The Corporate Poet held the room. Four hundred high ranking, hard charging executives from such companies as IBM, American Express, and Merrill Lynch, as well as those of us who are behavioral consultants, were entranced by the poet’s deep, melodic voice. We were mesmerized by his hypnotic rhythm. Magically, the imagery of his poetry found resonance within our own minds, and took us on our own private journeys. “Corporate Poet” sounds like an oxymoron. Yet David Whyte makes a living by working with companies through his art. His passion for his craft becomes a tool for others to find passion for theirs, or perhaps more accurately, to find crafts for their passions. Whyte’s poetry helps leaders and leaders-to-be discover who they are. That may sound frivolous to some readers. In reality, to understand our deepest passions and align our behavior with them is one of the most difficult tasks we…

A coaching client asked me one of those “right way” questions the other day. (I get them often.) In this case, he wanted to know the right way to lead his team. He worried that he would do it “wrong” and mess things up. Experienced coaches know that there are many right ways to lead a team. There are many right ways to do most of the complex tasks that are given to high performers. They don’t give jobs with simple answers to senior people.   Of course, as we talked, my client recognized that there were many good ways he could approach his leadership task. Factors we considered in deciding which ways might work best included his personality, the personalities of his direct reports, the mission of his team, the culture of his organization, and the interests of the various stakeholders, among others. He developed a well-reasoned approach, which included…