Unlock Your Leadership Potential: Strategies for Performance Coaching

What is the biggest challenge many leaders face when developing in their role? Recognizing that addressing performance issues is the main part of their job, and that it actually fosters productive relationships with their employees. Managers often express frustration with wanting to get to their “real work” rather than spending so much time on the “people stuff”. But in my experience, the “people stuff” is the real work.

Gallup[1] found that only 14% of employees feel their performance is managed in a way that motivates them and 26% receive feedback less than once a year. Only 21% feel their performance metrics are within their control, and 40% feel as if their manager holds them accountable for the goals they set. Many managers admit they have room to grow. Four in 10 acknowledge they have not achieved advanced proficiency in managing performance.[2] Gallup conducted a study comparing how managers think they are leading their teams versus how employees think they are being managed. Two of the top things employees want from their managers is quality feedback and to be approachable with any type of question, yet managers are not doing as well as they think they are in doing either of those.[3]

This is what performance coaching is all about. Coaching is a leadership style, and it is becoming the expectation organizational cultures. I often hear leaders say they coach; however, in many cases, they are actually telling, directing, or using a mentoring approach. While a situation may call for those tactics and they might be helpful, they are not coaching. Coaching is an approach that facilitates individuals in drawing on their own experiences and capabilities to set and reach their own objectives.[4]

Managing Performance

Fewer words in workplace language create a tighter cringe than “managing performance”. If this resonates with you, you’re not alone. In my observation, many leaders avoid these conversations mainly because they don’t feel equipped to initiate conversations with employees who have fallen short of expectations. They fear the experience will be negative. Leaders talk themselves out of taking action because they get caught up in the “what if’s” of how the conversation may go – “What if they argue? What if they get defensive? Cry? What if nothing changes?” And the list goes on.

Let’s instead reframe the opportunity into an optimistic perspective and focus on the ways leaders talk about, assess, and acknowledge the contributions of their employees.

Here are common scenarios that leaders share in our Performance Coaching program. It sets the tone for what they want to work on during the program. Any of this sound familiar to you?

  • How to get better at following up and confronting staff. Some managers are afraid to have difficult conversations, such as addressing underperformance. They don’t know how to do this.
  • How to manage a former peer who is now your direct report.
  • How to incorporate a coaching component in performance appraisals. This includes making appraisals more positive with fewer surprises, having difficult conversations, and holding employees accountable before appraisals so people feel supported along the way.

3 Best Practices for Performance Coaching

Consider these three factors to help you embrace your role of engaging in performance coaching conversations with your people:

  1. Coach the person, not the problem: Take a growth mindset approach, believing that the employee can learn, adapt, and improve in their role. If you believe the person you are coaching has some experiences to draw from in seeking a resolution, shift the focus from the external problem to the person. The conversations may feel uncomfortable, but the outcomes are remarkable. It is a combination of providing support and challenge, with the goal of the employee feeling ownership over the outcome.
  2. Your job is to notice: Focus on observing the person’s progress over time, noticing both effort and results. Between coaching conversations, your job is to notice and encourage observable behaviours that indicate the employee’s growth. Understand that progress builds with each coaching conversation over time. It’s myth to think that one coaching conversation can ensure an employee course corrects or is successful at using a new skill. Manage your expectations and adopt a feedforward mindset, which focuses on future actions rather than only talking about the past, which is unchangeable. Don’t make feedback the sole focus. An approach to embrace both effort and results was a key focus for a CEO I know and she regularly encourages her team to value the learning that comes from making a mistake, and that learning includes not repeating the mistake.
  3. Assess yourself as the leader: The foundation of employee-manager relationships is crucial for employees to know how they are doing. If not you, then who? You are the leader, and that role’s foundation is to foster growth and performance of others. Here is some advice from an experienced leader who eventually gained the skills to embrace performance conversations. He reframed his role and explained, “I found an alternative path to the outcome. I thought that if I can find an avenue to do it, let’s do it together in our respective roles – my role is to use a coach approach, and the employee’s role is to find a path to owning their role in improving their performance. I found role clarity of the manager and of the employee, which helped us move away from taking it personal to taking an objective view.” Ask yourself, “What’s been my contribution to the current state of the employee’s challenge or failure? Did they hear from me before now? Did they have the skills, team support, and doable timelines?

Performance Coaching Example

A coaching conversation looks different every time. Consider this scenario where Lana is frequently away from her desk without her manager, Grant, knowing where or for what reason. Grant finally initiates a conversation about it and decides to take a coaching approach. Grant’s script might sound something like this:

“Lana, I noticed you were away from your desk all afternoon again. We should have an open, honest conversation about it. My goal is to give you clear feedback on the impact and ensure we are collectively working toward your development.” This sets the tone for a collaborative discussion based on the manager’s observation.

“Let’s take a moment to understand how we arrived here and what factors got us here. I’d like to invite you to assess your performance lately. Did you accomplish all your goals for that project and meet the expectations we set? I noticed the project is delayed a week. What’s working well and what’s not? I’m concerned, as I don’t know where you have been the last few afternoons.”  This allows you to look back and be curious without judgement.

“What aspects of this project do you feel align most with what you enjoy about your role? Could we talk about any experiences with this project you are hoping will work out? I’d like to understand the reasons for the delay and what you’d like to me know about it?”  This starts to acknowledge what is important to them as you give examples of what’s not aligning with is expected .  This leverages the fact that there is a strong link between employee engagement and performance improvement.  What’s demonstrated here is focusing on the person, not the problem.

“Your work in the department is fantastic and it always contributes to make things better for the whole team.  We’d be lost without you. This project is critical for our customers, as you know. What additional contribution can the team help with at this point?” A manager’s role in offering positive comments is really important to address any setbacks or when an employee is not meeting expectations.

Ask the employee, “How would you like to get the project back on track?” This is a feedforward approach, as the manager is providing support to help create an actionable next step forward. If Lana hasn’t mentioned it by now, this is also when she may explain what is really is the issue or challenge for her. This sets the stage for the wrap up question of “What is your next step? When will you do that? How will we know it is complete? What might get in your way and what will you do to mitigate that?”

There is value in scripting what you want to say before engaging in the conversation. Try bookending the conversation – develop your opener and your request. Practice in a safe environment by finding a coaching partner, perhaps another leader who is also working on increasing their performance coaching skills.

If there’s one takeaway, it’s that coaching is a skill and a mindset that develops over time. Keep these three factors in mind to excel at engaging in performance coaching conversations with your team: coach the person not the problem; continually observe; and regularly assess yourself as the leader.

