Leadership Training

April 19, 2017

In the life sciences and high-tech fields especially, scientists and other professionals are used to working as individual contributors. They may have little or no experience working together as part of a team, on projects, or in larger organizational structures where new, non-technical skills are essential for success.

Shift Coaching provides customized programs and workshops for executive leadership teams, project teams, and small organizations that open new lines of communication, create alignment amongst individuals and departments, and build relationships. Each is specifically designed to leverage your organization’s unique culture and strengths while targeting specific goals.

Program Topics Include:

Leading and Influencing People and Teams

Leadership Presence: Gaining “Gravitas”

Top actors, politicians, and CEOs have it – a particular quality that can be difficult to articulate in language, but is palpable when he or she enters a room. Some call it “gravitas” or “presence”, and will describe these leaders as having confidence, charisma, and the ability to connect with people. Whatever words you use, it’s a leadership trait that distinguishes the best of leaders. This training will explore this elusive leadership skill and break it down into definable elements (being grounded and present, body language, having empathy, expressiveness, to name a few) and will introduce practices participants can utilize to increase their own leadership presence.

Back to Topics Menu

Motivating Self and Others – Tapping into “Why”

A key challenge many new managers face is how to motivate their team – many fail due to dated strategies that simply don’t work. Based on current research, this training will provide participants with new insights into what truly motivates people to perform at their best, including the role of compensation. Content includes a short video on motivation as well as tools and approaches that participants can use with both themselves and their direct reports in order to boost engagement, motivation, and results.

Back to Topics Menu

Shifting from Boss to Leader: Managing vs Coaching

What’s the difference between being a manager and being a coach? For those new to leading people, this is an essential question – and the answer is critical to long-term success. In this training, participants will clearly distinguish the two and when to apply each approach when working with their direct reports. They will learn several fundamental coaching techniques (the same ones used by our executive coaches) to become more effective as coaches that can be used immediately to better develop their team.

Back to Topics Menu

Purpose (For Teams)

Why did you come to work today? The answer to this question is typically hard to answer for most employees (beyond “to earn a paycheck”). Yet the most successful companies (and leaders) are crystal clear about their purpose. It guides decisions, strategy, who is hired, shapes culture, and more importantly, leads to a fully engaged workforce when all are aligned on a shared purpose. In this training, members of a team will be guided through a process that will clearly identify shared core values and the desired impact for the work they do. A unique and resonant purpose statement will be generated that will align and motivate the team (and answer the question “why did you come to work today?).

Back to Topics Menu

Managing Up, Over & Across

The ability to influence people who do not report to us (particularly superiors and peers) is one of the more critical skills mid-level managers need to master, especially in a world of cross-functional teams moving at an increasingly fast pace. And it’s not just a skill needed only for dealing with difficult bosses or over-scheduled colleagues, it’s important for coordinating action among disparate groups, for developing the people on their team, and for making their very own efforts and ideas visible to those above them. Understanding the players and what makes them tick – from the decision-making and leadership style of their boss, as well as their boss’s boss, to the colleagues on their committee – is critical. In this training participants distinguish “managing up, over, and across” as a skill set they can leverage to bring projects forward through partnership, shared vision and effective presentation.

Back to Topics Menu


Leading by Listening

Most people think about communication as the delivery (spoken, written, non-verbal) of a message. While clearly important, this training focuses on the receiving side of the communication equation. Specifically, it gives participants a new perspective and appreciation for listening and how it impacts not only the ability to take in information, but also the person communicating it. Participants will engage in an interactive exercise that allows them to experience listening differently that also generates humor and engagement. Additionally, listening will defined in a clear, meaningful way that will give participants a new platform from which they can greatly improve their capacity to listen.

Back to Topics Menu

Spinach in Your Teeth – How to Give and Receive Feedback

You are at an important business lunch meeting and unknowingly have a piece of spinach caught in your teeth. Would you want to know? Feedback is an essential communication tool that allows for important information to be shared so that meaningful change can occur (new awareness = new choice of action – e.g. remove the spinach). In this training participants will learn a feedback model that gives them a step by step guide for both giving and receiving feedback (positive and negative) and allows information to be delivered and received in a supportive, non-threatening way so that the important information is heard, and new behaviors can emerge.

