Get To Know Our Partners: Affiance Coaching

This is a guest post by Deborah Tolmach Sugerman. Deborah is a Minneapolis-based freelance writer and editor. She served as editor of Twin Cities Jewish Life before its untimely demise. Deb Sugerman and Steve Lear are affiliated.
On the wall of Steve Lear’s office hangs a large, elegant work by local artist Judy Freeman. The beautiful cut-paper piece illustrates a quote from Pirkei Avot: “Who is wise? He who learns from everyone. Who is rich? He who is satisfied with his lot.”
“‘Who is rich’ is important to me because I deal with money,” says Steve. “And ‘one’s lot’ is often interpreted as the material things you own. But I think ‘lot’ is meant to be defined much more broadly. I think it’s your entire lot—your material possessions may be part of it, but what’s more important is the totality of what you bring to the table. What are the God-given gifts that you bring to the community and to society as a whole?”
Being satisfied doesn’t mean you are satisfied with the status quo, or that you don’t strive to improve, Steve emphasizes. But it does mean recognizing and accepting your strengths, and learning where you need to “trade” them with strengths of others.
Steve is referring to a special kind of strength, which is identified by Kolbe Wisdom. Most people would agree that individuals are born with certain cognitive (intellectual) or affective (emotional) traits. Kolbe, however, focuses on conation. Conation is defined as your natural “instincts” or “talents,” which are revealed through how you take action in solving a challenge.
Kolbe assumes that people are hard-wired in four “action modes”: Fact Finder, Follow Thru, Quick Start and Implementor.  No mode is better or worse than another. It’s not that you are unable to function in different modes, it’s rather that your “natural instincts” are your default-settings—the way you are naturally driven to take action.
“Since 2010, Kolbe Wisdom™ has become an important part of my life and my career,” Steve continues. “Kolbe uses a 36-item questionnaire that assesses the way a person takes action. Rather than suggesting what’s wrong and how to change it, Kolbe focuses on what’s right with you and tells you how to build on it.
“Kolbe has inspired me by providing language I can use to describe myself to others. It has made me feel successful, as defined by Kathy Kolbe: I have ‘the freedom to be myself.’ I believe Kolbe can provide individuals with guidance—information and solutions that will help them better handle stress and frustration and become better communicators, both professionally and personally.”
To this end, Steve has established Affiance Coaching, a business dedicated to helping groups of individuals (teams, businesses, non-profit boards, etc.) become more productive—defined as able to complete an increased number of tasks with high quality results, using less time and energy.
“Our conative strengths have been seriously neglected in comparison to cognitive (intellect) and affective (emotion) strengths—understandably, since so few people have heard of them,” maintains Steve. “However, I firmly believe that if people come to understand their ‘action modes,’ they could contribute a lot more to the world, and it would be a better place.”
It’s hard to argue with that, given Steve’s myriad accomplishments; the full list would require too much scrolling for one web page. In addition to volunteering with philanthropic and financial literacy causes, his activities in the Jewish community include being a founder of NECHAMA: Jewish Response to Disaster, serving as a leader within the Minneapolis Jewish Federation and the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas, and being a strong supporter of AIPAC and the Israel Project. Steve is also the founder of the JCRC’s “Challenge of Peace” program, which has orga­nized more than 1,500 presen­ta­tions in churches and commu­nity groups about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In 2011, on his seventh trip to Israel, he participated in his second Encounter, a meeting between Israelis and Palestinians in Bethlehem.
His current, nearly-all-consuming passion is a project called Tolerance in Motion, a mobile educational experience dedicated to the prevention of discrimination, prejudice, and bigotry. Its mission is to create a more tolerant, ethical and compassionate world by exploring history and the role of the individual in decisions that shape a democratic society. It will literally be a traveling “rig” that will tour the Midwest to deliver its message.
“My goal is simple,” concludes Steve. “Repair the world by demonstrating how we can understand our instincts—as defined by Kolbe Wisdom—and embrace our differences.”
TC Jewfolk is excited to partner with Steve Lear and all of Affiance Coaching in strengthening the local Jewish community. To learn more, or to schedule a coaching session please call 952-253-2586 or visit
(Photo: Tax Credits)