About the Author

Linda Allen-Hardisty is an organizational development professional (Queens IRC OD Certificate), an executive coach (ICF MCC professional designation), a team coach (EMCC Global Accreditation), and a Forbes Coaches Council contributing member. She’s built a reputation as a vibrant, contemporary voice in the business world by blending her grounding in OD with a practical approach to addressing organizational challenges and opportunities. With a Masters of Education from the University of Regina, Linda’s uniqueness is that, prior to private practice, she fulfilled corporate leadership roles including the Director of Organizational Development in a company listed on the Hewitt Top 50 Employers in Canada and became the first Manager of Strategy and Performance for a municipal government undertaking cultural transformation. Over her 20-year OD career, she has helped many leaders – from corporate executives to entrepreneurs – improve their personal and professional success. She is a sought-after facilitator, coach and advisor for executive development, strategy and change, team effectiveness, and emotional intelligence.

Linda is the lead facilitator for the Queen’s IRC Performance Coaching and Building Trust programs.


Join Linda and Queen’s IRC for a free webinar on July 24, 2024 from 1-2 pm ET: Unlock Your Leadership Potential: Strategies for Performance Coaching



[1] Gallup, Inc. (2024, March 22). Re-engineering Performance Management. Gallup.com. Retrieved May 31, 2024, from https://www.gallup.com/workplace/238064/re-engineering-performance-management.aspx

[2] Gallup, Inc. (2024, May 28). The Strengths, Weaknesses and Blind Spots of Managers. Gallup.com. Retrieved June 7, 2024, from https://www.gallup.com/workplace/645299/strengths-weaknesses-blind-spots-managers.aspx.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Allen-Hardisty, L. (2024, April 3). Better Leadership: Focus on a coach approach. Industrial Relations Centre – Queens University. https://irc.queensu.ca/better-leadership-focus-on-a-coach-approach/

3 Tips for Driving Engagement Through Inclusion in the Workplace

We have all likely encountered the term “engagement” in the workplace, and most organizations emphasize the value of having engaged individuals or an engaged workforce. This knowledge often drives the need to measure or assess engagement through various means such as surveys, pulse checks, and listening sessions, among others. In my professional career, the significance of engagement has been ingrained in me through academic study, knowledge, and practical experience. It is widely acknowledged that strong engagement feeds a positive psychological contract (the quid pro quo representing the informal obligations between an employee and their employer) which is germane to discretionary effort. Some benefits of discretionary effort include higher productivity, reduced sickness absence and turnover, and lower presenteeism.

I believe the intersection between inclusion-driven engagement is a sweet spot, as I have experienced inclusion or a sense of belonging as being a key contributor to engagement in the workplace. Here, I am sharing 3 quick tips for driving engagement through inclusion:

1. Promote Belonging

It is no surprise that we all thrive better in environments where we feel safe to be our authentic selves or bring our whole selves to work. The more we can bring our whole selves to the workplace, the deeper the sense of belonging that is created and the greater the level of engagement. Implementing a strategic approach to inclusion and belonging is essential. This involves garnering senior leadership commitment, defining what belonging means to your organization, and establishing mechanisms for driving a sustainable belonging agenda such as through working groups or committees. Develop initiatives that demonstrate strong alliance, promote awareness and learning, and advance a richer understanding of your organization’s demographics and those of its customers or service users. Explore opportunities to address systemic barriers to belonging that may be enshrined in practices, policies, and practices. Every opportunity should be seized to role model and energize belonging.

2. Mental Health and Well-being

The last few years have taught us many things. New words quickly became part of our daily vocabulary such as – physical distancing, pandemic, vaccinations, essential workers, surveillance testing, rapid antigen tests, masks, hand sanitizers, isolation, and endemic. These words hold different meanings to us depending on our individual experiences over the past couple of years. However, one thing has emerged very strongly – the importance of mental health and wellbeing. Equally important is the realization that the mundane offerings of traditional EAPs (employee assistance programs) are no longer sufficient. My fond term for a renewed focus on mental health and wellbeing is “check up from the neck up”. It is imperative to craft and co-design bespoke strategies to address burnout and improve mental health and wellbeing in the workplace. Begin by identifying what causes stress in your workplace. Develop ways in which you deliver your own suite of “check up from the neck up” plans, which could range from lunchtime yoga sessions, strategically located massage chairs, wellness spaces, kindness trolleys, self-care tips, duvet days, and mental health check-ins. The ultimate goal should be to de-stigmatize discussions around mental health and wellbeing, disassociate them from resilience, and create an environment where it is acceptable for someone to say, “I am not okay”.

3. Listening into Action

Listening into action is a concept I learned when I worked in the National Health Service (NHS) in England. Originally tailored for the NHS, it is a proven tool to help galvanize people by energizing, approaching issues with a solutions-based tactic, and giving people ‘permission to act’ on their good ideas. An approach of listening into action suggests the acquiring of feedback and the generation of ideas for easy change. Organizations can adopt this approach by establishing regular mechanisms to gauge the sentiments of their employees, but with the added dimension of extending inquiries to questions like “what would good look like” or “what could be done to change the status quo”. This solutions-based approach of seeking feedback promotes a deeper sense of ownership and, consequently, promotes a shared sense of responsibility for the resolution. Embracing transparency, open communication, sharing good news stories, and celebrating successes are integral components of the listening into action approach.

By practicing and implementing these easy tips, engagement through inclusion in the workplace can be driven, cultivated, and maintained. Remember though that sustained change is a slow burn, persistence and a PDSA (plan-do-study-act) approach would also contribute to success even more so with the dynamic and agile nature of today’s environments.


About the Author

Lola Obomighie

Lola Obomighie is an accomplished people leader. Enthusiastic and results driven, she has over 15 years experience gained from an impressive career in England, and Ontario, Canada. Lola is an insatiable learner, and she keenly maintains her continuous professional development. She holds a BSc (Hons) in Economics and Statistics, and an MSc. Human Resources Management. Lola has her CHRL with the HRPA and CAPM with the PMI. Additionally, Lola remains a Chartered Member (MCIPD) of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) England. She is also currently pursing her Certified Health Executive (CHE) program with the Canadian College of Health Leaders (CCHL). When Lola isn’t at work you would find her enjoying family time, watching a good show, travelling or being in church. Lola is dedicated to community service and is currently a member of the Board of Governors in an independent private school in the Northumberland County.

