Cracking Charity Chat: Ep. 9 Jennifer McCanna, Leadership Coach

My most recent podcast is with Jennifer McCanna, a leadership coach working with charities including CAF and Action Aid, as well as various clients from the private sector. Jen and I are running a session at the Institute of Fundraising’s Yorkshire Conference on Friday 24 May around emotional intelligence, resilience and leadership and thought it’d be nice to do a podcast ahead of that.

We cover:

  • What is leadership coaching?
  • Leadership isn’t about the position you hold
  • The coaching approach: building capacity in leaders
  • Trust in leadership
  • Women in leadership
  • Finding your red hat
  • The notion of stretch and how we need to understand the benefits before we can begin to change

You’ll see that Jen has a way of easily getting people to talk about the things they feel a bit uncomfortable with, but which are the things that they probably need to explore to build on and enhance their leadership style. Hence this is a podcast that I feel a bit reluctant about as I sound a bit vulnerable at points. Gulp.

The highlights for me are:

  1. The three components of trust in leadership: competence, benevolence and integrity. In brief, you can make mistakes around the first two and be forgiven, but if you lack integrity it’s difficult to build / re-build trust among your colleagues.
  2. What’s good enough for you? If you’re in a particularly difficult or stressful period, it can be hard to think aspirationally about the leader that you want to be. In these instances, a good place to start can be working out what is good enough, and deliver that until you have the head space to start thinking about the future.
  3. Stretch. A simple model with three concentric circles (comfort, stretch, panic) that can help you think about how much you want to stretch yourself – or how much a job or project will stretch you. I’ve used this before and found it really useful to conceptualise where I’m at and ensure that I have the support network in place if I know I’m going to be really stretched or move towards the panic zone.

You can listen on SoundCloud,  iTunes or my website. I hope you enjoy it – if so, do share on social media and rate on iTunes. I’d also love to hear your feedback.

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