What is leadership? This question, in some form or another, comes up in nearly all of my sessions as a coach. One reason for this is that leadership is truly important to me, and I think leadership goes beyond a title, beyond behavior and directly to the core of who a person is. In fact, I believe that it would be impossible to lead unless one approaches it personally. This means that no explanation can accurately describe leadership for everyone – understanding it may be one of the most important personal journeys you will take in life. Speaking from personal experience, the question of how I lead and how I serve constantly informs me in my business and my personal life.

This month I am introducing you to one of my favorite books on leadership, Leadership from the Inside Out. When first released in 1999, the book spent months on the bestseller list and continues to be a favorite in business book clubs like 800-CEO-READ. Despite this, many of my clients have not heard of it until I recommend it which is why I want to highlight it this month.

Leadership from the Inside Out focuses on internal development. The author, Kevin Cashman asserts that within each of us lie the tools we need to be successful leaders in all areas of our lives. The key to unlocking these tools and putting them to the best use is personal growth. Authentic leadership, according to Cashman, starts at a deep level. While many of us spend hours focusing on our external results, the best leaders spend that time developing who they are  – our purpose, vision, core values, and our character. From this starting point we can begin to lead effectively and garner those measurable, external results we crave.

This book actually doubles as both an information source and a workbook that will guide you through the learning. My own copy has been well used and scribbled on as I have grown over the past 8 or so years I have owned it. I sincerely hope that you will purchase, read and take advantage of the space provided for personal reflection and questions offered. I know that it will augment all of your leadership learning regardless of whether you have taken formal leadership training courses, used a leadership coaching service like Edge of Change, or have found your own resources as a self-taught leader.

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