The Ever-Increasing Digital World of Work

With the acceleration of all things digital over the past five years, especially through the pandemic, training strategy and governance have become a priority for better practice human resources (HR) strategy and management across most industry sectors. It has also become a critical instrument for delivering and meeting customer/client/patient needs and expectations. Against this imperative, however, is the stark reality that many organizations do not recognize this reality, and the risks of not investing in and effectively managing this training and development priority.

With this “all things digital” context in mind, this article is focused on providing three key human resources strategy perspectives to elevate one’s approach to training strategy today, which include:

  1. a proactive approach on how to think about to considering (and categorizing) digital work applications and practices; and
  2. the heightened importance of related training strategy development, including segmented needs analysis and how it needs to be managed and governed; and
  3. how to bring the approach and management of enabling digital training to life.

This article will also highlight select applied insights from the Canadian healthcare and professional services sectors. These examples of challenges, priorities, and better practices are generally applicable to most organizations across the broader private and public sector spectrum, and for both unionized and non-unionized employers.

Download PDF: The Ever-Increasing Digital World of Work: Critical Implications for Training Strategy and Governance

Talent Mobility: Reducing Self-imposed Barriers to Increase Mobility in Your Organization

Organizations need the right talent to succeed, and they need it now.

Simply stated: I don’t think there is a CEO alive who would not agree they need the right talent, at the right time, to achieve organizational commitments. And if they don’t have the right talent they need, their organizational goals are therefore in jeopardy. A recent article by Gartner HR indicated that CEOs rank talent shortages as the most damaging risk on the outlook for their business.[1]

To make matters worse, the world is changing at lightning speed (think Industrial Revolution 4.0) and emerging technologies and innovations require vastly different skill sets than were needed in the past. According to the World Economic Forum, 44% of workers’ skills will be disrupted in the next 5 years and 6 in 10 employees will require training before 2027.[2]  While the lack of skills is a challenge today, the emergence of new skill requirements will be an even bigger challenge tomorrow.

Although there are many factors contributing to this ‘talent crisis’, including skill shortages, impending retirements, demographic shifts/ changes, etc., some of the main hurdles are those created and perpetuated by the organizations themselves. It will require awareness and a firm commitment to the eventual eradication of these barriers to make any inroads moving forward. Think of it this way: it is easier to battle external factors on the outside than it is having to also battle self-imposed challenges on the inside. Control what is controllable (i.e., internal challenges) and figure out the rest.

Download PDF: Talent Mobility: Reducing Self-imposed Barriers to Increase Mobility in Your Organization



[1] 2024 leadership vision for 2024: Top 3 strategic priorities for chief HR officers. Gartner. (2023). Retrieved January 18, 2024, from https://www.gartner.com/en/human-resources/trends/leadership-vision-chief-hr-officer.

[2] Future of jobs report 2023 – World Economic Forum. (2023, May). Retrieved January 18, 2024, from https://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_Future_of_Jobs_2023.pdf.

Bridging Differences: Techniques for Building Conflict Competence

Interpersonal conflict is unavoidable, but the good news is there are many strategies you can develop to help strengthen your conflict resilience to make your life easier. The realities of the last few years have led to important conversations about mental health and wellness; increased stress levels have been felt far and wide and have spilled into all areas of life. Learning how to advocate for yourself, navigate challenging conversations, and effectively communicate when situations become difficult will have a direct impact on your overall sense of wellbeing. The truth is most of us have never learned the skills to manage conflict which means we need to prioritize this work for ourselves. And as Vital Smarts (the Crucial Conversations gurus) point out, we often act our worst when it matters the most.

I remember years ago, I had a colleague who had a totally different working style from mine. We were co-facilitators and together, responsible for program design. She was someone who thrived last minute; this meant she would send her materials in the night before we were set to teach, and the morning of class she would fly in at the eleventh hour, after I had been there in time to do sound checks, test computers, presentation decks, and greet participants. I was endlessly frustrated because I felt like she wasn’t detailed enough, but more than that, I didn’t feel like she was a team player or setting me up for success. I decided that she was selfish, disorganized, and unprofessional. She thought I was uptight, perfectionist, and lacked flexibility – a real recipe for success.

It got to the point where every time I interacted with this colleague I would seethe; I could feel the heat of my disrespect rising and I would do what I could to avoid her. It was around this time I was also being trained as a facilitator in the Vital Smarts Crucial Conversations program (the irony!). Through my facilitator training I was learning about my conflict style. Vital Smarts talks about the spectrum of communication as silence on one end and violence/aggression on the other. Regardless of which end of the spectrum you are prone to, either approach is an indicator that safety has been compromised. This was my AHA moment: I was on the silence end and she was on the violence end – I would shut down when things got tense and she would become more assertive. After much brooding I decided to set up a meeting with her to talk about our working styles and to explain the “why” behind how I work.  She shared the same, and with that we came up with a few ground rules. We were never close colleagues, but we did learn how to work together and sometimes that is the best you can do.

There are no hard and fast rules about how to best navigate conflict, but there are several approaches that can certainly help. These are a handful of strategies to support skill-building and confidence when confronted with challenging interactions.

1.    Understand Your ‘What’ and Your ‘Why’

A helpful starting point is to reflect on what it is about the interaction that most frustrates you to get beyond the immediate reactivity of the situation. This could be the irritation that surfaces in response to what feels like a short or snippy email, or the frustration that bubbles up when we feel like someone constantly shuts down ideas, or the annoyance felt when someone is perpetually late with their deliverables. Acknowledging the frustration is the first step, and the next is to shift focus from retaliation to getting to your root cause. The ‘what’ in this example could be that you value collaboration and teamwork and you feel that is not being respected. The ‘why’ is connected to your personal values and if someone is behaving in ways that contradict those, it is going to trigger a strong response. What is important to remember is that they likely have a different set of core values; perhaps flexibility and creativity are important to them, and they may be less deadline driven. The point is, it’s not personal, it’s about preference, and understanding the ‘what’ and the ‘why’ for all parties involved is key to managing conflict and improving interpersonal relationships.

2.    Practice Active Listening

There is not enough to be said about developing and refining your active listening skills. This is arguably one of the most under-developed leadership skills, and without listening effectively, you can never truly understand someone’s position – or their what and why. In a study by Zenger and Folkman[1] people perceive the best listeners to be those who ask questions that promote discovery and insight. They also found that good listening was “characterized by the creation of a safe environment in which issues and differences could be discussed openly” Inviting in difference as an opportunity to collaborate and ideate can be the difference between delivering mediocre results vs. knocking a project out of the park.

