Mindfulness and Reflection

“It is necessary…for a man to go away by himself … to sit on a rock … and ask, ‘Who am I, where have I been, and where am I going?”
Carl Sandburg

shutterstock_225924757I recently spent a half-day with a colleague who graciously offered me her support as I considered my business plan and asked myself the questions (again): Who am I? Who are our users and buyers? What do they need? How can I meet that need differently than my competition? During this process she challenged me to evaluate how I came to be where I was now, and in so doing, I discovered something new and different about my work around The Cycle of Transformation.

Mindfulness is coming of age as we learn more about the value created when employees are present and attuned with their work. Mindfulness practices in the workplace are linked to lower stress, employee satisfaction, healthier relationships, and improved business results. Mindfulness can simply be defined as attention and awareness to the present moment. There are many opportunities to practice mindfulness techniques in the workplace, depending on the situation, but I want to focus on those opportunities that are linked to evaluation, assessment, or a debriefing of action that has been taken.

Recently I read about the distinguishing characteristics of mindfulness to-action, and mindfulness in-action. This idea really resonates with me, because for years I’ve practiced reflection to-action as part of the transformative cycle for individuals and organizational systems. I can clearly see how mindfulness in-action strengthens the Cycles of Transformation, during the action phase, through full presence and awareness of each moment that one is engaged in “the doing.” The next phase of the transformative cycle happens when one reflects on “the doing.” The greater the ability to stay present and re-experience the completed activity, mindfulness to-action, the greater the opportunity for new insight as the individual or the organization remains agile and iterative about what happens next.

Cycles of Transformation become expansive, in part, through the practice of learning through reflection. We evolve and grow systems by examining past and current realities and pondering questions about priorities, impacts and desired outcomes. Mindfulness to-action, or Reflection, when embedded in the coaching or learning process ensures necessary time is spent to consider if we will repeat, adjust, or abandon a past course of action. Attention creates intention.

I have included three tips to support your success at the Reflection phase of the Cycle of Transformation process. These will help you use mindfulness to-action.

Contemplative Inquiry: To look at, or view, for an extended time. Deeply considering our own actions is an important element of a personal growth strategy. This level of reflection and inquiry can lead to self-awareness and deep insight about what is most important and what action we want to curtail or commit more time and energy toward. Some individuals like to find a quiet place to think, others prefer to walk, hike, or run while considering an important question, and still others journal or draw while in a reflective state. Figure out what works best for you. The same holds true for organizational systems. Appreciative Inquiry, Strategic Planning and Executive Alignment sessions are examples of structures that organizations use to take a step back and engage in contemplative inquiry by asking questions such as: Where have we been? Where are we now? Where do we need to go next? What actions will we choose to take?

Comparative Outcomes: The identification of effectiveness for specific activities. Looking back to compare and contrast what happened in different situations can often help excavate the pieces and parts that did or didn’t work. When in doubt regarding the best future course of action, look to the past and you might find a hybrid, or a combined approach based on several past experiences. Start by brainstorming all the times you have solved a similar problem or encountered the situation at hand. List everything you can remember about what took place and the outcomes. Discard what you didn’t like but be careful that you are discarding it for the right reasons.

Coaching Reflection: Leaders can support others in their reflective process by asking coaching questions about past actions. The coaching skills, listening and intuition, to name just a few, are also extremely valuable and can help uncover opportunities to deepen clarity and create new insight. Reflective coaching has a purpose; to create learning for another person that supports his or her desired, future-growth. Beware of creating a focus that erodes self-regard and confidence. Below are questions that may help you coach reflection, or mindfulness to-action.

  • Describe what happened.
  • How did that support your goal; objective; desired outcome?
  • What would the ideal outcome have been?
  • What did, or would lead to that end?
  • What would you change?
  • What could be done differently to improve the odds?
  • What are you especially proud of?
  • What will you repeat?
  • What will you discard?
  • What happens now?

If you are interested in becoming a performance driven organization that’s able to balance a drive for results with caring connected leadership; a mindfulness to-action and reflection practice may be part of the solution you’re looking for. Schedule a free consultation today and learn how to use Cycles of Transformation to grow your team.


