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April 29, 2013
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May 13, 2013

We hear from the legendary Baseball Hall of Fame catcher, outfielder, and manager Yogi Berra in witty phrases people use every day. Like, “It ain’t over till it’s over” and “It’s deja vu all over again.” But these quirky aphorisms, called Yogi-isms, will entertain forever, because even though they sound at first like nonsense, yogi berramany contain a tasty bit of wisdom.

This one, “Life is a learning experience, only if you learn,” brings home the essence of Leadership Learning—that you won’t succeed at leadership if you go about it haphazardly. You need a deliberately focused and systematically executed plan.

Of course, most leaders understand that they need to embark on a serious and determined, lifelong learning journey as part of an ongoing leadership development plan. It takes constant learning to continuously gain and maintain a deeper and fuller understanding of your profession and its ever-changing body of knowledge.

Intimate leadership requires a continuous mastery of your personal and team strengths, weaknesses, and threats. You must learn how to empower and motivate in many directions, including coaching up and not simply to your direct reports. Leadership intimacy propels a great leader to develop an ongoing practice of attention, understanding, and focus for every team member and is instrumental to nurturing a safe, creative, and innovative workplace that empowers all staff to thrive and grow.

To accomplish this, you have to create and follow a plan. Below are four steps you can take to ensure that learning never gets lost along the way on your coaching leadership journey.

1. Create a Learning Plan

Random learning can be fun and even informative, but it won’t get you the knowledge you need to get where you want to go. To build an effective learning plan, decide what kind of authority you want to be. Which area of expertise will best help you achieve your goals? Spend some time researching intimate leadership to discover methods of increasing Leadership Intimacy throughout your organization.

2. Set S.M.A.R.T. Goals

A goal is nothing without clear directions for how to reach it. Make your learning goals:

  • Specific Build a reading list of titles in your topic area
  • Measurable Number the books to you plan to complete
  • Attainable Base your goal on at least an hour a day of reading
  • Realistic Plan techniques to help you achieve your goal
  • Time Bound Tie your reading plan to a dated schedule


3. Implement a Learning Process

Use whatever techniques work best for you to enhance retention—highlighted text, margin notes, cue cards—whatever it takes. You made it through school. You know what works. Rely on your tried-and-true techniques, but do not shy away from experimenting with new tricks either. Download this simple Reading Log or make one of your own to keep track of your reading progress and what you learn in the process.

4. Ask to be held Accountable

A disciplined approach demands that you report to someone. It can be your Accountability Partner or a professional book club or formal discussion group. Plan and log your progress to keep you accountable to yourself and to help you recognize your success.

If you haven’t already, when are you going to begin your plan? Maybe Coach Yogi can answer that. Once when asked for the time of day, Yogi Berra replied, “You mean now?”

Consider developing your Leadership Learning Plan alongside other leaders at our next CoachQuest Leader-as-Coach Workshop. You’ll learn more about Leadership Intimacy and its benefits. Begin your transformation to a more intimate leadership style.

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Helanie Scott
Helanie Scott
Helanie (pronounced yeh-LAH-nee) Scott, CEO and founder of Align4Profit in Dallas, Texas, has driven stunning leadership and cultural transformations for an impressive list of organizations. She has mastered the ability to connect with her audiences in the boardroom, classroom, on stage, or in one-on-one coaching sessions. Helanie’s Align4Profit clients rave at the way her engaging programs freshen outdated mindsets and deliver results-oriented, aligned action.