There are a few more tactical strategies you can employ when practicing active listening. Developing the skill of paraphrasing is a great way to demonstrate you are listening, and it will also test your understanding of what is being communicated.  Non-verbal cues can also provide a lot of insight into emotion; pay attention to tone of voice, body language, and facial expressions which can be very revealing. You can mirror back emotion by saying something like ‘I hear how passionate you are about the outcome here’, which is a powerful way of acknowledging the other person’s feelings and perspective.  One final thought is to notice your instinct to interrupt, talk over, finish someone’s sentence; or the familiar habit of focusing on your response as opposed to a powerful/insightful question.

3.    Expand Your Perspective

When we get fixated on a specific outcome, or when our focus is on trying to control someone else’s behaviour, it causes immense suffering, stress, and anxiety. Expanding your perspective by challenging your position is a strategy to alleviate your own stress and open up to different possibilities. Amy Gallo[2] suggests that we challenge our own perspective by reflecting on these questions:

  • How do I know that what I believe is true?
  • What if I’m wrong?
  • How would I change my behavior?
  • What assumptions have I made?
  • How would someone with different values and experiences see things?

Reflecting on any flaws in your perspective will create the space to improve outcomes for you and your colleagues. By asking these questions, you may also gain clarity about your your what and why, which can free you from your own limitations.

Another suggestion that is critical in expanding your awareness is to understand how your unconscious bias could be influencing – and narrowing – your perspective. One of the best tools available is the Harvard Implicit bias test[3] which is a free test that assesses attitudes or stereotypes that influence perception and behaviour. The reality is we all have biases, and being aware of, and questioning these, can make you a more effective, objective, and self-aware leader.

4.    Get Curious

When we get locked into a challenging dynamic with someone at work, we often get entrenched in negative thought patterns or a set of assumptions; suddenly everything they do becomes problematic or suspect! The reality is the magnitude of our negative judgements/assumptions are far greater than the truth of the situation. Getting curious about how your thought patterns are negatively influencing your own behaviour, and potentially feeding negative assumptions about you, can snap you out of unproductive and reactive ways of being.

5.    Have a Clear Outcome

In order to establish next steps and to find resolution, you need to understand what it is that you want. That can often be masked by the immediacy of our emotions when things are stirred up; I want this person to stop being so unreliable, I want this person to stick to the plan, to be on time… The key here is to get underneath that. Is it that you want to get the project past the finish line or is it that you want to strengthen the relationship? It could also be a longer-term goal, perhaps the outcome of this project could set you up for a promotion. You need to understand your goal post and stay focused on that and be prepared to ask for what you want, and also be prepared to compromise. Identifying and communicating a desired outcome brings clarity to the situation and can help defuse heated dynamics.

There is no perfect recipe to navigating the complexity of human relationships, especially in times of stress. What you want to do is to focus on building interpersonal resilience so that you feel less stressed when you’re engaged in a conflict. Practice with some of these strategies, start with a strategy that feels most comfortable, and remember to go easy on yourself.  You aren’t aiming for perfection; you are aiming to build your conflict competency one strategy at a time!


About the Author

Wylie Burke

Wylie Burke is an innovation consultant, facilitator, and leadership coach. She has over 15 years of experience in business administration, human resources, strategic and operational planning, and leading high performing teams. She brings a unique perspective to her work, having had the pleasure of working for a diverse range of organizations including United Way Toronto, CIBC, SickKids, WSIB, and Toronto Metropolitan University. Wylie is recognized for creating inclusive environments that inspire insights, connection, fun, and shared learning, that result in personal and organizational integration. She thinks of her work as community building and recognizes that there is never a one-size-fits-all approach. It’s about learning and applying concepts in an adaptive way that brings about sustainable change, taking into account the dynamic, unique, and varied needs of individuals and organizations while also nurturing a shared understanding and appreciation of differences. Wylie holds an MBA from Queen’s University, an Honours Degree in Sociology from York University, and she is an Adler Trained Coach.

Wylie is the lead facilitator for the Queen’s IRC Managing Workplace Conflicts program, as well as Talent Management.



Gallo, A. (2022). How to navigate conflict with a coworker. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved August 16, 2023, from https://hbr.org/2022/09/how-to-navigate-conflict-with-a-coworker.

Grenny, J., et al. (2021). Crucial conversation: Tools for talking when stakes are high (Third). McGraw-Hill.

Project Implicit. Harvard Implicit bias test. (n.d.). Retrieved August 16, 2023, from https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/takeatest.html

Zenger, J., & Folkman, J. (2016, July 14). What great listeners actually do. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved August 16, 2023, from https://hbr.org/2016/07/what-great-listeners-actually-do.



[1] Zenger, J., & Folkman, J. (2016, July 14). What great listeners actually do. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved August 16, 2023, from https://hbr.org/2016/07/what-great-listeners-actually-do.

[2] Gallo, A. (2022). How to navigate conflict with a coworker. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved August 16, 2023, from


[3] Project Implicit. Harvard Implicit bias test. (n.d.). Retrieved August 16, 2023, from https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/takeatest.html

Better Leadership: Focus on a Coach Approach

Coaching is a leadership style that is growing in organizational cultures. It is shifting from an optional leadership skill to an expectation of the culture – especially for the retention of employees and leaders. How do you as a leader develop this skill? How do you keep growing and enhancing your coaching ability?

During the pandemic, many leaders found themselves interacting in new ways with their teams – because they had no choice. This was especially true if remote work was new to the organization. Employees were alone in their separate spaces, away from their leader and their peers. Leaders weren’t in close proximity so there were actually less direct statements and less telling. As a result, leaders found themselves asking more questions to check in, rather than walking by giving direction and regularly being present and accessible.

Let’s consider a real situation. I coach leaders, and many of our coaching conversations involve them trying out new ways to better engage with their people. One leader comes to mind. His goal was to learn and use a new skill to better engage his team of ten people. After six months of using more questions and staying curious longer during one-on-one conversations, he reported feeling less overwhelmed and more connected to what was really going on for his team. What did he do differently? He took a coach approach.

Coaching is an approach to facilitate individuals to draw on their own experiences and capabilities, to set and reach their own objectives. Make sense. Yet, many leaders find themselves holding back from adding a coach approach to their leadership style. According to Michael Bungay-Stanier, The Coaching Habit (2016), coaching helps leaders break away from three vicious cycles. Which one describes how you may be feeling?

