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February 10, 2021 by Henley Leadership Group

Meet Our Team: LaVonne Dorsey

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This is part of our "Meet the Team" series. We post these interviews periodically.

Q: Tell us about the moment you knew you wanted to be a leadership coach:

A: I came to do this work because of the leaders that I experienced in my corporate career. Most suffered from a lack of self-awareness, not realizing their impact on others, and very few had an inclusive behavior approach. While working in HR as a leader, I spent a lot of my time and energy supporting employees on how to be successful and navigate the landscape of the company, and at times, supporting them to find new jobs in other companies that may be better suited to their skills. After leaving corporate to attend graduate school to earn a degree in clinical psychology and pursue a career as a mental health counselor, I serendipitously stumbled across coaching when attending a weekend retreat at The Esalen Institute and took the seminar, “How to integrate coaching into your therapy practice.” While at the retreat, I learned that I loved coaching and that I had used coaching skills when working in my previous corporate roles. I loved it! I decided to get certified as a coach and began that journey.

Q: What is one of the most memorable moments in your coaching career?

A: The most memorable experiences of my coaching journey have been the  ”ah-ha” moments for clients when they recognize their own behaviors are getting in the way of their progress and forward movement. That’s when the coaching journey changes and the client takes ownership of their growth. And the excitement multiplies when the growth of the client is recognized by others, resulting in reward, recognition, promotion, or a new role. 

 Q: What's your favorite thing about working at Henley Leadership Group?

A: Loving and caring community, support, learning, and stretching. Safe and encouraging to be your best self and continue to hone your craft separately and together.  

 Q: How are you developing yourself as a leader? 

A: It begins with my mental and physical fitness foundation. A daily workout, healthy food, a gallon of water, and meditation. As a licensed mental health professional, I work hard to keep up with research data involving human behavior and mental health. This data is helpful and informs how I select my leadership development resources.

I regularly read information presented by the Global Leadership Associates. Also, included on my list is HBR - Harvard Business Review research and articles involving leadership development as well as any new resources that hit the top list on Amazon.  

Like many leadership development coaches and consultants, engaging in a professional community is key to continued development. I have an amazing group of colleagues that share our learnings, tools, strategies, and new development resources. During this pandemic, I have found that I love podcasts. Oh, my goodness! Brilliant. Here is my list of regularly listened to podcasts: Hidden Brain, Race at Work, Nice White Parents, and of course, a podcast hosted by a counseling colleague, Do You Have a Minute?

Q: What are you reading right now?

A: I am always trying to balance several books at a time , mixing both fiction and non-fiction. I am currently reading Dibs In Search of Self by Virginia M. Axline about a therapist and her treatment of a high functioning autistic child. I just started the book Snakes in Suits: Understanding and Surviving the Psychopaths in Your Office, by Paul Babiak Ph.D. and Robert D. Hare Ph.D.,  industrial, organizational psychologists and leading authorities on the corporate psychopath. They examine the role of psychopaths in modern corporations and provide the tools employers can use to avoid and deal with them.

John Grisham’s, Time for Mercy. I am a Grisham fan and have read every book he has written starting with his first, The Firm. I am also reading Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell, another author whose every book I have also read. And I read the NYT daily. 

Q: What’s making you happy this week?

A: Always my husband with his fabulous meals and of course my virtual fitness training group as well as my once a week virtual Zumba class with my daughter who lives in NYC. All of these activities keep me healthy, happy, and engaged during this pandemic. 

You can learn more about LaVonne here . . . 

Photo Credit:  Ingrid Pape-Sheldon

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