Leadership Learning Circle: Rising Leaders

Leaders whose jobs in the best of times can be challenging, are especially stretched in these tough times. There has been a growing demand by rising leaders for opportunities to develop stronger ties with other leaders at similar points in their career, in order to establish a network of peers to confide in, depend on, support, and grow with.

We offer several Leadership Learning Circles to support the diverse needs of leaders through cohort learning offered throughout the year.

What are Leadership Learning Circles?

Each program provides facilitated discussions, peer coaching, mentoring, support, resources, and relationships. Our programs give leaders the extra support they need to address the challenging issues they face on a regular basis as well as support their commitment to learning and growth professionally.

Leadership Learning Circles are composed of 5-6 leaders committed to supporting one another. Discussions in the circles are confidential, supportive, and focused on learning and action. A trained and experienced facilitator helps participants use the circle to identify goals and resolve individual challenges. Participants meet once a week for 7 weeks to:

  • share insights and reflections on session materials
  • support and challenge each other
  • further develop specific skills with a focus on growing as a leader

Who should attend?

The Rising Leaders Learning Circle is intended for individuals who have been identified as “rising leaders” or individuals who have begun the transition from a mid-level leadership role into a senior leadership role. The cohort will include 5-6 individuals, from various sectors, who have been identified by executive leaders as candidates for this professional development opportunity or who have self-selected to continue their professional development.

When is the next program?

The program includes seven sessions over eight weeks January 12th through March 2nd. The sessions will be weekly for an hour and a half in length (8:30 am -10:00 am EST) on Zoom Meeting. In addition to the 10.5 total hours of time together in the Learning Circle, cohort members will have pre and post homework that should take approximately 1-2 hours to complete each week.

Session 1 – January 12th: Introductions & Overview

Session 2 – January 19th: Model the Way

Session 3 – January 26th: Inspire a Shared Vision

Session 4 – February 2nd: Challenge the Process

Session 5 – February 9th: Enabling Others to Act

Session 6 – February 16th: Encourage the Heart

Session 7 – March 2nd: Wrap-up & Reflection

Attendance at all sessions is required, given the small size of the group and the weekly discussions that will be a foundational piece of the Learning Circle.

Register for this program here!

How are each session structured?

Each session will follow a general outline, although there will be flexibility and the sessions will adjust based on the flow of the discussions. As a group, we will walk through the following each week:

  • Opening reflection by cohort members
  • Short introduction to the current session’s topic (using The Leadership Challenge and supporting materials)
  • Questions and comments about the current week’s content and pre-work
  • Discussion/exercise about how to apply the current session’s topic in our professional lives
  • Identify 1-2 takeaways from the current week’s session that can be put into practice immediately
  • Brief introduction of next week’s session topic and pre-reading materials
  • Final reflections by cohort members

What is the content based on?

Five fundamental leadership practices will ground our learning and development. The leadership practices will be based on The Leadership Challenge by Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner and their Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership. Readings, videos, and exercises will be drawn from various sources curated by the facilitator.

The following is an outline of the Kouzes and Posner model:


Leadership Practice Key Behavior Detail
Model the Way


· Set the example by behaving in ways that reflect the shared values.

· Achieve small wins that build confidence, commitment, and consistent progress.


The leader sets an example. Define the shared behavioral standards and then exemplify them. Kouzes and Posner also believe it is essential to achieve some small wins to build momentum.



Inspiring a Shared Vision


· Envision an uplifting, exciting, meaningful future.

· Enlist others in a common vision by appealing to their values, interests, hopes and dreams.


Leaders should begin work on their vision before enlisting others to refine it and make it theirs. Emphasis on visualization and the use of powerful evocative language to capture the vision to inspire others.


Challenge the Process


· Search out challenging opportunities to change, grow, innovate, and improve.

· Experiment, take risks and learn from any mistakes


The leader is an agent for change – questioning, challenging, and seeking new ideas. Taking risks, experimenting, learning from, and allowing for mistakes. Importantly, encouraging new ideas to flourish.


Enabling Others to Act


· Foster collaboration by promoting cooperative goals and building trust.

· Strengthening people’s ability by delegating power, developing their competence, and offering visible support.


Building a spirit of trust and collaboration. Encouraging people to share information. Kouzes and Posner believe that leaders must disclose what they believe and care about and, when necessary, show some vulnerability. This also entails delegating power, believing in others, and investing in followers’ training and education.


Encourage the Heart


· Recognize individual contributions to the success of the project.

· Celebrate team accomplishments regularly.

Praise and celebration.



Summary Source: Scouller, J. (2020). Practices of Exemplary Leadership – Kouzes and Posner. Retrieved from https://www.businessballs.com/leadership-models/five-practices-of-exemplary-leadership-kouzes-and-posner/#acknowledgements

Register for this program here!