Coach FEATURE: Meet Delaney Tosh, CPCC, PCC

Delaney Tosh Headshot

Delaney Tosh, Inspirational Coach behind SquarePeg Leadership!

I love featuring our fellow coaches, building community and learning more about people coaching and doing great work! This month we continue featuring another of our blog authors - I don't know about you but I love to get to know more about people whose articles we read! So, a big thank-you to Delaney for sharing herself with us for this month's coach feature.

About Delaney Tosh, CPCC, PCC

From: Victoria, BC, Canada

Business name: SquarePeg Leadership

Describe your coaching business in one sentence: I am a leadership coach holding the vision that women who lead from authenticity will produce the most powerful and positive shifts in the workplace and in the world. I work with emerging and evolving leaders to help them build their confidence in their innate strengths and leadership style.

Meet Delaney:

QUESTION 1: What one book should every coach read - and why?

Such an intriguing question and so difficult to limit my response to just one book... And this is because I believe that to coach the whole person effectively, a coach will want to have a number of perspectives and approaches in their knowledge bank. The more expansive our own knowledge, the more effective we can be in how we coach our diverse clientele with their diverse challenges, strengths and worldviews.

But… if you really want a title, I would say, start with Co-Active Coaching: New Skills for Coaching People Toward Success in Work and Life, 2nd Edition by Laura Whitworth, Karen Kimsey-House, Henry Kimsey-House & Philip Sandahl. This book is a great foundational resource for new coaches and also for seasoned coaches to return to. I particularly like the 2nd edition because it has a lot of exercises including checklists and questionnaires and there is a CD with audio examples of coaching sessions and some printable forms. (There's an updated 3rd edition now, but I haven't yet read it. I think it offers web-based resources versus a CD)

Editor's Note: This book was also recommended by our last featured coach!

QUESTION 2: Which website do you visit the most?

It's a toss-up between and Facebook/LinkedIn. I LOVE reading peer reviewed research papers for both work and for pleasure.

For work I am tapping into research on women+leadership+confidence. And for pleasure I am reading anything to do with health and personal performance/resiliency. I believe it's important to explore the evidence-based knowledge to be able to provide a more comprehensive understanding of the various approaches I could use in my coaching with my diverse clients. I find that the value from the "top-ten" style of blogs is limited. I want to go to the source and fully understand the depth and breadth of a topic, and I want to be able to provide that depth and the sources for my clients.

Personally, I value community and relationship and so I value being able to keep in touch with family, friends and colleagues via social media, as well as in person. I love to celebrate with colleagues who are launching in new and exciting directions, or posting articles showcasing their expertise. I also belong to couple of excellent groups on LinkedIn that keep me tapped in and up-to-date on the current and international research and thought leadership pertaining to women in leadership.

QUESTION 3: Whom do you admire most?

Anyone who chooses to look their fear in the face and be boldly honest with themselves about how they are living from those fears. Anyone who learns how their fear is impacting them and then chooses a more powerful way to be in action towards really living into their potential. I guess that's why I love being a coach. I am daily in the company of people who are doing this, and so I am inspired daily.

QUESTION 4: What's your vision for your life? Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

My vision for my life is to live with a sense of freedom, inspiration and fulfillment and to be in service. In five years I see myself expanding my business internationally, having grown it so that I am able to expand my ability to give back. I'd like to have shaped my inner critic into a more reliant ally, rather than the little dweeb who keeps trying to hold me back. I'd also like to be able to say that I practice mindful meditation daily because the science showing all the varied benefits is fantastic and bullet-proof. I'm determined to take advantage of all those benefits through such a simple practice. I'm not quite reaching my goal here, but I'm committed to it!

QUESTION 5: What is your "big project" at the moment?

What keeps me creatively engaged and excited right now is a program I am creating for women who want to super-charge their sense of confidence in how they lead and to feel that they are creating a living legacy – leading in a way that holds deep meaning for them. If women have a project or dream they want to bring to life, especially something that will have a positive social impact in their workplace, community or in the world, this program will offer a process to help them breathe life into and realize that dream.

QUESTION 6: What has been your favourite coaching moment so far?