Deb Siverson is an author and president of Xponents, Inc. Her book, “The Cycle of Transformation: Igniting Organizational Change through the Leader Coach”, encourages transparent and emotionally-connected conversations at work. Her company’s focus is to bring out the best in people by recognizing the unique talent, values, and purpose inherent in all.

Being Transparent

“Being Transparent is the opposite of hiding an agenda, protecting one’s ego, or being insincere. At the same time, transparent leaders are strategic about information and share it with purpose and integrity.”

Excerpt from, The Cycle of Transformation by Deb Siverson (that’s me!)

I have a dear friend who recently gave me some feedback. She was direct, bold, and loving. She shared a perspective I needed to hear. In those moments following her feedback, I remember thinking how grateful I was to have someone that cared that much. I checked in with myself to see if I felt defensive, nope, just ready to explore this idea.   Because of her willingness to invest in my success, I’m paying special attention to ways that I complicate messages rather than keeping them simple. While she knows me fairly well, I suspect she gauged my openness and readiness to receive the information. Regardless, she easily could have side-stepped having this transparent conversation as she had nothing to gain by revealing her thoughts. But I had something to gain, and my loyalty and trust in our relationship increased because she gifted me with valuable information that could help my effectiveness.

Being transparent with others is as much an internal as an external skill. I imagine our ego mind working behind the scenes and planting seeds of doubt with questions such as:

  • What if I share my thoughts honestly, will others be on my side?
  • Is it better to go along, to get along with the majority?
  • If I share this juicy information will others hold me in higher regard?

Being transparent is not about being an open book. As leaders we must always focus on our impact. What are we moving ourselves and others toward? At the same time we don’t share information or withhold it as a way to manipulate power. We share information with integrity and in a purposeful and meaningful way. We share as needed to unleash the power of others.

There is a distinction between being transparent and being your authentic self. We can be authentic and still discerning about what we share and when. Giving information because we need to process our own experience can be ill-advised depending on the audience. Being intentional about what others need to know in any given moment is a good practice, and at the same time we have to be aware of over-protecting or coddling people.

If you thought transparency was about bearing your soul, I encourage you to reconsider. In summary, being transparent is about sharing information openly yet appropriately. Here are some guideposts that can help you consider how transparent you are:

  • Are you congruent between your inner and outer self; no pretense?
  • Do you create meaningful, real connections with team members?
  • Would you consider yourself sincere in word and deed? Do you walk your talk?
  • Can you clearly and respectfully communicate both good and bad news?
  • Do you reveal personal information within the context of work, and on a need-to-know basis?
  • Can you responsibly share true opinions and emotions?
  • Do you ask for feedback about your performance?
  • On a scale of 1-10 (ten being extremely comfortable) how comfortable are you at owning up to mistakes?

If you want to learn more about transparency, contact me at 303-238-9733 or email me at [email protected].

If you like this blog, I think you will like my book the Cycle of Transformation. Available now!
Deb Siverson is a seasoned executive coach, certified as a PCC through the International Coach Federation. If you want to schedule time to discuss how you or your organization can increase engagement by having a different conversation at work, contact us now.

How I Learned to Trust

It’s easy to know intuitively if you trust someone or not, but what behaviors lead to that decision? If trust is so commonly described as a quality that must be earned what happens between the time of introduction and the mystical moment when a person proves their mettle?

Excerpt from The Cycle of Transformation by Deb Siverson (that’s me!)


If you‘ve read my book, you know that part of my own leadership journey has circled back many times to the topic of trust. This is because both sides of the trust-coin, trusting myself and trusting others, are elements that I have personally struggled with. Through those struggles I sought to understand more about trust and its impact on me and workplace relationships.

As I researched the topic of trust I came upon the work of Duane C. Tway, who holds a doctorate in Organizational Development with an emphasis on trust in organizations. In his dissertation, “A Construct of Trust”, he describes trust as, the state of readiness for unguarded interaction with someone or something. His model encompasses three perspectives on trust that influence the perception of whether we should trust or not.

