With Edmond Lau and Elenna Mosoff
Tuesday, February 11th, 2020 in San Francisco
For those who want to discover and embrace their own unique style of leadership. Increase your awareness of where you're second-guessing and limiting yourself, lean into your existing strengths, and reshape your beliefs and systems of behavior to align with the most effective leader you can be.
“This workshop helped me realize that I was standing in my own way of feeling successful, and the impact that my behavior had on others in my life. Edmond and Elenna led me on a journey of inward reflection, and through that, I realized that I needed to write my own definition of success so that I could continue moving forward confidently in my career. They helped me find my strong inner voice, taught me how to listen for it and how to allow it to guide me on my own unique path. This experience renewed my self-confidence and helped me to recognize my capabilities as a leader. Thank you for this awesome experience. It's one I won't forget!”
“Attending Edmond and Elenna’s workshop was an eye-opening experience. Through a thoughtful framework of exercises and discussion, I gained a new perspective on why I made certain decisions in the past and what I wanted from the future. I realized that I’d talked myself out of opportunities because of unconscious biases disguised as rational analysis. Having a clearer idea of my motivations and biases, I've felt more proactive ever since.”
Hi! I'm Edmond Lau. I'm the author of The Effective Engineer and a co-founder of Co Leadership. I've been building and leading teams across Silicon Valley at Google, Quora, Quip, and Ooyala for over a decade.
Throughout my career, I remember many moments of struggling with new responsibilities that I was given but didn't feel ready for.
I remember sitting in a product meeting, surrounded by senior leaders — my body tense and my chest tight. I was the de facto lead of a particular project, simply because I had worked on it the longest. They were discussing related areas, and I wanted to say something, but my thoughts held me back.
What can I say so that people think I'm smart?
That's probably too obvious.
Oh shoot, he just beat me to the thing I wanted to say.
Thirty minutes later, I felt drained and exhausted from all the anxious second-guessing in my head. I was still replaying all the times something was on the tip of my tongue, and I was disappointed at myself for not speaking up.
A few weeks later, confirming all the fears swirling in my head — my manager shared with me in my performance review the feedback that I should speak up more and take more initiative.
I also remember the first time I was the tech lead for a project. I felt unsure about a technical design decision, but instead of getting myself unstuck, I was paralyzed by thoughts like:
I shouldn't ask for help until I've tried hard enough.
I should already know this. They'll wonder why I don't know the answer.
They're too busy and would be annoyed if I ask for help.
How did everyone else do it?
The leaders I admired seemed to do it all so effortlessly — so why was it so hard for me?
I continued to struggle — spending time second-guessing myself in countless meetings, wondering if I was making the right technical decisions for the team, and often just putting my head down and working long hours doing something, anything, even if I knew it wasn't the best use of my time.
Years later, I realized that this loneliness and feeling of being ill-equipped or underprepared to lead is widespread in the tech industry. Companies grow quickly, and the pressure to ship the next thing can be overwhelming.
I hadn't been alone — people just don't talk about it.
It took me even more years of self-work, working with a coach, and coaching and training hundreds of engineers and people in tech, to understand something: there are actually very effective tools to identify and manage the beliefs and voices that hold you back, so that you can step more fully into the leader you want to be.
When I started to use these tools, a shift happened.
I started to own my self-authority and presence in the room — even with people who intimidated me.
I started directly leaning into giving feedback — knowing that I could handle myself.
I started asking for help without self-judgment — and I started accomplishing so much more.
I started becoming a leader I was proud of being and that felt authentically me — and I started to see that my leadership style might look different than those around me.
Now I've partnered with leadership coach Elenna Mossoff to teach you the systems and tools on how you can do the same.
Meet your inner leader in this one-day immersive leadership experience.
“A duo capable of bending, stretching and expanding how we understand ourselves and our lived leadership. Elenna and Edmond bring unparalleled depth, courage and spark to their work and to the world.”
