Conscious leadership just might be the next big evolution in business leadership as well as in the global marketplace, with Canada uniquely positioned to take the lead is forging this new path. In Montreal, conscious leadership is already being practiced or explored by many organizations.
What is Conscious Leadership?
To understand what it is, we need to understand what it is responding to. For a long time, leadership was about command-and-control. You were the boss and your job was to get people to do what you told them to do.
It makes a certain sense. You are the boss. You decide what’s best for the team or the company, you tell your employees what to do, and they should do it. Right?
Well, it turns out, that isn’t very motivating or engaging for employees. It also doesn’t allow much room for creativity, innovation, out-of-the-box thinking, designing new solutions and all those great qualities and skills that organizations need in order to grow and succeed.
Conscious leadership is a leadership movement in response to that. The aim is to shift our leadership approach so that the focus is on creating cultures of growth – growth of individuals, teams and the overall organization – where employees are highly engaged, fulfilled and dedicated to bringing their best selves to the work that they do.
Why Canadian Companies Should Embrace Conscious Leadership?
Melissa Dawn is a Conscious Leadership Coach here in Montreal and founder of CEO of Your Life coaching services. She works with individuals, teams and organizations to develop their leadership and help them evolve forward.
According to Melissa, a conscious leader is someone who:
- Aligns strategy, decision-making, hiring and all other business practices with the purpose, vision, culture and values of the organization;
- Seeks out new team members whose gifts and values are aligned with the organization’s and bring strength to the team;
- Actively looks for the unique strengths and talents of current team members, and helps them bring those gifts forward;
- Doesn’t shy away from difficult conversations, but instead embraces them as opportunities to learn, overcome challenges and strengthen interpersonal relationships;
- Seeks to cultivate cultures of trust, integrity, accountability and openness;
- Continually works on their own personal and professional development;
- Prioritizes the personal and professional development of those around them;
- Is able to marry the nuts and bolts of getting things done with compassion and care for the people doing the work, so that both the work and the people can move forward successfully.
Melissa says that while these skills and habits can feel difficult at first, if people approach them with an open mindset and a willingness to learn, they usually start to see the benefits right away – benefits which will continue to grow and spread as the work moves forward.
“In his book, Conscious Capitalism, John Mackay states, ‘The quality of our leaders affects the quality of our lives.’
We all know this to be true,” says Melissa. “We’ve all experienced the stress, frustration and even anger that can result from ineffective or toxic leadership, or even just a culture where we don’t feel valued as whole people, or free to just bring the best parts of ourselves out at work. However, the opposite is also true. Really great leaders – leaders who value others, uplift them, encourage them forward – have a truly positive impact on our wellbeing and quality of life. It makes us better people and better at our jobs. And that matters to the organization because it’s great people who help businesses succeed. As a leader you’re in a position to bring out the greatness in others and conscious leadership is a powerful way to do that.
“When it comes down to it, conscious leadership is about co-creating with employees, teams, management, clients, suppliers, communities, stakeholders and so on. It’s about creating workplace cultures where people feel comfortable being themselves, which makes them happier, more engaged, more productive, more collaborative… all of which we know leads to higher ROIs. And finally, it’s about keeping a mindset of what is best for the general good of the people and the community. When you put conscious effort in your employees and the people around you, you build genuine trust and a reputation for integrity that people – customers included – want to support.”
When Does a Company Need Conscious Leadership?
We asked Melissa what kind of issues conscious leadership might help address.
She gave several examples of what it can help with for both the individual leader and the organization:
- A feeling of being stuck – like you need to move forward or change direction, but you just can’t see how;
- Behavioural issues like defensiveness, procrastination, feelings of hostility, passive aggressiveness, placing blame, etc;
- Consistently missing objectives or struggling to clarify objectives;
- Moving through transitions;
- Motivating employees or teammates;
- Finding and keeping top talent;
- Looking to get an edge in the millennial job market;
- Interpersonal issues or struggling to communicate effectively.
And there’s one big one that Melissa says everyone struggles with and everyone can benefit from confronting:
“The difficult conversations. We all have them and we all know them! It’s those conversations that we know, if we could just have them, openly, honestly, without judgement or fear, everyone could move forward more easily and understand each other better.”
How to Get Started With Conscious Leadership?
In Montreal, conscious leadership coaching is just starting to take hold with some business and leadership coaches training in this specific branch of leadership coaching. Montreal has always had a very forward-thinking business community, so it’s no surprise that local organizations are open to the benefits of conscious leadership.
