Those who know me also know that I love a good gardening metaphor. As we begin the fall harvest, I can’t help but recall all the important steps and boundaries we create to arrive at a blissful bounty. The steps of gardening relate beautifully to the concept of boundaries in our personal and professional lives as well. As a leader (or team member) boundaries are your greatest tool. They serve to define, protect, and ultimately promote your ability to flourish.

At the core, boundaries can be defined as what you will and won’t tolerate/allow or what behavior is okay and not okay in relationship to you. Boundaries are the limits you place around your time, emotions, body, and mental health to stay resilient, solid, and content with who you are. When done well, boundaries allow us to show up in relationships in the most healthy way.

So, what does this have to do with gardening? Let me explain.

In the spring, my husband plots the garden on graph paper, carefully determining all the measurements and spacing needs for each plant. We painstakingly determine what plants we will sow and which will not work due to our zone, soil conditions, and growing season. Similarly, in your leadership role and in your life, you spend time planning your career path, your time off, and your commitments to work vs. “home”. Your end goal is to take the limited “space” you have and determine what fits into it. The boundaries you create are based on what you say yes to and “plant”, what you say no to and “abandon”, and what will and will not “grow” in the conditions you’ve created for your life.

Metaphorically, what goes into your garden and when? What do you leave out? What do you want but will procure in other ways (i.e., grocery store)?

Once we have determined what belongs in the garden, we decide whether to sow directly by seed or to buy a seedling or growing plant.

You can correlate this to your life by considering what things require you to cultivate from “seed” or from the very beginning versus what has already begun growing that you continue to cultivate midstream.

As many gardeners experience, it does not take long for bugs and weeds to begin to take hold. What we are coming to determine, however, is there can be a symbiotic relationship in our garden between weeds, insects, and plants. Determining how to rid yourself of noxious plants and damaging bugs is tricky. Likewise, determining boundaries around the “pests” in our lives can be the most challenging. This might be a difficult boss or co-worker; maybe it’s a project you got thrown into but hate. Or perhaps it’s an equipment problem that just won’t go our way. Sometimes, we choose to eradicate the pest, and other times, we tolerate it because the pros outweigh the cons. There are certain weeds that are allowed to grow in the garden as long as they stay under control, while others are immediately removed. Some bugs are encouraged to thrive and others are squashed.

Once we’ve figured out those pieces, we have to tend to our flowers and vegetables. Originally planted in neat orderly rows, as summer wanes on, they have grown beyond their borders, some seeds from last year have resprouted in less-than-ideal locations and others are larger than their packet said they would be. Just as in life, some projects or obligations take on a life of their own, growing beyond our capability and time. Boundaries determine what gets pruned, removed, and what we allow to continue growing. In a garden, we base our decisions on what we enjoy or what plants are most healthy. In work and in life, we also go through this pruning process by measuring what efforts are most important, what aligns with our values, or what we enjoy most. This keeps the boundaries intact, and the garden healthy through all stages of the growth cycle.

Finally, we are able to harvest and collect the bounty. While our boundaries may have been difficult to create and maintain, they have allowed us to promote a healthy yield. Likewise, in work and life, when we establish good boundaries, our relationships flourish and so do we. Parker Palmer says, “I say ‘enough’ without hesitation to anything that’s not life-giving, whether it’s frenzy or overwork…  an unhealthy relationship…  or a societal injustice.” While we might lose (some things) in the process, saying enough is what boundaries are all about.

It is our sincere hope that you enjoy this newsletter and the tools that are offered within it.

Much love as we enter the fall season,






  • 92% of employees think having access to professional development is very important or important.
  • Employees with professional development opportunities have 34% higher retention.
  • Employees with professional development opportunities are 15% more engaged at work.
  • 80% of people who receive coaching report increased self-confidence.
  • Over 70% benefit from improved work performance, relationships, and more effective communication skills.
  • 86% of companies report that they recouped their investment in coaching and more.

Source: The Impact of Professional Development

If your organization is like most, the people within are constantly striving to do better, to be better, and to innovate better. So, how are you investing in your greatest asset – your people – to ensure they have the skills and support they need to help you reach those goals?

