Not guilty



There is a recurrent topic coming back during executive coaching conversations lately. And this topic is LOVE.

Last Wednesday, Cathy and I started our fourth coaching session. Cathy (not her real name) is a senior leader within a large multinational based in Brussels. She is respected by her bosses and teams for her loyalty and her ability to reach her objectives whatever the context. Cathy is an authentic warrior, as her colleagues like to call her. She came to coaching with the intention to increase her impact and prepare for her next move as a general manager.


After nearly 20 minutes of conversation, something completely new emerged for her.


“You know, Manu, I’m not sure I can say this … but, to be honest, I don’t want this lockdown to stop! It’s so weird: I work hard, I don’t know what our future will be, I’m scared to be sick, and still, I have never felt so well. I’ve never felt such a connection with my husband and my girls. I can’t see my parents but I feel sincerely connected with them on the phone. I feel another quality of connections with my colleagues and friends.


“I realize that I had forgotten what love is. Now I’m learning it the hard way and I understand what I was missing all those years. It’s disorganizing and I feel guilty enjoying those moments while so many people are suffering. Manu, I’m scared that this will all disappear when the lockdown is behind us.”


Those moments of grace when leaders reconnect to their true nature should not generate guilt; rather, they should inspire gratitude for what is possible with a new perspective.


By allowing herself to be moved by the experience of love, Cathy created the perfect conditions to explore how this longing will positively impact her leadership as a newly appointed general manager.


If you listen well, love may reshape your leadership in many ways. Holding the space, becoming more inclusive, rethinking the sourcing strategy, leading with compassionate, taking care of the planet and future generation, increasing trust, sharing decision power or coming home on time to hug your children are just some examples I have encountered in the last weeks. And it has always started with one thing: anchoring the personal experience of love.


Today is an opportunity to bring love back into the corporate dictionary. The current crisis offers a unique chance for each of us to use our heightened ability to feel to clarify how we want to reorganize and act as a leader both during this pandemic and in the future.


How do you feel this historical moment should reshape your leadership?


With love and gratitude


Manu

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