Navigating Leadership Challenges in 2024: Insights from New Level Work Coaches (Ep. #92)

Published on
January 30, 2024
Wendy Hanson
Co-founder and COO
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Welcome to a brand new episode of Building Better Managers! As we step into 2024, join us for an insightful conversation with Daphna Gale and Rachel Peterson, seasoned coaches from New Level Work. Formerly known as BetterManager.

In this episode, our hosts share the latest insights gleaned from coaching leaders across the globe, shedding light on the challenges faced by emerging managers, high-potential accelerators, and seasoned senior leaders. Tune in to discover practical strategies and valuable perspectives that can help you thrive in your leadership journey. It's time to level up your leadership game with Building Better Managers!

Meet Daphna:

  • 20+ Years Corporate Coaching: Daphna Gale, with 20+ years in corporate coaching, supports leaders across industries, blending a direct approach with compassion.
  • Choice Catalyst Coach: As a Choice Catalyst, Daphna's mission is to uncover possibilities others may miss, guiding clients toward achieving their goals.
  • Certified Excellence: Daphna is a Certified Professional Coach (CPC) through iPEC and a Professional Certified Coach (PCC) via the ICF, highlighting her commitment to top-notch coaching.

Meet Rachel:

  • Global Leadership Pro: Rachel Peterson, with 30+ years on five continents, is a seasoned global professional.
  • Versatile Expertise: A leader in executive coaching and organizational development.
  • International Coaching Credential: As a PCC-certified coach, Rachel has 3500+ coaching hours, serving 400+ clients globally.

View the episode transcript


Welcome. As we begin the new year, it's always a great time for reflection. Better Manager has been rebranded to new level work. We are excited about the change and all that we will launch in 2024. Today, I would like to explore what new level work coaches are seeing and hearing most often in the field.


about the newest challenges or obstacles their clients face as they look at the year ahead. What are the strategies that they are giving the people that they serve to support them, managers and leaders in the field? New Level has a reputation for quality of its coaches. We are very well known for that. All of our coaches need to have a minimum of 10 years of experience as a manager leading teams


and certification from a coaching program accredited through the International Coach Federation, known as ICF. We call our model Directed Coaching because we help people find their own answers and we add value to that by sharing tools, ideas, and our own business experience, which is really valued by the people we coach. Today, I have asked two of our


fabulous coaches to join me and share what they are hearing most from our coaching clients as we move into the new year. They work with companies of all sizes in the US, Canada, Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and as a global virtual company, we can reach organizations all around the world. So let me give you some background on my wonderful coaches today.


Daphna Gale began coaching and facilitating learning for and in the corporate arena more than 20 years ago, supporting leaders of all levels across multiple industries. Daphna's core coaching philosophy is a choice catalyst. Choice catalyst, I love that. And her mission is to help people see possibility where others may not.


She combines a grounded direct approach with compassion and understanding to help clients achieve their goals. Daphna is a certified professional coach through IPEC and a professional certified coach through ICF. And Rachel, as a professional, global professional, Rachel Peterson has lived and worked across five continents in more than 40 countries.


Over a 30 year career, she has supported leaders in a variety of fields and organizations with executive coaching, human resource development, and leadership and organizational development. Credentialed by PCC, by the International Coach Federation, Rachel has coached over 3,500 hours and more than 400 clients representing 52 nationalities.


Her clients are business leaders and teams, expatriates and foreign nationals, culturally diverse teams, and individuals of all kinds who are hungry to change how they face their work days. So how lucky we are to learn from Daphna and Rachel today. So I've shared your bios and your background a little, but take...


moment to introduce yourself and some of the work that you've done in new level over the past few years. Daphna, we'll start with you. Great, thank you so much. So I had the honor of joining new level back in 2021. And I've had the pleasure of coaching many clients at all levels of organization. So I work with everyone from individual contributors and new managers up to C level executives.


