Michelle Louis, PhD
The Leading Mind, LLC
A life of courage is constructed by design, not by default. It requires intention.
According to Dr. Brené Brown, a leader is "anyone who takes responsibility for recognizing the potential in people and processes, and has the courage to develop that potential." Leadership invites you to take responsibility for being courageous in service of cultivating the potential within and around you.
The Dare to Lead™ Program
Brené's research makes courage-building both accessible and practical by distilling it into teachable, measurable, and observable skills that can be learned and developed through the empirically-based Dare to Lead™ program. It is a game-changer for leaders at all levels. By providing a roadmap for progress and tangible skills to practice, participants translate research-based principles into powerful strategies and action steps as they learn the four skill sets of courage.
The Dare to Lead™ Experience
The Dare to Lead™ training is offered online through an interactive cohort model. Participants will cultivate skills for living more courageously as they build relationships in a vibrant and supportive community led by a certified Dare to Lead™ Facilitator who was trained by Dr. Brené Brown.
The experience includes 7 live online full group sessions for learning and dialogue, time to process with a small group, and 2 individual coaching sessions (60 minutes each) to build momentum in operationalizing daring leadership skills and gaining traction toward your goals. In between full group sessions, you'll have exclusive access to videos produced by Brené Brown and her team to help you explore the concepts in greater depth as well as a rich repository of resources (articles, podcasts, videos, etc.) from a multitude of sources to enhance your learning.
Participants in my past open enrollment groups have loved the diversity of experience and perspective that exists in the cohort, and each group has built meaningful and supportive connections. Having dialogues within a group that spans vocations, interests, and time zones can be an invigorating experience! Past cohorts have included participants from the U.S. and Canada, as well as Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia.
Participants are asked to plan on attending all group sessions because the material is interconnected and the community becomes so as well. We support and sharpen each other along the way, so every voice is valued and vital. Individual coaching and small group time occurs via Zoom or phone according to your preference, and is scheduled at a time of mutual availability.
The program requires approximately 45-60 minutes per week outside of the group gatherings to prepare for the upcoming session. Printed and/or electronic materials will be available and are accessible only to group members. I'll also provide plenty of (optional) resources for you to review if you are wanting to dig deeper on a particular topic.
Those who complete the full program earn the designation of being Dare to Lead™ Trained and an online badge for LinkedIn that notes this training.
The cost for the full training program is $1,600 USD. The program cost for participants outside the U.S. is $1,650 due to greater international shipping expenses for printed course materials. The program includes the following:
Space is limited and many cohorts reach enrollment capacity.
Payment is required to reserve a space in the cohort and can be made electronically by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org
Program Information for Employers
Cohorts will typically include participants who enroll for personal growth and those who are seeking professional development. The beauty of this program is that it attends to both! Some participants pay for the experience personally and others are able to offset costs using professional development funds from an employer. If you are requesting funding from your organization and need documentation that summarizes the overall structure, content, and cost of the program, please contact me and I will gladly provide that for you.
About Dr. Michelle Louis
In the roles I have held as a therapist, executive coach, researcher, professor, and consultant, I have devoted much of my career to exploring the psychological aspects of learning and development. I bring a systems approach to my work and find joy in partnering with leaders to identify and nurture their strengths, break through limiting beliefs, and to cultivate the attitudes, practices, and environments that unleash curiosity, creativity, and courage. My aim is to help leaders adopt postures and practices that will enable them to make meaningful progress on their goals as they attend to their well-being. This work is informed by my own research in positive psychology and my ongoing teaching and learning in this field and in related areas (education, neuroscience, behavioral economics, social psychology, and organizational leadership). I teach graduate courses and executive education programs domestically and internationally, and partner with teams and organizations on a variety of projects. During the 2024 year, I am a CQ (cultural intelligence) Fellow, partnering with an international group of thought leaders in this area to help advance cultural intelligence.
