Black Tusk is an iconic and appropriately named mountain that can be seen from almost anywhere in the Whistler area, just north of Vancouver, Canada. A massive spire of ebony rock juts out of the earth in an incredibly distinct way, appearing like an animal’s tusk. The mountain was formed about 170,000 years ago, when volcanic activity produced a lava dome inside a much older cinder-rich volcanic cone, filling up all the air pockets and causing the outside structure to crumble and easily erode away.
To indigenous people, Black Tusk Mountain is known as t’ak’t’ak mu’yin tl’a in7in’a’xe7en. In their language it means “Landing Place of the Thunderbird”. According to legend, the peak was blackened by the mythological creature’s lightning sparks, an image easily conjured in the imagination.
The strong, stark beauty of Black Tusk and its history have provided a compelling metaphor for our work as leadership coaches. Like the mountain peak, leaders must stand strong in the face of challenging circumstances. The path to development, like the formation of a volcanic mountain, arises from deep inside. Like the lava dome whose fiery ingredients spilled onto the surrounding landscape, changing it forever, leaders impact those around them.
As coaches we understand that being a great leader is calling more than position and that the journey to leadership effectiveness is not for the faint of heart.