About

About the nature of my work …

As an executive and leadership coach, I partner with teams and individuals to expand their capacity for leading effectively in complex and rapidly changing times. That means exploring the inner world of their beliefs and mental models as well as the external world of the business and cultural demands they face. We broaden our thinking by questioning what we hold to be true. The problems and limitations we wrestle with from one perspective become, from a broader vantage point, just parts of something larger and more integral.

I also help leaders appreciate that wisdom isn’t just in our heads; it’s in our hearts and bodies. By slowing down and being fully present to what’s going on inside as well as out, we can connect with ourselves and others in powerful ways and unleash our own capacity to transform the world.

I’ve tried to capture the complexity of this work in the title and the writings of the blog. The title, named after my book, is a reference to the value of right-brain “feminine” qualities like intuition, synthesis, connectedness, and contextual associations. We desperately need them at work to complement and temper the left-brain linear logic that has dominated organizational life for years.

“In our right mind” also a reference to trusting that a feminine worldview isn’t “crazy” or “wrong;” it’s simply different and its differentness is legitimate and long overdue in the workplace.

Finally, it’s a reminder to be open and aware—mindful—of what’s unfolding right here, right now, separate from our left-brain judgments and interpretations about what’s going on. When we’re mindful, we can slip the limiting bonds of black/white, either/or and play in the world of yes and!

If you have stories about life in either of these lanes, I’d love to hear them.

Post an entry, or email me at btrfield@gmail.com.

About my career path …

It resembles a meandering river, flowing from one discipline and venture to another. I started college with intentions of becoming an artist, then switched midstream to pursue a couple of degrees in English literature. Mixed into those years were short-term stints as an employee in bureaucracies large and small, which kept driving me back to the classroom.

In the early 1980’s I became a psychologist and practicing psychotherapist. Several entrepreneurial ventures supported me during those years. Without realizing it at the time, I was learning important lessons about the nature of work and the influence of work environments on people.

In the mid-80’s, my son was born and I took a position in a large academic medical center. I began working my way through the ranks, got an executive Masters in Healthcare Administration (eMHA), and later became the first woman to direct the graduate medical education (GME) programs in the country’s largest osteopathic training hospital.

In 1998, I started my own business as a leadership coach and professional speaker. I was scared. By then I was a single parent with a mortgage, a house and family, a newly widowed mother, and an uncertain career that needed to support both college and retirement. I was also inspired. I’d been swept out in a corporate housecleaning and it had given me my calling: I wanted to partner with people to create more humane, compassionate, and courageous workplaces.

As if by magic, people who were two, three, sometimes six steps ahead of me and on a similar path began appearing in my life. Some invited me to join them in organizing an active chapter of the International Coach Federation. Others guided me into the world of professional speaking, which has taken me across North America and allowed me to meet thousands of hard-working professionals, many of whom are health and mental health providers.

I wrote a column for executive women in healthcare for two years, became one of a few dozen coaches selected by the Federal Executive Institute to work with senior executives in the federal government, and have had the good fortune to coach in Notre Dame’s Executive Integral Leadership and eMBA programs. As the t-shirt says, Life is Good.

At the time of this writing, I’m experimenting with a number of approaches for convening different kinds of conversations with people. Inspired by the work of people like Jim Anderson, Jennifer Garvey Berger, Barbara Braham, Liz Gilbert, Dan Holden, Shannon Schultz, and Chris Wahl, I continue to stay on the steep side of the learning curve. New ways of working together are emerging and I want to be on the crest of the wave.