Leadership Coaching

As a leader, you are juggling a myriad of competing, conflicting, and unprecedented pressures with decreasing resources, a huge array of initiatives to implement and rigorous layers of accountability, and this is both daunting and exhausting. This complexity, immediacy, overabundance of information, and potential for distraction has consequences for everyone, and is perhaps most particularly felt for school leaders, because you must lead and show the way forward during a period in which the education sector is undergoing transformational and truly groundbreaking change. You are called to wear too many hats: a visionary in swiftly shifting environments, a change agent, instructional leader, curriculum and assessment expert, fiscal and budget analyst, facility manager, special program administrator, community builder, and you must take care of yourself and your family. The bottom line: Leaders are extraordinarily stressed and frequently lack resources and supports for building and nurturing your own leadership practices with profound effects on you emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually.

What is Leadership Coaching

Leadership coaching is a personalized, confidential structured support, either in person or over the phone, to reflect and to understand your deepest values, gain new perspectives and adopt new behavioral practices that strengthen your leadership and your life. As a supportive partner, Valerie works with you to provide accountability, rather than prescribing solutions or fixing. You choose the topic, set the agenda and Valerie listens, asks powerful questions, makes comments, and provides behavioral practices to help you move toward your deepest values and goals.

Leadership Coaching is Ideal for You if You:

  • Sense that you are at the edge or in full-blown burn out
  • Put your self-care last and sometimes believe that it is ‘selfish’ to take care of yourself
  • Want to improve you leadership skills with ongoing, confidential support and not one-off trainings loaded with ‘good ideas’
  • Want to move your leadership skills beyond annual performance reviews
  • Seek to develop new competencies, qualities, and ways of being that support you

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Coaching & Consulting Services

Named one of the best courageous books of 2014 by the Center for Courage & Renewal, this book is for educational leaders who feel overwhelmed, stressed, and exhausted, and offers explicit practices to help readers avoid burnout and become the mindful, poised, effective leaders they were meant to be. Loaded with real-time encouragement with portraits of educational leaders who are incorporating mindfulness practices, like attentive breathing, mindful walking about the school building, or calming pauses in the office throughout the school day, this book is a must-have guide.

Valerie Brown and Kirsten Olson. Corwin, December 2014. 344 pages.

The Road that Teaches: Lessons in Transformation through Travel.

Not your average travel guidebook, this book explores some of the world’s great pilgrimages, destinations, and the author’s reflections on the lessons she learned from them. Read this book to discover how travel can be transformational, how to be more mindful while traveling and every day, the adventures of traveling alone, the delights of encountering new people and places, ancient pilgrimage journeys and sacred travel worldwide.

Valerie Brown. QuakerBridge Media, 2012, 152 pages. Also available from QuakerBooks.

Heartfulness: Renewing Heart, Mind, and Spirit on Retreat and Beyond Valerie

Valerie Brown guides readers toward renewal of mind, heart, and spirit by encouraging them to take time away from the busyness of their lives through retreat. Drawing on her experience as a retreatant and retreat leader, she introduces readers to opportunities for personal restoration within a variety of focused retreats. She wonders how Friends experience of expectant waiting influences the retreat process and how retreats influence expectant waiting. She encourages the “big questions”—What has meaning and purpose in my life? What am I avoiding? What brings me most alive?—and offers specific practices for retreatants to cultivate in everyday life.

Valerie Brown. Pendle Hill Pamphlet #421.

Quakers are advised to begin worship by “centering down.” This is the first step in a Friend’s intention to wait in “holy expectancy,” to be drawn by the Light into communion with God. Centering prayer is also a practice used by Christian mystics to prepare for contemplation, and “centering” describes the meditation of a Buddhist in pursuit of that deep awareness called “mindfulness.” Valerie Brown is an explorer and teacher of centering practices, a Buddhist, and an active Friend. Drawing upon her own experiences and wide studies, she describes for Friends how these various traditions can offer us a better understanding and preparedness for our precious, elusive, mysterious, and simple practice of centering into worship. Discussion questions included.

Valerie Brown, Pendle Hill Pamphlet #407. 2014.