Ready to transform your team into a squad of high performing individuals?
Discover the personal, professional, and health benefits that come from developing your own truly authentic approach to effective, principled leadership.

AUTHENTIC Leadership

is not title or promotion.

Chris Ptak helps professionals unravel their anxiety and transform their approach to authentic living and leadership.

Here's What You Will Learn In This Free Training:

  • How, no matter where you fall in your organization's power structure, you can make use of tools and opportunities at your disposal to transform your working environment and better support those who support you.

  • Why you shouldn't wait until you have more experience or free time (whatever that is) to chart a new course that will restore your confidence and take the training wheels off your career.

  • How to restore mental, emotional, and physical well being by unraveling the stress, uncertainty and constant pressure that prevents many leaders from achieving the peace of their potential.


The reality is, the road to your own authentic approach to leadership—and the confidence and conviction that comes with it—is one you must walk yourself.

The good news is: this is not a road you have to walk by yourself.

If you've ever attending a team-building exercise or a one-size-fits all leadership seminar, you've likely had the experience of being sold on a series of anecdotes or some sampling of leadership secrets packaged to look like a training, complete with a workbook full of journal prompts and small-group discussion questions.


Or maybe you started reading one of those management books people are always recommending (kudos to you if you actually finished).

In either case, if you're anything like me, you picked up a few ideas but were ultimately disappointed both with the content (or lack of content) that was offered and with the short half-life of your own motivation and follow-through.



It cannot be reduced to a title or promotion. It is a meaningful lifestyle toward which a principled individual (you) makes progress by conscious preparation and thoughtful practice.

I'm Chris,

I've been attracted to the theory and practice of leadership for as long as I can remember. Some part of me, just like some part of you, has always understood that leadership is more than a skill or a job: that to have any real impact, it has to become a lifestyle. The kind of influence that really makes a difference is not a direct result of charisma, IQ, or material success.

When I started my career, I did so with the intention of changing the world—even if that change was important to only a handful of people. The one thing I did know was that I wanted my career (and my life) to be an testament to the power of leadership through service. So I set off with no clear direction to figure out what that would mean for me. I went abroad and I served as a teacher in China to those who, I imagined, were less fortunate than I was. I studied in Israel. I served in a wilderness program for at-risk kids. I actually lived outdoors—for two years!—with the hope of learning to help others in a way that could make a truly human difference.

I eventually moved back to Chicago and took positions in both corporate and non-profit organizations. I served as a teacher, counselor, manager, director and entrepreneur. But somewhere along the way I hit a wall. There was a growing disconnect between my work and my life. What I thought was manageable stress grew into a low hum of ever-present anxiety, and that anxiety began to take the form of apathy, cynicism, impatience, and an increasingly unhealthy work/life balance. I felt disorganized, without purpose or direction, and I began to avoid work about which I had once been passionate.

Stress is cumulative.

Everyday challenges begin to seem larger than life. Your work can begin to negatively affect your personal life and relationships. If you've felt this way, you'll know what I mean when I say that enough of this negative pressure can so fully obstruct your field of vision that you begin to lose perspective. You can begin to feel a little hopeless, and ironically, even less motivated to take action to change the way you live and work.


As you’ll learn in the training above, I found myself experiencing such a level of depletion and burnout that it actually affected me physically in a severe and permanent way. Burnout was my body's way of throwing up a white flag—I was physically, emotionally, and spiritually unable to keep fighting.


What I finally learned from that experience is what I set out to learn in the first place: what it really means to lead authentically—in a way that heals and replenishes both you and those you serve.

You will not be an authentic leader until you rediscover what it means to be an authentic person.

I have repurposed my background in teaching, counseling and consulting so that those on a similar journey might be able to find what they're searching for faster—and avoid some life-altering mistakes  along the way.


It is possible to build a life where you are excited, self-possessed and determined. It is possible to lead from a place of deep purpose, confidence and skill. You shouldn't have to wait for a breakdown, or a visit to the hospital, to acknowledge the physical, emotional, and spiritual exhaustion that result when the lives we are leading are not aligned with the purpose we seek.

If you aspire to lead, learn to serve.

A Roadmap for authentic, principled leadership
Only when people have bought into you and into each other
will they begin to buy into a common vision.
1. The Right You
To know thyself is the beginning of wisdom. It is also the beginning of genuine leadership. Get to know yourself without fear—honestly and objectively.
Become the kind of person your team supports because they want to, not because they have to:
  • Thoroughly assess your natural strengths and blind spots;

  • Discover and determine your most deeply-held values and motivations;

  • Identify the leadership skills and resources that will best compliment your unique personality and experience.

​​​2. The Right PEOPLE
Leadership is a form of communication: it is characterized not only by how your choices affect others, but by how you are, in turn, affected by those whom you choose to lead.
Build a team that excites you out of bed every morning and inspires you to inspire others:
  • Learn to hire (and fire) efficiently;


  • Apply adult learning theory to train more effectively;


  • Discover how the consistent practice of coaching and mentoring can motivate others to exceed the limits of their perceived potential.