If you’d like to get started on your own or look into adopting conscious leadership within your organization, you could start by reading up on case studies and other resources, but one of the best ways to really dive in is to get a conversation started with a specialized coach like Melissa Dawn of CEO of Your Life.
SPOTLIGHT: Montreal-Based Financial Sherpa Will (seriously) Change Your Relationship With Money
After living and breathing finances for much of her impressive career, Daniele Soare is now an abundance coach (or, as she aptly puts it, a Financial Sherpa), guiding people to get their finances on track, but also to work through the often painful and intense emotions that surround money.
Think about it. How often during your life have you been given negative messages around money? Especially debt? If you’re like most people, probably a lot.
When it comes to finances – financial struggles or even lack of understanding in particular – guilt, shame, fear, doubt, feelings of scarcity, even feelings of failure, can all form a thick cloud around everything, holding you back from truly taking control of your financial life. That’s pretty challenging considering our finances can impact virtually every aspect of our lives.
Daniele believes that changing our perspectives around money and embracing more positive emotions are critical to allowing (yes, allowing!) financial abundance into our lives. And she would know. She started on the trading floor, thriving in the chaos, working her way up to one of the most prestigious roles in trading at that time.
But Daniele felt a greater calling; to help other people thrive in their financial lives as well. She realized that, “We’re taught how to earn money… but not how to manage or invest it.”
Queue every millennial collectively looking back on their education and thinking… “Yup. Sounds about right!”
Because so many of us are not taught these things, coupled with those limiting emotions we all have around money, effectively managing and investing our money can feel so far out of reach. We know darn well it isn’t avocado toast keeping us from home ownership, for example, but how to negotiate a mortgage, build a retirement portfolio, manage debt, save for our children’s education while still paying off our own education, put a vacation in the picture, but also the potential needs of aging parents… all while enjoying (and juggling) our lives, work and families?
That gap between where you are and where you want to be can feel like the Grand Canyon. And me without a helicopter… or any idea how to fly one.
That’s what Daniele strives to correct. To narrow that gap between where most people are, and where they have a right to be! Because she truly believes that a life of abundance is everyone’s right, and she’s teaching people the practical strategies to make it happen.
Daniele calls her approach (and her business) The Spirit of Money. She takes a “humane, loving and holistic” approach to guiding people through daunting terrain, helping them work through their fears and difficult feelings, to understand things in a way that makes sense for them, and to get on a financial path that’s right for them and their families.
What Daniele teaches is not just the basics, but really a whole way of life that allows abundance in and clears away those negative, limiting, get-you-nowhere feelings and beliefs. This should really be part of our standard high school curriculum but, until that time, you can contact Daniele here.
Montreal-Based Coach is Shaking Up Teams
Montreal Team Performance Coaching
The following is an interview between MontrealTips and Melissa Dawn, founder of CEO of Your Life. Melissa is a Montreal-based Leadership and Team Performance Coach. She works with individuals, teams and organizations to help them uncover their unique strengths and values and harness that innate power to take themselves to the next level. Her CEO of Your Life Coaching organization was recently named one of Hubspot’s top coaching services.
MTLTips: It’s great to have you with us today, Melissa!
Melissa Dawn: Thanks! It’s really great to be here.
What does a team Performance Coach do?
MTLTips: Now, you are a Leadership Coach, which I think many people are familiar with, but you’re also a Team Performance Coach and I think that’s new to a lot of people. Can you tell us what that means?
Melissa Dawn: So, to understand Team Performance Coaching, the first thing to understand is that teams – and in terms of my coaching I’m talking about business and corporate teams of all sizes, levels and industries – each team functions as a system. That system has its own values, strengths, challenges and unwritten rules that govern everything from how the team approaches problems, to how they view management, to how they interact with clients, and so on. The system is powerful and often the people within the system and those around them are not even fully aware of that system.
MTLTips: If they aren’t aware… I mean, when you say “system” are you not talking about documented processes or culture?
Melissa Dawn: Culture, yes, but “documented”, rarely. Or at least not entirely, and the undocumented aspects tend to be the most powerful. So what I mean by “system” is this almost living, breathing organism that evolves out of the combination of different personalities, the leadership styles and approaches, the overall working environment, the history of the team, how it came to be, how it fits into the organizational ecosystem, the challenges it faces now or has faced in the past… all of these elements come together to create the team system. So, what the team has encountered in the past, for example, is going to impact how they approach obstacles in the present, whether or not that approach is documented as an official process.