I was trained by Dr. Brené Brown to serve as a certified facilitator of her Dare to Lead™ curriculum, which dovetails well with my own research on the psychological and environmental factors that allow people to thrive. I hold a professional coaching credential from the International Coaching Federation and have completed specialized coaching training in emotional literacy and agility, strengths, adaptive leadership, and somatic approaches.
In my beyond-work life, I am a marathoner and women's running coach, a lover of the outdoors, a voracious reader, and an enthusiastic cook. I love planning celebrations and gathering people around a table for good conversation. I live with my husband and children in the Minneapolis, Minnesota USA area, and travel frequently for work and play.
Testimonials from my Dare to Lead™ Alumni
"Dr. Louis guided the group beautifully as we navigated this difficult but rich internal work... I have rarely experienced someone as gifted as educating and facilitating both group and individual learning. The coaching experience with Dr. Louis stretched me to learn more about myself and to move forward as I led a new initiative at work."
"The Dare to Lead program with Dr. Michelle Louis is the best professional development experience I have had. I only wish everyone could have this opportunity. I came away from this experience energized and equipped. Watching her so adeptly model being exceptionally talented, yet courageous and humble, encourages me to step boldly into the arena to use my own gifts and embrace the opportunities that arise."
"Michelle's Dare to Lead program is exceptional. It helped me understand the power of vulnerability and its connection to authentic leadership in an entirely new way. I'm a better leader in every aspect because of my time in the Dare to Lead cohort. In coaching, through her ability to ask deep, thoughtful questions, Michelle has been able to draw out answers I've been searching for with near pinpoint accuracy. I've left every meeting with a fresh understanding of myself, my goals, and my plan to follow through."
"This program tremendously impacted me in a time of transition. Michelle's approach to the content helped me truly operationalize the four pillars of courage into my personal and professional life in a way I wouldn't have otherwise been able to do. The space she created to foster community was invaluable to my growth-- I often reflect on the words shared during our group sessions. I am now pursuing goals I never would have considered as a result of this work."
"Dr. Louis is an exceptional listener, curious question-asker, perceptive group facilitator, and possesses deep knowledge of not only this material but also of many other related disciplines. If you are seeking a highly relational and practical, deeply meaningful learning experience that will shape your leadership and character, register for this cohort and her personal coaching."
"My experience working with Michelle and our Dare to Lead Cohort was transformational! What Michelle did for me through coaching, conversations, and questions was to push me to really think about what I bring as a leader-- she has a gift to lead you right where you need to focus and grow! This program deepened my self-awareness and changed the way I lead my team. I can't say enough about the power of my experience!"
"Michelle is an amazing facilitator and coach! She expertly led our Dare to Lead group. Michelle has a comprehensive understanding of the material, she articulates complex and vulnerable topics with ease, and her style invites learning. I have worked with several coaches in the past, but she is the best of the best! Dare to Lead was life-changing for me."
Dare to Lead™ as an Individual Coaching Program
Upon request, I offer Dare to Lead™ as a fully individualized 12-week 1-1 coaching experience for a very limited number of clients, based on availability. If you are interested in exploring this option, please contact me to learn more.
Dare to Lead™ for Organizations
I regularly work with teams who are interested in pursuing this work at the group level, and this option allows us to explore elements of organizational culture in greater detail. I facilitate in person, online, or in a hybrid model, and am able to travel domestically or internationally to speak at events or to facilitate workshops or team retreats.
Customized stand-alone workshops on single topics are also available, based on the goals of the group. Topics include building trust within teams, navigating difficult conversations, and values-driven leadership.
A more courageous life is waiting. Join me in the pursuit of it!
If you are interested in registering for Dare to Lead™, complete the information in the contact form below and I will follow up with you regarding next steps.
Invest in your leadership!
I generally offer open enrollment Dare to Lead™ programs online twice a year. Cohort size is limited to ensure meaningful interaction, and I invest deeply in each group.
I am currently engaged with an in-progress cohort. Click the link below to send me an email indicating your interest in participating in future groups and I will respond with next steps.