A two-prong approach may well be your best option. Organizations should strongly consider investing in:

  • Professional Development
  • Professional Coaching

Here’s why:

One of the top three reasons people leave an employer is a direct result of a bad manager. This is troubling because not only is it difficult to hire in this competitive job market, but it is also a time-consuming and costly process for organizations. According to information from The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM, Jan. 2023) on average, it costs a company 6 to 9 months of an employee’s salary to replace him or her. So if you have an employee that makes $60,000 annually, it costs an estimated $30,000 – $45,000 in recruiting and retraining costs to replace them.

What’s more, according to the HBR article, Quiet Quitting Is About Bad Bosses, Not Bad Employees, ineffective frontline managers have three to four times as many team members who are “quiet quitting” compared to their effective counterparts. This is a big deal because quiet quitters, on average, cost companies 34% of salary costs in lost productivity. So, add this to the costs associated with those physically quitting and your organization is quickly in serious financial trouble.

This problem becomes more complex when you add the fact that about 80% of individuals report to a frontline leader, and up to 40 % of those leaders are in the first year of a leadership role.

On the flip side, the report says that companies with effective frontline managers have 30% more engaged employees and 15% fewer quiet quitters.

It quickly becomes apparent that investing in professional development to train and retain our greatest asset is indeed a good investment. So, let’s take a look at some of the issues and how they can be adeptly addressed.

Why are so many frontline leaders ineffective?

It is a widely known fact that between 50 – 70% of new leaders fail within 18 months of hire. The reasons vary of course, but some common denominators include:

  • Lack of communication and listening skills that allow them to build trust with their teams and their stakeholders.
  • Failure to learn or assimilate to the organizational culture (assumption that what worked elsewhere will work here too).
  • Overcommitting and making mistakes before understanding the full scope of work, environment, culture, and process.

While this doesn’t encompass all of the possibilities for leadership failure, it does give a jumping-off point for making a difference. It seems that doing better and being better is within reach simply by providing professional development opportunities and coaching to build the skills and effectiveness of frontline managers.

This is where the two-pronged approach comes in.

First, choosing the right professional development program can help leaders:

  • Expand their self-awareness and emotional intelligence skills.
  • Build trusting partnerships to enhance team effectiveness and accelerate collaborative relationships.
  • Deepen communication and listening skills to build trust with teams and stakeholders.

Our Conscious Leader program is crafted to facilitate learning integration and team collaboration over time (typically six to 12 months), because we know from experience that transformational learning takes time.

Using research-based models and experiential learning, we guide you through a variety of teachings and activities that will help you deepen your self-awareness and discover your unique leadership styles to support your organization’s mission, values, and goals. You will experience growth in leadership competencies and interpersonal effectiveness.

Second, organization-sponsored coaching can help leaders proactively build team and workforce culture, support employee performance and engagement, and increase retention. In fact, according to a global survey conducted by The International Coaching Federation:

  • 80% of people who receive coaching report increased self-confidence.
  • Over 70% benefit from improved work performance, relationships, and more effective communication skills.
  • 86% of companies report that they recouped their investment in coaching and more.

Organization-sponsored coaching is a partnership between the employer, the leader, and an experienced, neutral Innovative Connections coach. After a discussion between all three to determine goals, meeting frequency, and timeline for the coaching, the coach and the individual begin developing their relationship through a deeper discussion of the goals and challenges, as well as delving into the development or refinement of skills and work approaches that can enable individuals to be more effective in their roles and have a clearer understanding of their career trajectory.

Together, or separately, these tools give organizations the tools to empower their leaders, and leaders the tools to successfully build their careers, and engage, motivate, and transform their teams.

If any of this sounds like a path you want to walk with your organization, let’s talk. Contact us for a no-obligation, free consultation by clicking this link: Innovative Connections or calling us at 970-279-3330.

Setting healthy BOUNDARIES is an essential leadership skill and is part of our “Inspiring Conversations” collection. Each booklet in this series provides insights and powerful questions to ignite deep, meaningful conversations. Our hope is this free downloadable resource will lead you to conversations that will widen your lens with additional perspective and propel your growth as an individual, leader, and/or leadership team. DOWNLOAD BOUNDARIES






Professional development through coaching offers significant benefits across the workforce, including:

  • Higher levels of engagement, commitment, and retention
  • Effective succession planning
  • Stronger employee/leader relationships
  • Increased productivity, resilience, and wellness
  • Heightened creativity and innovation

Individual and group coaching focuses on developing high-performance leaders and improving leadership competencies such as self-awareness, presence, listening, trust building, and managing goals and accountability. These skills enable leaders to transform engagement and performance for themselves and their teams.

