I have never had a career coach, yet I have many friends and colleagues who are very passionate about coaching, and I have learned a ton from them. Among the coaches I am closest to include Joe Yu, who runs the Ogilvy Public Relations business in China, and Daniel Chng, who is a Global Chief Learning Officer for Ogilvy. I have witnessed Joe coach several colleagues, and he has a special style of asking a series of questions to help his subjects arrive at decisions for themselves. According to Joe, “Good coaches are very similar to good public relations professionals. They are active listeners, good problem-solvers, thought-provoking questioners, and passionate about helping others become successful.”
Daniel, I have not worked directly with related to coaching, but he has administered a workplace personality test that I swear by. He is a fantastic facilitator of this test, and I learned so much about myself from the results. In terms of coaching, Daniel explained to me his passion for this profession. “To me, coaching is helping someone find their full potential in life. I have had a lot of people help me chart my course, and in my practice I really want to help others the way I have been helped. To see a person find what is perfect for them is very rewarding, and that alone gives me joy in my own career,” Daniel explained.
Career coaching is top of mind because earlier this month I had the delight of attending, and participating in, the Page Society Spring Seminar in Brooklyn, New York. The Page Society is the foremost professional organization for Corporate Communications Officers, and I have served as the China Chairman for the past three years. One of the panelists was the famed author and executive coach, Marshall Goldsmith. Goldsmith wrote the popular, “What Got You Here Won’t Get You There”, “Triggers”, and he just came out with a new book entitled, “The Earned Life.” He has coached many of the world’s leading CEOs, is full of energy and advice, and he does this all in very much a self-effacing way.
What I found most memorable was a message he shared with all of us in the audience at the meeting. His message went something like this: “Take a deep breath. Imagine you are 95 years-old and you are getting ready to die. You have one last breath. Before you take that last breath, you are given a beautiful gift. The ability to go back in time and talk to the person listening to me right now. The ability to have that person be a better coach, a better leader, but more importantly to allow that person to have a better life. What advice would that old person give to you listening to me right now? Whatever you are thinking do that right now! In terms of a performance appraisal, that is the only one that really matters.”
Goldsmith focuses a lot on finding happiness and making having fun a priority. He applies a lot of discipline to his coaching practice and applies this to his own life too. He walked us through six questions he asks himself daily and encourages his clients to do the same. These questions include:
- Did I do my best to set clear goals today?
- Did I do my best to make progress towards my goals today?
- Did I do my best to find meaning today?
- Did I do my best to be happy today?
- Did I do my best to build positive relationships today?
- Did I do my best to be engaged today?
Goldsmith talks about a lot about leadership and how great leaders put aside their “egos” to “let go”. He spoke about the importance of language, presence and questions great leaders ask. For example, by using language like, “have you thought about this?”, or “I would consider this”, can be career limiting. He suggested such statements become mandates when they poised by a leader. Rather, Goldsmith stresses how important it is to be “non-judgmental” when you are a leader to get the best out of your people and organization. With being non-judgmental comes being vulnerable as well, and while that is not a typical leadership trait, great leaders don’t always have all the answers and allow themselves to be vulnerable, explained Goldsmith.
Here’s a short video that captures a lot about what Goldsmith teaches.
And here’s a longer video for those that want to dig into this a little deeper.
Additionally, if you want to learn more about Goldsmith and teachings, podcasts and more, you can find everything you want here.
Coincidentally, and you may find this from his website, Marshall wrote a book called “Mojo: How to Get It, How To Keep It, How To Get It Back If You Lose It.”
Finally, I have no intention to make the Monday Morning Mojo a bully pulpit, or “preachy” related to my views on things. The purpose is just to arm this community with inspirational stories, thoughts, viewpoints, and tools so we can create a better world around us. I believe that begins with non-judgmental, empathetic leaders, the kind that Marshall Goldsmith serves in his practice.
Thanks for reading and being part of this community.
Onwards and upwards.