As well as Airtable, Apollo, Apple, Atlassian, BART, Blue Apron, Capital One, Casper, Chain, ClassPass, Credit Karma, Dark, DoorDash, Dropbox, Ebay, Elasticsearch, Electronic Arts, Facebook, Fastly, First Round, Hashicorp, Heroku, IFTTT, Instacart, Instagram, Intercom, John Deere, Lever, Lime, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Mixpanel, Mozilla, Netflix, Nuna, Open Medical, Opendoor, Opentable, Optimizely, Patreon, Pivotal, Plaid, Pocket, Quora, Reddit, Remind, Samsara, SAP, Scale, Shopify, Stitchfix, Strava, Sunrun, Uber, Udacity, Yelp, and more.
“My biggest takeaway was the idea that we get to shape our programming consciously. This workshop reminded me that it is up to me to work intentionally to shift my mindset, and gave me practical tools to work on this every day. Just a few weeks after the experience, I can already see some of what I explored during the workshop starting to shift.
The main value, for me, was in experiencing the exercises and working through them with others, in community. The facilitators provided the space for us to explore a piece of our own programming, learn more about how it affects their lives, and think consciously and strategically about how we can introduce changes to shift our thinking in a direction that will serve us better.”
Together, we've coached and helped hundreds of people — engineers, tech leads, product managers, directors, and more — transform their mindsets.
Here's what we've learned.
Many of us hold strong preconceptions of what leadership looks like.
We look at people on stage delivering keynotes or TED talks, or we look at C-level executives of successful companies. And we assume that being a leader means speaking confidently in front of large crowds, knowing all the answers, creating long-term visions for the future, and charismatically rallying people to follow us.
Or perhaps the leader you aspire to be is someone you work with or used to work with — they always knew exactly what to say. They always navigated challenging situations with composure and competence. They always knew how to navigate supporting people to achieve their goals and also steering them to achieve company goals.
It's easy to think that we're not like them and that therefore we're not leaders.
But here's the truth:
Leadership is, simply, being someone who people want to follow.
“Before the workshop I struggled with self-confidence and believing in my abilities. I knew I had limiting beliefs, but I didn’t know what, if anything, I could do about it. Hearing others comment on my eloquence, presence, intelligence, and so on brought home the massive gap between how I see myself and how others see me and gave me much more confidence in my own ability than before.
This is not your typical workshop. It offers a framework for understanding the real, physical impact these beliefs had on me. It forces you to show up honestly and confront what’s not working, offering tools every step of the way and providing a safe space to try out new ways of thinking and behaving. It has empowered me to recognize that I have a say in how my career unfolds. I am my own boss in life, and how I talk to myself directly impacts how I behave and how I interact in the world.”
The skills required to be an on-stage, charismatic leader are indeed valuable leadership qualities, but there are so many other qualities that are less visible from afar. One person's leadership superpower may be rallying a team around a big goal, whereas another person's superpower may be a grounded confidence and willingness to share vulnerably that immediately builds trust with everyone around them.
There are countless ways in which you might lead most effectively, that can look different from those around you — and when we limit ourselves to one or two models of successful leadership, we don't recognize our own leadership strengths.
Once we expand our idea of what leadership looks like, one thing becomes clear:
That's why you get that tightness in your chest when something doesn't sit right with you.
That's why it weighs heavily on you when you're holding back feedback that you know someone really needs to hear.
That's why what-if thoughts keep flooding your mind, replaying situations — because deep down, you know that you're capable of so much more.
When you successfully have a difficult conversation after rehearsing it, and relief and pride flood your body — that's your inner leader showing up. Or when you speak up instead of sit back when a meeting derails from its agenda. Or when you ask a co-worker for help even when you're afraid you might be judged.
Those are all times when your inner leader is having a moment in the spotlight.
You may know intellectually what you need to do more of to be an effective leader. You may have read books, listened to podcasts, or watched TED talks — they're inspiring, but it feels hard to put the advice into practice.
You might try to “fake it until you make it,” but it's tiring to do something that feels fake, while also worrying about seeming inauthentic or being exposed for a fraud.
