Lead with confidence at the next level

Next Level Leadership is a high-end coaching program for women who are transitioning to a bigger role with more responsibilities and want to excel at the next level.

As a part of a small, select group of ambitious women who are prepared to invest in themselves to meet their new leadership challenges, you’ll be learning from May Busch and also each other in a safe and confidential space.

Over the course of the six-month program, you’ll come away with the actionable strategies, insights and support you need to lead with greater confidence, command respect and overcome whatever challenges you may face.

Answers from May:

“How could this program help with flat or matrix organizations?”

I worked in a matrix organization. And when you have a matrix organization, it adds another layer of complexity to managing your stakeholders, which is one of the things that can determine the difference between huge success and falling short of your potential.

This is a wonderful program to help you navigate the politics of a matrix organization, whether the organization is hierarchical or flat.

As my mother says, whenever you get more than two people in a room or in a group, there's going to be politics. And politics doesn't have to be a negative thing.

Next Level Leadership is especially helpful where there's a matrix organization because there are just so many complexities when it comes to relationships, communication, power and influence.

For example, you might have more than one titular boss. You may also have an org chart that’s different than the power chart. And the power chart is by far more important than the org chart. We'll be able to get into all of that in the program. So yes, it will be very relevant for you.

“How much time will Next Level Leadership program take?”

This program is designed to save you time. Having the teaching topics and support will save you a lot of mental energy (what I call “internal churn”) that comes from not knowing what to do and trying to figure things out on your own.

Here’s the time commitment:

You'll have a 30-minute teaching video to watch every two weeks. You can even watch it at 1.5x speed and/or listen while you're exercising or taking a walk.

Then we have two 90-minute group calls per month. We ask that you commit to attending at least 9 out of the 12 because so much of the benefit of the program is being part of the group and developing a safe space to help each other.

“Have the dates and times of the 90-minute calls been established?”

Not yet. It’s very important for us to maximize the number of people who can make the group calls every 2 weeks.

We'll pick a day and time so that it's easy for people to stick with it, which will likely be a weekday. And we’ll consider the geographical spread of the group, which is why we ask your time zone in the application. Finally, I'll also poll the group so we can find a final date and time that works best for the majority of the group.

Last year we were successful in having people from Asia all the way through to the west coast of the US able to make the group calls.

“Who else will be in the group? What level is this program aimed at?”

Next Level Leadership is for people in the mid to upper mid-career stage who are really interested in advancing.

These will be women who are very committed to their careers and have aspirations. They'll each define success in a different way. They will be people who are willing to share what they know and open-minded to learn and develop.

For somebody in their first 3-7 years of their career this program probably isn't exactly what they need because the work that we do together is at a higher level and more nuanced. Similarly, it’s not directed towards women who are already in the C-suite.

The group will be a diverse set of women which means having people from different geographies, organizations and sectors. Most importantly, this will be a group of high integrity, really good people so that the group is a safe space for everyone.

“What lessons have you and your team learned from administrating the previous program that will impact the next cohort?”

The main thing that we learned was that we were really on the right track, so we're going to keep all the elements that people loved. This includes the content, the conversations, and the worksheets.

The things that we'll do a little differently are:

  • Structuring the order of the content by topic area rather than by a group vote on what topic was most important/urgent to cover.
  • Moving to a different way to create community and communicate. (Facebook groups weren't popular with our group).
  • Having our kick-off call a bit earlier with a focus on helping the group to gel. It's when the group really gets to know each other and gains that trust that we can make progress the most quickly.

“What's the best way to approach my company to sponsor me? I'm nervous about getting it wrong.”

If you're asking your company to sponsor you fully or in part, we're here to help you.

Firstly, we have these resources to help you to have the conversation with your potential sponsor:

  • We have a sample email you can customize and send, or you can use it as a script to go and talk to the right person in your organization.
  • And we have a one-page program overview that you can share as well as a longer program description for further context.

In terms of framing the conversation, remember that you're not asking for a favor. You want to frame this as an important investment in ensuring that your boss, sponsor or organization gets the best possible performance and results from you.

