Hi - I am Gord Aker, a Calgary based Executive Coach and Leadership Consultant. I also like to tell people I am a "reformed" engineer. That often causes a few raised eyebrows or nervous smiles. Let me explain.
First of all, I do have a couple of engineering degrees and I am registered with the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta (APEGA) so I am an engineer. And to be honest, I loved the ten years of technical work I did before getting promoted into my first leadership position.
However, after bringing my rational thinking and logical approach to my new role, I quickly found that I wasn't being as effective as I wanted to be. So, I made the conscious choice to largely forsake my technical background and focus on becoming the most effective leader that I could be.
Now with over 20 years of varied organizational leadership experience, I have come full circle to recognise that the "Art of Leadership" that Colin Powell refers to above actually includes the "Science of Management. In fact, I have come to appreciate that "To Lead" requires two equally important elements, namely "To Manage" and "To Inspire".
That is where I come in as an ICF Professional Certified Coach (PCC). I work with leaders to help them discover, develop and deploy their unique and optimum mixture of inspiration and management so they maximize their effectiveness, impact and contribution.
The other thing I have come to appreciate is that leadership is a talent.
Not everyone has an equal amount of this talent of course, (equally true for athletic talent, artistic talent etc.) however this is not about being "the best" but rather, "being your best" by developing the talent you possess to its fullest potential.
I have also come to see that leadership development is experiential in nature. There isn't a one size fits all approach to leadership and indeed to discover one's own leadership style, approach and philosophy, requires an experience of leadership. To put this another way, no ever learned how to swim by reading a book.
Does this mean you need to be in an organizational leadership role in order to progress? No. There are many other situations, circumstances and opportunities that arise where we can step up and take on a leadership role without a formal leadership position. I have witnessed great leadership in individuals who initiate change in support of improvement in some way. This can be as simple as orchestrating a rally or charitable event of some kind for a cause that matters, right up to actually creating an organization to provide some value to the world. There are many opportunities for people to lead and in so doing, learn to lead.
I would also suggest that one of the biggest opportunities for people is to actually lead their lives. Seriously! When I think about all the effort organizations put into their Purpose, Mission, Values statements and so on, it strikes me that few individuals do the same for their lives. But what if they did? What if they identified a unique and individual purpose for their lives? What about a goal to achieve in the next few years? What about truly understanding what they stand for, what they believe in and what they hold true? Might being committed to leading your life fall within your definition of leadership?
You have leadership talent. What are you doing to develop it? Where are you in your leadership journey? Do you want to find out? Why don't you fill in the form below and let's have a chat? You are capable of more than you know. Let's get to it.