Author: Pino Bethencourt Gallagher

Why I Endured Bullying for Years

If you had asked me fifteen years ago whether I had ever been bullied or mobbed, I would have said no. Now, I’m not so sure. The first time I went to see a therapist I was thirty. I talked for the entire hour of this first session about all the times I had found […]

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Why we Threw Eve Under the Bus

Everybody knows the story. Adam and Eve were blissfully enjoying paradise when dumb, ignorant Eve went and screwed it all up. She had to talk to that evil snake. She had to trust it and take its advice about that stupid apple. She had to get poor, innocent, perfect Adam into trouble. They were both […]

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How to Lead Without Needing Plan B

Have you ever considered that letting down your guard may be the best way to improve your leadership? Like most pearls of wisdom it’s counter-intuitive. But that’s precisely why only the brave dare try it! I learned the value of letting down my guard recently. I started a new club in Spain for business leaders […]

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Women: Real Power is Not Found on #Instagram

I guess growing old makes you weary of empty promises, predictable advice and know-it-all certainty. In the industry of coaching, self-help and leadership training there’s loads of it. I seem to have outgrown my own advice! And when I think of it, these are the three things that have most estranged me from my own […]

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Are Our Leaders Oversexed?

In a sex-crazed society like ours it really is no surprise to learn our leaders are also obsessed with the pleasures of the flesh. It’s embarrassing, yes, but hardly news. As angry debate over male libido takes over the media and social networks, I find myself wondering about the role of women in this. Are […]

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Stop Being Such a Touchy-feely Leader

Years ago we talked a lot about being more touchy-feely in the workplace. Generation X inherited a work culture of distance, hierarchical authority and denial of any and all feelings. Business cases in MBA schools depicted classical grey, brainy and rather curt bosses as losers. Real leaders, in contrast, were colorful, fashionable, sporty and creative, […]

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Stop Telling Women What to do or Wear

This summer my mother read one of the great classics of Spainish XIXth century literature: “La Regenta” by Leopoldo Arias Clarín. Over this same period, I watched Lena Dunham’s award-winning series “Girls”. The two of us have spent a few late evenings, chatting and comparing notes on the two, in Madrid’s sweltering heat. Meanwhile, the international media have spent all […]

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Brave Face. Of Wrinkles and Leaders

Spanish elections are driving the country crazy. We’ve done two rounds already and we may find ourselves having to vote again. But what nobody’s talking about are wrinkles. Or rather, the absence of them among our so-called political leaders. What happened to our wrinkles of wisdom? The answer is photography. When we invented a camera […]

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Why Instinct is Important for Leadership

What do you feel right now? Where do you feel it in your body? Can you score your body tension between one and ten? These are questions I ask clients every day. At first, they answer in monosyllables, like “fine” or “uh?” Today’s CEOs think they are good leaders. But if they are caught off guard […]

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How to Perfect the art of Passive Conflict

There is one fundamental fact of leadership that we modern, performance-obsessed executives struggle with: repetition of ‘wrongful’ patterns. However, the path to perfection runs through every instance of imperfection. 2016 has begun with an explosion of political controversy in Spain. The Catalan region finally appointed its new governor, who swears they will become an independent […]

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Be More Like an Egg and Less Like a Sperm

Thank goodness, the Climate Change talks in Paris have actually ended in an agreement to reduce carbon emissions, supported by 195 countries. Many world leaders have now committed to doing what many of us have been doing for a very long time. It’s taken many, many years –and a few natural disasters—to finally contain our sperm-like impetus. […]

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How Trophy Hunting Perverts Leadership

Do you think trophy hunting is only a problem for innocent lions in Africa? Think again. We’re doing to animals exactly what we sometimes do to ourselves. It makes us very small leaders, compared to what we could be if we stopped competing for trophies. Javier is a human trophy I know especially well. He’s […]

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True Victory is Honoring the Dead on Both Sides

On 12th of October we held Spain’s national holiday to celebrate the arrival of Christopher Columbus on American soil in 1492. More than five hundred years later, our ability to include everyone under Spanish King Felipe’s (pictured above) leadership is being tested. Here’s why. If you’ve followed the news lately, you must have read that Cataluña is threatening to […]

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How pain releases our inner leader for good

  While doing a course on dolphin therapy this summer I learned that caretakers must be very vigilant of health risks and carry out rigorous daily testing. These animals don’t show any change in their behavior until they’re irreversibly sick – in the wild it would make them easy prey to predators. Do our executives do […]

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How Profit Stifles Your leadership

I woke up this morning to an angry journalist on the radio who vigorously complained about Pope Francis’ latest comments on profits. Apparently His Sanctity had spoken about the dangers of “capital dominating men instead of men controlling capital” at an event with cooperative credit banks last Friday. Although angry radio talk is not my […]

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How To Release Your Inner Hero

The first man who thought about building a fence around a piece of land and calling it his own, had no idea how much he would change the world. As if foretold by a magic elf, in enclosing a part of nature, he also trapped a part of himself forever. Thousands of years later, breaking down our […]

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To Find Your Inner Wisdom, Stop Running

As everybody in Spain races to their chosen getaway to spend a couple weeks fighting with other holiday makers over a table at the best restaurants, best spot to anchor their boat, or nicest hammock on the beach, I seem to be the wise one: Madrid is at its most relaxed and calm in August. It’s […]

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How Breathing Fully Releases Your Leadership

I coached the director a national women’s magazine recently for her speech at the journal’s tenth anniversary ceremony. The keys to her success the following night were two. On one side she understood that she should be the leader to make her 400 guests feel safe and engaged by her voice. The second clue was […]

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Don’t Run With Wolves, Swim With Dolphins

“Women who run with the wolves” is a book written in the seventies by Clarissa Pinkola Estés. Dismissed copies rot away on many women’s shelves as an uncomfortable symbol of the untamed female soul. Forty years after its publication we’ve come to the era of women who swim with dolphins. Here’s why. One of the […]

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How To Lead Without Words

How important do you think words are to get your point across in business? Let me surprise you: a lot less than you would imagine. Leadership happens under our words, around them, between them. Leadership is what happens while we’re planning what to say. The reason is simple: leadership is instinctive to survival. Knowing who […]

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Why Rituals Are Critical To Your Leadership

Rituals are as old as mankind. As we grow up we are slowly brought into them by families, friends, religious communities and teachers. But we don’t really get them until we are much more seasoned in life’s perils and thrills. In today’s obsessively rational society many people don’t get them at all. Why are rituals […]

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How Mountains Teach Us To Lead

I am dizzy today. I just got back from a four-day trail in the mountains just outside of Madrid with a group of Dutch executives from the Foundation for Natural Leadership. It all seems like a dream in a far-off land now, but deep inside of me I know this trail impacted my growth as […]

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Is Your Leadership Economic?

The more I spend time with animals and Nature, the more I admire the sublime perfection of Evolution’s optimized economy. Nature never wastes a single impulse of energy. Every Natural phenomenon we take for granted is actually a masterful blow of targeted movement to keep pushing life forward. All animals enact this principle of optimized […]

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The Birth That Delivers True Leaders

Birth is the first process we experience in life. It’s the first door we open to the rest of our days on this Earth, and as it turns out, it’s a pattern of growth we will find ourselves repeating till the very end. Whether you know it or not, your leadership depends entirely on whether […]

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When Leading Is Not Belonging

Do you remember the tale of the ugly duckling? Hans Christian Andersen reportedly described this popular fairy tale as the story of his own life, and today it is still a classic loved around the world. It depicts a swan whose egg accidentally hatches in a duck’s nest, and after going through all kinds of […]

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50 Shades Of Balanced Leadership

Yes, 50 shades is on our list of trending topics this week as momentum builds for the movie’s worldwide premier on Valentine’s day, another much loved and hated topic in social media. I’m surprised the author chose the number fifty for her title, because 50-50 seems to be missing entirely in her story, the movie, […]

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Leaders, Own Your Own Unique Place

Kirsten Harms is one of my favorite friends. She directed the Berlin Deutsche Opera Theatre for ten years and just recently directed a wonderful production of Madamme Butterfly in Stockholm. She’s smart, beautiful, elegant and very talented. But what brought us together was our shared views on leadership and how the human body confirms or […]

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The Pains And Gains Of Leading

Last night I watched Braveheart, the 1995 Mel Gibson movie about Scottish hero William Wallace. It’s one of those movies we trainers can draw lots of clips from to teach leadership, and the story is as good as it gets where hearts are concerned. Of course they didn’t spoil an epic romance with the truth. […]

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Conquering Fear and Setting Leadership Free

Do you feel like a slave? I bet your answer is no. Ok. Let me rephrase the question. Have you ever felt like you weren’t free to do as you wished? Mmmm…that one’s harder, isn’t it? Well, don’t give up on liberty just yet. Sometimes, the quest for total freedom builds irresistible leaders. Terminator was […]

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Here’s An Idea: Learn To Lead By Receiving

In our society we love to give. I bet you’ve been mulling over new year resolutions related to helping others, doing good for those in need, or being nicer to your family and colleagues. Well, I’ve got news for you. The true secret of leadership is not giving. It’s about receiving. Today’s article was born […]

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Leaders Who Almost Die For Their Followers

Mónica Oriol is a strong female leader if there ever was one. Former President of the Spanish YPO chapter and successful builder of Seguriber security services, she became the first woman to ever preside “Círculo de Empresarios”, the prestigious socioeconomic think tank including Spain’s most influential executives and business owners. Today Monica is paying very […]

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The Yin and Yang of Leadership

I had an intensely brief debate on Twitter about leadership last week. The fact that we’re limited to 140 characters makes articulate expression that much more challenging, doesn’t it? And then there’s an audience to think about. We can’t really bore followers with endless replies. Still, a few tweets containing two opposing views of how […]

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Fantastic Power or Powerful Fantasy?

Haven’t you heard? The media is having a ball with a very unlikely story that has questioned every authority in Spain. A mysterious twenty-year-old we’ve called “little Nicolas” claims to have been involved in critical State affairs under orders from the CNI — The National Center of Intelligence — and the Spanish Vice-President herself. What’s […]

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How To Recycle Your Leadership

I’ve been working on my new company’s vision and mission these last few weeks. No other strategic exercise takes you deeper into unexpected soul searching than this one, right? Funnily enough, I’ve learned that what I’m doing with my life is all about recycling. Recycling leadership worldwide, to be more exact. I’m even more amazed […]

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“Lean in” To Your Leadership

Sheryl Sandberg popularized this expression recently when talking about women in business. It was such a simple and powerful way to put career wisdom into words that the expression grew into a bestselling book worldwide. Well, I’m going to borrow Sheryl’s expression today to write about how women AND men fail to lean in to […]

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Why Business Is Like Surfing

“I’ve decided business is like surfing. There needs to be a wave underneath us. We can’t do all the pedaling!” I joked over Skype to one of our partners in Holland last week. The hardest part of building new business models may be exactly this: knowing which waves to surf and which ones to stay […]

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Women Leaders: Learn To Run With Wolves

Over the years I have trained and coached hundreds of women to help them advance their careers in corporations, foundations and start-ups. From the smart engineers of ArcelorMittal who had braved their way through remote mining assignments in places where women are at serious risk, to posh strategy consultants at Boston Consulting Group who avoided […]

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Leaders: Stop Kicking & Slow Down

Speed is the hallmark of our time. It’s funny to hear how many industries and professions regard it as essential to survival and leadership. Reporters want to be the first ones to tell a story, brands try to plant their flags on a new market before anybody else, and well, don’t even get me started […]

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Leaders Don’t “Have To” Anything!