Capacity for Trusting: Our total life experiences impact our capacity and willingness to risk trusting others. One of my colleagues recently wrote about her mother and the wonderful role model she was in a blog post. In Arianna Huffington’s book “Thrive”, she does the same, sharing beautiful words of wisdom from her mother. This was not my experience. My mother was married four times, and as the oldest, I tried and failed to protect my younger brothers and sisters from the wrath of the alcoholic step-fathers that we encountered. I saw bruised choke marks around the neck of my ten year old sister, who weeks later ended up with a concussion, in a shelter for battered women with my mother. Later she would tell the story of my mother catching her as she attempted to run away and delivering her into the hands of the man who would abuse her. I did not trust my mother, but for years what was even worse is that I didn’t trust myself. I felt deep shame for not calling social services, but I didn’t trust them with the truth of what was happening in my family. This story reminds me that trust is hard-won for most of us. There are many stories like mine, and we carry those stories with us into the workplace, unsure of who we can trust, when we can trust them, and to what extent. Leaders must never lose sight that their walk with integrity is not lost on us. We want to trust in something. We watch for broken and kept promises.

Perception of Competence: How we perceive our own ability and the ability of others to address the current situation competently. In continuing with my own story, earlier in my career I had something to prove: that I was good enough. I attempted to prove it by being extremely competent at everything I did. I lived in fear that “they” would discover that I was incompetent, a sham. This was clearly a confidence issue and the cost of my weakened self-perception is difficult to calculate. There is a price to be paid for not trusting oneself. But I didn’t stop there, I was also wary and cautious about trusting others capabilities. Often I would go it alone rather than asking for help, in part because “if you want to be sure it’s done right you must do it yourself.” It was a relief to discover a method for developing authentic trust through the making and keeping of commitments. Having open dialog about shared goals, roles, rules, and how to recover when expectations weren’t met taught me how to relax and trust the process, and in turn myself and others.

Perception of Intentions: The extent to which one believes that actions, words, direction, mission, or decision are spurred by mutually-serving rather than self-serving motives. I went through a period of making myself wrong for not easily trusting. Today I question intentions from a healthier place. Not everyone is worthy of trust. I would never suggest that we blindly trust another. At the same time I don’t hold the view that trust has to be proven or earned. I choose to start by assuming positive intent, but that does not mean anything goes. I believe that we must be discerning in how we place ourselves in the hands of another. Blind trust can get people hurt, or worse. I learned early that some people have self-serving motives. And I have learned later that many people want what is best for the team, the community, the world. I can’t place the demons of my childhood on the saints I meet today. With my eyes wide-open, I know they both exist, and I can discern between the two.

Each of us is responsible for managing our internal landscape and perceptions about trust. The workplace is full of stories of children like me who first learned of trust by having it betrayed. There is a method, a path to developing authentic trust, if all parties are willing to walk in that direction together. It isn’t easy, but it is deeply rewarding. It is the path to unguarded interactions. It is the practice of learning how to be always ready to engage in a different kind of conversation.

If you want to learn more about how to develop authentic trust in the workplace contact me at 303-238-9733 or email me at [email protected].

If you like this blog, I think you will like my book the Cycle of Transformation. Available now!
Deb Siverson is a seasoned executive coach, certified as a PCC through the International Coach Federation. If you want to schedule time to discuss how you or your organization can increase engagement by having a different conversation at work, contact us now.

The Exponential Equation


When we can align personal values, vision and purpose at work, we tap into a well of deep meaning. This is an energetic field that creates an exponential difference.
Excerpt from, The Cycle of Transformation by Deb Siverson (that’s me!)

The question hung in the air, creating both stillness and a quickening, as my awareness expanded and my heart began to beat loudly in my ears. I finally responded, “I don’t know which of those things are getting the results I’m going for, some combination of it I suspect.”

“How do you know if you need to shift what you’re doing, or develop new skills to get better at the actions you’re taking?”

I paused and carefully considered my answer. “I don’t know. I base my decisions on intuition and my best guess.”

“Too often we do the same things, in the same ways, and expect to get different results.”

A discussion like this one is how I was first introduced to the Definition of Insanity, and the nucleus for what I now call the Exponential Equation. Getting results in both work and our personal life is a function of what we do, how well we do it, and how deeply and passionately we are engaged in the outcomes.

The formula is simple, A (Activities) multiplied by E (Effectiveness), to the Power of Y (Why it matters) = R (Results). Easy to comprehend but not easy to apply consistently. Below is a deeper look at each factor in the equation.


Activities: The quality or state of being active. Are we doing the right things, at the right time, with the right people and resources, and am I doing enough of them?

