Episode 25 – The Growth Whisperers
The Growth Whisperers is a weekly podcast hosted by Brad Giles and Kevin Lawrence two advisors to mid-market businesses, one Australian, one Canadian, who each work with CEOs and Leadership Teams across the world with a mission to build enduring, great companies. Each weekly episode covers interesting situations and questions from the world of strategic planning, leadership development, talent and hiring in high growth entrepreneurial companies where real results matter.
How do you find the right coach or advisor for your business?
On this episode of The Growth Whisperers Brad & Kevin talk about how to hire a coach and how to find the right coach for you. Firstly they discuss the difference between a coach, consultant and mentor. Then what you should expect from a coach, and do you really need a coach in the first place?
Also if you’re trying to build a great company, what type of coach should you pick? How do find an A player-coach?
Finally, they talk about the qualities to look for when hiring a coach and how to get the most from your coach.
Kevin Lawrence – Lawrence and Company Growth Advisors
Brad Giles – Evolution Partners
YouTube – The Growth Whisperers
Episode show notes
Brad Giles 00:13
Welcome to The Growth Whispers where everything we talk about is building enduring great businesses. I’m Brad Giles. And I’m joined today as always, by my co host, Kevin Lawrence. Good day, Kevin, how you doing today?
Kevin Lawrence 00:27
You know, Brad, I’m doing real well, I’m really looking forward to the show today. I’ve got lots of great energy I was sharing before that I’ve got I’m in India this week. I’m in India, although I’m doing it from Vancouver, I’ve got my clients in India that we’re we’re doing sessions that are starting at 7pm and going till midnight, or 1am my time every night. So it’s, it’s this version of being jet lagged at home. Is this whole other weird thing? And yeah, I it’s actually a lot of fun, great, great group to work with. But it’s, um, it’s strange. I feel like a overnight shift worker, you know, working late and getting up late. It’s it’s very strange. Yeah. Well, how are you?
Brad Giles 01:15
I definitely, I’m good. I definitely empathize with you, I’ve done quite a few speaking gigs to the US, that kind of started two AM or something like that. And in Australia, we’re just about to switch over to daylight savings next week, which means we go from a two hour to a three hour time difference. So rather than quarterly workshop starting at 6:30am, my time they start at 5:30am. So that’s a little bit of jetlag there for me to know, I’m pretty good. I’m pretty good. Everything is good at this. And so what have we got on the roster for today?
Kevin Lawrence 01:52
Well, we’re talking about a really interesting topic, we’re talking about ourselves. We’re actually talking about today, how do you find a great coach for you and your company? And you know, as coaches and, you know, we have been called great coaches a few times in our careers. But we’re going to talk about really, how do you find that right, coach? And first of all, do you even want a coach, you might want something different than a coach, but you know, kind of seems like everything’s called coaching these days, and everyone’s a coach. So how do you navigate through all that and find that right person or people to help you with what you’re doing? So we’re gonna, we’re going to dig into that and give you some of our expertise and what we found over the years of, of getting the right people to work with,
Brad Giles 02:36
because we’ve met some of the most interesting coaches, we, you and I first met many, many years ago, through a coaching community. And there was a few hundred people in that. All who Yeah, with different flavors, different styles, but broadly, a full time committed coach community. And so yeah, it’s interesting. So let’s begin pad so what is a coach or advisor? What’s the difference between a coach or advisor and maybe a mentor? What’s your thoughts?
Kevin Lawrence 03:13
Yeah, and I like to look at as you sort of said, coach, and advisor, slash consultant, and then and mentor? Well, let’s start with consultant. There are many, many people who call themselves coach who are really a consultant. And the consultant is someone you go to with a problem or a situation. And they give you data and or answers and recommendations. They could be an expert in a certain area, but they’re, they give you answers or solutions, or a coach in its purest form, gives you questions. Coaches don’t so much give you the answers. They give you questions and help you with your thinking through a thought partner, where a consultant is an expert. A mentor is someone who’s been there and done that and advises you. And again, each one is very powerful and has their place. But they’re quite different. And even go ahead, run. Go ahead.
