Leadership Training & Coaching

Be an empowered leader.

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Empowered Leader Course

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Leadership Coaching

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Programs for Educators

You want to be a leader worthy of being followed. But if you’re like most (good) leaders, you know there’s room for improvement. Whether you figure a little professional development can’t hurt or are experiencing full-fledged imposter syndrome, we can help.

You can choose to dive right into one-on-one leadership coaching with our seasoned coaches, but we almost always recommend kicking off your growth by enrolling in our signature program, the Empowered Leader course. This 16-session, in-person course (with optional add-on coaching) doesn’t just give you tools and skills to better manage your team. It helps you create a consistent environment where your team can function on a whole other level.

“I have at least one ‘ah ha’ moment each week!”

– Lyssa

Testimonials

    Room full of people sitting around desks during a Thought Design Course

    Psychological safety is the secret to our sauce.

    The Empowered Leader course is the only leadership training program in Michigan designed specifically
    to equip leaders with the skills they need to build empowered, psychologically safe teams and organizations

    Great, but what’s psychological safety? Put simply, it’s the culture leaders create that makes it easier for their teams to get creative, share ideas, enter into difficult conversations, enjoy their work, and feel connected… not just as co-workers who put up with one another, but as humans on a collective mission.

    Here's how the course works.

    LEARN

    Participate in a session.

    Join leaders from a variety of industries every other week for an interactive, three-hour training session where we'll unravel 16 topics critical to leaders' success. All sessions are held in our 4,000-square-foot riverfront property (right outside the hustle and bustle of Grand Rapids).

    APPLY

    Practice what you learn.

    You know how once you see something, you can't unsee it? In the same way, you won't be able to ignore opportunities to experiment! Expect your homework to feel a whole lot more like "get to" than "have to."

    ADJUST

    Get one-on-one feedback.

    While you can take the course without one-on-one coaching, this cherry on top takes learning to the next level. With this value-packed add-on, you'll meet with an instructor between sessions to get blunt about what's really happening with your team.

    Then, we repeat the process for each new topic!

    The Empowered Leader course is broken into two parts.

    Scheduling can be tough. To make it easier, we split the Empowered Leader course into two parts that you can book separately or all at once. Here are the modules we cover in Empowered Leader I, the first eight sessions of the course.

    Foundational Themes

    Understand why psychological safety is the non-negotiable, core ingredient to high performance and healthy culture.

    Developing Others

    Compare multipliers (who bring out the best behaviors & ideas) and diminishers (who shut down intelligence, creativity, and energy).

    Reduce the Drama

    Explore the mindsets and practices that stop unhelpful patterns in their tracks and develop habits that lead to growth and empowerment.

    Complexity

    Understand how leaders can successfully navigate the flood of decision-making & problem-solving in a world of ambiguity.

    Curiosity & Empathy

    Explore the neuroscience of curiosity, and learn how to activate it to foster learning, connection, and innovation.

    Self + Other Awareness

    Using DISC and the 12 Driving Forces, gain greater awareness of your own superpowers, how to notice those of others, and areas ripe for conflict and connection.

    Productive Conflict

    Develop effective patterns of communicating with candor and support healthy “creative abrasion” that leads to innovation, creativity, and trust.

    Structured Thinking

    Implement structured thinking to help you identify priorities and get more of the right things done individually and throughout the team.

    Here's what we cover next.

    The following modules are covered in Empowered Leader II, the second eight sessions of the course.

    Impostor Syndrome

    Uncover feelings that lead to unproductive behaviors, like holding back, procrastination, self-sabotage, and burnout (in yourself and in those you lead).

    Ownership

    Explore the mindsets, practices, and commitments needed individually & collectively to get work done well, on time, and without conflict or drama.

    Failure

    Make sense of failure from a neurobiological perspective, and understand how it impacts the way a team learns, innovates, and collaborates.

    Culture of Feedback

    Review methods on how to create a feedback-rich culture that enables real-time learning, builds trust, and creates a strong connection with your team.