I'm also honored to be on the group coaching team, as well as the training team facilitating learning. And I have the pleasure of onboarding new coaches within the organization as well. Which is such an incredible role to onboard new people because we need to make sure our NPS scores are fantastic and haven't changed over the past seven years since we started. So we keep the quality up. Thank you, Daphna. Rachel, tell us a little bit about you.


Thanks, Wendy. Although I've been an executive coach for over 15 years with my own private practice, I'm proud to say I've been with New Level almost six years as an executive coach. And I just found out that I've coached almost 200 clients with New Level. I am a coaching pod leader, so I provide guidance and support to a team of our European coaches.


Early on, I worked with the internal team to build and update our fabulous content library, and I provide the audio for a lot of that content. So you may hear my voice again. I'm also on the New Level Culture Committee, which I'm very proud of, because I'm proud of the culture that we have at New Level. Yeah. Culture is such an important aspect, and we're seeing that more and more as we go on.


And it's a reason why people join organizations and a reason why people leave organizations. So it's a new year, which is so exciting. And given all the managers and leaders you coach, what are some of the biggest challenges that you feel people are facing that you've learned from your experience coaching? Rachel, can you speak to that? Sure.


I have been seeing quite a lot of what outside of the US is called retrenchment. I think inside the US, North America, we call it reorganization, right? Rifts, the changing of organizations, letting people go, et cetera. And so that is some of the biggest stuff, especially emerging managers who don't have experience having to let go team members or having to...


walk through people, having conversations with people who are in a stressful position. Yeah, and they do need help kind of scripting that the right way. And it's interesting because you work, you know, internationally more, and then, and then Daphna works more with the US and Canada, not primarily, but we'll listen to the distinctions of that of what are some of the things that we hear from global coaching versus coaching in North America.


Daphna, what are you seeing in terms of some of the challenges people are facing? So one of the common challenges throughout the years that I've been coaching is the concept of moving from doing to delegating as leaders get progressively higher. But from a timeliness perspective, what's happening right now in the marketplace, certainly in North America, is leaders are dealing with the struggle of return to office. And a lot of team members were hired


during the pandemic and we're promised remote work and organizations are now requiring employees to return to office. It's creating some frustration on the teams. Throughout the organizations I work with, there's no consistency either, maybe one day, two days, three days, or even four days. I'm not seeing a lot of five days. But one of the ways people are handling that and I'm encouraging people I work with is to have open and honest conversations with their team members to find out.


What are the risks involved with these decisions being made? Yeah, well, that's it's such a good point. I've heard a lot of that, too, with folks that I've been coaching. And it really is if you've moved thinking I'm going to be able to stay there. And then all of a sudden you're told I have to go to the office and it's three hours away and I have to go once a week. It creates a lot of problems. And we see that happening a lot in the US. And we work.


with many global companies in many different sectors. That's the great thing about coaching. It does not matter what type of sector it is. It still is, you're a manager and you're a leader. If you look at our website, new level work, you will be able to see some of the new groups, the way that we're defining new groups that we work with. You'll see emerging managers who are new to this role, accelerators who are the high potential managers.


who drive change in their organizations and fill that challenging middle manager position. And we serve senior level leaders, the drivers who are focused on the company's productivity, business goals. So they have different needs and we wanna make sure that we could meet all their needs. And we have such wonderful experienced coaches like Rachel and Daphna that they can actually work with any of these groups.


Daphna, what are you finding working with the emerging managers, those that are just new on the job or they might not even be quite a manager yet? What are you seeing there? Yeah, thanks, Wendy. So the biggest shift I'm seeing for emerging managers, people who are new in role or looking to get that first leadership role, is making that shift from doing to leading.


