I've been back at Stanford since January 2007, so the current graduates are the fifth class of MBAs I've had the privilege of working with as a Leadership Coach. I'm incredibly grateful for the opportunity to get to know 35 people in particular--11 Leadership Fellows and 24 members of two T-groups in the school's Interpersonal Dynamics course, aka Touchy Feely. To all of you, I can't thank you enough for the experiences we had together this year.
Any fifth anniversary is a milestone, of course, and yet on a personal level the past year has been particularly meaningful for me. The passage of another year has eased the pain of losing Richard Wright, my father-in-law, and Roanak Desai, a former student, both of whom died in 2010. I'll always miss them, but I've made peace with their passing.
I'm also truly proud of the work that's been done over the past year by the Leadership Fellows I worked with and by my colleagues on Stanford's coaching staff and faculty to revamp the school's Leadership Labs and the Fellows program itself. The effort wasn't as daunting as the process of launching these courses back in 2007, but it was close. I was pushed to be a better coach and a better colleague, and although I stumbled constantly, someone was always there to help me up. And while I'm very grateful for everything I got out of the process personally, what's just as meaningful to me is the sense that we all made a long-term contribution to the school's ability to help students become better leaders.
Finally, facilitating T-groups in Touchy Feely is always uniquely rewarding, and I learn something new every time. This year I was gratified to see how effective I can be at simultaneously supporting and challenging others, and I was challenged myself to be more vulnerable and to worry less about "making mistakes." I came a long way in my understanding of diversity and my ability to work with people across many dimensions of difference, and I realized how much work I have yet to do in this area. And I was very lucky to be paired with two amazing partners, Erica Peng and Michael Terrell, who pushed me and allowed me to push back.
Despite--or because of--all of this ferment, the past school year was a tremendously productive time for me on this site, where I strive to share what I know (and continue to learn) about coaching not only with my students and clients, but also with anyone who might not have access to a personal coach or a graduate program in management. Below are links to 33 posts written from September 2011 through June 2012, all of which grew at least in part out of my work with those 35 members of the GSB's Class of 2012: Again, thank you all.