You are somebody that they have recently invested in when they put you in front of a bigger, newer opportunity. You are someone of value.

Focus on what's in it for them, what's in it for the organization and why it will help you to do a better job and produce greater results for the organization.

You can go to your sponsor and ask them directly about sponsoring you, or you could ask them for advice on “how do I go about asking for this?” This second strategy lessens the risk for both of you. Either way you'll be on the record for wanting to develop yourself and that's a really good reputation to have.

Answers from Mariana:

“What was life like before Next Level Leadership program and how did you choose to join the program?”

I work in technology for a big multinational global company. It’s a male-dominated world that’s tough for me to navigate and I was getting ready for my first people leadership role.

I was actually trying to get a promotion just before I joined Next Level Leadership. That's something I was wondering: “Should I join before actually having the role established for myself or should I wait to join another time?”

I decided to join Next Level Leadership so I could prepare better and to be a “no brainer” when the promotion decision came to be made.

“What were some of the issues and challenges that you were facing?”

The main challenges were, I was a bit hesitant about my own skills and had a little bit of imposter syndrome about how good of a leader I was going to be.

The second challenge was that I was going from being my new direct reports’ colleague to their manager. It was a challenge to establish myself and be seen as their leader.

I also wasn't aware of my voice when it came to establishing strategies for my company and how I should direct my department to meet those goals, to meet the whole global vision.

“What were the skepticisms you had about the program before joining?”

I wondered if it was supposed to be for me. I wasn't sure if the topics were relevant for the moment I was in in my career.

When I read the topics and saw the discussions about how we can leverage my own development, my team development, and also the business strategy I thought it made perfect sense to enjoy this opportunity right now, before I actually had the role so I can be ready when the opportunity comes.

Ultimately, I decided to join because I did not want to leave it to chance. I did not want to leave it for me to learn by myself and learn alone, which could take a lot of time as well as errors and trials along the way.

“What was the group like?”

May put together a great group of people. We were all different and of different seniority, but the challenges that we faced and the way  we could help each other during the calls and share our experiences really brought a lot. The Brain Trust has a lot of value.

“What happened for you during the program? What was it like to be in the program?”

Just as we were about to start the program, my direct manager left the company. That created a huge leadership gap because there was no one, no supervision or manager above me until my director who commanded all of the Americas.

Luckily for me, I had been enrolled in Next Level Leadership so I could bring my challenges to the group so we could discuss them. It was great for me to have that time and space to think. The training program topics and the insights May shared in the videos helped me to develop myself into that leadership role.

When I finally got a new manager, he understood the value that I brought to the table really fast. He allowed me a lot of autonomy to keep on bringing my ideas to the table and keep on bringing my vision.

Now my new boss is rooting for my success and we’re collaborating to create the department's vision and strategy.

I could not have done this without having all those lessons and the program and that space because it gave me such condensed and deep knowledge that is applicable to my career.

We read so many things and we have so much information, but in this group, I actually learned how to put strategies into action. That made a huge difference.

May taught a lot on how to communicate with the team and how to promote myself before people actually promote me. When I started to promote myself and act as the next level of leadership, people started to see me that way as well.

It was the best advice I could get. And the tactics that May showed me for how to implement were spot on.

“What were the results that you came away with after the program?”

The results I got from the program were great. First I was promoted and then my team really came to see me as their leader. It was a natural transition from their colleague to their formal boss.

Now I’m also recognized by other peers in the region as a team leader for all the regions. People now come to me asking for advice on how they should have their projects or how they should have their operations running. I’ve become the go-to person in the region and now I'm being considered for another promotion in record time for the company.

“What would you share to help people who are deciding whether to apply and whether this program might be right for them or not?”

If you have questions the same way I did before joining the program I suggest that you talk to May and her team, evaluate and take a chance.

It was a great investment that I made for myself and it paid off. Talk to the team and see if it's right for you. Take this chance on yourself and your career, I think it's going to be a good decision.