We assemble a CT Labs team for every engagement that we do.  This team includes at least one Collaboration Lead and one coLead.  While the Lead is responsible for the overall solution design, the coLead plays an important role in realizing the design during the event by being available to support the Lead, the client, and all of the participants in a variety of ways.

As a number of bright young minds have discovered over the past decade, the first step in joining the CT Labs team is becoming a coLead.  Those who have completed the process all seem to agree that the experience was both unique and worthwhile – although each has their own reasons for saying so.

Being accepted as a CT apprentice or coLead-in-training takes time. It’s definitely not a role for everyone, and given the huge training investment we make in each new coLead, finding just the right person is critical.

In the beginning, there are opportunities for discussion between the candidate and team members, and every effort is made to answer all the questions a new candidate may have so that the deeper conversations can begin with fewer misconceptions.  Gradually,more and more information is provided on what being a coLead really means, as well as the significant responsibility for the well-being of others that this role entails.  This is not everyone’s‘cup of tea’, and at this stage, many candidates self-select to pursue other interests.

Eventually, once both the candidate and all members of the CT team agree that continuing is a good idea, the first “test” training session is scheduled.  Over the course of an hour, the candidate(with some friendly coaching from their personal trainer) has the opportunity to answer “The Question.”

There is one question that every coLead must answer from their experience, in the moment of asking, because it is a question that cannot be answered based on prior learning or external reference.  By the end of that hour, the potential coLead has a pretty good idea of what awaits them in similar weekly training sessions that will span the next two years as they progress towards being a certified Collaborative Transformation™ coLead and eventually with more months of hard work to being a certified Collaborative Transformation™ Lead.

This long and challenging training period has many rewards for the team as a whole, but most importantly, it awakens in the new coLead the ability to transcend their usual limitations in order to be of the greatest possible service to clients as we assist them with their complex collaborative initiatives.  It’s quite different from the usual approach to employee development but it works extremely well and it is vital to being able to do the real work of Collaborative Transformation™.

CoLeads are really, really hard to find, and we are always looking for them. If you know one, or think you might be one, please tweet, email or call Phil Culhane.