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Q&A With Executive Coach Nancy Wallis

Jan 30th, 2014Comments Off on Q&A With Executive Coach Nancy Wallis

The distinguished academic and hands-on mentor shares the secrets to great coaching

We sat down with Dr. Nancy C. Wallis, a Brainard Strategy coach with a lifelong history of interweaving academic pursuits with practical leadership intelligence for organizations.

Dr. Wallis has designed leadership development and organizational theory courses for several business schools and has supervised doctoral dissertations contributing to the leadership literature. She is currently a professor at Pitzer College, Pepperdine University Graziadio School of Business and Management, and Danube University.

BRAINARD STRATEGY: First of all, how do you define coaching?
DR. NANCY C. WALLIS: Leadership coaching includes fostering a trusting relationship between two professionals that allows for deep dialogue around important facets of leadership. It is the co-creation of a learning space, which can support exploring shadow areas, as-yet unexplored perspectives, and growth opportunities to support leadership transformation. In a nutshell, leadership coaching is working with another executive to discover new methods to be one’s best in ways that allow others’ to be their best.

BRAINARD: What makes a coach successful?
DR. WALLIS:  coach is successful when the leader she is coaching gains increased self-awareness, develops increased capacity to understand complex situations, and act effectively in them. Success inspires a continuing leadership learning process, such that future transformation is likely. We discuss that the most effective leaders develop the discipline of continuous learning, practicing and remaining dedicated to one’s own leadership development, no matter one’s role or circumstances.

BRAINARD: What is your personal coaching style?
DR. WALLIS: It is important to build a trusting relationship early in the coaching process which is, in effect, a holding environment that we co-create. This allows for an individually tailored combination of supports, challenges and stability necessary for the exploration of assessment data in combination with personal history and experiences such that deep learning and growth can occur.

BRAINARD: What sets Brainard coaches apart from others?
DR. WALLIS: It is important to build a trusting relationship early in the coaching process, which is, in effect, a holding environment that we co-create. I strive for an individually tailored combination of supports, challenges, and stability necessary for the exploration of assessment data. Deep learning and growth are tied to personal history, experiences, and new knowledge.

BRAINARD: What do you do best?
DR. WALLIS: I enjoy building engaging relationships in which clients can expand their leadership capacity and competence in ways that uniquely address their personal and professional contexts. I particularly enjoy coaching engagements with leaders who have a deep learning orientation and are seeking to expand their repertoire of meaning making and action taking to reflect more complex ways of understanding their organization and current global influences.
BRAINARD: What kind of clients do you work with best?
DR. WALLIS: My commitment to clients who are seeking lasting transformation in their leadership impact is to bring state of the art leadership concepts, models and developmental supports and to integrate these within their unique developmental journey. I work best with clients who are curious about and committed to their leadership development, to increasing the health and effectiveness of their organization, and who are committed to guiding their organizations forward as we together address vital and emerging issues related to organizational health and social and ecological sustainability.

Nancy Wallis to Speak at Int’l Society for Performance Improvement {4/10/12}

Mar 5th, 2012Comments Off on Nancy Wallis to Speak at Int’l Society for Performance Improvement {4/10/12}

Leadership From Within Change

With Brainard Strategy and Nancy Wallis

Tuesday, April 10, 2012, 6:00-8:00 p.m.  Registration opens at 5:30 p.m.
Location:  Wyndham Garden Hotel — 3350 Avenue of the Arts, Costa Mesa
Contact: 714.751.5100
Fees:  OC-ISPI Members: $35*/ $40 | Non-Members: $50*/ $57
PARKING: $4.00

To register, visit
Reserve by Thursday, April 5, to receive discounted early bird rate!

Leaders in organizational settings are increasingly aware of the importance of new ways of thinking as essential for competing in the new informational global economy and networked society.  Business at the dawn of the 21st century offers managers the opportunity to pay attention differently, both individually and collectively, in order to bring about the profound systemic changes so needed to succeed in the current turbulent, complex and rapidly changing global context.

Nancy will share a framework for the topic of Leadership from Within Change.  She will focus her opening remarks on the framework known as Theory U by Dr. C. Otto Scharmer.  Theory U offers an exciting and timely way of thinking about leading change in the new global reality that is emerging.  Join us as Nancy leads a conversation on using the Theory U process to lead organizational change within the larger context of increasing global change, complexity and uncertainty.

The U image depicts five levels of change that can take a department or organization from a challenge to a solution by a process that moves from shared perception to collective action.  The deepest level of the U curve accesses the future that wants to emerge and is referred to as ‘the U process’ and rests between developing a shared perception and co-creating shared action.

Suggested learning objectives or “take-aways” include :

  • Understanding the four ways of responding to change (reacting to issues, redesigning structure and process, reframing the problem, and presencing, or learning from the future as it emerges) and be motivated to try the fourth.
  • Understanding the five movements, or aspects of moving through the U process, and consider applying them to a current change initiative.
  • Understanding the power of the right-hand side of the U, or integrating head, heart and hands in practical ways.

ISPI will raffle off Scharmer’s Theory U: Leading from the Future as it Emerges (2007).

Dr. Wallis interweaves academic pursuits and the practice of leadership in organizational settings.  She has a wealth of experience from her 30 years as senior leader, project manager, consultant, administrator and mentor, always with a larger goal of improving leadership capacity and organizational performance.  She earned her PhD at Fielding Graduate University and her MBA and MSPH at UCLA.

Currently Associate Dean for the School of Human and Organizational Development at Fielding Graduate University, she is committed to the study and practice of leadership that improves the quality of human lives.  She balances her academic roles, research, writing, consulting and speaking engagements with a keen interest for inquiry into how we may enact organizational leadership in which personal and collective transformation are engaged.  She works with Brainard Strategy where she helps organizations realize individual, interpersonal and systemic transformation.