Leadership Coaching Tip: You Are Your Most Important Tool

Kristoffer Nelson

Kristoffer NelsonAs leaders, coaches, and change agents each of us have so much to give and offer. It seems from the desire to give, the fear of not knowing, and the push for a result we can so easily loose ourselves in the process. I’ve certainly found myself so lost in trying to solve someone’s problem or decide what technique to employ I have completely lost touch, becoming removed from myself and the person in front of me.

The large majority of our leadership development and coach training programs focus on technique, tool gathering and process. It’s about the processes, metaphors, theory, tools, skills, and such all leading to clear results and understanding, with little attention given, except for perhaps a morning meditation, to yourself and your presence. I like tools, skills, theory, and technique. They are helpful and essential, and we couldn’t do our jobs without them. I wouldn’t be where I am today had I not engaged them. However, what gets lost in this is the most important thing: who the leader coach is will impact people, space and time more than anything else.

Did you see Kung Fu Panda? It’s brilliant, simple and funny, and Jack Black is always jovial. In the film, the secret of Kung Fu is contained in a hidden scroll and much of the film’s journey involves finding the scroll. Upon discovering the scroll we learn that it’s blank except for a simple reflective surface. Perplexed, the Panda wanders away to only later discover that the secret to Kung Fu is the reflection, himself—it’s in him and it’s who he is.

Transformation happens because of who you are—it’s about you. Change occurs as a result of your presence, listening, attention, and seeing. Insight and development happens because you show up in each moment. Tools and techniques are expressions and extensions of your rich and present interior. Metaphors are good, detached questioning is good, and other techniques, both hands off and on, are good too. But they’re really only as good as your attention and only as big as your heart.

In developing your leadership and impact, work as much on yourself as you do on your technique. Cultivate your being presence, whatever your unique expression of that is. Bring yourself to your coaching sessions trusting that this is enough. Bring your watchful presence to your leadership experiences trusting this is enough. Don’t show up to use shiny tools, though important, and achieve results, which will happen; show up to be fully you and trust that this is enough always. Spend less time in the moment trying to figure out what technique or method is going to get the results, and trust that you, just you, will create the impact that is necessary.

Trusting that you’re enough is where leadership and change begins and ends. All of the amazing tools and techniques we have created to instigate change and growth are expressions of the transformative you.

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Kristoffer Nelsonis Founder & Principal, Krama Consulting and Development and has over 10 years of experience helping businesses and individuals succeed, and holds certificates in Generating Transformative Change in Human Systems and Integral Organization and Individual Assessment from The Leadership Institute of Seattle via Pacific Integral. Kristoffer integrates the skills and experience of a manager, analyst coach, change agent, and facilitator drawing insights from psychology, organizational dynamics and other developmental sciences successfully and consistently delivering exceptional and profitable change. Current clients include organizations in the wellness and media industries, labor and non-profit organizations, and individual executives within these organizations.


Phone: 310.779.8587