Executive Central Director Glenn Ball is one of our most experienced coaches. He has a Master of Coaching Psychology from Sydney University and is a visiting Lecturer at the University of Sydney Business School. We managed to catch Glenn for a quick chat about his experience of being a coach - while he was commuting on his Vespa (via a Bluetooth helmet of course).
What have you learned from being a coach?
My first thought? I’ve realised that I’m actually really good at this.
Umm, I’d better qualify that, hadn’t I!
At Executive Central we think that a good coach needs to be able to flex between different coaching modes, according to the persona and the situation. We call it our Four Hats model. The four hats are Facilitator, Educator, Mentor and Consultant. If you’re only coaching from one perspective, people get less out of it.
A typical mode for coaches to get stuck in is Facilitator: all they do is ask questions. Great questioning skills are vital, don't get me wrong. But if that’s all you do, it doesn't help someone who, for example might need a sounding board.
Do you think you make a difference?
People have varying levels of understanding about coaching is and what it can do for them. Some people take every opportunity for change through their coaching – debriefing experience, getting ideas, or trying out new behaviours. Others are more sceptical.
Let’s face it, what a gift, to be able to create a transformation in your own thinking and practice, because that’s what is possible.
I guess some people are more ready for the challenge than others. I have the skills to make a difference – if they are up for the challenge. And let’s face it, what a gift, to be able to create a transformation in your own thinking and practice, because that’s what is possible.
Has anyone become a CEO because of you? Or has anyone left their job?
One of my clients just became Telstra Business Woman of the Year. I’d love to take credit…. But seriously, Violet Roumeliotis is an amazing woman. I’m so much in awe of what’s she’s achieving. She was also one of the graduates from our first ever Coaching Academy…
Look, there are plenty of examples of people who discovered their job wasn't for them or they decided they wanted to have a sea change. It depends on what your goals are. It’s a good outcome if you achieve your goals.
Of the hundreds of people I’ve coached, there are obviously plenty who have stepped up and got promoted.
The thing about coaching is that it helps people get unstuck, wherever or whatever they are doing. It means they start using their strengths and their potential more effectively, whether it’s within their current role or the next one.
I’ve had the pleasure of working with a local Council where the Executive team was really up for change and growth. CEO had been promoted from General Manager to CEO. The brief was to get everyone to step up. The new CEO needed to really inhabit his new role and leave behind the old one, and so on down the line. It was a dynamic situation and rewarding for everyone.
I’d say perhaps 25% eventually move on after coaching; they outgrow a job, get a promotion, decide to do some study. That sort of movement happens all the time anyway, but the thing about coaching is that it helps people get unstuck, wherever or whatever they are doing. It means they start using their strengths and their potential more effectively, whether it’s within their current role or the next one. It creates a win-win for the person and the organisation.
Do you ever feel like an impostor?
Always. What I’ve learnt to do is understand what I bring as coaching skills. When I get a client who is in a very technical role or is very fixed or strong willed – it can be hard to shift that. I might think, OMG, how do I get this moving? But what I’m good at is bringing in the people part of the puzzle, and getting them to focus on other options. Almost strangely for someone who is innumerate, I now coach a lot of CFOs. I tend to work well with them because I look at things from a completely different perspective.
Feeling like an impostor stops you from being complacent, so it's a good thing at times. You can’t predict every single situation you get into – so that impostor feeling keeps you on your toes, gives you an edge.
What have you learnt about human nature?
I’m surprised that so many people don't understand how to interact with others. I’m a ‘connector’ by nature, but not everyone is. Another thing is insight… it’s a gift that many have – but not all!
What have you learnt about business?
I don’t think there’s a lot of difference between government and corporate, or local government for that matter, when it comes to people and coaching. People are people. There might be different criteria for performance measurement, but essentially we’re all after the same excellence and transformations.
What have you learnt about yourself?
I can add value for people. I used to think, ‘what can I add for this person?” but now I think in terms of “What will this person be able to take from me?” It depends on how much they want to get out of it.
Back to those four hats and the mentor/consultant/educator roles – my organisational and leadership experience – good and bad - does actually matter and does resonate with people. They can learn from my failures and successes.
What sort of person would you look for to coach you?
Don't know. It would be hard to coach a coach. Perhaps I’d go by reputation, track record, and my perception of them. I would want to feel that they were going to add some value for me. I’m a solutions kind of guy, so not just facilitator mode!