You know, as individual contributors, people are really valued for their output, and they're often promoted for their output. And now they're promoted into these leadership roles, and they have to lead a team for the first time. And that really requires a leader to start thinking strategically and trusting their team, letting go of the work and delegating. And that's the biggest shift that I see for the Emerging Manager Group. Yeah. And, and


Rachel, have you seen anything from coaching emerging managers outside the US that is any different? I'm seeing a lot of similarities to what Daphna is explaining. I particularly love coaching emerging managers because they're so hungry to build their management toolbox, right? And that includes building their confidence. So it's wonderful because over the course of coaching emerging managers,


you get a chance to watch them settle into that role. So there are a lot more techniques, whether it's time management techniques, communication, running meetings, they're really building their toolbox. I see a lot of that. Yeah. And it's great because you come to that role and you're not quite sure. So you do need, and you learn from who your manager was. And if your manager was not a great manager, then you haven't had that background and expertise.


And that is true anywhere in the world. That's right. That doesn't matter. True. Now, what about accelerators? Those are those high potential middle managers. And at new level, we have coached that group for years because they're the ones that weren't getting any coaching in the beginning. Coaching was always gone to senior leaders, but we realized their pivot points in an organization. They make things happen. So,


Rachel, what are you hearing from those? What's important in those kind of coaching conversations? So two really critical things, Wendy. One is that this is the group that is going from being the manager that is doing, right? To much more a manager who is being. Who are you being now as a leader? And I encourage a lot of those folks to use the expression with their people, what do you need from me?


rather than jumping in and saying, I'll help you, I'll do this, how can I help you? No, ask your people, what do you need from me? The other thing too is the accelerators often tell me that it's important for them to talk to a coach who has been where they are and has faced what they're facing. Yeah, and that's really one of the great things about all the coaches at Better Manager because they have done that. Daphna, what are you seeing?


in this group of accelerators? So the thing I work most on with the group of accelerators is their ability to influence. And so they are working with more senior leaders as they move into higher roles. And they're being asked to make decisions. And sometimes those decisions, they have control over the decision. But most often, it's an influencing ability. And it's a first time for them being.


with those senior leaders having to influence strategy and direction. And so that's what I work on a lot with Accelerators. Yeah. Tell me a little bit about influencing, because that is when some people hear that they're not sure if that means I'm selling. What does influencing look like? So influencing is about positioning ideas. And one of the challenges I see with people is they get very attached to their own way.


of wanting a project done. And so they come in quite strong about that and having the solution, if you will, rather than offering options and letting the people who need to decide decide, or being able to make that decision if it's given to them. But very often, it's really just about staying in your lane, having those conversations, using your


executive presence to command the room and again, influence the trajectory of how decisions may be made on behalf of the organization and on behalf of your team. Yeah, that's great. That is that, that will make the difference with people being able to be successful, right, as they grow in an organization. And senior level leaders and managers are


quite experienced. So they have very different things to explore. These drivers. Daphna, tell us about that because you work with a lot of them, I know too. I do. And it's really interesting because it shifts quite a bit working with those drivers, the more senior level leaders. And I find that what they need most is a thought partner. I often hear from the senior level leaders that it's great to be able to speak to someone


about things that are going on in the organizations and ideas that they have. And throughout the course of our conversations, I'm able to pick up on nuances or inconsistencies in things they're talking about, reflect it back to them again, as that thought leader partner, and help them make decisions for the organization that are really strong and rooted in that deeper thought and strategy.


I think that many people might not realize that when they have to explain something, they actually learn more about it. So for them being able to do that, have you experienced that, Daphna? Absolutely. You know, I was working with one client who we set a couple of goals, but it wasn't really about the goals. It was about he had just taken on a CFO role and really about saying things out loud.


and having an opportunity to test them, test how they feel coming off of his tongue, test how all of the interplay work together and what reaction he was getting. And it really led to some great strategy for his organization. Ah, great. And Rachel, tell us about your experience with drivers. What are the things that they're most looking for from a coach and the things that they're facing because we're looking at


What are people gonna face in 2024? Right. So I'll definitely echo what Daphna is saying in terms of thought partnership. Most of my private practice actually is focused on drivers. And so this is a wheelhouse and I love my drivers because they have all the toolbox full. They've gotten to the point where they know, they know how to be very good leaders and how to be good managers, great managers.