Effectiveness: Producing a decided, decisive, or desired effect. What are the skills, knowledge, and strategy that I am applying toward a given activity?

Power of Y: That which ignites and inspires us. What values, vision, and purpose makes the outcome meaningful?

Results: Proceed or arise as a consequence, effect, or conclusion. Are they the results we need? Are they aligned with what is most important?

Take your life to a whole new level by assessing each component carefully. A coach can help by asking questions and identifying the levers that will most get you what you want.

If you like this blog, I think you will like my book the Cycle of Transformation. Available now!



Deb Siverson is a seasoned executive coach, certified as a PCC through the International Coach Federation. If you want to schedule time to discuss how you or your organization can increase engagement through the development of the Leader Coach, contact us now.

Developing a Culture of Coaching

“If you’re going to create a cultural shift, everyone has to understand how coaching makes business more successful.”

Excerpt from The Cycle of Transformation by Deb Siverson (that’s me!)

I’m a coaching junkie. I feel the most alive and in-tune when engaged in deeply connected and vulnerable conversations with those I coach. I love the moment when I feel others connect to what is most important and vital to them as a human being. I know all the reasons that coaching is less about me and more about the other, and I can get in the space of selflessness, but geez do I love being a coach! Partly it is about me, because if I didn’t love the practice of coaching, I wouldn’t be doing it. But for coaches like me to be able to continue to do what we love, we must be able to create a reliable and repeatable business. The sustainable success of coaching is dependent on proving performance. And that’s true of both big and small companies.

The value of business coaching has been well-documented. A few pioneering studies, known as the “MetrixGlobal” and “Manchester” studies, quoted by literally hundreds of sources, have been used extensively to illustrate the benefits of business coaching in general. Some studies suggest that “coaching has a 529% return on investment and significant intangible benefits. When employee retention was included as a benefit overall ROI increased to 788%.”

One of the challenges coaches face, is articulating the business impact of coaching. Many of us, myself included, measure success against the primary objectives of a coaching engagement. The outcomes are often tailored and may be deeply personal. I, like many, prove performance based on the individual need and align around a measurement to demonstrate the impact of coaching.

Anyone who’s listening knows we have proven the value of executive coaching. Most often resources are designated for a select few, typically in more senior positions. And you get no argument from me, because I believe everyone can benefit from a coach who is totally invested in their success. What needs attention is the majority, who don’t have access to the dollars that would transform today’s workforce.

What if that more conservative 529% return on investment could be unleashed on the mid-level manager population, or the front-line supervisor and employee. What would be possible!

Developing a culture of coaching has a significant and meaningful upside. Teaching managers to be more coach like in how they engage with employees and balance both results and relationships is desirable, but statistically, only 13% of organizations report having a strong coaching culture. It appears there is a lot of opportunity to develop strong coaching cultures. What are the first steps to move in that direction?


Click image to enlarge.


Ensure Executive Sponsorship in Word and Deed

Sponsors must have clarity on the role they play, and the tasks they will engage in during the culture change initiative. Just giving financial approval isn’t enough to get managers coaching at the level of frequency and effectiveness to make your coaching culture a reality.

Align on Desired Coaching Objectives and Outcomes

The best chance for getting a coaching culture off the ground is to align it with a key business imperative. Intuitively we know that connected and frequent coaching conversations are the right things to do, but without focus and measurement around an organizational objective, too many other things will come along and grab the organization’s attention.

Common Model and Language

Culture is built on the foundation of common language and practices. The organization must align around a method that everyone will agree to practice. The upside is that no matter where your employees go within the organization the coaching model will be a constant, and forge a new relationship with his or her manager.

Skill Development

Any competency requires gaining a skill set and then moving toward mastery. Coaching is no different. Managers and supervisors need tools and resources so that they can continue to grow as coaches and improve in the area that most impacts employee engagement.

Reinforce Coaching Activities and Effectiveness

Eighty percent of what is learned in the classroom is lost without reinforcement in the first thirty days post a learning event. Because the concept of coaching is easy to understand, we short-change coaching initiatives with too little follow-up. Coaching-the-coach, peer coaching, group coaching, coaching assignments, and manager’s observations of coaching activities must be an ongoing part of the coaching culture strategy. Without rigorous attention, all your hard work will quickly disappear.

What do you think? Comment below and share your opinion.

