JB: My guest today is Donna Karlin, a pioneer in the field of leadership coaching. Welcome back to OpEdNews, Donna.
Joan Brunwasser: When we last spoke two and a half years ago, your book, Leaders: Their Stories, Their Words, Conversations with Human-Based Leaders was about to be published. Time has passed. It's out. How has it been received?
Donna Karlin: It's been received very well. It was chosen by Spirited Woman as one of Top 12 New Year's Book Picks in 2012 and is now gracing the shelves of libraries, schools and leaders' bookcases. Writing that book was a labor of love; to highlight human-based or values-based leaders in various fields, especially for those not usually in the limelight.
JB: I'm glad to hear that. Congratulations. Many of our readers will not be familiar with the concept of leadership coaching. Can you help us out with that?
DK: We live in a complex world. Change is a constant, technologically, environmentally and organizationally. Leadership Coaching not only helps people lead teams and, in turn evolve their organizations in a world of continuous change and transition, but helps leaders learn how to embrace change. If leaders have a narrow perspective, what happens is lack of context (they're only seeing a small piece of the puzzle), and therefore only have a small range of choices to decide from.
Helping leaders shift the way they think and feel, how they behave and respond to problematic situations expands potential, raises ownership and accountability and stimulates paradigm shifts of perspective, individual and organizational performance and possibility. So I help them broaden their perspective by illuminating behaviors within situations they're not paying attention to, introduce paradoxes, and co-create stimulating arenas and environments that expands their thinking.
JB: Speaking of expanding our thinking, I'd like to change gears and talk about another book you wrote, So You Want to Get Divorced?. Tell us about it, please.
DK: What happens when your spouse turns around and says "I want a divorce?" Most of the time their partner is gobsmacked and doesn't expect it, no matter how bad things might get. Most of the time all they can do is turn around and ask the question "So you want to get divorced?" If you're on the other side of the coin and want to instigate a divorce, then ask yourself the question. The answers in the guide apply from both perspectives. I wrote this guide to help people navigate through the mess of divorce. It's a way for people to keep their head on straight during and after one of the most stressful experiences of their life, not only to survive but thrive. The end of a relationship is the beginning of a future of choice. Once can choose to get enmeshed in the emotional battlefield of divorce, or to stay centered and prepared to deal with whatever comes their way.
It's a book that acts like a coach in the reader's ear to guide them every step of the way. It's not legal advice; it's living guidance.
JB: Why did you write this book?
DK: I wrote this book because everyone needs help when their lives are turned upside down and this is a slice of just that. Not an end all and be all, but a guide, a place to document your thoughts. It's a book where you can look back after it's all said and done and see what your journey was like and how you came through at the other end stronger than ever. I'm a coach. It's as much who I am as what I do. When I was going through my own divorce way back when, I knew that if I didn't have my head screwed on straight, it would take me down. I refused to live someone else's story of me. I decided to make every moment of this experience one that I would not only learn from but grow through to a place in life that is so much better!
JB: I can attest that your book is a great resource from personal experience. What kind of response have you gotten so far?
DK: It was only released a few days ago, so I don't have the numbers or feedback as of yet other than from people I gave it to test out so to speak. Those who used it through their divorces, and, in one instance, one who was supporting a partner through divorce, thought it was a fabulous "keep my head screwed on straight" book, almost like a self-coaching program through the most difficult stages of their divorce. As you mentioned, "you can attest to it from personal experience", I would turn the question around and ask, how did it benefit you?
JB: Good question, Donna. Let me see. It made the vast unknown ahead seem more manageable. It gave me concrete steps to take to get through what is often, in the best of circumstances, nevertheless quite a traumatic experience. It took my substantial fear and anxiety and tamped them down so that I could cope and accomplish what I needed to accomplish in order to get to the other side of being married. I'd say that's quite a lot!