Deepen your understanding of executive behaviour

David Graham

David Graham, Chief Exploration Officer & Founder of EDGE3, explains how The Ivey Academy's LIFT Advanced Coaching Certification Program deepened his understanding of both executive behaviour and the ever-changing contemporary business landscape.

What led you to take the Ivey LIFT Advanced Coaching Certification Program?
There aren’t a lot of advanced-level coaching programs on the market. Most programs offer certification in coaching basics, but not a lot will help to deepen your understanding of coaching. Also, I’m a lifelong learner, so it was a good fit for me.

The other key aspect that attracted me to the program was the deep-dive into business and how coaching plays a part. Having a course delivered by one of Canada’s top business schools helped me truly understand the business environment in Canada and on a global scale.

How did the program compare to your expectations?
The program definitely exceeded my expectations. I was most impressed by the number of world-class speakers that were brought in for the program. It was amazing to have access to renowned experts as well as a diverse faculty team – professionals in marketing, finance, and entrepreneurship, who are not only skilled teachers, but experts in their fields. They were knowledgeable, engaging, and truly interested in developing leaders and coaches.

Finally, the campuses where the program was delivered (Ivey Spencer Leadership Centre and the Brew Creek Centre) were just so beautiful. To be immersed in these secluded, nature-inspired environments was really important to me. Being in an environment that was distraction-free where I could step away from the outside world and immerse myself in the learning was so special.

How did the curriculum prepare you for the challenges you face as a coach?
I learned many new tools and exercises that I can put into practice with my own clients. In addition, I was really able to understand executive behaviour on a deeper level and gain a worldly perspective on current business challenges. Not 20 years ago, but today – and how to prepare for a rapidly changing business environment so I can keep my clients ahead of the curve and understand where they’re going.

What particular LIFT moment stands out for you?
I consistently seem to be working with leaders who are trying to build their confidence. In a session with Martha Maznevski, I learned that what we really need to do as coaches is help leaders build courage. That shifted my perspective and has become a focal part of my work since the completion of the program. I help leaders step into the unknown, become more courageous, and take their teams to places they’ve never been.

How did The Ivey Academy’s teaching method contribute to your learning?
The one thing that immediately comes to mind is the selected case studies employed by the faculty team. They pushed me way outside of my comfort zone and helped me solve problems quite differently than I had before. Going through different functional business challenges helped me understand the challenges from inside the mind of an executive. I’m always trying to figure out what makes leaders tick and how to guide them through their unique challenges. Now I understand the thought process in a very different way.

How will you approach your current role differently as a result of the program?
I believe that I have become more courageous and strategic as a coach. The program has made me even more aware of how I need to stay on my toes and stay current. One of our greatest skills as an executive coach is to be deeply curious and to be aware of how little I know. It has really driven home the importance of lifelong learning for me. When you become a part of The Ivey Academy, you want to keep coming back to refresh your skills.

Have you found peers that you can continue to use as sounding boards, referrals and lifelong friends?
For sure! I reach out for advice from the other coaches who have a different skillset or when I need a fresh perspective. We all have such unique backgrounds as coaches, so if I have a client with a specific set of needs, I can always call on a coach from the program to address the challenge at hand – that’s really valuable.


For more information on the Ivey LIFT Advanced Coaching Certification Program, please download a program brochure.


About The Ivey Academy at Ivey Business School
The Ivey Academy at Ivey Business School is the home for executive Learning and Development (L&D) in Canada. It is Canada’s only full-service L&D house, blending Financial Times top-ranked university-based executive education with talent assessment, instructional design and strategy, and behaviour change sustainment. 

Rooted in Ivey Business School’s real-world leadership approach, The Ivey Academy is a place where professionals come to get better, to break old habits and establish new ones, to practice, to change, to obtain coaching and support, and to join a powerful peer network. Follow The Ivey Academy on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.