This year, I have been attending Employers Council’s Intentional Leader Program (ILP), and I’m excited to have the chance to write about it here. As a leader in my organization, it is so important to me to be a good steward of my organization as seen through the growth of those I lead. The ILP meets those needs and more.
The program itself lasts the better part of a year, starting in February and concluding in October. I want to be truthful that it is a big commitment, which is also the one thing that makes this program unique. Through a blended-learning platform that uses online content for pre-work, participants can do much of the work on their own time. The blended platform allows the in-class time to be focused on learnings, reflections, and application to real life. In addition, my cohort has a short phone check-in every week, where we reflect on our work and learn from what others are doing. For me, this has allowed me to apply what I’ve learned in real time, which is invaluable.
The program has four core learning areas: Strategic Mastery, Results Mastery, Self-Mastery, and Interpersonal Mastery. In between each mastery module, hot topics and decision-making sessions provide practical tools for application of intentional leadership.
The ILP also comes with five one-on-one professional coaching sessions, starting with a 360 competency assessment. Working with my coach, learning where my strengths lie, as well as what factors are limiting my ability to be intentional in my leadership, has been an amazing place of growth. It is a safe place to reflect on what motivates me, and what those I lead, my peers, and my superiors see in me. My coach has given me helpful tools and practice areas for leading with intention.
Another unique feature of the ILP is the workplace project. This is a self-directed, real-time project aimed at applying all learning areas. The project includes one-on-one advisement sessions, in addition to the professional coaching sessions. Through my project, I have a better understanding of how my team’s actions directly affect the organization’s strategic outcomes and results. Now I have more tools to identify and measure both. The project also allows me to work on the professional, self, and interpersonal goals I have set with my coach. It allows me to be a contributor at an enterprise level.
When I was accepted into the program this year, I immediately started telling friends and family how excited I was for this opportunity. Several people said some version of “It’s like getting another MBA, but with real-life application.” I couldn’t agree more. Although there is a time commitment, it’s manageable as much of it is on my time. I don’t know where or how I would get another opportunity to participate in such a holistic program with immediate application. The commitment is an investment in myself, and in my organization, as I will continue to use all the tools I’ve acquired for the rest of my career.