What Is Energy Leadership Coaching?


Energy–where it is focused and how to make it serve your needs—is the essence of true leadership. After all, energy is at the base of everything. Negative energy can pull you down. If it is positive, it can carry you to new heights.

Up to now there has not been a way to measure where energy is concentrated in the psyche and how it impacts leadership. There is a way now, however, and it’s pretty amazing. It is called Energy Leadership Coaching, and after much research I have chosen this method to help good leaders realize their full potential and become great leaders.

Energy Leadership Coaching starts by discovering where and to what degree the individual’s available energy is channeled among seven key leadership-relevant areas. At the lowest levels the leader is unmotivated and even caustic. Whereas leaders become better and more successful as they move up to higher levels of energy, coaching focuses on removing lower level blocks that prevent effective leadership.

Such blocks include negative self-messages, limiting assumptions, inaccurate interpretations, and beliefs; and long-held fears coming from the inner critic, such as a fear that they’re not good enough to lead others.

Energy Leadership Coaching was developed by Bruce D. Schneider, Ph.D., founder and CEO of iPEC Coaching, called by many the 'Harvard' of coach training. Energy Leadership Coaching is based on a complex model for understanding what drives human behavior. The model actually pinpoints how much energy—or consciousness behind actions—a person has in each of the seven energy levels, under normal circumstances and under stress.

Once these distributions are known, the coach can lead the client to free the champion within to reach his or her full potential as a leader. The result is a more fulfilled leader, happier and more productive direct reports, and lower turnover, which enhances the company’s bottom line. In short, the end product is a leader who people want to follow.

Discovering the energy distributions for each person can come as a result of a lengthy coaching process, or it can be accelerated by an on-line assessment that reveals the individual’s current leadership potential, level of engagement, and level of awareness of what they are capable of in life.

The assessment’s outcome is the Energy Leadership Index™  (ELI) with line graph measurements showing how much energy the leader has in the seven key areas under normal circumstances and under stress. This in turn becomes a working document that I use to help the leader redistribute energy from unproductive or catabolic energy levels, to increasingly productive levels of energy, called anabolic energy.

The levels and the interactions among the levels are highly individualized and can be interpreted in a number of contexts, such as sales and leadership effectiveness in business; hence, the term Energy Leadership. The following chart summarizes the seven energy levels and their relationship to leadership:

Level 1

The energy type is catabolic. Leaders at this level operate as if everything were a crisis. Their focus on problem solving and “putting out fires” works against them and they feel victimized and overwhelmed. Their inward feeling is, “I lose.” Their preoccupations and doubts divert them from workable solutions.

Level 2

The energy type at this level also is catabolic. These leaders blame others for their own failures and their mantra is, “my way or the highway.” They can be combative, angry and challenging and are driven by fear, anxiety and pride. They hold onto grudges and resentments. Everything is about winning and losing, and you lose.

Level 3

Anabolic energy begins with this level, although there is about 40% catabolic energy also. This is a transitional level where the leader begins to let go of negative energy and starts seeking solutions. They accept others for what they are and begin cooperating as a team leader or team member. They begin letting go of facades and start think of themselves as partners with their teams.

Level 4

Anabolic energy defines this and the remaining three levels. At Level 4 the leader focuses on others and forms deep connections with the team. A more cooperative form of leadership is evident and the leader truly wants the team members to thrive and succeed. People respond well to this type of leader, because they know this leader cares about them.

Level 5

At this level the leader sees opportunities in everything. They are excited in their leadership role and they inspire others by their very presence. People want to follow them. They expect greatness from others and they generally receive it. Members of their team want to excel and they feel both motivated and safe in doing so.

Levels 6/7

In these higher levels of consciousness, the leader is truly inspiring. They are well beyond blaming others, taking offense and winning or losing. They are at the pinnacle of satisfaction with themselves and others and well past judging. They are powerful leaders, but they are humble as well. They give and seek feedback and are truly one with their team and the company.

Unlike any other assessment that I have worked with, the ELI also has a built-in progress gauge that measures the individual’s satisfaction in 14 key areas of life and work. Taking the ELI assessment early in the coaching process and again after the coaching ends provides an excellent means of demonstrating improvement in both the 14 areas and the 7 levels.

Only trained coaches like myself who are certified in the ELI assessment can interpret it, and iPEC requires in excess of 340 hours of training and exams to certify a coach to use it. The certification is called the “Energy Level Index Master Practitioner” (ELI-MP) and the coaches who use the ELI in their practice must renew their certification yearly.

Who are the best leaders in business? Who are the potential sales super stars? Who is best suited for upward mobility in the company? How can someone be coached to progressively become a better leader? Energy Leadership Coaching provides the answer, and that’s where I come in as the ELI interpreter and coach.

Even if someone has a non-desired energy distribution, the leader and I together identify the reasons behind it and together explore how the individual can let go of the negative self-messages, limiting thoughts, fears or erroneous assumptions and interpretations that stop them from reaching their full potential at the higher levels. I couple this with my own experience in over 30 years in the “people side” of business and my knowledge of management theory and practice from my teaching background.

People reach high places in companies because of their technical expertise. That’s what got them there. Energy Leadership Coaching helps them with the human side of leadership. Their new challenge is getting others to perform at peak potential under their leadership. That’s what will keep them there!

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