  1. Creating overdependence: In this vicious cycle, you have trained people to be over reliant on you. You are a bottleneck. This may have developed unintentionally, yet here you are. If you take a coach approach, your team will be more self-sufficient, and have an increased level of engagement and autonomy, which could lead to their own mastery of skills.
  2. Getting overwhelmed: In this vicious cycle, you are so overwhelmed with the never-ending quantity of work, that your quality is hard to focus on. You continue to lose focus. If you take a coach approach, you can direct your own work efforts. Your team can focus on what has real impact, and grow to solve their own challenges.
  3. Becoming disconnected: In this vicious cycle, you have become disconnected from the work that matters. If you take a coach approach, you will reconnect with your team and the truly impactful and meaningful work. Coaching can fuel your courage to step out of your comfort zone and increase the potential of your team.

I poll the participants in our Coaching Skills program, and the number one reason is creating overdependence, followed by getting overwhelmed. I will add three more reasons that holds leaders back from adding a coach approach to their leadership:

  • The lack of training, or a poor experience with training whereby they didn’t walk away with implementable tools.
  • Not having been the recipient of a coaching style themselves. If you have never been coached properly, you may not know what a coaching conversation looks and feels like.
  • And finally, an organizational culture that fosters a solely a directive leadership style.

Let’s conclude with celebrating a real situation where a participant embraced her desire to become more connected to the reality of her employees. This leader came into the Coaching Skills program wanting to get ideas how to move forward with a decision to release or keep a struggling employee. At the end of the Coaching Skills program, she realized that there was one approach she hadn’t tried yet – a coach approach. Why? She didn’t know what process to follow or what her role was, however after the program, she had both, including confidence that her employee deserved the better version of herself as a leader.

Think about what holds you back from using a coach approach and taking a coach approach more often. Leadership is like a muscle that we need to exercise, stretch and challenge to do more. See you in the Coaching Skills program!

About the Author

Linda Allen-Hardisty






Linda Allen-Hardisty is an organizational development professional (Queens IRC OD Certificate), an executive coach (ICF MCC professional designation), a team coach (EMCC Global Accreditation), and a Forbes Coaches Council contributing member. She’s built a reputation as a vibrant, contemporary voice in the business world by blending her grounding in OD with a practical approach to addressing organizational challenges and opportunities. With a Masters of Education from the University of Regina, Linda’s uniqueness is that, prior to private practice, she fulfilled corporate leadership roles including the Director of Organizational Development in a company listed on the Hewitt Top 50 Employers in Canada and became the first Manager of Strategy and Performance for a municipal government undertaking cultural transformation. Over her 20-year OD career, she has helped many leaders – from corporate executives to entrepreneurs – improve their personal and professional success. She is a sought-after facilitator, coach and advisor for executive development, strategy and change, team effectiveness, and emotional intelligence.

 Linda is the lead facilitator for the Queen’s IRC Coaching Skills program, as well as Building Trust and Performance Management.


Talent Management Truths: 5 Lessons from the Field to Help Solve Today’s Workplace Challenges

Talent management has been in the spotlight recently as many organizations face historic talent shortages, a workforce struggling with fatigue and burnout, and the ongoing pressure to reduce costs and increase productivity. Not only do organizations need to find talent with the right skills for today, but they also require an agile workforce who can adapt to the constant changes in job demands. According to the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report, half of all employees will have to reskill by 2025.[1] The pressure is on talent leaders, and organizations alike to ensure their people are prepared for the future of work and this pressure is not likely to dissipate any time soon.

At the same time, the balance of power has shifted, and employees want to choose where, when, and how they work. Employees have altered their expectations of work following the pandemic, and are prioritizing meaning, purpose, and balance in their work lives. These changing expectations have placed organizational culture and leadership behaviors at the forefront, with many organizations lacking the critical leadership capabilities to address the changing organizational and workforce needs.

While the work of talent management remains the same – attract, select, hire, develop, perform, and retain the required talent to meet current and future needs – the environment in which organizations operate has changed dramatically. With the rapid pace of change, the rise of modern technologies, and ever-changing customer, organizational and employee demands necessitate a more fluid and agile approach to talent management. What is a priority today, may not be one tomorrow, and this means that talent leaders need to create a compelling vision for the future, yet be flexible and nimble to course correct as required.

But where do you start? How do build a talent management strategy that works for employees and organizations alike? What are some of the ‘do’s and don’ts’ that will make your organization  successful?

I’ve seen lots of changes in the 20+ years of talent management work. Here are 5 core talent management strategies that will serve organizations through this next wave of change:

1. Build Your Talent Strategy to Meet Business Needs

It can be easy to sit at your desk and craft a talent strategy on your own, but do so at your own risk! An organizational talent strategy should consider the diverse needs of each unit, business or function. Implementing an overarching talent strategy is typically the default method, but be careful not to build a ‘one-size-fits all’ approach that does not address the urgent needs of each function.

It is critical to partner with business leaders to get their input on the top priorities that will have the greatest impact. It is easy to focus your plan to address the talent needs in the current fiscal year, but what are you doing to build the skills of your employees to meet the needs of tomorrow? What are the next most important strategic shifts that will require you to build, buy and/or borrow new skills and capabilities to meet tomorrow’s needs? How will you start working on tomorrow’s needs today?

Business challenges and needs often change, make sure you meet with your leadership team at least quarterly to review your plan.

2.  Keep Your Strategy Simple, Usable, and Meaningful for Your Customers (not just a boring PowerPoint deck)

The customers of your talent strategy are the employees and leaders of your organization. The first principle of a solid strategy is to ensure that it resonates with your audience. It should be simple, meaningful, and relay a compelling story about the impact it will have on employees and the business. I believe that developing a plan-on-a-page is a great approach because no one has the time, energy, nor desire to read a 25-page deck anymore.

Talent management is about crafting impactful and engaging talent experiences for internal customers. In today’s world, our default position seems to be that it is better to add more features to existing talent programs (e.g., performance management) because we believe our customers want them. If you are adding more processes/ features without considering if they add incremental business or customer value, you better think twice. Make sure you solicit employee/manager feedback on your talent programs before making changes. Remember that no one will complain if your programs are too simple to use. People love simplicity – it’s why the KISS principle is sage advice.

I learned the hard way that a simple, well-executed strategy beats a complicated, poorly executed one every day. It is not about the net number of initiatives you include in your strategy; it is about ensuring that you are launching sustainable, executable programs that add real value to your customers.

