Hi. My name is Cliff W. Gilmore. I’m a retired Marine Corps officer with a PhD in organization and management with a specialization in leadership. I spent the better part of the last 30 years making a practice and study of leadership. Most of the time I succeeded. Sometimes spectacularly. Other times I failed. Sometimes spectacularly. Every time, I learned and improved as a leader.

Today I am founder and CEO of North of Center and have committed to passing my experience along to seasoned and aspiring leaders alike. My team and I provide coaching and consulting services in the areas of leader development, team development, and public engagement.

Knowing all this, you might reasonably expect we’d have a marketing strategy in place to convince people to hire us. We don’t. And frankly I’m not sure you should hire us.

How crazy is that?

Three Reasons Not to Hire a NoC Coach

Reason One: Discomfort and Disruption

Working with one of our coaches one-on-one may make you uncomfortable and will definitely be highly disruptive. If you don’t want that, stop reading now and don’t even consider hiring us.

We start coaching relationships with one or more no-cost “zero calls.” The purpose of these “zero calls” is to decide whether we should work together.

During these calls we will ask all sorts of frank and intrusive questions about your leadership style and the challenges you are facing.

We will develop an understanding of your organization, its mission, the team you lead, and the roles and responsibilities of your position.

Most important, we will get a sense of your goals and values.

After all that, it’s entirely possible we’ll suggest some other path as a better investment of your time and money.

In part that’s because we don’t do what we do for the money. Money is just a perk. We do what we do because our purpose in business is to help leaders be the kind of leaders they’d want to follow. Which means you have to be the kind of leader we would want to follow, and we aren’t inclined to follow blindly.

Reason Two: Values Over Value

If you don’t — or aren’t willing to — prioritize the kinds of values that build credibility and trust, you definitely shouldn’t hire us. It would be far too frustrating for everyone involved.

And I haven’t even gotten to the uncomfortable and disruptive part yet.

If we mutually decide to start a coaching client relationship, our next step is take a hard look at your words-deeds alignment and identify any significant “say-do gaps” that undermine your credibility and the trust your team and customers place in you and your organization.

Then we will provide candid feedback about what we find and the work it will take to close those gaps.

Reason Three: Being Coached is Hard Work

Like any reputable coach in any field, we don’t do the work for you.

We won’t give you answers – we will help you find them for yourself. We will help you discover and ask the right questions so you can develop strategies and solutions tailored to your goals and values.

We will provide tools to help you improve as a leader. Through a coaching relationship with us, you will become more efficient, which will translate into an improved bottom line. But on the front end, it will mean more work for you.

If you hire a NoC coach, we’ll give you work to do and expect you to get it done, but be right beside you all along the way to guide and encourage you through the process of improvement.

This can be a tad disconcerting for leaders who want someone to fix their problems. If that’s what you are looking for, you should definitely not hire us.

If You Haven’t TL:DR’d Me Yet

If you’re still with me at this point, you’ve gotten a sense of how NoC operates. We don’t think of leadership merely in terms of position or authority. We think of it as a lifestyle. To that end, we’ll challenge you to think about it that way too.

Despite my trying to talk you out of it, perhaps you find this strangely appealing and are tempted to reach out to us.

We’ll welcome the opportunity.

But we also know you are busy and time is precious, so before deciding to invest valuable time to find out if a coaching relationship with NoC will be right for you, here is a bit more about leader coaching and how we approach it.

Trusted Advisors

Leading can be a lonely experience. Having a NoC coach available will give you someone to talk with in confidence about the challenges you face and and who can provide an outside perspective to help you put those challenges in context and overcome them.

Decades of Experience

Our coaches and consultants combine decades of practical and academic experience developing leaders, advising leaders, and leading teams to success from battlefields to boardrooms. You’ll build a relationship with one coach, but that coach brings the expertise and experience of the entire NoC team with them.

A Solid Foundation

We apply a field-tested, research-grounded framework called Communication-Based Leadership (CBL) as a foundation upon which any leader can build and improve. The cornerstone Truths of CBL are:

  • It is impossible to lead without communicating
  • A leader’s communication capacity is finite
  • Leadership is about relationships
  • Enduring leadership success requires trust

These Truths may seem obvious, but sometimes things don’t become obvious until somebody says them. In fact, one of my coaching clients recently told me we should title every coaching session, “Discussions About Obvious Things That Aren’t.”

Are You Ready to Get to Work?

Whether you are an experienced leader, new to leadership responsibilities, or have your eye on a new leadership opportunity, we can help you apply the principles of CBL to develop a leadership mindset that puts communication at the center of all you do and builds on your strengths to help you be the kind of leader you would want to follow.

If you’d like to set up a no-cost zero call to talk with a NoC coach and decide whether we might be able to help you grow as a leader, hit us by phone or email through our Contact Us page.

Let’s talk – it can be the start of a great new chapter in your personal development as a Communication-Based Leader.

Guest Writers Welcome!

If you are interested in writing and publishing on a topic related to CBL, drop us a line. We’ll work with you to refine your idea and include you as a by-line contributor to the Hard NoCs blog.

Cliff W. Gilmore Administrator
Founder and CEO , North of Center LLC

Cliff holds a PhD in organization and management with a specialization in leadership. A U.S. Marine Corps veteran, he completed operational deployments to Fallujah, Iraq and Kandahar and Helmand, Afghanistan. He has led multi-national and inter-agency teams including approximately one year on loan from the Corps as Director of Policy, Planning, and Outreach for the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of International Information Programs. He also directly advised the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on public and media engagement regarding national security matters for two years as Special Assistant for Public Communication. Today he puts that experience to work helping people become the kind of leaders they would want to follow.

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