Leadership Team Building and Facilitation

Leading Teams in Times of Change

Leadership self-awareness, connecting with a sense of meaning and purpose in the work we do is essential to building high performing teams that excel in achieving results. Using our patented process, The Purpose Initiative ™, supports leaders and teams to access their creativity and innovation and achieve what they previously imagined possible.


At Gates Group LLC we are often called upon to facilitate leadership planning and strategy sessions to enable teams to harness their potential and make the most of their time together.

Our team has collectively worked with thousands of high level leaders —from NASA astronauts, to Naval Jet Fighter Pilots to Royal Dutch Shell Oil Rig managers, Silicon Valley Tech Innovators and start-up Founders and CEOs— helping them overcome seemingly impossible challenges and evolve their leadership skills for more inspired, productive and impactful teams and organizations.

We explore team dynamics, relationship tensions, communication break downs. We clarify challenges, prioritize goals and create commitments and action plans for change. We get strategic and focused on what’s important vs. the time drain of the unimportant. We work with teams suffering from debilitating conflicts on the verge of imploding to those with a desire to simply be a more effective, aligned and focused on the right priorities. In situations where the team is no longer viable, the process of transition becomes smoother and less stressful for all involved. 

Teams emerge more motivated, impactful, aligned and clear on the path ahead.

Laura is the most adept facilitator I’ve ever worked with. She has incredible tact and an uncanny ability to cut through difficult situations to get to the root cause of what’s going on.
— startup founder & CEO
If we tried having a meeting like this, with so many issues to be addressed, and this was led by someone less professional and skilled… It would have been a disaster. Laura’s skill as a facilitator turned this into a positive experience! Thank you!
— Senior Government Leader
Laura was a fantastic addition to our inaugural leadership training program. She brought a sense of authenticity and understanding to the group through her facilitation. She engaged and energized the entire room.
— Rick Wells, (Former) President & CEO San Rafael Chamber of Commerce
Laura’s skills in feedback and team facilitation helped me build a high-performing, executive-level team at NASA Headquarters.

As a new team in NASA’s newest mission directorate, she helped us define our strategy in the challenging environment of Washington D.C., and helped us work through long-standing interpersonal issues to transition into a high-performance team. Laura quickly identifies the critical issues and moves the team to address them. She delivers results! In fact, one of the more skeptical members of our team even commented after working with Laura that she was the most impactful and effective facilitator he had ever encountered. 
— Senior Government Executive
Laura is very effective at conflict resolution. She crafted a series of discussions and meetings within a context where we could share openly and vulnerably about our concerns and assumptions about each other. Laura helped us work through the challenges and issues that the business environment, our backgrounds and different work styles created and had become barriers to our ability to work together effectively. Our relationship was important as leaders of two organizations’ needing to work together to achieve shared goals and initiatives. Laura coached us through our issues and led us to rebuild our trust in each other, enabling our organizations to work effectively together. Additionally, our friendship was restored.
— Senior Government Executive 


Our workshops and facilitation are fun, engaging, hands-on,  practical and results-oriented. We focus on concrete business challenges. Topics include Leading Outside the Box, Tapping Your Zone of Genius, Leadership and Self-Awareness, Leadership Skill Development, Team, Culture, Vision and Values, Team Dynamics and Innovation and Strategy in Times of Disruption and Chaos.

Program Format

Each program is unique and custom-designed, combining presentation and workshop format with experiential exercises, self-reflection, small group learning and large format discussions. This series of sessions is designed to be a collaborative co-creation for teams to achieve their next level.

You can choose from the "menu" what fits best. Kind of like Garanimals :)

Hard Conversations

The ability to have difficult conversations in the workplace, talk through disagreements and deliver useful constructive feedback enables us to be more effective and impactful in our work. In this program we help illuminate key areas where conflicts can arise and provide practical steps to make having hard conversations easier. We will harness lessons learned from training and coaching individuals and teams to overcome conflict, navigate challenging conversations and engage in more powerful ways. Bring  your own examples to work with and apply to learn new tools and have fun doing so!

Leading Outside the Box

Leadership is not defined by a position or title, but rather a mindset. Learn how to be a more effective, impactful and inspiring leader while engaging meaning and purpose in your career and life regardless of position or title —show up ready to participate and lead outside the box!

  • Core attributes of successful leaders—what defines a leader?

  • What are your leadership strengths and areas for improvement?

  • How can you shift from striving, proving, achieving towards a more sustainable path?

  • Avoiding the worst-case scenario – career burnout

  • Discover blocks to success—what gets in your way of the leadership mindset? How are you your own obstacle?

  • Where do you have more leverage than you realize?

  • How to influence others when they don't report to you?

Zone of Genius* - Tapping our True Potential

An aligned team harnessing its collective Zone of Genius* is unstoppable. Here we explore each team member's Zone of Genius, helping them identify how they can best contribute to the team in their unique way, and how that impacts the whole. We also uncover blocks to tapping into that genius and help you get out of your way to achieving greatness.

  • Identify your “zone of genius”

  • How to translate this to where you add most value in your role

  • Identify areas for leverage—what can you do differently to achieve your goals? Concrete actions to commit to.

  • Making an impact, what do YOU want to be remembered for?

  • Collective Zone of Genius

*Concept adapted from Gay Hendrick's book The Big Leap

Leadership and Self Awareness

In this series of sessions we explore the various aspects that shape leadership: Organizational, Cultural, Teams and Individuals. You will have a chance to explore your own leadership strengths and challenges as well as discover what inspires you to contribute – where you want to have impact in your career. We will also explore team dynamics and cultural influences to help you identify and clarify as a team and organization what is next for you in terms of the mission you bring to your work. Each person should be prepared to bring their personal challenges and examples to work on.

