Up Your Inner Game of Leadership

We have been focusing on the necessity for and how to build and maintain your inner core. This is essential for aligned Sustainable Leadership.

Sustainable Leadership is developing a leadership approach that is authentic to you and sustainable over the long term. It is about consciously engaging in a deeper relational understanding of one’s core self.


Once you are clear about your core it is important to identify what needs, habits and practices you need to keep your core nourished and serving your higher purpose. Adaptability, Integration, and Resilience – your A.I.R. – needs to be robust to preserve your Strengths Based Sustainable Leadership.

Identifying your A.I.R. must-haves is essential for your core to be in service of you and others. It takes conscious intentionality to make the time for mindful reflection and learning from our experiences to create a plan aligned with who we are and how we want to show up.

This is part 5 in the 5-part series on the Inner Core of Leadership by Diana Gabriel, Certified Strengths Strategy Coach.

Inner Core, Sustainable Leadership, Understanding, Core Self, AIR, Mindful Reflection, Inner Game, Character Strengths, Goals, Strengths, Strengths Based Leadership, StrengthsFinder, Leadership Coach

Every learning opportunity holds the potential to contribute to your future performance. Click To Tweet

Wise leaders know they need to be agile and adaptable to rapidly shifting demands of business and organizations for the future. Continually engaging with an executive coach to articulate and strengthen your inner core is a very effective and often used approach. The focus on strengthening your inner core of leadership is as important as mastering outer competencies, if not more. It is as critical as the instructions we are given every time we fly ­­– put your oxygen mask on first before attempting to assist others. It’s a great metaphor showing you where we need to focus to be an inspiring and influential leader.

The Inner game concept became popular 15 to 20 years ago. Coining the term in The Inner Game of Golf, The Inner Game of Tennis and The Inner Game of Worksports coach and consultant Tim Gallwey’s ideas have proved to be timeless.

Building and fortifying your character strengths are key to leading effectively. And, to thrive, you should set performance goals and take advantage of learning opportunities, as I wrote about here.

Every learning opportunity holds the potential to contribute to your future successful performance and being seen as an authentic leader. In a performance-driven culture, achievement is often overestimated at the expense of learning and authenticity.

In my experience working with executives and leaders, it’s not easy to press pause and reflect on what did not go as expected. A bit of humility is necessary before you turn the situation into a learning opportunity. You must first acknowledge your failures and challenges, be open to the need to learn and grow, and clarify what is needed before you genuinely learn from the situation and take forward action.

It can be difficult to identify where and how learning will take place unless you intentionally schedule time in your calendar for mindful reflection. We all have our blind-spots and weaknesses where we need feedback, or brainstorming with others who’s Strengths are different from ours. This allows us to see what we are not able to see on our own and to collaborate to have the broadest impact.

Here are some tips for your mindful reflection as a leader. Ask yourself these questions to refine your goals:

  1. What needs of my Strengths were not met in this situation?
  2. Which of my Strengths were in overdrive or under-drive?
  3. What do I need to learn to enhance my awareness in the moment?
  4. Where and with whom can I receive feedback?
  5. Who can help me?
  6. Which resources are available to me?
  7. How do I learn and grow best?

Then, follow these steps to expand your inner core:

  1. Set learning goals with a coach to achieve clarity and develop an action plan.
  2. After implementing your action plan, debrief the learning experience with your coach to maximize change.

Leading from the inside out

To develop leading from the inside out, keep these points in mind:

  • Professional coaching provides a platform for learning the inner game of leadership.
  • Self 1’s ego (the Gremlin) interferes with Self 2’s inherent wisdom.
  • Regular intentional mindful reflection is necessary.
  • Nonjudgmental awareness is crucial.
  • Staying aligned with your inner core will prepare you for the future’s increasing demands and strengths based sustainable leadership.

Where have you been successful in staying aligned with your core? Where have you found challenges? Have you set learning goals for yourself, or worked with a coach on your inner game? I’d love to hear about it. You can reach me here and on LinkedIn.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *