Dr. Max Klau is an Integral Master coach, author, speaker, and consultant based in Boston, Massachusetts. He received his doctorate from the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 2005 with a focus on leadership development. He currently serves as the Chief Program Office at the New Politics Leadership Academy, an organization focused on bringing more servant leaders into politics. His writing about leadership has appeared in Fast Company and the Harvard Business Review and his first book, Race & Social Change: A Quest, A Study, A Call to Action, was published in 2017.
Dr. Max Klau, Max_Clarity Coaching
Introduce yourself! Please tell us about you and your life, so we can get to know you better.
I’m an Integral Master coach, author, speaker, and social entrepreneur based in Boston, Massachusetts. I consider myself a “service person”: I’m an alum of four service programs, and have led service trips in Israel, Ghana, Honduras and Ukraine. I went on to spend ten years working at City Year, an AmeriCorps program that engages young adults in a year of full-time service. Currently, I’m working to bring more servant leaders into politics.
I received my doctorate from the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 2005; I studied leadership and social change. Several years after graduating, I was able to revise my dissertation and publish it as the book Race & Social Change: A Quest, A Study, A Call to Action.
I’m also a musician and artist. I’m a singer/songwriter and I front my own folk rock band, the Max Klau Band. We play soulful folk music that rocks, and playing live music is one of my greatest joys!
I’m also a husband; my wife Bev Klau is a lifelong educator and community builder who has become a tech entrepreneur; she is the founder of Verbina, an app that makes it easy to share messages of love and support with patients and caregivers.
I’m also a dad to Bernie and Sadie, both teenagers who love all things musical theater. We live outside of Boston in Natick, Massachusetts, and there is always a lot of vocalizing happening at our house!
What is your business name and how do you help your clients?
My coaching business is called Max_Clarity Coaching. I’m an Integral Master Coach, and I offer leadership and life coaching to social entrepreneurs and servant leaders who want to live a life of deeper connection to purpose and greater impact.
As an Integral Master Coach, I’ve been trained to work at the level of a clients “way of being”. This goes deeper than gaining skills or knowledge; it’s about guiding clients through a journey of inner transformation. As a result of this work, clients are able to call forth new dynamics in all facets of their lives, resulting in a life of greater inner clarity and integrity. It’s powerful stuff.
What kind of audience do you target your business towards?
I work with Social Entrepreneurs and Servant Leaders who are looking to grow past their current limitations.
The classic definition of a social entrepreneur is an individual who starts a for-profit enterprise focused on addressing a social, cultural, or environmental issue (for example, Mohammad Yunis founded Grameen Bank to provide micro-loans in the developing world). I use the term with a more expansive definition: I think of Social Entrepreneurs as individuals who seek to integrate their work life with their desire to address a social issue in meaningful ways. Perhaps they do mission-driven work in the non-profit sector, or are finding creative ways to address important public challenges via work in the private sector. What matters is the commitment to do work that is socially beneficial and mission-driven.
Servant Leaders are individuals who feel a calling to dedicate their life to serving others. Perhaps they have served in the military, or have participated in the Peace Corps or AmeriCorps. Service is a core value and a way of life for these clients, and they experience a painful lack of purpose and integrity if they step off the path of service to others.
My clients already have meaningful achievements, but they feel that they have hit some kind of limit or block. Perhaps they feel that they have begun to stagnate in their career, or feel that they have lost connection with their purpose in some meaningful way. Perhaps they want to have a greater impact in the world, or find themselves stuck in problematic patterns in their work or personal life. They are looking for a way to grow beyond those challenges or limitations in ways that honor their deep commitment to living a life of mission and purpose.
How do you integrate your background in leadership development with your work as a coach?
I had the privilege to spend six years of my life studying leadership, with a focus on the adaptive leadership model developed by Professor Ronald Heifetz at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. My academic work gave me a deep grounding in leadership theory and scholarship, providing a lens on leadership that informs everything I do today. I went on to build a career doing leadership development work in organizational contexts, with a focus on developing scalable, transformational personal reflection experiences. My focus was always on inviting individuals to turn inwards and attend to their inner journey while they were immersed in intense efforts to serve others.
Through my work at the New Politics Leadership Academy, I found myself providing coaching to servant leaders who had decided to run for political office. Although I felt that I was providing value as a result of my background in leadership, the coaching context was different enough that I wanted to really build my skills and expertise in that one-on-one work. That’s when I begin the certification process to become an Integral Coach, and found the work and the approach so powerful that I continued all they way through the Master-level certification.
I’ve arrived at a place where I’m able to integrate my academic knowledge, my decades of experience with organizational leadership, and my training as a coach into my work with clients. At this point, I feel that I am able to provide clients with a uniquely comprehensive level of support.
If you were to distill your approach to coaching into one sentence, what would it be: The most powerful response to complexity in the world around us is the ability to achieve clarity in the world within us.
To me, it all boils down to this. As the world grows more and more complex, we are challenged to turn inwards and connect with the sources of purpose and mission that shape our way of being in the world. With that inner clarity, we can navigate the complexity around us with entirely new levels of certainty and power. Guiding people through to work of achieving that inner clarity is the essence of my process as a coach.