    Developing Others

    Discover how to listen deeply, probe for the issue under the issue, and ask great questions to unlock the potential of your employee or team.

    Polarity Thinking

    Break the cycles of frustration, conflict, and stagnation by learning how to leverage the many polarities in our complex world.

    Creating Change

    Identify roadblocks that are standing in the way of the changes you most want and need. Then, finally embark on a realistic plan to overcome them.

    Moving Forward

    Articulate the transformation that has unfolded throughout the course, and complete a personal development & action plan for moving forward.

    Want the coaching but not the course? We offer that, too. This button is for you

    Don't forget your apron!

    Actually, just kidding. We already have one for you here… because (drumroll) we incorporate cooking into two of the Empowered Leader course modules! Why not? We have a professional culinary studio on our property, and nothing makes learning stick like activating all five of your senses at once!

    Before you enroll, you might be wondering...

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    Who teaches the course?

    Empowered Leader I & II are taught by Thought Design founder, Denise McClennen, and business partner, Tara Colvin. You can read about the extensive experience of both instructors in their bios.

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    How much time will the course take?

    Empowered Leader I & II each meet in person at Thought Design for three hours every other week for a total of 16 sessions, or around 50 hours of instructional time. Homework is naturally integrated into your work life and should not require additional dedicated time. If you choose to enhance your course participation with one-on-one coaching, you can expect to add a 60-minute virtual coaching session between each in-person training.

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    When is the next course being offered?

    The next Empowered Leader I course begins on Tuesday, January 16, 2024.

    Join us as we meet every other week of every month for a total of eight in-person sessions at Thought Design.

    January 16, 2024—9 a.m. - 1 p.m. (includes an interactive lunch in our culinary studio)
    January 30, 2024—9 a.m. - 12 p.m.
    February 13, 2024—9 a.m. - 12 p.m.
    February 27, 2024—9 a.m. - 12 p.m.
    March 12, 2024—9 a.m. - 12 p.m.
    March 26, 2024—9 a.m. - 12 p.m.
    *NO SESSION THE WEEK OF APRIL 9TH*
    April 16, 2024—9 a.m. - 12 p.m.
    April 30, 2024—9 a.m. - 12 p.m.

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    What if I have to miss a session?

    Have a conflict with one of the sessions? No worries! We use Owl technology to record each session, so you can easily catch up.

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    Who else will be in the room?

    This is the best part! Rub shoulders with folks from all sorts of industries leading in all sorts of ways. We promise, no matter the mix, you will find common ground... and probably a friend or twelve along the way.

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    Is the one-on-one coaching enhancement worth it?

    Honestly, it's a steal. Clearly, we're biased, but it would be unkind of us not to give you all the facts. This course is transformative on its own, but a downright powerhouse when combined with coaching. Here's why—no matter what we discuss in the classroom, there are always going to be intricacies to sort out in real life. (i.e. "Yeah, this sounds good... but probably won't work with Bill" or "That's easy to say, but they haven't seen the dynamic between Sue and Bev.") These coaching sessions allow us to get down to the nitty gritty so you can apply what you learn without a doubt. Plus, outside of Empowered Leader, individual coaching with us costs about 35% more!

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    What if I just want coaching, not the course?

    We recognize that you may have unique or urgent needs and desire to skip the course and work directly with a coach. We offer that, too! Simply reach out, and we'll start the conversation about a personalized program.

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    What if I want to bring all the leaders in my organization?

    First, this tells us that you're the kind of leader that makes things happen! We like that about you and would love to explore the possibility of hosting a private Empowered Leader course just for your people. Start the conversation here.

    Have another question? Reach out!

    Testimonials

      Ready? Let's get you enrolled!

      The Empowered Leader course is broken into two 8-session parts, Empowered Leader I & II— you can purchase them together or separately. Important note: You must complete Empowered Leader I before enrolling in Empowered Leader II.