You might talk to your manager or a mentor for advice on problems you face. Sometimes, it's helpful. But other times, nothing comes out of it, and you don't know what to do next.
As human beings, we've all accumulated assumptions and beliefs we make up about ourselves and the world — built up through childhood, our schooling, and previous work experiences. Some of these beliefs serve us, but many don't — and we still hold onto them out of habit.
I don't have what it takes.
I am not capable. Everything needs to be perfect.
I'm not good enough.
If I don't try, I won't fail.
I'm not ready to be a leader.
These beliefs can be valuable in some ways earlier in our lives and careers — spurring us to try harder, to strive for perfection, to keep our head down and put in the hard work. But after a certain point, we outgrow them. They become limiting instead of protecting. They act like shrink-wrap, preserving the status quo, when we want more.
“As I was recently reading Michelle Obama’s Becoming, she talks a lot about asking herself, 'Am I good enough?'. This was a question that I have been trying to answer for a long time for myself as well. Even though I knew that I struggled with imposter syndrome, until the leadership experience, I did not realize that there were many people who suffered from it. I was not alone.
The experience taught me that quiet time with myself, reflecting on my thoughts, clearing my head is actually helpful for my day-to-day work. It taught me ways to use tools that I had always heard of but shrugged off. They helped me calm my nerves and feel confident. As I have spent the last couple of months since the experience trying to battle my inner imposter, I’ve realized that I have a more positive answer to 'Am I good enough?' Yes, I am.”
“Edmond and Elenna's workshop was instrumental in helping me define my limiting beliefs and provided me with tools to overcome them. They provided exercises to help me reconstruct my beliefs in order to help me achieve my goals. The work they are doing is both groundbreaking and effective. I would definitely recommend this workshop to anyone wanting to take their career to the next level.”
What if you could replace them with more empowering ones — ones that actually unveil and align with your inner leader?
You'd be able to speak up for the things that others are afraid to say, to stand with integrity for what you believe is right, and to speak the truth even when it might be uncomfortable.
You'd be able to overcome your fear of asking for help, to give direct and honest feedback to the people around you, and to step into the tension of hard conversations.
You'd be able to discover what's important to the people around you, to explicitly design what's expected, and to raise the bar of teamwork and quality.
This process of discovering your inner leader takes courage, but with the right tools and guidance, everyone can do it. And, in fact, if you want to find your own leadership style and create the impact and influence you want — the journey starts here.
“I unknowingly had been allowing a lot of self-doubt and limiting thoughts associated with Imposter Syndrome, a feeling that's not uncommon in my industry, to affect me. After attending this workshop, I realized that a lot of my limiting beliefs were either self-made or beliefs that I'd internalized and carried with me for way too long.
Edmond and Elenna did a phenomenal job of guiding all of the workshop participants through identifying those limitations and providing insightful tooling to help mitigate those thoughts. At the conclusion of the workshop, not only did I embrace the fact that Imposter Syndrome is very much real, but I felt comforted in the various ways it shows up to different people. It opened my eyes to how people process things like self-doubt differently. I'd strongly recommend this program for anyone who may have switched careers recently and is looking for ways to become comfortable with being uncomfortable.”
During this 1-day immersive, leadership experience, you'll courageously identify the limiting beliefs and the impact they have over your life and work. You'll discover and ignite your own inner leader that leverages your own leadership style. And you'll amplify the empowering beliefs that you want to play a bigger role in your life and move toward what you most want.
“Elenna and Edmond are the most dynamic duo I’ve ever met. I’ve seen the two of them bring large groups up to sparkling heights, then back to earth safe and sound. The differences between Edmond and Elenna creates room for everyone to be as they are. The deep trust and respect they have for each other sets a tone that fast forwards everyone to the edges of their comfort zones, then makes it safe to take that one step beyond into something new. If you’re looking to expand your range, this experience is for you.”
