This week Andrew Cohn is in the hot seat! I met Andrew more than a decade ago via networking within the Philadelphia Company of Friends, the local readers’ circle of Fast Company magazine.
Tell us about a cool project you are currently working on.
I have been fortunate to work on some very engaging and rewarding work recently. One project that comes to mind is a Conflict Resolution program I co-led for Wharton MBA students in a leadership course. It was called Managing Conflict with Power and Presence, and it was held on the mat in my Aikido dojo. We didn’t just talk about conflict, resistance, and staying balanced when we feel “under attack”; we experienced it physically and then brought the experience back to the workplace. The participants loved the experiential learning. It brought them out of their heads and into the present. We shared ways to re-gain our balance and re-center ourselves in the midst of conflict. Very practical, meaningful, and engaging.
How would you describe yourself? What words would you use? What is your brand?
My work is about helping my clients through their challenges; that means resolving conflicts, moving through challenging business periods and transitions, among other things. My clients have described my style as focused, insightful, resourceful, and compassionate.
What are you passionate about? What type of work makes you jump out of bed in the morning and/or stay up late at night?
I am passionate about solving problems, about finding value, meaning and joy in our work and life experiences, and about growth and improvement.
What is your source of inspiration? What drives you forward?
I’ve had my professional mid-life crisis. I used to practice law, representing business clients in a variety of litigated matters. I enjoyed many aspects of that work, some more so than others. And the experience taught me to think about what I want to be creating in my work, and to question how I can best make a contribution. Time is not unlimited and it is important to make good choices about how we use it.
After some years in the law firm, I went back to school for a Master’s in Counseling, with and emphasis on Spiritual Psychology. This taught me many things about the essential role of purpose and meaning in one’s work. In the process of earning this degree, I learned that my work is about solving problems and supporting people and their learning in the process. And I learned how to refine my skillset to combine the intellectual approach with the spiritual approach. This combination- of business and meaning/ of issue resolution and personal development- is at the center of my work.
How do you see yourself evolving, or "becoming", in the next year? In the next 3 years?
I envision my leadership counseling and coaching work deepening over the next several years. There has been more demand for this work in the past year, as businesses are moving through (and hopefully, emerging from) the current economic challenges. Important decisions have to be made and people need to be aligned for their organizations to be successful and thrive. My work supports these imperatives.
Also, I see myself doing more organizational conflict resolution work- another area of greater demand recently. As organizations become more complex (and often more disconnected) and as levels of stress increase, there are higher levels of conflict. This may look like illegal activity (particularly considering the increased scrutiny companies are under- such as the financial services and pharmaceutical industries), or interpersonal conflict among colleagues in newly-merged organizations, for example. What I do for organizations is help craft solutions that work for all parties, preserving relationships and maintaining business performance and compliance. This work is particularly fulfilling for me because it allows me to apply my lawyer-brain and my counselor presence to solve problems and support the people working through them.
Thanks, Brian, for the opportunity to share my focus.
Thanks for your insights, Andrew!
Andrew’s contact information is as follows.
Lighthouse Consulting, LLC
Are you becoming, or do you know someone who is becoming? I am always looking for the next becoming interview!