  • Understanding personal drivers

  • Ego dynamics sabotaging success

  • Navigating Fear

  • Dancing with Failure

  • Interpersonal dynamics

  • Core beliefs, our "story"

  • Typical time drains

Leadership Skills and Attributes - Building on our Strengths, Shoring up our Weaknesses

With this element we take time to assess and reflect on individually and collectively what are the areas you excel in and areas you need to develop. Leadership attributes we explore include the following:

  • Managing change/chaos

  • Leading innovation efforts and creativity

  • Collaborating with others

  • Effective communication

  • Time Management

  • Meeting delegation

  • Work/Life balance/Stress Reduction/Mindfulness

  • Meeting management

  • Being Strategic vs. Reactionary

  • Emotional Intelligence (EQ): ability to recognize and manage emotions, empathy

  • Providing effective feedback

  • Dealing with conflict

  • Dealing with difficult people

  • Motivating your team

  • Managing diversity (e.g., race, gender)

  • Succession planning

  • Finding meaning/purpose in your work

  • Defining what’s next in your career

  • Technology (email, messaging, etc)

  • Executive presence - the ability to show up, be present, convey with impact

Team Culture, Vision and Values

In this session we explore team values, norms and culture. A series of small and large group discussions allow us to discover where the team is in sync and where it's out of alignment, what needs to change? What do you want to take a stand for in your culture and how do you collectively align around that? What does the future look like? How can you inspire others and motivate change?

Team Dynamics

Building a safe container for transparency and open dialogue, we explore team dynamics, relationship tensions, communication break downs and conflicts. Regaining trust, making clear agreements and commitments is key to maintaining healthy team relationships. Teams often have powerful breakthroughs in these sessions, we've seen long-standing conflicts dissolve before our very eyes!

Innovation and Strategy in Times of Disruption and Chaos

We are living in an era of great change and in some cases, industry upheaval. If you look at disruptive technologies in energy, aerospace, communications, photography, the entertainment industry, the music industry and the advent of breakthroughs in AI and automotive technology, we are in revolutionary times indeed.

In order to lead an evolving organization through chaos, it is essential for today’s leaders, teams and organizations to learn to navigate complexity and tap into innate abilities while supporting others to do the same. As Marshall Goldsmith’s bestselling book says “What Got You Here Won’t Get You There!”

Here we discuss leadership planning and strategy to enable teams to harness their potential and become almost fanatically disciplined about a sense of urgency and utilization of their time. We talk about "managing our energy vs. our time." We address current business challenges and needs with an exploration of tools from IDEO in helping leaders innovate and harness their creativity to be forward looking and anticipating change rather than reacting to it.

Laura took on the challenge of motivating a room full of participants with aplomb. She judged the audience well and left them inspired and with new found confidence.  She is also great fun to work with, sharp, pragmatic and good fun to be around.  I can strongly recommend her.
— Geraldine Gallacher, Managing Director, Executive Coaching Consultancy (UK), Return to Work Event April 2016 for Visa Corporation
Laura has an uncanny ability to use the collective group to help each individual unlock their unique and intuitive leadership qualities.

Laura’s group facilitation has helped me better understand and deepen my leadership qualities and identify opportunities for development in a safe and supportive environment.
— Executive Director in the Oil and Gas Industry

Meet Your facilitator

Founder of Gates Group, LLC, Laura is an ICF PCC Executive Leadership Coach with over 25 years experience coaching, training and facilitating leaders to create more impactful teams, cultures and organizations.

Her clients span the globe and include NASA, Shell Oil, Capital One, AT+T, Quaker Chemical, Lexis Nexis, Hewlett Packard, McKesson, the Department of Energy, the US Navy, the Pentagon, M+T Bank, Mahindra BT, Silicon Valley Giants and venture-backed start-up CEOs, and Visa International from China, India, South America, Canada, the United States, Europe, Australia and the UK.  

Laura was a founding member of Learning as Leadership, a leadership training company she helped build for 22 years. Laura previously ran a marketing consulting business after beginning her career at Citibank on Wall Street. She is certified in David Allen’s Getting Things Done system, Marshall Goldsmith’s Stakeholder Centered Coaching, Non-Violent Communications, Rational Behavior Therapy, 360º Assessments, MBTI, and she has B.S. in Business from Syracuse University’s School of Management and the San Francisco Renaissance Entrepreneur Center.

C Nancy Fina _DSC8169.jpg

In additional to facilitating workshops for thousands of leaders in the past 22 years, Laura has presented Project Management Institute of Silicon Valley, Visa Corporation for Return to Work, Wisdompreneurs, Wisdom 2.0 Unplugged, the Global Women’s International Network conference in Rome and Prague, the San Rafael Leadership Institute, HR Forum, Marin County Women’s Commission, California Staffing Professionals, the ARMA Houston Conference, the University of North Texas International Conference on Work Teams, San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, Women in Communications, and the San Francisco Business and Professional Women's organization and Mills College.

At its core, a team is comprised of human beings who want to be heard, seen and acknowledged for their contributions
while they engage in meaningful work. From this place, anything is possible. Laura Gates

Interested in a custom team facilitation? Connect with Laura on LinkedIN or send an inquiry to laura@laurafrancesgates.com.