The global study conducted by The International Coaching Federation* also found that:

  • 80% of people who receive coaching report increased self-confidence.
  • 86% of companies report that they recouped their investment in coaching and more.

Our consultants offer four personalized coaching programs:

Professional Development Coaching
Development coaching helps individuals identify and achieve their goals and become more effective. Each coaching program is personalized to support your leaders on their growth and development journey.
• 6 months of one-on-one coaching sessions
• Hogan personality and leadership competency assessments
• Leadership-coach triad conversations
• Assignments to practice new skills

Performance Coaching
When performance falters, coaching can be a key intervention to reach clarity that a change is needed. A coach helps the individual and their leader agree on goals for improvement and then guides them toward achieving these goals.
• 6 months of one-on-one coaching sessions (frequency determined by the coach, coachee, and coachee’s leader)
• Hogan personality & leadership competency assessments
• Leadership-coach triad conversations
• Assignments to practice new skills

Group Coaching
Coaching in a group setting offers the opportunity to enhance each individual and their collective capacity whether the team is newly forming or is tackling new challenges.
• Monthly group coaching sessions (six to twelve months)
• Leadership competency assessment for each individual
• Assigned accountability partners
• Assignments to practice new skills
• Introduction to emotional and cultural intelligence

The Conscious Coach Signature Program
This program is designed to develop a team of skilled internal coaches that can be deployed throughout the organization to support existing and emerging leaders. Format customized for your needs:
• Cohorts of up to 20 participants
• Orientation session, pre-work, and assessments
• Onsite and/or virtual group workshops
• Time to immerse in learning through the real-life, day-to-day application of coaching skills

We would love to connect you with a coach who can help you achieve your goals. CLICK HERE to request an obligation-free consultation, or call: 970-279-3330.

Learn more about our coaching services




Challenges arise in even the best organizations. Whether you’re faced with new business challenges or have not yet uncovered the blind spots within your organization, you don’t have to do it alone. We will come alongside you to provide tools, resources, and roadmaps to help you improve productivity, increase profitability, and reduce turnover by creating an employee experience that touches all parts of the employee life cycle. Your organization benefits from having a highly talented, motivated workforce who will stay with your organization for the long term.

If you’re experiencing:

  • Difficulty achieving strategic outcomes
  • Disharmony or fear among employees
  • Poor team dynamics
  • Trouble recruiting the right talent
  • Other team or organizational issues

Our typical clients include:

  • C-Suite teams needing an experienced strategic partner
  • HR leaders who require specific expertise that doesn’t exist internally
  • Teams needing temporary assistance to supplement the talent on their team to meet a current need
  • Growing small to mid-sized organizations where organizational needs exceed the HR team’s capacity
  • Startup organizations without a dedicated HR function

If your organization could use additional hands or expertise, we would love to talk with you. CLICK HERE to request an obligation-free consultation, or call: 970-279-3330.




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Artificial Intelligence – Friend or Foe?

Whiplash – Ensuring Employees Feel Secure in a Time of Economic Uncertainty







The accelerated pace of change in our organizations has never been greater than what we are experiencing right now. As leaders, you are confronted with a high level of uncertainty, often managing your team and “figuring it out” on the fly.

Our consultants have helped clients from diverse industries work through challenges and walk the path to greater personal and organizational success, and we’d love to help you too! CLICK HERE for an obligation-free consultation, or call: 970-279-3330.













We believe every voice holds value and everyone should be empowered to bring their full and authentic self to work. We celebrate diversity and feel a deep responsibility to move organizations from good intentions to meaningful action around equity and inclusion. We approach this work with intentional awareness, curiosity, and respect. As consultants and coaches, we recognize our ability to influence individual behavior and organizational culture, and we aim to always create safe and inclusive environments that encourage our clients to learn, grow, connect, and innovate. Meet Our Team