If you like this blog, I think you will like my book the Cycle of Transformation. Available now!

HighResolution_Warnke_ DebSiverson20121208-9332-Edit


Deb Siverson is a seasoned executive coach, certified as a PCC through the International Coach Federation.  If you want to schedule time to discuss how you or your organization can increase engagement through the development of the Leader Coach, contact us now.

Take Your Coaching From Superficial to Sublime

“Employees don’t have clarity around their career aspirations or drivers of job satisfaction.” BlessingWhite’s January 2013 Employee Engagement Update Report.

If you have read my book, “The Cycle of Transformation,” you know that I’m a proponent of Managers (Leader Coaches), playing an important role in employees developing the necessary clarity to focus their talent, values, and calling in the best possible direction for both the individual and the organization.

Too often today’s coaching tasks are treated like a left-brain activity, whereby managers ask a series of rote questions such as, what are your career goals, or, where do you see yourself in five years. If you recognize yourself in this example, please don’t take offense, because clearly asking these types of questions is leaps and bounds better than not caring about what others hope to accomplish.

Before setting career goals, it’s important to step back and explore the special essence that makes up each incredibly unique individual.

Talent: I’ve used Gallup Strength Finders for many years. According to Gallup, talents are innate, in the same way the Myers Briggs Type Indicator is innate; we are born with it. My top five strengths are Activator, Strategic, Futuristic, Learner, and Relator. I’ve taken the online assessment twice and you can too by purchasing the book, Now Discover your Strengths, or going to the Gallup website. The work I do is aligned well with my talents. As an organizational systems consultant, I find it deeply satisfying to look out into the future and paint a picture of possibilities. My learner is drawn in to the process of discovery so that my strategic can get busy sorting through the clutter to find the best route. My activator is impatient for action, giving me a lot of push energy. Thankfully my relator isn’t happy unless I’m deepening relationships and making them more real and intimate (which I also believe to be an advantage in my work as a coach).

Questions to help uncover talents:

  • What are you naturally good at?
  • How does that relate to current work tasks?
  • Which of your natural strengths are not present in your work today?
  • What work would allow you to more fully express your talents?
  • What talent are you over using? Under using?

Values: What is most important to us, our values, are anchored deep and are the must-haves for us to truly thrive. Creative freedom is one of my core values. I get to have it when I’m writing, or designing content, or developing a marketing strategy. I know it is one of my primaries because I need it to be a part of my life no matter what, like oxygen. When I wrote my book, I took my business to a four-day work-week for nearly a year. There was a financial impact in making that decision, but I had to do it.

Questions to help uncover values:

  • Tell me about the work tasks that you most enjoy? The ones you only tolerate.
  • What do you like best about your current position? Least?
  • What is the best job you ever had? Why?
  • Tell me what your ideal job looks like. What makes it ideal?
  • Describe a perfect work day.

Calling: I was having coffee with an old friend last week, and we were talking about things that happen in our lives that are traumatic, can become a calling, as we make our way through the healing process. For me it is about trying to take something difficult and use it for good. It’s a form of transcendence. I’m not suggesting that everyone is called to use their unique talents, values, and vision through tragic circumstances, but if we listen we are always being called to connect what we have to offer with what’s needed now. If we listen deeply to ourselves, and the collective, we can see the next step we are being called to take.

I have been “called” due to life events many times. These events have shaped me to take a stand for transparency, honesty, connection, and hope. Whether it’s through non-profit work in youth leadership or as a systems worker in organizations, I am called to see the limitless possibilities that exist in individuals and teams when we honor and value how we are each so beautifully different, and yet the same.

Questions to help uncover Calling:

  • What gives you a sense of purpose at work?
  • What’s the difference you want to make here?
  • Describe what makes this work meaningful.
  • What cause are you involved with, or that you would you get involved with, regardless of money? What makes that compelling?
  • How can you translate that in to the workplace?
  • How might it impact your career planning?

For more information on how to unleash potential in the workplace, order a copy of my book…and check out this article on The One Solution to Many Common Organizational Challenges.

If you like this blog, I think you will like my book The Cycle of Transformation. Available now!
Deb Siverson is a seasoned executive coach, certified as a PCC through the International Coach Federation. If you want to schedule time to discuss how you or your organization can increase engagement by having a different conversation at work, contact us now.