And now they're ready to talk about their own self-awareness. Who am I being in these situations? How do I want to hold myself under high stress, right? They want to know more about themselves. They want to go into the deeper dive. And so I have a chance to provide a really safe and very confidential space for them. And that's lovely. It's lovely to fall in love with these senior human beings.


Yeah, it is. And, and coaching is such an intimate relationship that that really people, people do get so close. And that's really the responsibility of the coach to create that safe place. And as Daphna said, you know, they know, it's a confidential place, we will never share what is said during coaching conversations. And so they know that that's going to be a safe place to try things on, which is really


makes a very big difference. Now I think in all three levels, one of the things that seems to come up is confidence. Do you see that? Because even if you're working with a senior person, sometimes they don't have enough confidence to push forward on things they need to do. Daphna, what's your thought on that? I love it, Wendy. And in fact, one of my favorite expressions.


I have several, but the one that comes to mind right now is, I believe it was Cheryl Sandberg who said, growth and comfort cannot coexist. And so what we do is we help grow leaders, right? We help take them to that new level. And so anytime we're doing that, it's taking them out of their comfort zone, and it's bound to rattle them a little bit. It's bound to shake up their confidence at least a little bit. And if we're not doing that,


We're not doing our job. And our job is to help them get through that point where growth and comfort don't coexist and bring them to that new level of comfort. I love that, yeah. I hadn't remembered that, that that's a Sheryl Sandbergism. Yes, growth and comfort don't coexist. So, you know, if we're growing, it is painful sometimes. So it's great to have somebody to talk to about these things.


What have you seen, Rachel, when it comes to people's confidence and how you're able to help them through any challenges there? Well, what I really love is that all of us, all of us are somewhat unsure. Right. All of us have crises of confidence. One of the things I love about New Level is the various assessments or 360 process that we go through to a person.


whether they're emerging managers, drivers, or accelerators, they come away from that going, oh, I had no idea. Like I had no idea that my people really appreciate these things about me. The other thing I'll say is that we might expect externally, we might expect that emerging managers will have less confidence and need confidence building, but all levels have crises of confidence.


And it's one of the things that being a coach is really satisfying. To be able to hold up that mirror and say, you're doing great. You're being the person you want to be. And yay, yay you. Yeah. And you're appreciated and recognized, which people do not realize. And good point, you know, Rachel, when they do our 360, they say, wow, I didn't know that everybody felt this way.


I've had people write in there something about, you are destined to be the next CEO of this company, or you have a bigger place in this company. And that really does create an unbelievable place for people to go into. Rachel? I might add too, that often they come away from that assessment and they are suddenly aware that they are no longer a lone wolf.


that they have team members, they have peers, they have managers who are essentially saying, we want more of you, we got you, we'd like to see you grow in this area, but they suddenly come away understanding that they have a team of people around them who are really invested in their success and it's not just their bosses. Yeah, and that's what they learn with feedback from their peers, you know, and their direct reports. And they also find some


times where people are having challenges, of course. And this is what we're there for is to help them constructively deal with that if there's a team member that's not happy, you know, what are they going to do? And how can they really be upfront and talking to people about thank you for the feedback you gave me and I want to understand a little more so that I can work my style in a way that's going to be useful to you. Yeah. And, you know, it's so valuable to talk.


as a leader and a manager about the strategy. And you both mentioned that. And also being a thought partner. And I've heard you use the expression like connecting the dots for somebody because they don't always get to see that. What does that look like when you connect the dots for somebody, Davna? Yeah, so connecting the dots is really interesting, Wendy. It's a little bit what I was talking about as we form relationships.


with the folks we coach, or I'll speak for myself as I do, noticing some of those inconsistencies, or having an opportunity to understand what their goals are, what is the bigger picture that they're working on. And as they think of new ideas, just asking them, how does that factor into the larger picture or the goal that you're working on? And that really allows them to connect the dots between


what they're doing and where they're going. Rachel, you said it earlier about who am I being? And this connecting of the dots allows them to think about who they are being to their organization to their team to themselves. Rachel, you add something to that? No, I'm I feel the same way.