Brad Giles 04:13
No, no, um, I, my interpretation would be pretty similar. I would say that I am mentor tells you what to do. consultant works on a fixed project. Yes, to your point really solving a problem. They work on a fixed project. And then a coach asks the right questions to help you to get where you’ve got to go. Now we do a lot of other work around that. And I suppose we have a framework that we use to guide people to come to the right solutions. I saw something the other day, it was one person who asked this same question and they said so. So if a coach is He’s going to ask you questions like, or don’t look for coaches is going to ask me questions. So it’s got to be within that context of what? How are they asking you questions? Because if you just sit down and do the five why’s helpful? Why that? That’s called mirroring, there’s a there was a story. I remember I heard. And it’s about the big consulting firms. And apparently they get new graduates. Now, it’s probably not true. But look, let’s just interesting story.
Kevin Lawrence 05:31
Brad Giles 05:32
Yeah. So it’s called mirroring. And so they get the new graduates to go to this the leader or whoever is in the larger organization. And they just get them to ask why five times. So they say, so what’s the problem that you’re facing in the moment? And what do you think that is? what that is? What do you think that is, and then they send them a large bill. So it’s not coaching like that. It’s not just as known five why’s it’s,
Kevin Lawrence 05:56
well, that doesn’t really work. I mean, we offer the work with CEOs and some executives, I mean, and the truth is Brad, myself, I am a coach at heart, IE, I did a lot of training on coaching, coaching skills and techniques. And I’ve accumulated incredible amount of learning and knowing both by being a professional student, a student of this game, and all the experience with my clients. So it’s a blend, and I can go from 60 or 70%, coach, and you know, 25% or 30%, consultant, I can go to 90%, consultant, depending on the scenario, or everyone is different in situations are different, because we do know a lot and do share that. The key is that there is a notable percentage of coach, which is asking questions and helping you to find your answers, versus telling you what to do. And that and that that percentage varies, the thing that we see is a lot of people calling themselves coach don’t even have 20 or 30% of the coaching approach. It’s almost, you know, 90 or 100%, on the consultant, and I think that’s the distinction up front that we need to get clear on is that, are you looking for a coach someone to help you find your way through all this you’re dealing with and like us, you will use frameworks and things to help you? Or you’re looking for someone to give you some answers?
Brad Giles 07:30
And are those answers right for you? Sometimes they are, sometimes look, we’re navigating this new, this new environment of COVID, or this new tech environment that we’ve got no core competencies in, and we need someone to come in and help us who’s got experience and done it before. That could be completely that could be the right scenario too, to bring in a consultant or even perhaps a mentor. But many of the I type personalities that I work within that I certainly have known over many, many years. You know, they may not be as receptive to a mentor, as one might first thing, someone coming in and telling them what to do might be great at the beginning. But after a while, it might wear a little bit thin, because they think but this is my business. I know, right? That’s the right thing to do.
Kevin Lawrence 08:27
And the thing is, How arrogant of anyone to step into a new business and tell people what the answer is, unless it’s a very specific micro issue, like a specific around a specific methodology or a specific framework. Like, for example, around the Net Promoter system. I’ve done a lot of work with a lot of clients, and we’ve spent a lot of money on consultants. I know that system like the back of my hand. And there will be times when I can look at something, ask a couple of questions and have some pretty give some pretty clear direction. I try not because I have a deep understanding of it, I still need to understand the business. So yeah, that’s and that’s why I think in a lot of cases, a lot of people in our field, don’t keep their clients for a long time, because they have too much opinion and answer dispensing. And that’s not what a lot of really successful people are happy to hear they want perspectives. They don’t want necessarily want to be told what to do. Or at least they know you have a deep, deep, deep understanding Even then, you know, telling people what at the highest levels of leadership, telling people what to do is is is is not that effective? And the same thing applies in this world that we’re in coaching and advising people.