3. Make Sure Your Strategy is Interconnected (vs a set of separate activities)

The overall talent system (i.e., hiring, selection, onboarding, learning, performance, development, succession) is like a manufacturing process, in that there is an input and output of each sub process. It can be easy to optimize one area only to jeopardize the overall performance of another. To have an effective and efficient talent system, the whole is always greater than the sum of its parts and every sub-process needs to be maximized to ensure successful outcomes overall.

One example of this is when a manager focuses on near-term priorities when hiring, while ignoring a longer-term need to develop a deeper leadership pipeline for their function. In other words, you can hire a technically strong manager today, who may not be the best candidate from a future leadership perspective. This decision requires that additional time, money and resources be spent on development down the line with no guarantee of success. You can solve a problem today, only by creating a bigger, more expensive one tomorrow.

4. Measure Talent Management Against Business Priorities (vs. leaving progress to chance)

I’ve learned that the best way to be credible to business leaders is to speak in the language of the business. Business leaders don’t care as much about HR terms as you do. It is important to be specific about what you are going to do, when you are going to do it, and the resulting business impact of each initiative.

I used to include many standard talent metrics in the strategies I developed until I learned an important lesson from a CFO. He informed me that if your initiative doesn’t end up with tangible results on the income statement or balance sheet (i.e., cost, sales, revenue, etc.), it really doesn’t matter. I initially thought that HR metrics were enough, and that cost avoidance was good metric to share with finance teams, but now I know otherwise. HR metrics are good, business metrics are great.

If you want to be a legitimate business partner, you must articulate how each talent initiative will impact that achievement of the overarching strategy and lead to favorable business metrics.

5. Help Everyone be Accountable for Talent (vs thinking it’s just HR’s job)

I mistakenly thought I had full ownership over organizational talent outcomes. Thankfully, I learned that this was an impossible and unrealistic expectation. The role of a talent leader is to establish the processes, systems, and programs required for success, and influence leaders to implement these programs to achieve expected outcomes. Every talent program starts and ends with a conversation between a manager and employee, meaning that managers are fully accountable for bringing these programs to life.

The impact of talent management is not measured by the implementation of a new system, process, or technology. You can have the most advanced systems or technologies, but people forget that the success of each talent program is measured in the quality of conversations had. Managers need to be supported, coached, and guided to make this happen with the support of their leaders and the talent team, and they also need to be held accountable for talent outcomes.

Talent management is a challenging, but a fun area to work in. The goal is to drive performance, development, and career outcomes for employees, and enable better business results for the organization. The external environment will continue to change, and the pressure will be on talent leaders to ensure the organization has employees with the required skills to be successful today and tomorrow. This means that talent leaders need to define a vision for the future, and continually review and adapt their strategy and plans required to address needs. A simple, well-defined strategy that results in measurable business outcomes is the goal, and to accomplish this, talent leaders need to design programs that create positive experiences for employees and leaders alike.

About the Author

Mark Coulter

Mark Coulter, MIR, CHRP, CHRL, is a talent management and organizational development expert and leadership coach. He has over 20 years of experience in human resources with a focus on leading talent management functions in automotive, retail, consumer packaged goods, and beverage organizations, including Fortune 500 and Fortune 50 companies such as Campbell Soup and Lowe’s. Mark has expertise in implementing end-to-end talent solutions in the areas of talent acquisition, employee & leadership development, performance management, succession planning, and career development. He currently works as the Director, Talent Management Solutions at HRSG, where he partners with clients to design and implement competency-based talent management solutions to achieve business and workplace outcomes.


[1] Whiting, K. (2020, October 21). These are the top 10 job skills of tomorrow – and how long it takes to learn them. World Economic Forum. https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/10/top-10-work-skills-of-tomorrow-how-long-it-takes-to-learn-them/

6 Ways to Assess Your Organization’s Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

How can leaders rethink the implementation of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) training and initiatives to maximize returns on their people and culture?

Successful EDI training involves the embedding of equitable practices, procedures, and policies in every facet of an organization, and it is not offered as a stand-alone training or performative.  Organizations that rush to implement EDI training programs without reviewing their motivation, internal practices, policies and programs have difficulty sustaining the changes they wish to see, and return to the previous paradigm for their organizations. For an organization to develop, value, and profit from EDI training, it requires authentic buy-in to the benefits that can be had for all stakeholders; from employees, managers, customers and owners: to move from traditional “Human Resources” organization to a “People and Culture” organization[1].

When recruiting and retaining a diverse workforce, leaders should consider reflecting on the institutional, systemic, and personal biases they hold, as it is these biases that form the cultural inertia which undermines real lasting change.

Bias, in all its forms, is an integral part of who we are and is developed, nurtured, and sustained by our upbringing, culture, and society at large. There is no escaping it, and understanding how it impacts marginalized workers is essential in creating a work culture that is inclusive and financially successful. Bias is defined by the Cambridge Dictionary as “the action of supporting or opposing a particular person or thing in an unfair way because of allowing personal opinions to influence your judgment.”

Biases can be unconscious or conscious beliefs, opinions or actions. For example, implicit biases are unconscious attitudes or stereotypes that affect our decisions and treatment of others. Explicit biases are conscious attitudes and beliefs we have about individuals or groups. In the work environment, biases begin at the recruitment phase and can affect who we interview and hire. It impacts the retention phase of employment by affecting worker evaluations, promotions, and salary advancement. Simply put, bias (whether explicit or implicit) impacts our interactions with others and at times creates situations where others are excluded or unjustly treated, creating a toxic work environment. This can impact professional and personal outcomes, build resentment, and discourage full commitment to the organization. Meaningful improvement in these channels requires leaders to have the courage to actively interrogate and challenge their own personal and institutional biases; to build better, more resilient, more diverse cultures to get the best out of their people.

Cultural competency-based questions are used in schools by educators to determine how to best to support diverse student communities. Organizations can use a similar framework as a pre-emptive guide before hiring or implementing diversity initiatives.

  1. Whose voices are present?

Take the time to consider who is heard, who isn’t, and why they aren’t being heard? What settings silence the participation of employees? What settings enable fulsome participation of employees?

  1. How are they represented?

Does the diversity in your workforce go beyond visible characteristics of race and gender? Are there any invisible diversities/characteristics such as social status/class, gender identity, expression or orientation, and disability (physical, mental, or neurological) and do they intersect? How does this intersection of identities impact the employee and their employment?