I think more than anything I use the concept of the mirror because we aren't the experts in their lives. We are truly partners. I tell all of my clients, regardless of their level, I am standing next to you. I'm not pushing you. I'm not pulling you. As a coach, I'm standing next to you. And sometimes I'm tapping you gently on the shoulder, virtually, and saying, oh, interesting. This is what I see. What do you see?


Right? So there's a level of companionship, a level of equality. I don't know if that's the right word. Yeah. But I'm I'm always blown away by my clients. I'm always incredibly impressed. I come off every phone call going, Oh, what an incredible human. I feel so lucky. I get to spend time with them. Yeah. And I think the more that we coach and the two of you have been coaching a long time.


And all of the coaches, the ones that we work with at new level, the more you coach, the more you learn, because we all keep learning from other people. And then we have this wonderful community of coaches that share ideas and are professional development so that everybody is always growing. Now, one thing that I've heard recently is that we're beyond the great resignation.


And now people are wanting to stay at companies a little longer. And that's something that has just recently come up. And I think if they want to stay, what are some of the key factors that you've seen that keep people in an organization that they say, you know, I'm not going to change up every two years like they used to do. What do you say, Rachel? Wow. If they have a manager that.


supports them. If they feel that they've got someone who is really invested in their growth and development, they're willing to overlook a lot of other sort of less positive aspects of the work environment. Yeah, because there's always that risk. You could be offered more money, but you could go to be with a manager who you didn't, you know, carry on well with it all.


That's a good point. Daphna, what about you? What do you think is creating that kind of wanting to stay? Yeah, so for me, it's a couple of things. One, I talked about it before that we're turned to office. I'm really seeing that team members want flexibility in their work and they really want to be trusted. I think the pandemic has really demonstrated that people can work effectively from various locations. They're doing a lot of great work.


and they're trusted by their organizations. And to me, that goes a long, long way. The other thing that comes up for me is people just, they want interesting work. They wanna be part of projects. They wanna be part of something. And so really giving team members opportunities and having those career development conversations, remembering that what my team member said two months ago might not be true today.


And so they want to grow, develop, and have interesting work with new organizations. Yeah. And one thing that we pay close attention to at new level is the culture of the organization. And I think that's something that what I've heard too, even in hiring, that people are asking, tell me about the culture of the organization. And even through a...


a process of interviewing. They're wanting to see the culture show up because that kind of culture really will make somebody successful or not successful if they like the culture. Rachel? I want to add that's a yes and, and I want to add that I have had people come back to me who were new level clients of mine who've changed jobs and they have come back to me and said,


I joined this new organization because they support coaching, because I can continue with my coach. So people are actually choosing specifically how they want to grow. And if it's a culture that supports that kind of one-on-one coaching or group coaching and leadership development, they're in. Yeah. That's such a great point. And I've heard that too. People have said,


Part of my employment agreement is gonna be, I get to have a coach and I get to choose my coach who I want, because that's gonna make a difference. Anything that you've seen in this arena, Daphna, about how people are looking at this going forward as we move into 2024? I think coaching is a really interesting point. And I think from a keeping your team members happy, one of the things that comes to mind for me as a manager


developing their own coaching skills. And so being able to magnify our impact and create a culture of asking rather than telling. And I think at New Level, we're such great role models, from a culture perspective, the culture at New Level is so great. And we're able to bring that to the organizations we work with and help them


learn how to bring that among their team as well. Having again, those questions and those conversations, rather than just dictating to people. Yeah, I think it's nice to be able to say to somebody that you're coaching, what did you notice that I just did? Or what did you notice this? And how could you use this with your team? Because that is, you know, you really hit it that that's a skill that all managers need and


There's no way to be able to develop that. We have great programs that will teach you how to be a good coach and practice and be in a group, but you can also learn that through your one-on-one coaching and through modeling and from, just specifically, and Rachel had mentioned before our library of resources, we have a great library of resources that really give, here are some tips and here's the neuroscience behind it and here's some other things if you wanna read more.


