Developing Leadership blog post

Graham Sleep’s Leadership Journey

As a person who never went to University and has gained a lot of his knowledge through a constant thirst to learn and improve, and seeking out people who can help me, I have always liked finding people who are well placed to help me on my personal and professional journey (they are inclusive to each other for me) and what I can take from them. This was a habit I created in myself when at 25 years old I was diagnosed with M.E. / C.F.S. (a little know illness at the time) but so debilitating it became known as the “living death” as the lack of energy and “fog” that we have when suffering means that what was an easy task all of a sudden becomes extremely hard. The motivation to improve was challenged by the need to maintain energy, and thus I developed my own tools to allow me to manage time and energy effectively. I also read a number of books by those who had overcome severe illnesses to become successful and this allowed me to develop the “positive mindset” and the hard-copy tools to do just that. I actually fast-tracked my own leadership journey (in terms of self-reflection) within my 20s.

Nearly 20 years ago, when at 30 years old I attended my first leadership development programme “Lessons in Leadership” in the USA, listening live to people like Stephen Covey, Tom Peters, Ken Blanchard and a certain Richard Branson, I have been fascinated by leadership, and the psychology of how to lead people to better performance. Also I was fortunate to be able to practice this over the last 20 years no matter what engagement I have taken on. It doesn’t matter what type of change or improvement you attempt to make in an organisation, you require leadership competencies to go with the management capabilities and the technical capability to make the change.

Approximately two years ago, I was fortunate enough to be introduced to the No.1 Leadership thinker in the world (as voted by Thinkers 50 and F.T.), Marshall Goldsmith and his large body of work in developing Leadership and Coaching models using stakeholder feedback as the basis for improved performance. Although I had come across Marshall previously as an attendee at the World Business & Executive Coaching Summits (WBECS), I approached his work with renewed rigour at a time when I had researched programmes from Universities and private providers over the course of a year looking to gain a coaching accreditation which helped deliver better Global Leaders, but also aligned to my stage of maturity. This maturity was founded in my own leadership journey and already developed capabilities but then honed within the multiple clients I have supported over nearly ten years as a executive and business coach. My 20-year leadership development journey has been one of self-reflection, challenge, confidence-busting at times, one of gaining humility, losing ego and tackling my own fears and blockages head-on, one of strengths discovery and performance tools. All of this and more needed to be found within the programme that would be right for me.

Read the full journey – Download the e-book