MTLTips: In the articles you’ve published and on your website, you talk a lot about getting to the core, or the root of the team to solve problems. How does that work in relation to this system concept?
Melissa Dawn: When clients come to me they’re almost always in a sort of stuck feeling, or they feel like they’re running up against the same challenges over and over again. They want to move forward, but every new process they put in place or approach they try keeps butting up against the same issues and the status quo is maintained. Whatever those issues may be – lack of engagement, conflict within the team, people just not wanting to try new things, goals or objectives not clearly communicated or understood, negativity, lack of motivation… when you continually get held back by the same issue or assortment of issues, it actually comes down to the system. This is a characteristic of the system that has been learned and has grown with the team. It’s a part of the team. In this case, the issue can’t be fixed with a new process. We have to get to the root of how it’s thriving so we can cut off that negativity and grow the team in a stronger direction.
MTLTips: That makes a lot of sense, but also… what does that look like? What’s that process? I’m imagining group therapy sessions or something! (laughs)
Melissa Dawn: (laughs) Not quite, but there certainly is a level of introspection that takes place. Believe it or not, there are quantitative assessments involved. I really do believe that what gets measured, gets managed. That’s a fundamental aspect of Team Performance Coaching. The assessments I use have been designed and perfected over the years by top coaches, business leaders, coaching institutions and yes, even some input from therapists. We have to remember that, ultimately, we’re working with humans. Human emotions, human drives, human instincts. So there is a great deal of compassion involved in the process, but also, these assessments that take real measurements of the current status of the team – elements like productivity, engagement, employee satisfaction, leadership effectiveness, collaboration, etc. – these assessments are what start the deep dive into the coaching process. They give a clear picture of the current team system and a benchmark from which to measure progress. From there, we identify the main challenges of the team but, most importantly, we identify the unique strengths – strengths of the team itself and strengths of the individual members. These strengths give us something to grow from.
Growth in Team Performance
MTLTips: That’s the second time you’ve used the word “grow”. I take it growth is a big part of this process?
Melissa Dawn: A huge part! However the team functions today, it grew that way because certain things were fed – ideas, beliefs, habits, etc. Just as negative elements can be fueled and grown, positive elements can, too. So, a key aspect of Team Performance Coaching is identifying those amazing opportunities for growth. It’s not just about getting rid of the negativity or the undesirable habits. It’s about feeding the strengths of the team so that the best parts of the team become stronger, confidence and engagement grow, and collaboration and creative problem solving become a natural part of the evolving team system. Now, a lot of teams struggle with motivation. What motivates people more than seeing the best parts of themselves or their teams grow even stronger? We focus on growing these strengths because that’s where the greatest value lies, but also because it fuels motivation, engagement and productivity like nothing else.
MTLTips: That sounds amazing and inspirational almost, but how do you actually get people to do this? You mentioned before people not wanting to try new things. This all sounds… very new! Won’t people just sink back into old habits?
MD: There has to be a desire to change, for sure. But it doesn’t have to be big to start with. Another key element of Team Performance Coaching is guiding people to have the difficult conversations that need to be had. I think we can all relate to that. Those conversations that, if we were able to have them openly and without judgement, with everyone keeping their cool and speaking respectfully and compassionately, could really change things for the team and open up possibilities.
MTLTips: Oh yes, I can relate to that!
MD: But where do you even start, right? Like, how’s everyone going to react if I just open up this massive can of worms we’ve all been tiptoeing around?
Melissa Dawn: This is where the right coach can have a huge impact. Because having these conversations is not a skill most of us have. When it comes down to it, most of us just weren’t raised that way! We’re raised or conditioned in some way to avoid these conversations completely, but all that does is establish more and more bottlenecks. The right coach will help people learn techniques to approach and guide these conversations in a way that honours the human on the other side of the table, but also holds people accountable – not in a “this is your fault” way, but in a “let’s dig into this together” way. What I’ve found is that all you need is one person to take that first courageous step. One person to really embrace the techniques, embrace the mindset, embrace the challenge and step into it. When someone does that, it has this amazing domino effect! It’s like it suddenly gives other people permission to start speaking more openly and honestly. Really speaking from the heart.
MTLTips: So how does all of this impact performance? It’s called “Team Performance Coaching”, afterall.
