Join Me on My Journey: Leadership, Coaching, and Growth

Join Me on My Journey: Leadership, Coaching, and Growth

Shannon Duncan Shannon Duncan
7 minute read

When I see an opportunity for growth, I seize the moment. Whether it's diving into a new book, undertaking a fresh challenge, or embracing a new role, I'm constantly working to improve myself one step at a time in this coaching journey I am on. 

Today, I am at an exciting and pivotal moment in this journey, the kickstart of my coaching practice and thought leadership writing. 

We must go back in time to reach this pivotal moment.

For many years, I’ve had a deep passion that has continued to grow. It's more than just a topic of discussion; it is a way of life that I deeply integrate into everything I do. I have constantly absorbed information; anyone who knows me knows I can talk about it passionately.

This passion is figuring out what it means to be a leader and how to help others become strong leaders and find success.

I am driven by a constant curiosity. What does it mean to be a leader? Why do we want to be leaders? How do we become strong and dependable leaders? How do we handle challenging circumstances? What is the difference between a leader and a manager? What is empowerment? Why does this matter? What do we gain from it? What do others gain from it? Etc… etc… etc…

While I have consistently grown towards leadership throughout the course of my career, there was a singular point in time, a pivotal moment when everything changed for me, and I experienced actual growth. I had a leader who cared enough to give me honest and raw feedback. 

She and I worked together for several months, years even, to unlock my potential. I opened up about my imposter syndrome and the past events of my life that influenced who I was. We talked about things that were going great and where I had opportunities for growth. She recommended some books for me to read (“Quiet Leadership” & “5 Dysfunctions of a Team”). Through those conversations, I began to grow. I started to develop into a High Performer, recognized widely across my org.

I set my goal to help others be successful. Everything I do as a leader is through that lens.

Fast forward to about a year ago. I began thinking about what I wanted in my career and what makes me happy. I opened up to some of my leaders and peers about my journaling. I wrote about 150 pages of journals and inner thoughts in a book I kept on my desk. This journaling helped me realize that I didn’t know what I wanted. 

Finally, after working with a professional coach, I was able to unlock what I really wanted. I have worked with two coaches in the past year, and they both contributed greatly to where I am today. They introduced me to additional books (notice a pattern here?). Those books were Extreme Ownership and The Coaching Habit. They changed the way I looked at leadership. Through working with those coaches, I came to realize the following:

> I wanted to take more ownership.

> I wanted to be a more "coach-like" leader.

> I wanted to help others unlock their potential and get out of their own way.

> I wanted to combine this with my sense of helping others succeed and let it fully unlock my leadership vision.

I started to adjust my conversations with others, staying curious for longer and asking questions to get to the root of what others were really thinking and feeling, all with the goal of becoming more "coach-like." I started having conversations with more peers and people who were not my direct reports. This led to more conversations with people outside my company. These conversations became coaching and mentorship opportunities, even advisor relationships.

I loved these conversations, and I felt a significant sense of personal success and impact helping people experience these micro-miracles and helping them realize their potential, navigate change, deal with hardship, handle conflict, work under constrained resources, get unstuck, etc.

Through this, I’ve coached everyone from entry-level programmers/engineers, new managers, established middle managers, Directors, VP’s, CTO’s, CEO’s and Founders. All of them had a common theme: they are all High Performers in some way and want to continue growing, to continue their impact, to continue being High Performers.

Fast forward to today

None of this would have been possible if someone hadn't invested their time in me. 

The most powerful thing that has happened to me in my career is receiving honest and open coaching to unlock my potential.

This brings us back to today. Today, I am taking my next steps: 

  1. Enrolling in Executive Education to solidify my executive and leadership coaching through the Center for Executive Coaching and Saint Joseph’s University.
  2. Building my website to publish thought articles on Leadership, Management, Change Management, Culture Setting, Coaching, and Business.
  3. Planning how I want to use my after-hours capacity to the fullest extent and determine which coaching partnerships and programs I want to run. I expect to figure this out.

On that note: Is working with me something you would like to do? Take the first step and set up a confidential one-on-one call with me. Do it now


This is the first blog post I’ve ever written for myself, but it is only the start of the list of topics I'll be publishing. Some of those topics include:

  1. The Karpman Drama Triangle and what it means for you as a Leader or an Individual Contributor.
  2. When overwhelmed in our role, what do we do?
  3. Giving Feedback to Direct Reports, Peers, and Leadership.
  4. Coaching vs. Therapy.
  5. “Never put yourself in a position to take from these men” - Band of Brothers Quote-driven thought piece.
  6. Navigating Uncertain Times.
  7. Delivering on reduced resources, time, money, people, bandwidth, etc.
  8. The power of quiet leadership.
  9. Building strong communication lines.
  10. People are not just a resource; don’t treat them that way.
  11. Coaching - Visual, Auditory, Kinesthetic modes.
  12. Being a Coach Like Leader - Staying curious for longer.
  13. Why do some people bounce back from challenges, and some spin into decline? Mental Toughness.
  14. “Be yourself, everyone else is already taken” - Oscar Wilde quote
  15. “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times” - Opening line of Charles Dickens’s Tale of Two Cities—application to work, life, and leadership.
  16. Management: Effective 1:1’s.
  17. Management: Quarterly Check-ins.
  18. Leadership: The effects of a Positive Mindset and criticality.
  19. Simplicity over Complexity.
  20. Detach, Prioritize, Execute.
  21. Are you the best? Should you be? What if your direct reports are better than you?
  22. Poor performers. What do we do?
  23. Escalating Ownership.

I'd like to provide my thoughts on so many topics around coaching and leadership. I expect to be releasing these weekly or monthly for a while. Let me know if you’d like to see a specific topic covered, and I can adjust my priority.

Closing Thoughts

I invite you to join me on this journey, and I hope you get something out of this as well. Thank you to all of those who have supported me on my path to here and now, and if you ever need anything, just let me know. I’ll be there to help you.

For those of you who have asked. No, I am not leaving my role at my current company. This journey is personal to me as I find fulfillment in having a meaningful impact on others and continuing on my own journey of always striving to become a better "coach-like" leader.

Until next time,

What did you find most beneficial for you in this article? Let me know in an email or a DM on LinkedIn.

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Note: Almost all feature images on this blog are generated by AI, not my art.

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