  1. Whose voices are absent?

Are there voices that are absent due to a lack of representation or a lack of presence in decision-making settings? Is dissension appreciated or undervalued and silenced? Are neurodivergent thinkers given time to voice their opinions and thoughts?

  1. What and whose knowledge is recognized and valued?

Is knowledge that is not Eurocentric, colonial based or ableist valued? Are the same employees recognized and why? Is the recognition culturally competent?

  1. Do resources acknowledge as many people and perspectives as possible?

Are employee handbooks, procedures, and policies aware of visible and invisible biases in their presentation, the language used, and expectations? Are the documents and resources easily accessible?

  1. What assessments and evaluation tools are mostly used and are they equitable?

What are the metrics involved in employee evaluations? Is the assessor cognizant of any biases they may hold when evaluating an employee? What are the mechanisms to mitigate bias in evaluation, or to provide re-evaluation when complaints arise?

Review and reflect on the responses to the cultural competency based questions by considering the following:

  1. Did the responses challenge your understanding of the organization and how it functions? Why?
  2. What is the organization doing well? What are they not doing well?
  3. What areas require change?
  4. What type of learning will you and your organization engage in to implement these changes and initiatives?

Organizations who have unpacked their workplace culture by reflecting on past and current inequities and who lean into the discomfort can begin to develop initiatives that focus on recruitment and retention strategies, policies, procedures, and expectations to create a progressive work culture. It is the responsibility of leaders to communicate their commitment in making EDI a part of every facet of their organization by sharing the results of their discussions, their vision, next steps and learning opportunities for employees. EDI initiatives are not quick and easy solutions to reduce the impact of discrimination and employee flight, they take time, and require ongoing conversations that provide the tools for employees to navigate the workplace.

Taking the time to reflect on the people they employ, the organizational culture that includes the policies and procedures implemented, and investing in strategic needs-based training is essential. Embedding time and flexibility to have ongoing, meaningful conversations with follow-up so that changes can be made to move forward must be a priority. Continuing to review, reflect and strategize allows for integration of strong EDI-based initiatives that are flexible and supportive of current and future employees is the new way of doing business.

When implemented with care and empathy, EDI initiatives and training can support previously marginalized and historically excluded employees to feel a greater sense of belonging and inclusion,[2] while also allowing others to step up and help create a positive work environment.


About the Author

Kalpana Makan

Kalpana Makan. Over a 30-year career in the education sector, Kalpana has worked to facilitate the success of students and teachers from all backgrounds. Embedding the principles of an anti-oppressive framework in her career as a Teacher and Elementary Vice Principal with specialization in inclusive education, language development, and mental health and well-being, has provided her with the skills to navigate various situation with compassion and empathy. Kalpana’s roles as an Executive Staff Officer at the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) in Equity and Women’s Services, and most recently in Professional Learning and Curriculum Services, has helped her develop an expertise in the benefits of EDI and its integration in diverse organizational cultures. For more than 15 years, Kalpana has led ETFO membership programs both locally and provincially; provided organizational environmental scans on programs, policies and demographics; and facilitated presentations at universities, school boards and not for profit organizations on supporting and promoting diverse leadership roles and inclusive and equitable practices. She has trekked to more then 16 countries and has volunteered as an educator and mentor in many of them. She currently lives in the Toronto with her family.


Recommended Readings

Asare, J. G. (2022, October 7). Have We Been Wrongfully Vilifying DEI Training? Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/janicegassam/2022/10/07/have-we-been-wrongfully-vilifying-dei-training/

Broomhall, T. (2020, September 8). Are your colleagues really, ok? How to ask and offer support. Checkpoint. https://checkpoint.cvcheck.com/are-your-colleagues-really-ok-how-to-ask-and-offer-support/

Carter-Rogers, K., Smith, S., & Tabvuma, V. (2022, November 27). Diversity in the workplace isn’t enough: Businesses need to work toward inclusion. The Conversation. http://theconversation.com/diversity-in-the-workplace-isnt-enough-businesses-need-to-work-toward-inclusion-194136

Dobbin, F., & Kalev, A. (2016, July 1). Why Diversity Programs Fail. Harvard Business Review. https://hbr.org/2016/07/why-diversity-programs-fail

Government of Canada, S. C. (2022, October 26). The Daily—Immigrants make up the largest share of the population in over 150 years and continue to shape who we are as Canadians. https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/daily-quotidien/221026/dq221026a-eng.htm

Karimi, A. (2022, December 22). How equity, diversity and inclusion policies are becoming a tool for capitalism. The Conversation. http://theconversation.com/how-equity-diversity-and-inclusion-policies-are-becoming-a-tool-for-capitalism-196534

Langton, J. (2022, October 26). Immigration boosts workforce, combats aging. Investment Executive. https://www.investmentexecutive.com/news/research-and-markets/immigration-boosts-workforce-combats-aging/

Lobell, J. (2021, December 7). Liberating Human Resources: Finding a Path to a New HR Paradigm. Non Profit News | Nonprofit Quarterly. https://nonprofitquarterly.org/liberating-human-resources-finding-a-path-to-a-new-hr-paradigm/

Peiker, S. (2023, February 8). Council Post: Why And How To Evolve From Human Resources To People And Culture. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbeshumanresourcescouncil/2023/02/08/why-and-how-to-evolve-from-human-resources-to-people-and-culture/?sh=fa4e9c54c454

Secretariat, T. B. of C. (2020, September 14). Many Voices One Mind: A Pathway to Reconciliation [Education and awareness]. https://www.canada.ca/en/government/publicservice/wellness-inclusion-diversity-public-service/diversity-inclusion-public-service/knowledge-circle/many-voices.html

Stewart, J. (2022, March 15). 4 Steps to Achieve Sustainable DEI Transformation | Queen’s University IRC. https://irc.queensu.ca/4-steps-to-achieve-sustainable-dei-transformation/



[1] Peiker, Sarah (2023, 02, 08); Why And How To Evolve From Human Resources To People And Culture, https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbeshumanresourcescouncil/2023/02/08/why-and-how-to-evolve-from-human-resources-to-people-and-culture/?sh=5d58a3dd4c45

[2] Gassam Asare, Janice (2022, October 07), Have we been wrongly vilifying EDI training? https://www.forbes.com/sites/janicegassam/2022/10/07/have-we-been-wrongfully-vilifying-EDI-training/?sh=139c0f973b35

HR Metrics and Analytics: So Many Numbers, So Little Time…

To show the importance of what this article covers to an HR professional’s effectiveness – and sanity! –  we want to start with a brief “cautionary” tale. We were asked to help the executive leadership team of the IT department of a Canadian bank determine the data they needed to improve hiring decisions for specific senior IT positions. They had asked an HR analyst with the bank to provide them with data to make better and often urgent decisions. Competition for these mission-critical positions is very acute between financial institutions. A bank needs to move quickly when a need or opportunity arises. And that was the extent of the instruction they gave to the analyst: “Bring us the data!” The analyst worked for two weeks gathering data and then made a presentation that included over thirty slides of dense charts and complex graphics; the analyst had basically downloaded every piece of information on senior IT positions across the bank. Unfortunately, it was of little or no help to the executives who were formulating strategy, managing risks, and making hiring decisions. As the executive who brought us in to help said: “After the 3rd slide my eyes started to glaze over. I had no idea what I was being told or what insights I was supposed to take away from it all. There was no structure and no viable conclusion.”

