Birmingham Organizational Psychologist McDonald Graham, Psychology at Work

McDonald Graham, Psychology at Work, Executive Coaching



Transforming Success® is group coaching with a curriculum. The program targets emerging leaders, and the curriculum is built around recurring challenges our professional clients frequently face.



We have been working with professionals in our executive coaching and therapy practices for many years, and Transforming Success® is our effort to extend our work beyond one-on-one interactions into a group setting where we can tackle challenges together. Transforming Success®  applies the essential “primer” every leader needs to prepare them for future development.  The program is appropriate for female-only, male-only, or mixed-gender groups and may be delivered as an internal company program or via a multi-company format. The program includes:


  • A group coaching experience – 6 highly interactive sessions with Drs. Lisa Graham and Julie McDonald and personal access to us via an online discussion platform between sessions.


  • Real-time practice integrating research-based tools designed to overcome common challenges for emerging leaders.


  • An introduction to a mindset that increases cognitive capacity and enables participants to reach their full potential.


  • The opportunity to enhance productive behaviors connected to effective leadership such as: adaptability in the face of disappointment or failure, creative problem solving, strategic thinking, increased efficiency, and effective collaboration.



The Transforming Success® program addresses a unique aspect of leadership development that is often missing from leadership curricula.  Rooted in our philosophy that we are Human at Work®the program equips participants with the self-management and self-regulation tools that provide the foundation of good leadership while honoring the fact that we are all human.  The goal of the program is to provide participants with specific tools – grounded in research and tested through practice – for addressing common challenges. 


The group coaching format is an important element of the curriculum.  The format builds rapport among participants and ensures accountability and continuity between sessions; it also fosters the development of a new support network. Online discussion between sessions extends the opportunity for relationship-building and provides participants with real-time practice integrating the tools.  The curriculum includes the following topics:

  • Myth of Work-Life Balance:  Introducing the Life Elements Blend

Yes, it’s a myth!  We guide participants through the process of rejecting the unattainable standard that is reinforced by the myth of work-life balance and introduce them to the Life Elements Blend  model that better reflects the reality of their lives.

  • Invisible Barriers

Many of us keep trying to address the same issue over and over again.  We help participants identify and alter the invisible psychological barriers that prevent them from making the changes to which they are sincerely committed.

  • Change What You Can

Once the invisible barriers to change are identified, we turn participants' focus to changing what they can -- their own perspectives and responses.

  • Honor Your Personal Bandwidth

We want to be able to do as much as – or more than – those around us are doing.  (Or at least what we THINK they are doing.)  We lead participants through the process of identifying their personal resources (and their limits) and support them as they commit to living within their personal bandwidths.   

  • Flourish through Strengths

We focus so much on trying to fix or hide our weak spots that we forget the importance of nurturing (and enjoying) our natural strengths.  We help participants discover ways to purposefully and frequently incorporate their character strengths into their lives to increase motivation, satisfaction, and energy.

  • Enhance Personal Power

We often try to emulate others’ definitions of excellent leadership rather than realizing that being an authentic human is the essential foundation of effective leadership.  Participants learn how to make and act upon decisions that are aligned with who they truly are.  

Several important and recurring themes are embedded in every session of the program.  These include:

  • Gratitude

We are so caught up in the frenzy of our everyday life that we forget to appreciate what is good in our lives. By trying out new gratitude practice between every session, participants experiment with establishing a gratitude habit – it is the most powerful thing we can do to increase life satisfaction.


  • Growth Mindset

As we move up in an organization, we sometimes feel pressure to continually prove that we are the best and the brightest.  True success involves shifting from a "fixed" mindset to a “growth mindset,” understanding that our best work emerges when we are open to challenging ourselves to learn and grow, while also unlocking and capitalizing on the skills and abilities of our team.


  • Personal Power

Participants learn how to use the concepts and tools from each module to enhance their own personal power and make decisions that are aligned with who they truly are.

By the end of the program, graduates are poised to reap the full benefits of later development opportunities.  Organizations may elect to offer follow-up sessions 3, 6 and/or 12 months following the end of the formal Transforming Success® program to reinforce learning and to continue to foster supportive relationships among group members.


Customized 2 to 4 hour workshops based on the Transforming Success® curriculum allow us to tailor a program to meet a specific client’s needs.  Some clients use a workshop to pilot the larger Transforming Success® program.  The shorter workshops may also be integrated into ongoing, existing leadership development programs that a company already has in place.

McDonald Graham, Psychology at Work, is a certified WBENC Women's Business Enterprise.
McDonald Graham, Psychology at Work, is a certified WBENC Women's Business Enterprise.