Melissa Dawn: When we think of a team system locked in negative or limiting habits, a lot of energy goes into that. Whether it’s trying to keep up appearances, to work around difficult personalities, avoiding speaking up, fear of change, conflict with other team members, lack of clarity on objectives… whatever it is, it takes a lot of energy from the people within your team. When a team can overcome those challenges and really start to grow its strengths, performance is just going to skyrocket. All of that energy previously wasted on unproductive areas can now be directed towards the real work of the team, and that’s working together to meet objectives, inspire innovation and overcome challenges. And, just as that one person taking that first step can have a domino effect on others, the team taking these steps together will have a domino effect on the overall organization. We mentioned culture earlier. This is about co-creating a culture of trust, respect and the courage to be open about things instead of letting them become roadblocks. When you can do that, either as a team, individual or an organization, performance just naturally reaches greater and greater heights. People feel good about what they’re doing and the environment they’re doing it in, they’re happier to be doing it, they feel challenged in the best way and they’re excited about what they can accomplish.
The Process of Team Performance Coaching
MTLTips: So this clearly isn’t something that happens overnight.
Melissa Dawn: No. This definitely takes dedication and perseverance, but the good news is that the first steps really start to open up your perspective. You start to see, right away, what’s possible and it’s an exciting thing, both on a personal and team level. And like I mentioned before, that’s quite powerful in terms of motivation. Those first steps fuel the next ones and so on. Now, I often give one-off workshops on this, which I really enjoy. It’s just amazing to see that ‘click’ in someone. That spark in their eye when they start to get it and get excited about their own potential. But what I really love is when I get to do either a full coaching program, or follow up coaching after a workshop because that’s when I get the opportunity to witness, and be an integral part of, real change. I’ve had a long career. Nearly two decades in different roles and industries in marketing and business development, including several years as VP of marketing. So I’ve experienced being a member of, or leading a variety of different teams. I know how a strong team can raise up a whole organization and I know how a struggling team can do the opposite. What’s truly exciting for me now is that I know how to help those that struggle and it’s so amazing to see the impact that has on the overall organization.
MTLTips: Well, I guess that leaves us with one final question… how can people work with you?
Melissa Dawn: That’s the easy part! All the information about the different workshops and coaching programs I offer is available on my website at ceoofyour.life. Most people use the contact form on my website to get more information or to ask about availability, but they can also reach me directly at [email protected].
MTLTips: Thank you very much, Melissa. It’s been great speaking with you and learning about Team Performance Coaching.
Melissa Dawn: Thank YOU!
Louis Heroux | Real Estate Agent West Island of Montreal
Open your news app on any given day and you’ll find at least one news item about the real estate market on (and around) the island of Montreal. Trends are constantly changing. New neighbourhoods come into the spotlight. Gentrification starts. Stalls. Picks up speed.
Whether you’re a homeowner looking to sell, a first-time buyer, a seasoned buyer, or even looking to expand your portfolio, maybe looking into income properties… there are just so many questions!
Add in the often complex laws around taxes, ownership, zoning, etc, and things can feel pretty hectic.
Maybe your dreams even start to look less possible.
That’s where real estate brokers like Louis Heroux come in. In the Montreal area alone there are probably hundreds of truly amazing realtors but, as in many industries, they will all have their own unique approach to the work that they do. The key is finding someone who is a right fit for you and what you want to achieve.
Louis’s approach is one of teamwork: broker and client working together to clarify the client’s vision, explore possibilities and get the client to where they want to go in the real estate world, whether that’s a selling, buying or expanding vision.
He currently serves areas primarily in Montreal’s West Island, and has expertise in a variety of real estate ventures.
Louis believes in being a go-to person for his clients. With years of experience, he has a deep understanding of the ins and outs of real estate, particularly in Montreal’s dynamic market. His aim is to provide clarity and peace of mind, helping clients see through the often intimidating layers of laws, regulations and paperwork, to what really is possible. When you have someone on your side who knows every base that needs to be covered, it brings your dreams closer to reality.
In a market like Montreal, where the landscape is constantly changing, Louis strives for win-win situations, where his clients come first and all parties feel good about the outcome, and empowered by their real estate experience.
If you’re looking for a personal approach, where the strategy begins with what you want to achieve, that’s the approach Louis Heroux takes; helping his clients, one by one, get to where they want to be.
As a strong believer in everyone having a safe and empowering roof over their heads, Louis is also a supporter of the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation, which is Canada’s largest public foundation dedicated exclusively to funding women’s shelters and violence prevention programs.
If you have questions for Louis, or would like to know more about working with him, you can contact him at [email protected].
For additional information, complaints or requests please contact me at:
Reach out at triman[@]captaim.com
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