Back to Topics Menu

Speak Up! (How to Contribute at the Meeting Table)

Fear of conflict, being wrong, or being embarrassed often keeps important members of a team silent. This training will examine the culture and conditions that prevent people from “speaking up”, particularly when expressing new or opposing views/ideas. Conversely, participants will identify the conditions needed to promote contribution from all members of their team. From these discussions, participants will develop a new understanding of these important dynamics, as wells as techniques they can implement immediately to start communicating more effectively in meetings.

Back to Topics Menu

Deconstructing Conflict

In this training participants will gain a new perspective of conflict and an appreciation for how important it is to innovation. Participants will be presented with a model for conflict resolution that they can implement immediately in their daily work roles and that they can share with their colleagues and direct reports. They will also gain greater agility at identifying and diffusing potential conflicts before they emerge. This training will be especially effective for those who fear and/or avoid conflict, and for those who overly engage in and/or have been observed to escalate conflict.

Back to Topics Menu

Driving Results

Setting Goals that Work

The age of SMART goals has arrived, but with it debate. Ultimately we need goals that exercise both sides of the brain, even in technically driven institutions. Goals must be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound, yes. But they must also be HARD, or heartfelt, animated, required and difficult (or challenging). In this training participants assess one or more goals they bring to the session against the HARD and SMART models, and will look at how likely they are to achieve their goal(s) with a success indicator. Participants will leave with a cohesive framework for goal-setting as well as a new goal they had not yet considered.

Back to Topics Menu

Delegation – Clear Your Plate and Feed Others

As leaders advance their careers and move from individual contributor to leader, the ability to delegate becomes essential for success. In our experience, this is one of the biggest pitfalls new leaders face. In this training, participants will identify the “constraining forces” that prevent them from effectively delegating work, as well as the costs and the payoffs (for themselves and the organization) of not delegating. Conversely, participants will identify the “driving forces” that enable them to delegate. This analysis will allow participants to create the conditions needed to more effectively delegate tasks. The trainers will also provide tools and techniques that make delegation easier and more effective, and will discuss delegation as an important way to engage and develop direct reports.

Back to Topics Menu

DNA of Decision Making

In our experience working with decision-makers, leaders of teams are not often aware of how they make decisions and what their role and their team members’ roles are, even when the outcome is positive (e.g. they get a product to market). Participants will leave this training with a decision-making model to establish clear accountability and team effectiveness. This tool will assist them to: 1) quickly clarify accountability for virtually any organizational activity; 2) clarify specific roles for everyone involved in a project; 3) create a shared language for assigning and tracking accountability; 4) enhance organizational efficiency; and 5) deepen trust by improving follow-through.

Back to Topics Menu

Specialty Trainings

Life/Work Balance Integration

In our experience, the idea of life/work balance is an outdated myth. The pace and demands of work can be overwhelming in today’s digital age. Our ability to manage our time and attention, to set clear and appropriate boundaries, and to integrate our work with the other important areas of our lives is an essential skill that is required to be both successful and happy. This training session will first provide participants with a current assessment (“dashboard”) of how well they are managing the areas of their lives that matter most, and will then give them tools and strategies that they can apply immediately to better integrate them.

Back to Topics Menu

Re-thinking Career Planning

Most people spend more time planning their grocery list than their own career. In this training, each participant will take a step back and clearly identify for themselves the qualities (i.e. innovating, helping others, leading teams, etc.) that are essential for him/her to have a fulfilling career. With these in mind, they will then be presented with an innovative, non-linear approach to career planning that gives them a roadmap to design a career they truly love, and the next steps to getting there.

Back to Topics Menu


In addition to the training programs listed above, Shift Coaching Group provides customized trainings based on an organization’s specific needs. We work in partnership with our client organizations to design and execute trainings that addresses specific topics and audiences.

Back to Topics Menu

Meet the Coaches 


RaNA Therapeutics

“Chris helped us plan and organize a research strategy retreat which he facilitated. He set the tone for productive, constructive and open communication and made sure that the views of all participants were heard. He helped us clarify and find ways to build upon our company culture and provided keys to effective execution that were valuable to us. Chris is an excellent communicator and is well-versed in the issues facing biotechnology companies at various stages. His calm and pleasant personality is especially beneficial in situations in which conflict may arise.”

– James Barsoum, Chief Scientific Officer, RaNA Therapeutics

Comments are closed.