Season’s Greetings! A Leadership message from an Executive Coach – on Leadership Ballet

Leadership Ballet

‘Where what you fear gets a dance lesson with destiny’

Ballet is likely a low priority on your mind if you already have a spot on “mahogany row” *). Before you go, answering the final question below might offer you a valuable life decision. Curious how? – read on.

How many young people take ballet lessons each year? Some of you reading this have children who have or are taking ballet lessons. Among these young hopefuls, how many aspire to and succeed at being at the summit of their profession? Is this starting to sound like being or aspiring to a senior executive position? As an Executive coach, I’ve asked many executives to reflect upon the seeming paradox of the Leadership Ballet. Many resonate deeply with the finer and its more subtle distinctions. If not ballet, what about hockey or football?

Someone committed to a corporate calling posses a Willful energy, a dynamic intensity of a purpose and power to create. Answering this inward summoning seeking expression and achievement is not an option. Creative impulse, destiny, an inspiring vision or leaving a legacy summons them. Life’s cross-roads or a crises(s), is certain to preoccupy middle-of-the-night serious soul-searching sessions demands answers to problems asking more questions. For me it was all of those. Inevitably, noses bump into the invisible wall of a question posed in a previous post this month around the ‘Purpose in Presence’: “Who am I that I’m afraid of revealing my self?” People relate to and are inspired by a leader’s human-ness. Yes, it takes courage, and Yes, it pays huge dividends.

As a Canadian, married to a wonderful Finnish lady (also a Leadership Coach), living and working in Helsinki, I’m intrigued by how similar (and ‘stable’ – thank God!) our two cultures are. ‘Joulu’ season is currently in front of us. As a Canadian, I note lots of similar seasonal reminders, offerings of ballet, opera and variety of Christmas concerts. The Finnish National Opera and Ballet in Töölö, is hosting fourteen productions of Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker” from December 2, 2016 to January 7, 2017. If you haven’t seen it, seriously consider doing so. Setting aside the hours of sweat and practice invested in each performance, these artists, like every executive and leader are equally reminded and terrified by their own vulnerability of making costly mistakes in front of audiences is inspiring. Each of us invests in a hell of our own ‘Leadership Ballet’, coming face to face with the same question: “Who am I, that I’m afraid of…?”

How will you respond to your questions between the photo’s ripples on the water at the end of the dots?



Photo: Jim Grant – in Lempäälä, Finland.


*) Mahogany row: Executive offices that typically have high ceilings, large windows, a beautiful exterior view with mahogany furniture, wall paneling and built-in bookcases.


Jim Grant is an Executive Leadership Coach and Global Leadership Foundation Fellow living in Helsinki, Finland. Working with business professionals, executive leaders and their corporate teams is his specialty. He is welcoming new clients and if you’re interested, would be pleased to discuss your personal and company coaching needs with you.  



Posted in Yleinen.