The evolution of data capture technologies now means that organizations have oceans of data to work with. The problem with this – and it is a “problem”, not merely a “challenge” – is that we need to boil this ocean of data into a drink of water that will help us and our leaders make key HR decisions across a range of issues: hiring, resourcing, training, compensation, performance management, health and safety, inclusion, diversity, employee engagement, and more. HR data analysis is a critical management tool, but only if used in a way that supports, not hinders, informed decision making.

In this article we will share two structured ways to look at organizing your thinking and your data analysis that will make more effective use of your time and lead to more timely and informed decisions. First, we will overview the HR Metrics Cycle which leads in clear steps from defining the opportunity or problem, to decisions and a relevant action plan. Secondly, we will dig more deeply into the Define step of the cycle. Starting any project with clearly defined goals and agreed terminologies and metrics is critical to a project’s relevance and success.

For those of you want to learn more about these models and their applications, we encourage you to join us for Queen’s IRC’s HR Metrics and Analytics program where we cover them in more depth, and where you can actively apply them to both case study material and one of your own “real world” live projects.

Download PDF: HR Metrics and Analytics: So Many Numbers, So Little Time…

Leading Human Resources in Transformative Times

The field of human resources has experienced incredible change and transformation over the last five years. These include the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and changing expectations about work, to significant labour market challenges and new views of organizations’ responsibilities related to issues of equity. There has been much to navigate within this context.

Accompanying these external influences and pressures are equally dizzying shifts occurring in our identity as human resource leaders. With a view to every corner of an organization, human resource leaders are critical players who contribute invaluable perspective and insight on how to leverage human, team and leadership potential.

This makes it an opportune time to pause and reflect on where we are and how to prepare for what’s ahead. How do we define ourselves within this context of increased complexity? What are our priorities and critical “must have” skills to support us within this environment? Who are we as human resource leaders and what roadmap should we be using to gain insight into our leadership journey?

Refining our focus to the “what” of HR leadership

A helpful tool and starting place to explore these important questions is the HR Competency Model designed by the RBL Group. Co-founded by renowned author and HR expert, Dave Ulrich, the RBL group has partnered with the University of Michigan for over 30 years to collect a significant amount of data from organizations around the globe to examine three questions:

  1. What competencies do HR professionals need to deliver personal, stakeholder and business results?
  2. What qualities exemplify an effective HR department?
  3. In what way can HR create circumstances to maximize business and organizational success?

In 2021, the group completed its eighth round of the comprehensive Human Resource Competency Survey, which identified shifts in how HR professionals’ success factors are characterized. Of note is that these most recent findings identified the importance of moving from a list of “traits” that HR professionals “need to develop” and instead focused on “actions” to support business and organizational success. This interesting shift may reflect the imperative that HR professionals be increasingly agile and responsive to their environmental context. The last five years have certainly shown the success with which many HR professionals have been able to do this.

The latest study recommended that HR professionals focus on the following five actions to be effective leaders within this context:

  1. Foster collaboration: The ability to build trusting relationships with others to achieve organizational goals.
  2. Mobilize information: The ability to anticipate impacts on the organization – from technological innovations to social challenges – and then acquire, analyze and apply information to navigate change and support better decision-making.
  3. Simplify complexity: The ability to sift through vast amounts of information to understand a situation, apply critical thinking, and respond calmly on issues of greatest importance.
  4. Advance human capability: The ability to understand what skills are needed for an organization to effectively meet the demands of its competitive environment. This entails ensuring that the organization supports the development of its internal talent as well as knowing which practices, systems and structures are required for the organization to succeed. This action also encompasses HR’s important contributions in creating a workplace that embraces diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  5. Accelerate business: The ability of HR professionals to contribute to bottom-line results through understanding the organization’s external environment, how it competes in the marketplace and how it creates value for stakeholders, clients and customers.

Each of these five actions is worthy of exploration and contextualization within your organization. As an approach of discovery, HR leaders may want to layer each of these five actions onto their unique organizational and business context to identify which should be prioritized and enhanced. This will inform strategy and enable you to measure impact across the organization.


The HR Competency Model shared here is only one of many frameworks available to HR leaders. You may find that a different framework is better suited to your needs. Whichever you choose, a framework has value in providing context and support for your work as an HR professional – creating guideposts to keep you on track in what is an increasingly complex landscape.

As HR professionals, we have seen how the global shifts in values over the last five years have led to new organizational pathways and approaches to HR practice and leadership. There are no indications that this rate of transformation is slowing. What won’t change is the importance of the HR leader. It is exciting and thrilling to be part of the journey.

About the Author

Janet Stewart





Janet Stewart is an accomplished human resource leader with a deep understanding of both theory and practice. As a consultant and leadership coach, she supports leaders across Canada to maximize workplace capacity, potential and harmony. She is a skilled facilitator on topics related to leadership, organizational wellness, workplace diversity, and building inclusive cultures. Janet is a Professional Certified Coach (International Coaching Federation), a Qualified Mediator (ADR Institute of Canada), holds a CPHR (BC & Yukon) and is PROSCI® change-management certified. She is a regular contributor to publications on topics related to HR leadership.

Janet is the lead facilitator for the Queen’s IRC Leading Human Resources program.



Ulrich, D., Ulrich, M., Wilson Burns, E., & Wright, P. (2021, April 21). New HRCS 8 competency model focuses on simplifying complexity. The RBL Group. Retrieved January 18, 2023, from https://www.rbl.net/insights/articles/new-hrcs-8-competency-model-focuses-on-simplifying-complexity.

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