When you consult to entire corporations every day for several years, you earn an understanding of organizations that working only on short term, specific assignments in certain departments cannot provide. From 1982-2002, Dr. Shelley provided long term services to a variety of corporations. This experience of working over time with daily corporate concerns, problem situations, and individuals has provided Dr. Shelley with a unique knowledge of organizations and how businesses function.
As a mentee of Dr. Harry Levinson, the creator of organizational diagnosis, she is trained in the process of organizational assessment which she conducts with both healthy and distressed organizations. Dr. Shelley bases organizational and management consultation on an examination of the psychological foundation of the business and the issues and personalities involved in a given situation. The company’s history, unique style and subculture, and the values and goals of an organization form the frame from which advice and direction are given.
Dr. Shelley works with leaders individually, in groups, and in seminars and workshops. She guides them in person in much the same way that she has described in her book The Conscious Leader. In order to increase self-awareness, leaders are encouraged to know their psychological houses, where they have come from and what they carry that continues to influence them. True self-knowledge is power; the lack of it is self-deception which always leaves a leader powerless and vulnerable to others not in a good way. Making what is unconscious conscious strengthens the rational mind and a leader can develop and grow in alignment.
Becoming conscious and staying wide-awake are necessary steps toward enlightened, authentic leadership. Once a leader has begun this journey, he or she will be open to learning the psychology of people at work and the mysteries of the workplace will become clearer.
Leadership programs include dealing with different or difficult personalities, understanding the very powerful concept of transference in leadership, creating progressive and not regressive groups, making diversity and inclusion a reality, encouraging a civilized workplace, keeping conflict, anger and power from destroying performance, profit, and peace, dealing with change positively, preparing the work space to grow innovation and creativity, and moving beyond consciousness toward owning the privilege and responsibility of leadership and bringing morality, legacy, and dignity to the organization.
Executive Coaching for Conscious Leadership
When engaging coaching for leadership, the first thing to understand is that standardized, one-size-fits-all coaching methods are rarely helpful. The second caveat is that no two organizations and no two individuals are alike –– the interplay between an individual and an organization is unique. Coaching, therefore, involves helping a particular individual and a particular organization to achieve, whenever possible, an optimal relationship.
Dr. Shelley practices executive coaching for conscious leadership which requires not only a keen appreciation of the business at hand and the business culture and its subculture, but also a perceptive knowledge of human psychology. Most leaders do not require or desire coaching to teach them how to do their jobs. They have usually already proven that they can be effective or they would not be in leadership roles. Many of the leaders who are not fulfilling their potential or who are not a positive force in their organizations exhibit a lack of self-awareness as well as a lack of understanding of others and of the psychology of the workplace.
Dr. Shelley’s mentor, Dr. Harry Levinson, was the father of executive coaching, and he stressed that leadership coaching should always focus first on increasing the self-knowledge of the leader. Knowing oneself deeply and honestly is the most powerful tool a leader can have. Helping executives to discover what is unconscious in themselves that serves as an Achilles heel is vital. What are they unaware of that may be limiting their vision, affecting their judgment, sabotaging their aspirations, impacting their relationships, and weakening their confidence and satisfaction? And it is important for them to realize that this vulnerability may be something that other people know about them that they remain blind to.
Coaching for conscious leadership is the perfect adjunct to a leadership program and assists leaders to:
1) Accept that they themselves, their co-workers, and their entire organization have unconscious lives.
2) Become wide-awake and alert to look for what is behind the curtain; to remember that what they see is not what they get.
3) Learn to listen deeply.
4) Think before they act.
5) Become comfortable with not knowing.
6) Ask “why” even when it makes them feel vulnerable.
7) Let other people ask “why” without retribution.
8) Make feedback into an honest dialogue; again, no retribution, a free-flowing two-way street from top to bottom, bottom to top, side to side.