Transforming Employee Engagement

Business people stand excitedI look at the clock and realize that it’s 4:25 p.m. on a Friday afternoon and I suspect that somewhere between 40 and 80 percent of the workforce, which is literally millions of people, are beginning to celebrate the end of another week; a week where they traded a piece of themselves to pay the rent or mortgage. I imagine them in pubs as these words hit the page, sipping martinis or sharing a beer over this week’s war stories. Parents are rushing to pick up kids, yet another vivid reminder of why they must continue to work in a less than ideal situation, and spouses and partners are relieved that they will soon be in the sanctuary of home where they can let down their guard, be themselves and find comfort as they share their frustration and speak that which is unspeakable at work. How did this happen, this mass dissatisfaction with work?
– Excerpt from “The Cycle of Transformation” by Deb Siverson (that’s me!)

I’ve read a lot about employee engagement, and have personally experienced the lackluster feeling of being disengaged. And here we are in 2015, and the engagement statistics are not improving all that much.

My book, “The Cycle of Transformation” explores practical behaviors and methods to engage employees at work. But before you step down the path of how to transform performance and bring out the best that people have to offer, it’s important to know what the research is telling us about why people are disengaged.

An interesting statistic is that 89% of employers believe that employees quit because of money. The truth is only 12% leave for financial reasons. The majority, 75% are believed to leave because of their boss. The relationship between manager and team member is a key driver of engagement and this directly impacts bottom line results.

The research from Gallup and Blessing White suggests that another factor impacting engagement is being disconnected from the work itself. The majority of us want to contribute in a way that is meaningful, and 40% of surveyed employees were unaware of the big-picture vision, strategy, and tactics of the organization. However, it is more than awareness that connects us to a mission; it is alignment with our personal values, vision, and purpose.

The other data point I want to showcase, is that 47% of highly engaged team members receive feedback at least once a week. Almost half of engaged employees are receiving regular feedback. And it isn’t just the “here is what you did wrong,” variety of feedback. It is recognition and reinforcement of successful outcomes.

Three things to remember about employee engagement:
• Focus on strong connected relationships between managers and employees
• Align individual values, vision, and purpose with the organization
• Practice the art of effective coaching and feedback

For more information on how to unleash potential in the workplace, order a copy of my book…and check out this article on the 5 Practices that Crush Employee Engagement.

If you like this blog, I think you will like my book The Cycle of Transformation. Available now!
HighResolution_Warnke_ DebSiverson20121208-9332-EditDeb Siverson is a seasoned executive coach, certified as a PCC through the International Coach Federation. If you want to schedule time to discuss how you or your organization can increase engagement by having a different conversation at work, contact us now.

Start at the Beginning

Front Cover.4613095I just got word that my book, The Cycle of Transformation has been shipped and it’s on the way to me…and I can barely stand the anticipation of finally holding it in my hands. Is it actually, truly, real? Or will I wake and find that I have dreamt it up?

I went from excitement to confusion as I prepared to write my post today about the book launch on May 5th. I felt edgy and uncertain about how to describe the book. As I started re-reading it, for what seemed like the millionth time I couldn’t decide if I should highlight this-bit or that.  I only managed to accomplish stressing myself out about what you will think about “The Book.”

I shook myself off and moved to considering what you would want to know, and what I would want to know if I were you, and ended up feeling like I didn’t want to tell you about “THE BOOK” at all!  For the briefest moment I even wondered why I wrote “THE BOOK”. And then I realized that I was becoming afraid of what you will think and feel about the book (ME).

I am that person again: Insecure and becoming more neurotic by the minute.

I was overwhelmed, deer-in-the-headlights, and I didn’t know where to start. Thankfully I remembered that this is my body’s signal that reminds me to slow down and breathe.

Then I was struck with a brilliant idea…what about just starting at the beginning? What if I stopped trying to figure out the best parts, and just provided you with a little update and some basic information. Maybe even copy the Preface. That seems doable. One might go so far as to say…fairly easy.

I took another deep breath and noticed my stomach dropping back where it belonged, my shoulders letting go of my ears, my jaw unclenching, and my heart beat returning to normal. I felt the sense of relief that arrives whenever I unwind myself.