I worked with someone who had been 'branded' a 'bully' by some of her co-workers. Rather than a bully, the person I met was, in fact, highly motivated, sensitive, very loyal and caring, and deeply committed to doing an awesome job, yet was struggling with working in a toxic workplace - and coping in the best way she knew how. She was slowly becoming more frustrated, reactive and losing her resilience and sense of perspective.

The 'moment' for me was seeing her re-embrace her strengths and celebrate her career and expertise and regain self-confidence. This ultimately led to new and more rewarding opportunities for her. It was deeply meaningful to support someone through a demoralizing situation and into greater self-awareness, empowerment and fulfillment.

We each have such tremendous gifts to bring to the world and it saddens me when those gifts are suppressed for various reasons, such as workplace issues that disempower people, self-sabotaging beliefs, habits and behaviours, or just by a lack of championing, of having someone to point out our brilliance and how we can best put it into action. Being able to be that champion for people in such a constructive way through coaching is just the best thing in the world!

QUESTION 7: What are your Top 3 favourite coaching tools and/or resources?

The Co-Active model as per The Coaches Training Institute is my absolute top resource and set of tools. Learning how to be on my toes and move gracefully between tools and coaching skills – to be able to 'dance in the moment' with the client's agenda in ways that best serve that client in being in action towards their most fulfilling agenda is, for me, my most powerful coaching tool.

I don't often use 360 assessments, but if a client or team wants/needs one I prefer using a customized Narrative 360 assessment approach over a computerized 360 survey. I find that having the depth of context offers a more useful approach in helping the individual or team understand the impacts of behaviours and habits - and in helping me more effectively facilitate change. But I will say that having a computer magically spit out a report is attractive, given that doing a Narrative 360 assessment is labour intensive for the coach!

For other tools, I tend to customize resources for each of my clients - they are all so unique that I find a cookie-cutter approach can fall short. However, working with values and the inner critic/inner sage is foundationally valuable with every client. I know that The Coaching Tools Company has many worksheets to support clients in values identification, and I also suggest two online tools that my clients and I have found value in:

  • Shirzad Chamine offers a free assessment to help you understand how you self-sabotage on his Positive Intelligence website (and it then sends intermittent support materials personalized to your results).
  • I've used the Clifton StrengthsFinder assessment with many clients to help them better draw from their core strengths to support them in being in action with confidence despite those insidious inner critic voices.

QUESTION 8: What do you love most about being a coach?

Everything! My clients are so intelligent, courageous and uniquely wise and talented, and all so very interesting. Being in community with each of them is deeply fulfilling and inspiring and I find I am filled with gratitude daily. What a dream job!

QUESTION 9: Tell us a secret about you...

If I weren't so happily living this life of being a coach, I'd run off to be an international travel, food and wine writer, and a photographer. But since I love being a coach so much, I am secretly planning a personal blog to showcase my photos and celebrate the great places, foods, wines and the people I've met along the way. I just need more hours in the day and less of a need for sleep! Perhaps I can become a travelling coach? I'll keep you posted….

QUESTION 10: If you could change one thing in our world, what would it be? And how would you go about it?

I would change out the persistent gender inequality and reductive attitudes towards women. It's time. The biggest positive change we can make in our world, a change that will reduce poverty, reduce extremism, will promote health and increase the economic well-being of not just individuals, but of organizations and even countries, is to educate girls and empower women. The research and statistics on this phenomenon are astounding and show that "when you empower a girl or woman, she becomes a catalyst and creates ripples of positive change that lift up everyone around her." CARE (CARE is a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty).

I believe that my work as a coach supporting women in finding and using their voices to lead authentically and from their values is my small way of effecting positive change. I'm also quietly envisioning and working towards a cross-cultural leadership project for girls at risk of poverty and marginalization… But that's another of my secrets… sshhhh…

LEARN MORE about Delaney here:

 Delaney's recommended resources:

  • Shirzad Chamine's free assessment to help you understand how you self-sabotage is on his Positive Intelligence website
  • Learn more here about The Clifton StrengthsFinder assessment [Note: Neither Delaney nor The Coaching Tools Company are affiliates of the Clifton/Gallup StrengthsFinder]

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