Leadership Live with Kate Shaw

Christine Tao sat down with executive coach and talent consultant Kate Shaw for LeadershipLive.

Kate has spent the last 25 years developing talent in organizations known all over the world for their hashtagcreativity and hashtaginnovation. Whether it was at Airbnb, Apple, or Lucasfilm, she was part preservationist and part instigator – helping leaders, teams, and organizations understand what was uniquely special about them, and what they needed to change in order to unlock what was next.

Below are some highlights from their conversation.

L&D is holistic support for both employees and the organization

Nearly every industry and organization is currently facing high-pressure challenges that have workers reaching their limits. While many organizations are leaning on wellness benefits to help address burnout, Kate argues that learning and development (L&D) should be viewed as a critical support system for employees, especially in high-pressure situations. Providing learning opportunities can help employees perform better and grow, even during times of crisis.

L&D professionals should aim to create programs that not only address immediate needs but also instill a sense of purpose and resilience.

 “While there’s no question that wellness benefits can help serve some people’s needs, what it doesn’t help them do is perform better necessarily or continue to grow their skills in a way that will really help them rise to the moment that they’re in,” she says.

This holistic support also applies to the organization. Successful L&D programs support the strategic needs of the organization. Instead of looking at learning and development as a luxury line item, organizations must build out programs that actively develop workers with the skills and capacities that can drive the business further.

It’s critical to slow down in order to speed up. Just going to the well and drawing upon a few new tools can make a massive difference in terms of how employees show up in the work and get things done together,” says Kate.

Create a well-balanced coaching culture

Building a coaching culture within the organization can have significant benefits. Kate describes how at Airbnb, higher-level leaders were coached by external leadership coaches. They were then trained in coaching skills to support others, creating a ripple effect throughout the organization. Encouraging leaders to develop coaching skills can enhance overall team performance and employee engagement.

Internal coaches can provide context-specific insights and foster a culture of coaching within the organization, while external coaches can offer fresh perspectives and ensure confidentiality. 

“It was really about infusing the culture with coaching, with the spirit of coaching,” says Kate. ” The benefit of both worlds and also develop connections inside the company that were really meaningful.”

Continuous learning for L&D professionals

Kate emphasizes that L&D professionals should prioritize their own continuous learning and self-care. When they’re supported, they’re better able to support others. Kate recommends that learning leaders stay up-to-date with industry trends, seek personal development opportunities, and maintain a healthy work-life balance.

I think especially given these high pressure environments that often that so many of us find ourselves in today, we can find ourselves depleted,” she says. “I would just encourage people to continue to nurture themselves so that they can continue to do the work that they love to do, which is to really help support the learning of others.”

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