© 2019 Optimal Future.

About Ian

Ian Lees is the lead coach at Optimal Future. He works with leaders in complex organisations who want to get better at taking people with them to shape the future.

He provides engaging and insightful coaching so that leaders can achieve results in ever-changing environments by sustaining their own energy, engaging and inspiring people and actively shaping the future.

My early experiences of work

In my early working-life, I did a lot of different jobs. I worked as an office clerk, taxi driver, door-to-door market researcher and bank teller. I eventually got a job training new bank tellers, not realising at the time that this was my first step into my fascination with people’s experience of work and how large groups of us work together to achieve important things.

During these early stages of my career I experienced a wide variety of different organisations. Some places I felt at home and gave myself wholeheartedly to the job while in other workplaces I felt physically ill the moment I walked in the door on day one. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was experiencing something called organisational culture. In those cultures where I was fully engaged, there was always a leader who, in an almost invisible way, shaped the patterns of relationship and work to unleash the enthusiasm and talent of the team.

Soon enough, I found myself making the transition from individual contributor to first line leader, then from middle level manager through to senior leader, leading other leaders. In some roles I was very successful. In other roles in other organisations I was a dud.

My passion to see leaders grow

All the way along, my fascination with people, work and leadership continued to grow and still does. I believe that achieving things that matter in work communities that foster the human spirit is a core part of individual and collective human life. My goal is to help grow the leaders that are authentically passionate about creating and shaping these communities. For me, the coaching relationship is a great way for people to grow themselves as a leader. One-to-one coaching creates a place where all the dimensions that go to make a great leader are open for exploration including deep questions of personal and professional values, past learnings that now get in the way, through to techniques for dealing with specific leadership situations.

That’s why I love coaching work. It’s the space where real human beings can grow to have optimal impact on the future.

"I believe that achieving things that matter in work communities that foster the human spirit is a core part of individual and collective human life.

I love building a supportive relationship with these ordinary-extraordinary people and helping them grapple with the challenges and sometime tedious disciplines of leadership. And I love it when they get a breakthrough!"

Why I love coaching leaders in complex organisations?

Contrary to the image of the perfect, heroic individual leader gushing with charisma and certainty, most leaders in large, complex organisations are actually ordinary human beings trying to do extraordinary things. And that’s why I love coaching them. Leading is not simple, it is not a formula and it requires the engagement of the whole person. I love building a supportive relationship with these ordinary-extraordinary people and helping them grapple with the challenges and sometime tedious disciplines of leadership. And I love it when they get a breakthrough.

A breakthrough on a project, overcoming a personal fear that is constraining their success, a breakthrough with a team or important stakeholder. Many of these breakthroughs and shifts not only improve their performance as a leader but overflow into greater personal fulfilment in other areas of life.

What’s really important to me?

For me the heart of leadership and leadership coaching is total respect for the value and giftedness of every individual human being. Human beings are way more complex than even our most clever theories about them. Respect includes honouring the learning and decisions of the past. I serve my coaching clients well when I help them to become better observers of their interpretations of themselves and the world and helping them to open up other possibilities for being and action.

It is not about 'fixing' people. I love seeing people grow in their ability to observe themselves, to take responsibility for what they can change and develop the courage to do it.

QUALIFICATIONS

Masters in Human
Resource Management

Understanding of organisational systems and how things get done in complex environments.

Certificate in
Workplace Coaching

The role of coaching in improving individual and organisational performance.

Graduate Diploma in
Ontological Coaching

Deep understanding of how to develop new ways of being so that we can be more effective leaders.

ACCREDITATIONS

Accredited in:

The Leadership Circle (TLC), Human Synergistic’s Life Style Inventory (LSI) (GSI) Leadership Impact (LI), Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and Management Research Group Leadership Effectiveness Assessment (LEA).

Associate Fellow

Australian Human Resources Institute

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All coaching services can be delivered virtually

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