But we know that people don't have time to do too much. So we want to make sure that they're able to get what they need and go and use it right away. Any final thoughts that you think as we move into 2024 and we're getting ready to launch new programs and people are out there always in that reflective place as the year begins. Hopefully not worried about losing the 10 pounds or getting to the gym too much


We set up too many resolutions, but from a work perspective, how can we help them? Daphna? You know, so I think it's really interesting what you were just saying about not having enough time. And I hear that in two things all the time. One, I don't have time to coach my team members. Two, I don't have time to just sit and think. And those are two things that I really encourage leaders I work with to create the time. Coaching.


First and foremost, when you coach your team members in the beginning, absolutely, it does take more time, but you're teaching your team members to self lead, self reflect, and over time, you're building their capacity and you have to do it less later. So it takes more time now, but over the grand scheme of things, it does take up less time.


So from a time perspective, that's one of them. And then the other one, I'm a big advocate of strategic thinking. Really just take some time, whether it's 30 minutes a week, or whatever makes sense for you. And in the resources, we've got some great questions that allow you to start thinking strategically, get up on the balcony, have a different perspective of what's going on on your team and the organization and the industry.


and think about what are the impacts and what are the implications. Yeah, great. Rachel, any final thoughts on that? You know, that was so beautifully said, Daphna. Absolutely. Sort of those bigger pictures. There's something for me around 2024 being a kinder year. And that sounds really odd, perhaps, but.


We have been driving out of the pandemic for the last couple of years as organizations. And I think that there's a lot of trickle down, right? If the leadership in an organization is, we have to, and we're driving, and oh, what do we do about this? And I just feel that 2024 is going to be the year where we retrench, but for ourselves, not retrench organizations.


where we're slowing down a little bit, where we're paying more attention to the human beings, we're paying more attention to the culture that we have, what we wanna create, will we spend more time helping our people learn that they're creating their own lives and what do they wanna create? Who do they wanna be? In the boardroom or if they're an IC, it doesn't matter. Who do they wanna be? How do they wanna show up every day? That's beautiful, yes. And I do think


The world is a challenging place right now. And we want work to be a place that is not so challenging, that people feel supported, they feel they have a team. You know, and I love your perspective on that, Rachel, that, you know, let's hope we have a kinder and gentler workplace that can just keep us away from some of the things that are happening on the outside, but know that we can make a difference in people's lives.


And you both have heard this many times and I've read it in your feedbacks that you get from clients is that, wow, this changed my personal life too. Cause I learned how to communicate better or I learned how to listen better. So, you're making a big difference, not only in the workplace, but in everybody's lives. And on behalf of everybody in the organization, I am eternally grateful to you both for your good work.


Thank you so much. Thank you, Wendy. So thank you everybody for joining us. Boy, this was filled with things that I think you can take away and do something with right away. Great ideas and inspiration. And we'll have you, in the show notes, you'll get the LinkedIn profiles of both Daphna and Rachel so that you can look them up online. Please go to our website.


to new level work and check it out because it's a wonderful place to learn more about our organization. There's also an ROI study that was done that if you're looking ahead, you're gonna learn a lot from that. So we encourage you to do that. And if you have a chance, feedback is a wonderful thing. So please give us feedback, that would really help. And it helps the direction we go in terms of the wonderful guests that we get to have on this show.


And it seems that the best guests, I think, are the ones that really are down working with people individually like Rachel and Daphna, and they can share some of their wisdom. So thank you all for joining us today, and thank you both for sharing all the things that you do. And it's not all the things. You gave us a few tidbits, but we know you do so much more. So have a wonderful day, everyone. Take care.

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