Eleni Aroni PsyT & Coach

Leadership Coaching

Inner Work as a foundation for the Outer Work of Leadership


Whether you want to Lead Yourself, Lead Your Team or Lead Your Organisation, you are defined by the choices you make, the decisions you take and your attitudes.

Inner Work
The leader’s voyage of development is not an easy one. Some people change little in their lifetimes; some change substantially. Despite the undeniably cubical role of genetics, human nature is not fixed. Those who are willing to work at developing themselves and becoming more self-aware can almost certainly evolve over time into truly transformational leaders. (Harvard Business Review 2005)

Perceiving Oneself in a Completely Different Way: Leaving a Golden Trace “You bring nothing in at birth, you take nothing out at death, so leave a golden trace in the old house of this earth” wrote Friedrich Rucker in the 19th century. At the dawn of the new millennium many people have problems with the traces they leave. Some are soberly convinced that all traces disappear in the wind. Others consider too ineffective and unimportant to be able to leave any significant traces behind them. Yet others think it would be better for their traces to be removed and forgotten, because they are dissatisfied with them. And most people think more about the traces that their parents, teachers, colleagues, martial partners, competitors and so on have left in them, than about their own.
It is rare to meet people who look back on the lives they have lived, with a smile” (E.Lukas Living Logotherapy 2020 p.283 284)

Leading yourself, your team or your organisation, requires:

  • Increased self awareness, discover your self
  • Responsibility
  • Being able to decide well
  • Acknowledging your Uniqueness (as well as other people’s uniqueness)
  • Using your spiritual dimension resources(conscience, intuition, kindness)
  • Practicing your human ability of self distancing, to “see” with clarity
  • Practicing your human ability of self transcendence, to rise above and beyond self regarding outward conditions
  • Modification of unhealthy attitudes towards meaningful ones

Jim Collins in his book “From Good to Great” uses the term Level 5 Leadership to describe the “greatest” leader, an individual who blends extreme personal humility with intense professional will: Level 5 leaders channel their ego needs away from themselves and into the larger goal of building a great company.

It’s not that Level 5 leaders have no ego or self-interest. Indeed, they are incredibly ambitious but their ambition is first and foremost for the institution, not themselves.

Professional Will

  • Creates superb results, a clear catalyst in the transition from good to great.
  • Demonstrates an unwavering resolve to do whatever must be done to produce the best long-term results, no matter how difficult.
  • Sets the standard of building an enduring great company; will settle for nothing less.
  • Looks in the mirror, not out the window, to apportion responsibility for poor results, never blaming other people, external factors, or bad luck.

Personal Humility

  • Demonstrates a compelling modesty, shunning public adulation; never boastful.
  • Acts with quiet, calm determination; relies principally on inspired standards, not inspiring charisma, to motivate.
  • Channels ambition into the company, not the self; sets up successors for even greater success in the next generation.
  • Looks out the window, not in the mirror, to apportion credit for the success of the company to other people, external factors, and good luck.

The Wealth We Build by Building
Ourselves “Spiritual Capital” (Danah Zohar and Ian Marshall 2004, p.33)

Broader than social capital, spiritual capital makes us reconsider the very meaning of human life and raises the question of how we ourselves can build broader and richer lives for ourselves.
Lives that are richer in meaning and purpose, lives that leave us with a sense of fulfilment because they are lives that have made a difference.
If we are business people, we do this by building our business lives.
But whether in public or in private, we build spiritual capital by building ourselves.

So what does it mean or require to “build ourselves”? It means to grow as human beings, to engage in reflection and activities that put us in touch with the deeper core of our humanity. It means to find some space to get out of the noise and rush of daily life to feel for at least a few moments each day the reality of our inner lives.

  • Building ourselves means doing things that enrich our self-awareness, our qualities of compassion, service, humility, and gratitude. It means exposing ourselves to some of that “deep stuff”…
  • Building ourselves, as is so often said by spiritual leaders throughout the ages, is also more a matter of being than of doing-a process of building a way of being.

We can’t build a way of being simply by learning a new technique, reading a quick book of “10 Easy Steps to Higher Consciousness,” or by attending a weekend workshop.
And we certainly can’t build a new way of being by cynical manoeuvres aimed at impressing other people. Such behaviour is usually seen through very quickly.

  • To become better, deeper, more spiritually intelligent people, we have to grow a dimension of our being that is sensitive to the deepest meanings of human life-a sensitivity, if you like, to Plato’s famous triad of values: Goodness, Truth, and Beauty.
  • We must live our lives as a vocation, as a calling to the service of those deepest values.

To do that, we must act from the higher motivations that can drive human behaviour.
This is a long-term project, requiring tenacity and commitment. Looking at the full range of human motivation and presenting ways to learn to act from higher motivation…. Raising our motivations in life is critical to bringing about the cultural shift that many of us desire.

If this article touched you and you want to find out more, please send me an email at: elena.aroni@gmail.com