Desirable Difficulty and Crucible Leadership Moments with Leadership Development Expert and Executive Coach, Suzanne Coonan

by | Jan 5, 2022 | Podcast


The last two years have tested leaders, pushing us to operate under intense pressure at an unprecedented pace. And while these Crucible Leadership Moments can be incredibly challenging, they are also opportunities for accelerated growth and transformation.

In fact, Suzanne Coonan suggests that intentionally putting ourselves in circumstances of ‘desirable difficulty’ helps leaders develop the resilience we need to thrive in these complex and uncertain times.

Suzanne is an accomplished leadership development expert and executive coach who partners with high-performing, high-achieving leaders to navigate challenging and complex environments, advance their careers, manage their energy and find more meaning and balance in work and in life.

Suzanne has 20-plus years of experience, most recently serving as Senior Executive Coach for one of the world’s largest global technology companies, and she is passionate about helping leaders embrace the opportunity in these evolving times.

On this episode of Workplace Forward, Suzanne joins me to explore how navigating challenges brings out the best in leaders and share her top strategies for building resilience in uncertain times.

She offers insight on navigating Crucible Leadership Moments, encouraging leaders to share these transformative experiences with their teams and make time to reflect on both planned, positive challenges and unplanned, negative ones.

Listen in for advice embracing novelty as an opportunity for growth and engage in Suzanne’s challenge to take on a ‘desirable difficulty’ of your own in 2022!

Themes explored in this week’s episode:

  • Suzanne’s top 2 values (connection and possibility) and how they influence her work
  • How navigating challenges has brought out the best in leaders over the last 2 years
  • Suzanne’s top strategies for building resilience in leaders
  • How Suzanne defines Crucible Leadership Moments and how she coaches leaders through negative, unplanned experiences
  • The benefit of intentionally giving yourself ‘desirable difficulty’ during these complex and uncertain times
  • How to navigate a ‘desirable difficulty’ without letting it take you under
  • Why Suzanne encourages leaders to share their Crucible Moments out loud with their teams and offer their team members desirable difficulties to support their growth
  • How to create a process for reflecting on your Crucible Moments and why it’s important
  • Suzanne’s challenge to put yourself in a situation of ‘desirable difficulty’ in 2022 and the criteria for choosing it (mastery, mindfulness and meaning)
  • Suzanne’s take on how leaders of the future will embrace novelty as an opportunity

Resources from this episode:

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