3. The Right CULTURE
Have you ever found yourself thinking (or saying) that what you really need is a few copies of yourself? Your goal is not to make yourself indispensable but to embody a culture of leadership within which individual contributors embrace the freedom to take accountability, to think for themselves, to innovate, explore, and take risks.
Stop guessing at what's going to galvanize your team and start crafting a culture built on unconditional support, consensus and shared values:
  • Articulate a vision that raises the bar for the work you're trying to accomplish and for the team you have an opportunity to become.

  • Learn how to use and encourage feedback that both supports team members and encourages them to grow.

  • Build a culture that's self-sustaining by replacing external team-building exercises with weekly routines that establish and reinforce expectations.

What Makes The Clients I Work With So Successful?

If you're asking yourself, "Can't I just do this myself?"  The answer is yes. In fact, whether or not you decide to work with me, you're going to do it yourself.


All leaders are self-made.

The better question is, "Will you do this yourself?"

Clients I've worked with have highlighted the following elements of this process as critical to their success:


When we work together, your time and effort are more than an investment in the possibility of success. You're not only engaging an experienced coach and mentor (yes, me); you're investing in the insight to get past unexpected hurdles, the support to get through the inevitable doubts and discouragement, and the accountability to ensure you follow-through to the end.


There is no secret to building confidence: it comes with experience. Together, we'll set goals and accomplish them, continually raising the bar until your reluctance is matched and exceeded by the knowledge of your achievements. There will always be doubts, but, in time, you'll overcome any uncertainty through the strength of your conviction.




I only work with individuals who are currently operating in some form of management or leadership capacity in part because this allows us to work through your unique, real-life challenges together. This is what we call practicing leadership: we do it together until you've begun to recognize the patterns that allow you to problem-solve on your own.



You'll begin to notice the impact of our work after our first conversation, but this is not the sort of growth the ends after our last. Once you've scaled the mountain of questions and doubts hindering your progress, you'll find that that your learning and experience begin to build on one another. You'll be establishing a foundation for lifelong learning that you'll continue to build on for the rest of your life, even though new positions and career changes.


Authentic leadership grows out of a process that involves exploration of one's deepest self. This exploration necessarily touches upon the more spiritual elements of human existence, elements that modern culture attempts to exclude from professional spaces. I am steeped in the language of human spirituality and willing and able to serve—in a sense—as a spiritual director along the way.


The personal and professional growth this sort of work requires is characterized by a process of creative confusion that can make it difficult to clearly identify next steps. Having an experienced guide along for the journey—someone focused exclusively on you and what you're trying to accomplish, but with the objectivity required to maintain perspective—can be the difference between discouragement and discovery.

What's preventing you from defining your purpose and building a better team, institution or community? The real enemy is fuzzy thinking on the part of good, intelligent, vital people—and their failure to lead.
​Rob is a financial adviser and entrepreneur with ambitious goals for his life and his family. When he realized there was a limit to the disorder he could manage on his own, he knew it was time to seek out bold insight to help manage the communication issues and personality dynamics within his team.
"I would highly recommend working with Chris. The level of insight and care that he brings into the conversation is palpable—you can really feel it."
​Marion is a leadership coach who helps talented women thrive in challenging workplaces. She was experiencing a temporary lack of clarity that was affecting both her stamina and her confidence.
"I would absolutely recommend Chris to anyone who likes to think really deeply about themselves, about other people, about what it means to be a leader. I recommend Chris to anyone who is looking to make a huge impact in this world."
​Michelle was stepping into a new leadership role with a unique set of growth challenges. She was feeling scattered and somewhat overwhelmed, and reached out for help in organizing her challenges and establishing a strategy to move forward.
"Chris has so much expertise and skill in the areas of team and servant leadership. It's not often that I find someone who's able to give me so much value, because I already have so much skill and experience and expertise on my own in these areas."
​Darren is a former military officer with a wealth of experience in psychology and sociology. He knew that he wanted to build a new business, but he struggled to narrow his focus within the many areas he was currently managing.
"What Chris did was remind me that I had the answer while guiding me to how I could find it."


Apply for a consult

In addition to the research and program development in which I'll engage on your behalf, each of my client sessions lasts between 90 minutes and 2 hours. This means that constraints on my time and stamina limit me to 10 one-on-one clients at any given time. I ask that you fill out a short application so that I know what to expect and to make sure neither of us are wasting time.




We'll setup a call to confirm your commitment, ensure you're a good fit for this approach, and verify that you have the spare capacity to take on the challenge and personal growth it requires.  We'll take about your personal goals, answer any questions you may have and get a feel for whether you and I have an effective rapport. There's no charge for this conversation, but you'll want to set aside 2 hours to allow yourself the benefit of its full value.




I have no interest in working with anyone for whom this approach is not a perfect fit. Only after you have a thorough expectation of what you can expect and we

are both confident you are an excellent fit will you have the opportunity to commit. As there are times when I end up with a short wait list, neither of us has any obligation until you're paid and your space is reserved.

If you are a principled professional focused on bettering yourself through service to those you lead and you're ready to embrace the transformation that an authentic approach to leadership demands, you can begin your journey with three simple steps: