage to show up when you can’t control the outcome. Being able to rumble with vulnerability is the foundational skill of courage-building. Without this core skill, it is impossible to put the other three skill sets into practice. One of my favourite quotes from the book: 

Our ability to be daring leaders will never be greater than our capacity for vulnerability.”

Vulnerability is not about weakness, spilling your guts, fake vulnerability (e.g. asking for an open discussion with the team and then closing down hard questions), or managing the risk or uncertainty out of any situation with an app. 

Who Cares About Vulnerability Anyway?

Vulnerability in leadership is still poorly understood, particularly the link to its benefits. As previously mentioned in another post, my own experience in running hundreds of leadership development programs, and what prompted me to write this series, is that many remain sceptical. Perhaps because it won’t be perceived as cool or the right thing to say, but when we scratch the surface to examine people’s core beliefs about vulnerability, many don’t believe, or understand, the link between vulnerability and performance. And even if leaders do buy into the notion that vulnerability is good for business, then many struggle knowing how to be (appropriately) vulnerable.

Adding further weight to creating more humanistic organisations is in a recent article entitled Stop Overengineering People Management (Harvard Business Review, Sept-Oct 2020). The authors mount a strong case that scientific management – through the optimisation of labour – is pulling leaders and organisations away from four decades holding a belief in worker empowerment. In this model, labour is treated as a commodity and strives to cut it to a minimum by using automation and software. The potential is that this force will further remove connection, trust and innovation (the authors recommend finding the mix between optimisation and empowerment).

Here are my top five reasons why we should care about vulnerability in business:

Woman thinking with a cartoon drawing of different people

  1. Connection 

While technology has been incredibly valuable, it has also provided unintended disconnection. Dan Schawbel in his book Back to Human, says, “Technology has created the illusion that today’s workers are highly connected to one another when in reality most feel isolated from their colleagues.” Being vulnerable allows us to connect with others that then enables the building of deeper relationships. We know that deeper relationships at work have many benefits including increased job performance, loyalty and overall feelings of wellbeing.

  1. Trust

I wrote an article recently that outlined, among other things, why trust is important and how it can drive results. For example, high trust organisations experience 32x greater risk-taking, 11x more innovation, and 6x higher performance (Edelman Trust Barometer). And at a human level, treating each other with respect and forming good relationships feels like the right thing to do. As mentioned earlier in the article, you can’t actually develop high-trust relationships without vulnerability and people feeling comfortable around you. The two fit together and can’t be separated.

  1. Innovation

We know innovation is good for business, yet struggle to create nimble, agile and innovative cultures. Why? It is clear that creating a culture of innovation is no simple exercise, however, for many, there seems to be a belief that if enough agile processes are implemented, or they teach people how to brainstorm, or teach people how to use right-brain thinking, somehow magically the culture will change for the better. 

In a new book by Gary Hamel and Michele Zanini entitled, Humanocracy: creating organizations as amazing as the people inside them, the authors believe bureaucracies are ‘innovation-phobic’ and despite the proliferation of ‘innovation hubs’, little progress has been made. Their thesis and assertion, which I wholeheartedly support, is that we need more humanistic workplaces and I know no better way to do this than through being real, showing up and rumbling with vulnerability.

  1. To Partner is to Lead

If you want to create change in your organisation then you need to be more ‘leader’ than ‘manager’. And in order to create meaningful change, leaders need more partners than followers.

Yellow sneakers standing before the words Comfort ZoneSure, the notion of ‘follower’ is a convenient and somewhat quaint notion that there is a leader and then there are followers – but the world has moved on and so should you – if you haven’t already. What modern organisations need is a culture of partnership, collaboration and yes, even service. While I acknowledge that most teams have a formal head whose role it is to co-ordinate and guide the activities of team members, an effective leader will also understand the role they play and will be flexible in how that role comes to fruition.  

Authority can work okay as a platform when the work is of a technical nature (we know what to do and have the knowledge and skills to do it), but anything other than this type of work requires a different approach (for example in adaptive work where the solution may not be clear or follow a linear, predictable pathway – think almost any change!).

Self-aware leaders will share leadership, partner rather than tell, guide rather than direct. When was the last time you enjoyed ‘following’ someone who just told you what to do? Perhaps never. 

In order to partner effectively and not simply rely on the formal authority vested in your role, you must be able to connect, build trust and have meaningful relationships with people. In other words, we need a vulnerability and authenticity in order to partner successfully.

  1. Building Learning, Growth and Resilience

I remember in the 1990s there was a whole genre of university courses created to teach people how to teach others how to ‘recreate’ because in the future (e.g. the 2000s) the nature of work would have changed so much that we would have oodles of spare time on our hands. With so much spare time, how would we use it productively? We do need to learn how to ‘re-create’ and renew ourselves, but for very different reasons. Life seems to be getting busier and busier in an always-on, connected digital world.

One of our primary tasks as leaders is to grow and develop confident, capable and resilient people. We can only do this if we focus on these things. In my experience, these outcomes are subordinate to task achievement. We busily tick off our ever-expanding task list, often at the expense of growing and developing the very people who are doing the work. If we can be vulnerable and in turn promote those around us to be vulnerable, then we are far more likely to fast-track employee development. The opposite of this is a culture of hiding mistakes, always trying to appear like we’re on top of things, and managing an external persona that we think will make others thinks we’re worthy to be in the roles we occupy. Vulnerability is the key to you creating an amazing learning culture and workforce who will help your company outperform. 

Where to From Here?

Creating more humanistic organisations is not an easy undertaking. There is no magic wand or one way. Black and white photo of a knight in shining armour

However what is clear is that it will take a focussed effort on developing leaders who themselves are more vulnerable and real, who can ask hard questions, challenge the status quo, give and receive meaningful feedback, and create meaningful change.

By reducing the personal armour that we carry and step into humanistic, courageous leadership, we will take positive steps forward in creating organisations that are as smart, curious and creativity as their people.

Rumbling with Vulnerability