Many are now coming back to routine these days with heavy hearts. Summer prepares to leave our gardens in search of southern destinations, while we lazily wake up to find all the stressors we’d happily left behind a few weeks ago. As it turns out, however, the worst stressor of all is our own excessive […]

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How To Fulfill Your Leadership Destiny

Most high executives and business owners don’t believe in destiny. The very concept that our future paths could be predetermined by something or someone other than ourselves has been long outdated. Yet giving in to the life roadmap deeply encoded in our minds and bodies may be the only way to uncover the true leader […]

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Want To Lead? Surrender Your Armor

Have you ever heard of Wilhelm Reich? If you pride yourself a leader, you certainly should. Reich was the unique rebel who revolutionized the world of twentieth century therapy by bringing the body into the discussion of mental illness. Now well into the twenty-first century, it’s about time we did the same with our leadership […]

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How Smallness Can Make You A Better Leader

One of the most counter-intuitive notions of true leadership is smallness. In a culture where size seems to matter a lot more than it should, we’ve lost sight of the real proportions at play in life and business. The unbelievable truth is that the higher up you rise in business hierarchies, the smaller a fly […]

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Become A Better Leader: Enrich Your Breathing!

Breathing is the essence of life. It’s the quintessential pulsation that constantly connects us to our environment until the day we die. Every living organism on the planet contracts and expands in the most microscopic of ways. The bigger, more sophisticated and nuanced this pulsation is, the more complex and interesting its inner life can […]

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What If We Allowed Emotions To Lead For Once?

In the twenty-first century emotions have been relegated to the domain of penniless poets or artists, losers and weaklings. Business discussions are about objectivity, facts, numbers. Strategy is about “maximizing shareholder value” –whatever that means—and well, lab-cold science seems to be the new religion. Deep down inside every one of us, however, emotion pulsates dramatically, […]

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Queen Letizia of Spain: Trying Too Hard To Be Perfect?

Though Spain’s new King Felipe VI was supposed to be the main actor of his much acclaimed crowning ceremony last week, Queen Letizia drew just as much attention among international journals. Her elegance, her demeanor, her attention to her daughters throughout the ceremony…she was splendid, impeccable, the very image of perfection. Was it too much? […]

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When Wild Is Wise

Last Saturday 9th of June was World Ocean Day. As tweets, pretty pictures and deep blue video footage passed in front of my eyes, a big blue whale and her calf, placidly sunbathing on the surface of a shiny ocean somewhere, stuck in my mind. This is what wisdom feels like to me. We know […]

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Love Soccer? Leading Can Be Much The Same!

When you live in a country like Spain, it’s literally impossible to ignore soccer. We get at least ten minutes of soccer on all our television news reports, while most conversations are invaded with match results. Star players and their model wives appear regularly on magazine covers, show off the season’s hottest fashion on huge […]

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Forget Success. Failure Is Your New Mojo.

Success-based learning has been around for a while. Most business schools put MBA students through endless piles of cases depicting top-ranking companies and executives as models to be copied. Most leadership and personal growth books also seek out winners of all kinds to help readers learn how to improve their own performance. But here’s the […]

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How To Fuel Civilization: Learn From The Primitives

European explorers first met North American Indians in the sixteenth century, two distinctly opposite visions of the world fatally crashed into each other: while Europeans imported their strict moral code centered on will power, effort and hard work, native Indians had never been exposed to anything like it. To these hunter-gatherer tribes, will power and […]

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Mindfulness is Spreading, But Here’s What’s Missing

I’m thrilled to discover how many multinational corporations are embracing mindfulness as a desirable skill for their executives and leaders. Google, General Mills and Philips are only some of the global companies involved in helping their highest decision-makers stay present and attentive to the many crucial details hidden in the present moment. The list of […]

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How Women Will Save Us All

Female executives have never imagined life would get easier for them, but lingering financial uncertainty across our ever more interconnected markets may just provide the last little push they need to get ahead–if they dare to. A longstanding argument against women in power has been that men have done just fine without them. They’ve been […]

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