The Leadership Crucible

Leadership. It’s become a catch-all phrase in the last decade for college courses, business development workshops and consulting programs, but the ambiguity runs rampant. Part of the misconception is the assumption that leaders should fit a visible mold. Many times, it's looks like "one who leads the charge"- loud, opinionated, and outwardly decisive. When in actuality, true leadership comes in as many different forms as there are people.

Regularly, I conduct coaching sessions with highly competent professionals who sell themselves short believing they are not yet the leader they could be because of this limited definition. There comes a point in one’s development where the realization occurs that authentic leadership is subjective.

I call bullsh*t on the premise that only certain personalities or titles create a leader.

Each one of us has the capacity for becoming, but this doesn’t mean each one of us is currently, a leader. We have to first earn the status of this innate truth and consequential title, but it doesn’t need to follow the current leadership culture model.

Fact: you change a room just by walking into it.

Where once a certain ecosystem existed, the climate, temperature, and potential outcome shifts palpably with the arrival of your presence.

The way you shift a room with your presence is your first hint to what gifts your leadership can bring. Do people tend to relax, feel invigorated, laugh, lighten up, sit up straighter, feel their bodies, feel their hearts, feel their minds, become inspired, soften, or become on edge when you arrive? What view do you hold that others could use?

So many times these hints about who we are and what we bring are missed because they seem so obvious to us. Our minds trick us into assuming everyone feels the same way we do, but what we don’t realize is these are actually the things that make us unique and are exactly what is needed for the systems in which we exist (work, family, partnerships) to thrive.

More clues to your leadership can come from answering the following questions:

  • What aspects of your everyday expression are second-nature to you?
  • If you could, what service would you provide every day and feel fulfilled, whether or not you ever were paid to do so?
  • What does it feel like when you are being this person who does these things?
  • How can you ignite those feelings a little more today?

For example, I get fired up and energized when I talk to people about the things that really matter to them. I always have. I love to co-create a vision of the very best of this person, out in the world, doing their thing. I coach people all day long in a corporate environment drilling down into what matters most to them and getting to the heart of why. Calling their best attributes to the surface of their experience, I get to witness leaders stepping into their unique power on a daily basis. I happen to get paid for this now. But when I was having these conversations before I knew the coaching profession was a thing, I loved it just as much. This is my happy place, and consequently, the current form my leadership has taken. 

The core crucible every person needs to face in their development as a leader, and move through, is no one else holds the information on how to be the leader you are destined to be. Each individual has their specific medicine to bring to the people. 

Every potential leader must go through the crucible of seeing that there is no greater authority than oneself. If you’re still reaching for the brass ring of approval from other in the form of a title, a pat on the back, a raise or some level of fame or reputation, this crucible has yet to be passed through. Rest assured, it will. 

And if this kind of longing is something you face right now, what would it look like if you were to give yourself that which you most desire from the Others in your life? There is no bigger success or freedom than knowing you are honoring the integrity of Who you Are in the deepest sense. And when you move through this to say no to doing it for anyone outside of yourself (boss, mom, dad, co-worker, spouse, partner), congratulations! You've graduated to the next level. Now, the real fun begins!


Stephanie Yost, CPCC, is a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach and the CCO (Chief Creative Officer) of GumTree LLC, a coaching and consulting company for individual business leaders navigating personal and professional change. She is also currently an Associate for the London based team of White & Lime Coaching and the Founder of WiNGs, the Women’s Network Group in State College, PA.

Stephanie has been partnering with leaders for over a decade.

A Master of Inquiry into what motivates and inspires humans in both the professional and personal realms, Stephanie reconnects leaders with their innate power and passion, bringing freedom and fun to their work, money, health and relationships.

She especially loves working with those ready to create a revolution, both within themselves and in their communities.

She believes that we only improve with age and that radical self-care is the secret to the universe. To support yours or your company's own evolution, drop us a line.

Steph Yost