I no longer judge myself when I feel compelled to walk around the block (twice) rather than merely crossing the street. I just notice it. This perfectly-imperfect ME holds her breath a bit more often as I launch this book into the world.

What I really wanted to share with you is that we are in the final stages of preparing the book for distribution on Amazon, both in print and as an electronic Kindle version. The publish date is targeted for May 5th where we will officially launch at the ASTD EXPO in Washington D.C.

Please come visit me at booth #706 during the ASTD EXPO May 5th– May 7th and get a copy of my book!

Below is the Preface so you can have a little taste of the book and its content.  Don’t be afraid to tell me what you think!  No really…I will live-breathe through it!




“Over time [the nautilus] builds a spiral shell, but always lives in the newest chamber, even here, a mute lesson in how to use the past; live in the most recent chamber and use the others to stay afloat.”

– excerpt from “Nautilus,” by Mark Nepo


“Leave thy low-vaulted past!

Let each new temple, nobler than the last,

for as the spiral grew, he left the past year’s dwelling for the new.”

– excerpt from “The Chambered Nautilus,” by Oliver Wendell Holmes


I love the act and the art of coaching.

There is something magical about engaging with others on the topics that matter most. It is deeply rewarding to support the connection people have to their work, and to align their individual talents and passions with their career goals.

The Mark Nepo and Oliver Wendell Holmes quotes above perfectly capture the nautilus as a metaphor for personal and professional growth.

The nautilus is a cephalopod, or a mollusk, with a coiled spiral shell composed of numerous chambers. As the nautilus grows, it moves to the largest chamber at the open end of a nearly-perfect equiangular spiral. Just as the nautilus lives in the most recent chamber of its shell, so too can we inhabit a larger space that spirals out from the lessons of our past.

Ours is a journey of transformation as we cycle and develop beyond who we were into who we are meant to be. And where better to learn our lessons than where we spend the majority of our time: at work.

Emotionally-connected Leader Coaches have an important role to play in transforming people’s lives at work.

Early in my career, the common thinking was that emotions had no place at work: It’s business, it’s not personal.

Today, research confirms that emotionally-savvy leaders are more likely to improve employee engagement, job satisfaction and profits. In other words, there is now clear evidence that successful managers balance driving for results with being caring and connected to their team members.

I want emotional connection at work, and I would bet that you do too. Connection to others and connection to the work itself. Emotion, or that which moves us, has always been part of the landscape. Sure, some people shy away from the messiness that comes from heated disagreements or the vulnerability of fear and disappointment. But without emotions at work, we all lose. It is the reason people buy, it is the inspiration that causes us to follow, and it is the passion that drives innovation.

Finally, it is (mostly) okay to talk about emotional intelligence, employee engagement, and the “soft” side of leadership. Research by Gallup and BlessingWhite, to name a few, has opened the door to real conversations about the billions of dollars that are lost due to apathy and even sabotage.

We have come a long way in a short time with regards to understanding the role of emotion in business. And yet there is more to do. Employee engagement statistics are still deeply disappointing as many struggle to secure work that they enjoy and find meaningful. The answers are complex. I won’t pretend that economics aren’t a factor. But it’s something we only control at the micro level. We do control every decision that moves us closer or farther away from meaningful work.

The fulcrum of getting from where you are today to where you want to be, is empowerment. Leaders who coach team members to be self-aware and to intentionally move toward career goals will be game changers. That is what this book is about.

I initially illustrated the Cycle of Transformation eight years ago. It was a doodle on a piece of copy paper, an attempt to make sense of the concept I used to coach in organizations. When I saw it in black-and-white, something clicked. I carried that original drawing with me for months, contemplating what it meant.

The first time I drew the Cycle of Transformation on a chart for a team, their eyes lit up. It made sense to them, just as it did to me. Soon, I was using my diagram regularly to develop Leader Coaches.

Since that early drawing, I have expanded and improved upon the concept. But the basic premise remains intact. I offer it to you with my sincere hope that it improves the quality of your coaching conversations.

If you like this blog, I think you will like my book The Cycle of Transformation. Available now!
HighResolution_Warnke_ DebSiverson20121208-9332-EditDeb Siverson is a seasoned executive coach, certified as a PCC through the International Coach Federation. If you want to schedule time to discuss how you or your organization can increase engagement by having a different conversation at work, contact us now.