      Empowered
      Leader I Only

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      Enroll Now

      Take part I of the course (24 in-person hours) with or without six sessions of one-on-one coaching.

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      Coaching Information

      One-on-one coaching takes this course to a whole new level! Meet with your instructor between each session to get into the nitty-gritty of your particular circumstances.

      Coaching booked with the Empowered Leader course is 35% less than if it's added after the course is over!

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      Upcoming Course Dates

      The next Empowered Leader I course begins on Wednesday, March 13, 2024.

      Join us at Thought Design as we meet on the second and fourth week of every month from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., for a total of eight in-person sessions.

      March 13, 2024
      March 27, 2024
      April 17, 2024
      May 1, 2024
      May 15, 2024
      May 29, 2024
      June 12, 2024
      June 26, 2024

      Note: The first session includes an interactive lunch in our culinary studio and will end at 1 p.m. instead of 12 p.m.

      The Empowered Leader I course is also offered with sessions beginning on Tuesday, August 13, 2024.

      Save up to $550!

      Get Both Parts—
      Empowered Leader I & II

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      Enroll Now

      Take parts I & II of the course (48 in-person hours) with or without twelve sessions of one-on-one coaching.

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      Coaching Information

      One-on-one coaching takes this course to a whole new level! Meet with your instructor between each session to get into the nitty-gritty of your particular circumstances.

      Coaching booked with the Empowered Leader course is 35% less than if it's added after the course is over!

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      L
      Upcoming Course Dates

      The next Empowered Leader I course begins on Wednesday, March 13, 2024.

      Join us at Thought Design as we meet on the second and fourth week of every month from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., for a total of eight in-person sessions.

      March 13, 2024—9 a.m. - 1 p.m.
      March 27, 2024—9 a.m. - 12 p.m.
      April 17, 2024—9 a.m. - 12 p.m.
      May 1, 2024—9 a.m. - 12 p.m.
      May 15, 2024—9 a.m. - 12 p.m.
      May 29, 2024—9 a.m. - 12 p.m.
      June 12, 2024—9 a.m. - 12 p.m.
      June 26, 2024—9 a.m. - 12 p.m.

      Note: The first session includes an interactive lunch in our culinary studio and will end at 1 p.m. instead of 12 p.m.

      You can schedule Empowered Leader II upon the completion of Empowered Leader I.

      Empowered
      Leader II Only

      Paper Airplane icon

      Enroll Now

      Take part II of the course (24 in-person hours) with or without six sessions of one-on-one coaching.

      K
      L
      Coaching Information

      One-on-one coaching takes this course to a whole new level! Meet with your instructor between each session to get into the nitty-gritty of your particular circumstances.

      Coaching booked with the Empowered Leader course is 35% less than if it's added after the course is over!

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      Upcoming Course Dates

      The next Empowered Leader II course begins on Wednesday, July 31, 2024.

      Join us at Thought Design as we meet on the second and fourth week of every month from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., for a total of eight in-person sessions.

      • July 31, 2024
      • August 14, 2024
      • August 28, 2024
      • September 11, 2024
      • September 25, 2024
      • October 9, 2024
      • October 23, 2024
      • November 6, 2024

      Note: The final session includes an interactive lunch in our culinary studio and will end a 1 p.m. instead of 12 p.m.

      LIMITED TIME OPPORTUNITY: Join our virtual beta version of Empowered Leader I

      Need more individualized guidance? Keep scrolling...

      Denise pointing at a paper on a desk to attendees of a Thought Design Course

      All leadership coaching, no course.

      There are some instances where skipping the Empowered Leader course and moving right into one-on-one leadership coaching with one of our seasoned coaches makes more sense. For example:

      You’ve already completed the Empowered Leader course

      Your circumstances are unique or especially sensitive in nature

      You have a need that requires urgent attention

      If one of these sounds like you, let’s talk.
      Simply click “Start the Conversation” to grab a time on our calendar and see if we’re a fit.