Of all the inventions of the last 100 years, the dry erase board has to be the most remarkable.
I’m Tim, a product marketing manager at an enterprise software company with an open source development model. I’ve been selected to participate in a 1 to 2 year leadership development program in the APAC region. A year passes both quickly and slowly; this show is a way to both share what I’m learning and see how far I’ve come.
This episode is all about recognizing the importance of recognizing transitions.
See you in Shanghai
A week ago I went to China partly for the end of the first year of my leadership development program and possible acceptance into year 2. We spent an intensive 3 days together: 2 on coaching training, and 1 to present to the senior leadership in the region about what we’d done over the last year The 3rd day included at least 20 presentations; the group ones plus all the individual ones
Senior leaders from across the region dedicated time to acting as panelists and judges, taking notes and asking insightful questions about how these experiences might have made us more capable leaders
Obviously I wanted to be accepted into the second year of the program; it is the second year that is externally accredited as having studied coaching at a masters level.
I’d received some feedback that I could be better at exercising influence in a 1:many scenario. Could I use this as an opportunity to demonstrate improvements there?
These people I’d been working with and around would be guiding my company into uncharted territory over the coming years; I wanted validation that I deserved to be among them.
Being accepted into the second year means being paired with some other people from my company to coach; this was an opportunity to help some people who are more important than me lead their teams into the next chapter of my company’s story
Some gremlins and turbulence
I got some last minute nerves that our group project might not pass muster; maybe we hadn’t done enough, or hadn’t communicated what we’d been doing in a way that would allow us to course correct.
Then the advice that was given to me during the dry run of my personal presentation was: get rid of the words on the slides and just use images. I’m a pretty text-based guy; this would be a big departure for me.
Finally I think there are two views of coaching in the corporate environment; people either think it is a major uplift-er or a waste of time; I had some echoes of the second view in my head a couple of times during the training
Focusing on what really mattered
After a year of working on separate 5+ group projects the camaraderie in the room during the two days of training was striking; we all knew what each other had experienced in the program, even if we didn’t know the specific details of what the other groups had been working on.
The investment of time and energy that our senior leadership made to provide input and feedback on the presentations blew my mind; here was a group of numbers-minded (or at least measured) people modeling the behavior of developing new leaders and celebrating their growth.
It showed that they see the confidence of new leaders as a business outcome, and reminded me that I would not be training as a coach for coaching sake but as a way to support the growth and transition of the company that has given me so many opportunities.
Onward to year 2 (but still season 1)
A challenge I’d set for future Tim is to look for ways to directly apply the knowledge and experience I’ll get over the coming year in situations that will help our business grow.