I usually start off these ‘Leadership Interview’ articles by explaining how and when I met the subject of my interview, and how we have worked together on leadership coaching projects. Not so with Richi Mock. So far I have not met him face-to-face. Yes, we have spoken by phone and had an extensive exchange of emails. Someday I hope our paths cross. As a Guest Author he has contributed eight rich and varied articles to this Blog since last summer. Richi describes himself as: “An experienced problem solver with a pragmatic approach who continuously evolves by facing new and interesting challenges. A passionate coach who leads a successful team and fills his heart with this wonderful experience”. I can’t disagree with that. Let’s find out more about his coaching journey.
PREPARE THE GROUND
Trevor: How, when and why did you get started as a leadership coach?
Richi: I have always been involved in competitive sports and I have been lucky enough to be impacted by some great coaches along the years. Most of them not only focused on my performance but also my personal development. Fifteen years ago I started leading teams at work and took all my sports coaching learnings into my toolbox.
Trevor: What was your mind-set and attitude towards coaching as a business tool at that time?
Richi: I was open for it; but I was very inpatient and initially worked toward imposing changes that I thought were the best for the person being coached.
Trevor: What were your personal goals as you set out on your coaching journey?
Richi: To be honest, at the beginning of my coaching journey, my personal goals were very much more focused on my personal success and recognition that anything else.
Trevor: What were your coaching priorities for your direct reports at that time – performance, development or both?
Richi: At that time I was all about performance and results.
Trevor: How were you held accountable by your manager for coaching success (or how you held yourself accountable)?
Richi: Coaching success or failure was all about results. I was responsible for that and I was pretty hard on myself. To be honest, I was achieving results but I was not happy with the process for doing so; and I do not think my team was happy either.
Trevor: How did you integrate coaching into other programs and initiatives?
Richi: One thing that I did well was delegation of tasks and ensuring my team took ownership and were held accountable for their results. It’s about commitment.
SOW THE SEED
Trevor: What was your experience of the coaching training you received (for example, Coaching Master Class)?
Richi: During my change management training my perspective started to change from imposing change to getting buy in and communicating properly and constantly until changes became habits.
Trevor: What were the success factors for you and the colleagues who started out on their coaching journey with you?
Richi: I will say that the most important success factor is to develop the listening proficiency. To be a good coach you need to listen to what is important for the person being coached. What motivates them? Coaches need to do their homework.
Trevor: What did you discover were the core skills, factors and processes for coaching success?
Richi: Prioritization, patience, listening skills and team accountability are to me the most important coaching skills. Working with the right goals and the right data are factors that need to be taken into consideration.
Trevor: What were your early achievements from your coaching – what are you particularly proud of?
Richi: I feel proud to be able to have turned around the worse performing team in the office into a group of happy teammates that take pride in what we have created together. And later on they were able to move into better positions.
Trevor: What did you discover about your strengths as a coach?
Richi: My strength as a coach is that I love what I do and I am passionate about my learning and about the development of my team. I want them to be happy.
Trevor: What were your early challenges as a coach?
Richi: My biggest challenge was to learn to listen and be patient when we implemented changes.
NURTURE AND GROW
Trevor: How do you prepare yourself now for coaching (clarifying the need, creating opportunities and contracting with your direct report coachees)?
Richi: As part of the preparation for coaching I need to understand what the team needs to achieve and why. This way I make a plan to get their buy in.
Trevor: How did you use the GROW model as a template when you started out coaching?
Richi: The GROW model is a simple and powerful tool to direct your coaching session into an objective discussion that will trigger specific actions which can be followed up upon completion.
Trevor: How did you use the core tools (purposeful questions, active listening, challenging perceptions & feedback) when you started out coaching?
Richi: I used the tools to keep my team focused, empowered and motivated.
Trevor: How do you support and follow up with your direct report coachees after/between coaching sessions?
Richi: If you want to create habits and consistently achieve results, follow up needs to be done. Results do not happen automatically and adjustments need to be made on a timely basis. This can only happen with disciplined and constant follow up.
Trevor: How do you ensure you are using your coaching time wisely?
Richi: I make a plan for each meeting and follow it. Also, it is important to know when to forget about the plan and focus on your colleague’s need to be listen to during a crisis.
Trevor: How do you use feedback in coaching?
Richi: With the highest respect and consideration for the individual keeping in mind what is it that I want to accomplish with the feedback.
REAP THE REWARDS
Trevor: How have you extended the use of a coaching approach in other areas of your leadership role?
Richi: I ensure that, in order to sharpen the saw, I received appropriate coaching from my superior by asking for continuous feedback on my performance and my leadership style. Also I ensure my team gives me feedback during our one-on-one sessions.
Trevor: How do you evaluate the success of your coaching (return on investment, business impact, other)?
Richi: In my executional unit we have clear defined goals and team engagement surveys results that are widely discussed.
Trevor: How have you embedded coaching into your daily leadership business rhythms, and if applicable, into those of your team of direct report leaders?
Richi: You need to have enough flexibility to step out and be able to look at the big picture, and get your hands dirty when your team is in need. You will never achieve rapport if your team does not feels supported.
Trevor: What metrics are you working to yourself, and/or applying to your team of direct report leaders, for coaching success?
Richi: Before metrics we need to have clear operational definitions of what is expected and then we agree on how we will measure performance and what defines improvement for us.
Trevor: How would you describe the correlation between performance (yours and your direct reports) and your coaching success?
Richi: There is no exact formula. We have KPI’s that measures team success; there is always feedback from direct reports, colleagues and superiors; there are survey’s results and, when things are not clear, I consult with a third party for a different perspective.
Trevor: What are you aiming for in terms of future personal development as a leadership coach?
Richi: Coaching for me needs to be challenging and we need to move in different environments/teams to ensure we evolve professionally and as human beings.
Richi Mock LinkedIn Profile