“The co-leadership experienced between Edmond and Elenna is best described as magic! A unique combination of style, experience, and talent, Edmond and Elenna do a beautiful job of ‘holding space’ for workshop participants, and do so in a creative, brilliant way. They have the natural leadership ability to dance with whatever shows up, while still pointing to (and keeping) an agenda that meets the desired impact intended. A powerful space to play for all audience members!”
with Edmond Lau & Elenna Mosoff
For engineers, managers, product managers, and other people in tech.
San Francisco: Tuesday, February 11th, 2020 - 9:30AM - 5:00PM
$999 per attendee
($1149 after Jan 10th)
If you have questions or concerns, email us. We're happy to help.
Even as an individual contributor, you're still working as part of a team, organization, or shared mission. And anytime you notice something that could be better, there is an opportunity to take initiative and to lead.
You learn leadership by leading, even when it's informal and without authority. In fact, most companies look for people who are already performing at the next level when it comes time for performance reviews and promotions. This leadership experience will give you the foundations to accelerate the growth of your leadership skills.
Do both! There are many great leadership books out there — we've read lots — and they are useful for wrapping your head around how something should work theoretically. But we're sure you also remember reading books, thinking “This sounds useful,” only to never use the material again.
We focus on creating experiential programs because decades of research in learning have shown that the learning sticks best when you experience it. This is especially true when you experience the learning in a supportive environment where everyone else is practicing and reinforcing the learnings as well. And given limited time, why not invest in the learning that actually sticks?
We've been running workshops for hundreds of engineering leaders across the industry, and we hear this a lot. The feeling of your situation being unique is real — and indeed people's situations are different. But you'd also be surprised how many pervasive themes there are throughout the industry.
This limiting belief that no one else shares your situation is also incredibly isolating. It makes it harder to ask for help if you don't feel like anyone understands what you're going through. Many people struggle with imposter syndrome, not feeling good enough, not knowing whether they're doing a good job, in some shape or form. We've crafted this experience to have multiple layers of learnings so that it is extremely applicable to any leader in tech.
Because this is a leadership development experience, you can leverage your education budget if you have one.
One of the most valuable skills we can develop is advocating for ourselves. The most important thing is to ask. Show them this page. They can say no, there's no budget, but then they know you're interested in leadership training, and that may open up other possibilities and opportunities. Start the conversation with what you're hoping to get out of it that would be good for your team or company: “I'm looking to develop skills to have a greater impact on the company,” or “I want to learn how to more effectively and creatively work with my peers across the company so that we can make decisions faster.”
One hard lesson we've learned is that if you keep doing the things you're doing, the best outcome is that you'll just get better at doing those same things. To truly accelerate your growth, you need to break out of your default pattern and invest in an immersive experience that shifts you into a different trajectory. We've designed our leadership experience to provide a step function in your growth.
Your company might already have some policy for employees to attend conferences. Ignite Your Inner Leader is not a conference by any traditional sense of the word, but it is a gathering for you to experience transformational growth. Wouldn't making a request to come be a great first move towards fulfilling the courageous leader you're trying to grow?
That's true! But your time is valuable. Why not attend the leadership experience that makes the best use of your time? We are trained leadership coaches and have experience running leadership events for people ranging from companies like Google, Quip, Dropbox, Lyft, Airbnb, Salesforce, NASA, Autodesk, and more.
We'll have breaks and unstructured rest time. But out of respect for other participants, the rest of the programming for the days is a phone-free and laptop-free experience.
We'll be sad not to see you there, but you can give your ticket to another friend.
This will certainly be the last time we run this event this year, and we can't make any promises about whether we'll run it again.
“Elenna and Edmond are a powerful mix of eccentric, magical, and deep human beings that can transform wackiness into deep insights and a-ha moments and curiosity into playful learning. They will allow you to learn by failing, transforming the concept of failure as something that is wrong or bad into something you need in order to grow and succeed. Both of them take personal growth very VERY seriously. And are not afraid of leaving the comfort zone, of exploring beyond limits. They will always encourage others to embrace their whole amazing selves.”