Home' HR Monthly : August 2014 Contents 2014 AHRI NATIONAL
19--21 AUGUST 2014
AP: The key to a great coach is not the coach itself but
the person being coached. On the flipside, what are the
qualities that make a great coach and how have your
coaching techniques and/or philosophies changed?
MG: You've pretty much illustrated the biggest change
in my coaching style and it is realising it's not all
about me but it's about the people I coach. In my
coaching, the client that I spent the most amount of
time with did not improve at all. The client I spent
the least amount of time with improved more than
anyone I ever coached.
So I go talk to my client who improved the most,
who by the way was ranked as the third-greatest
leader in the world today in Fortune magazine last
month. He ranked only behind the Pope and Angela
Merkel. His name is Alan Mulally. Alan is the CEO
of Ford Motor Company. I asked Alan, 'What should
I learn about coaching from you?' He taught me two
lessons. He said, 'Lesson number one: your biggest
challenge as a coach is called customer selection. You
pick the right customer and your coaching process
always works; you pick the wrong customer and your
coaching process will never work'. He said, 'Number
two: never make your coaching process about
yourself, your own ego and how smart you are.
Make it about the great people you work with and
how hard they work, and how proud you are of them.
As the CEO of Ford my job is no different -- I don't
design the cars, I don't build the cars and I don't sell
the cars. I have to have great people'. He said, 'Every
day I drive to work I tell myself leadership is not
about me, leadership is about them'.
AP: It is well known that you are a Buddhist. Do you
incorporate Buddhist philosophies into your work?
MG: I'm not a religious Buddhist; I'm a philosophical
Buddhist. My school of Buddhism is a simple school
and one of the things I incorporate into my work is
'feed forward'. Buddha said, 'Every time I take a new
breath, it's a new me'. Well in 'feed forward', you realise
life is constantly starting over and you learn to ask for
ideas for the future, not feedback about the past.
The other element of my Buddhist coaching is to
play the hand you're dealt. You can complain about
the hand, whine about the hand and moan about the
hand, but you can't change the past. Make peace with
what is, change what you can and make peace with
what you can't change.
AP: What's the biggest issue you work with and
how does that play out in terms of the most common
challenge faced by your clients?
MG: My biggest problem is that I like what I do too
much. I love teaching! I go on an eight-hour flight and
I know I should get some work done but I sit next to
somebody and, if I'm not careful, I will spend eight
hours of this poor person's time teaching them and
they're in a near suicidal state by the end of the trip.
My biggest challenge in life is not teaching.
When I was younger, my mentor Dr Paul Hersey
said, 'Marshall, your problem is you're too good at
what you do and you like it too much. You'll be good
at what you do, but you'll never make the long-term
commitment in writing and research; which is what
you need to do to go to a different place in this field'.
For 10 years he was right, and if I was to live my life
over I would have listened to his advice a little more.
Today, all day, I've been working on writing, and
that's what I have to do to keep on top of the field.
I just got ranked again as one of the top 10 business
thinkers in the world. If I don't keep working at
it, I will be ranked as 'used to be one of the top 10
business thinkers in the world'.
The way this plays out with the leaders I coach is
the same. The more successful we are, the more we
tend to replicate what we've been doing. If we're not
careful we won't back away and make the investment
in our future.
AP: What are the HR issues you see in
MG: Employee engagement around the world is near
an all-time low. Companies keep spending more
and more money to try and engage the employees.
I've been working on some exciting material for
my new book, which is about teaching people to
"THE MORE SUCCESSFUL WE ARE,
THE MORE WE TEND TO
REPLICATE WHAT WE'VE BEEN
DOING. IF WE'RE NOT CAREFUL WE
WON'T BACK AWAY AND MAKE THE
INVESTMENT IN OUR FUTURE."
EXECUTIVE COACH MARSHALL GOLDSMITH
will be speaking at
the AHRI National
19--21 August 2014,
on 'questions that make
a difference', sharing
his latest research on
active questions and
how a daily question
process can increase
He will also be
conducting an all-day
workshop on Tuesday
19 August on leadership
coaching, based on his
book What Got You Here
Won't Get You There.
Q&A interview with Dr
Head to HRM online to
read AHRI president
Peter Wilson's inter view
with the communication
Mahler shares her
wisdom on motivating
individuals and groups
to take positive action
through the unsung
wisdom of voice.
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