Authentic leadership requires a delicate balance between “being” and “doing.”

“Being” refers to the internal state of a leader—their values, self-awareness, and emotional intelligence. “Doing” involves the actions a leader takes—decision-making, problem-solving, and guiding their team. Authentic human leaders seamlessly integrate these aspects, ensuring that their actions (doing) are deeply rooted in their character and values (being). This integration fosters trust, respect, and loyalty within their teams, driving sustainable success.

Definitions of “being” and “doing”

Being in leadership refers to the internal qualities and mindset of a leader. It includes self-awareness, emotional intelligence, integrity, and mindfulness. Leaders who excel in “being” have a clear understanding of their values and beliefs, and they consistently reflect on their thoughts and emotions. This self-awareness allows them to lead with authenticity, empathy, and resilience.

Doing encompasses the external actions and behaviors of a leader. It involves setting goals, making decisions, communicating effectively, and taking action to achieve desired outcomes. Leaders who excel in “doing” are proactive, strategic, and results-oriented. They focus on achieving tangible results and driving the organization forward.

The interplay between being and doing

1. Alignment and Consistency: Authentic leaders align their actions (doing) with their core values and beliefs (being). This consistency builds trust and credibility, as team members can see that the leader’s decisions and behaviors are rooted in their genuine character. When leaders act in ways that are congruent with their values, they create a strong sense of integrity and reliability within the team.

2. Empathy and Action: Being empathetic (being) enables leaders to understand the needs and emotions of their team members. This understanding informs their actions (doing), allowing them to address concerns, support their team, and foster a positive work environment. Leaders who balance empathy with decisive action are better equipped to build strong, collaborative teams.

3. Mindfulness and Strategic Thinking: Mindfulness (being) helps leaders remain present and focused, reducing stress and improving clarity. This mental state enhances their ability to engage in strategic thinking and make well-informed decisions (doing). Mindful leaders can better navigate complex situations and anticipate the impact of their actions on the organization.

4. Integrity and Leadership Practices: Leaders who prioritize integrity (being) ensure that their actions (doing) are ethical and transparent. This approach fosters a culture of honesty and accountability, encouraging team members to adhere to high standards of conduct. When leaders demonstrate integrity through their actions, they inspire others to follow suit, creating a cohesive and principled organizational culture.

5. Self-Awareness and Adaptability: Self-aware leaders (being) recognize their strengths and weaknesses, enabling them to adapt their leadership style to different situations (doing). This adaptability is crucial for addressing diverse challenges and leading effectively in various contexts. Leaders who are attuned to their internal state can better adjust their actions to meet the evolving needs of their team and organization.

How coaching helps integrate being and doing

Professional Certified Coaches (PCC) are instrumental in helping leaders integrate being and doing effectively. Coaches use a variety of techniques to enhance self-awareness, emotional intelligence, and strategic thinking, such as reflective exercises, mindfulness practices, and goal-setting. These practices help leaders understand their internal state (being) and align it with their actions (doing).

1. Enhancing Self-Awareness: Coaches help leaders develop a deeper understanding of their values, emotions, and motivations. By fostering self-awareness, coaches enable leaders to align their actions with their core beliefs, ensuring that their decisions and behaviors are authentic and consistent.

2. Developing Emotional Intelligence: Coaches guide leaders in enhancing their emotional intelligence, allowing them to connect with their team members on a deeper level. This connection informs their actions, enabling them to address the needs and concerns of their team effectively.

3. Promoting Mindfulness: Coaches incorporate mindfulness practices into their sessions, helping leaders cultivate a focused and present mindset. This mindfulness enhances leaders’ ability to think strategically and make informed decisions, aligning their actions with their values.

4. Strengthening Integrity: Coaches emphasize the importance of integrity and ethical behavior, encouraging leaders to act transparently and honestly. By reinforcing these principles, coaches help leaders build a culture of trust and accountability within their organization.

5. Encouraging Adaptability: Coaches help leaders recognize their strengths and areas for improvement, fostering adaptability in their leadership style. This adaptability allows leaders to adjust their actions to meet the changing needs of their team and organization, ensuring that their leadership remains effective and relevant.

Let’s connect

I’m an ICF-certified and experienced professional, coaching authentic human leaders with a focus on organizations whose Director+ population is facing complex, nuanced problems. Use this link to schedule a call with me to discuss potential coaching services. You can also email me or message me on LinkedIn.


Goleman, Daniel. Emotional Intelligence. Bantam, 1995.

Kabat-Zinn, Jon. Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life. Hyperion, 1994.

Kouzes, James M., and Barry Z. Posner. The Leadership Challenge: How to Make Extraordinary Things Happen in Organizations. Jossey-Bass, 2017.