Brad Giles 09:48
Yeah, I think it was I remember reading recently, that the journey of leadership, you think that you get the corner office and you get the job Is the money and telling everyone what to do if you’re the leader, but an actual fact the journey is helping all of those around you to reinvent themselves and become better leaders so that the actual, the actual journey isn’t about the telling what to people to do. And that’s the people who are successful people who are people who have built great businesses, they, you know, they, even if you’re a manager and not the CEO, you still don’t necessarily want to be told what to do. You want to be helped to make the right decision.
Kevin Lawrence 10:39
Right. There’s a great saying, you know, a man or a woman convinced against their will, is still of the same opinion. Yeah, so and that’s why in our space, I will say I want to make a call out to an amazing mentor that I had for many years. I haven’t chatted with him in a while. His name is Jeff groaner. He built a company called carro design, which became a large design for multi aspect from industrial design, branding, product design, and even, you know, print design, awesome guy. But he’s been my mentor since I was in my early 20s. And I tell you what, that guy would never give me an opinion, he always would ask me a question, or bring out a framework. He was a mentor, who actually was an out standing coach, I need to reconnect with him. So So the first question I think we really got, you got to ask yourself is, do I want a coach? Do I want someone to work with me? To help me to get clear, you know, asking me questions, maybe providing me ideas here and there. But ultimately, is facilitating conversations and thinking through frameworks. So I can make my own decisions, that would be more of a coach, consultant is someone to come in as an expert to give you answers or drive a project, do a project for you, or a mentor, is a highly experienced person who’s been there and done that, probably in your businesses scenario that you can run stuff by? So that’s, that’s a story, but we’re gonna deal with the first one. Now. And you know, both Brad and both, both of us have a lot of experience with bringing consultants into our clients are a part of those projects. consultants are very valuable on specific things with specific disciplines or getting specific answers or, you know, in recruiting and finding great executives, there’s things that consultants can do that are awesome. But that’s not we’re dealing with today, we’re dealing with this coach, which is this, this relationship you build with someone to help you to get clearer and become more effective as a leader, whether as a CEO executive, or otherwise.
Brad Giles 12:55
I mean, they’ve got a great coach, I think he’s got a lot of experience and a lot of understanding. And they’ve seen it before, they’ve got great pattern recognition when you present a scenario, because they’ve either seen it, or heard about it, or they’ve experienced in some way before. So yeah, they’re kind of living in dog us for one of a better term, spending all of their time at the leadership team level in strategic planning sessions or one on one CEO coaching. And that that means that because that’s all that you’re doing all the time. It’s not the once in a while. Yes, type scenario, the CEO is only having a quarterly meeting once a quarter, but the coach is having a quarterly meeting, maybe several times a week, with different people. Yeah, that pattern recognition builds up.
Kevin Lawrence 13:52
It is and there’s two things auto draw decision you’re talking about, you know, in our world, coaches kind of have as coaches, we have kind of two roles. One is coaching CEOs or senior execs, one on one too is facilitating strategic planning sessions for companies kind of, and we’re looking at that from both different perspectives. So the one on one work, and facilitating strategic planning, because we both do a lot of of that kind of work. So to kind of go back to what you’re saying is, you know, there’s always new people that are learning and growing, and that’s awesome. You know, I’ve got coaches on my team that have lots of experience, and coaches that are you know, in their first five years and still, you know, learning lots and they both have places where they’re, they can do great work. The key that we’re talking about specially for you know, the substantial companies that are really successful is you want to make sure and kind of back to a Malcolm Gladwell, you know, thinking of 10,000 hours to master something, there’s something there. You know, and I think I’m probably close to 30 something thousand hours into this coaching thing and he gets simpler and easy or because you’ve been you’ve been there done that and seen it so many times before us. And for me, even on a coaching call this morning with the CEO. He’s explaining what’s going on. And as we start, he started, I started digging and asking lots of questions. And I said, Well, it looks like it’s one or two things. And I said, it seemed like this. He’s like, about this. Yeah, it seems like that. Okay, cool. Let’s keep digging. But having been in and this is a CEO who just kind of bonked a little bit, lost their jam was going into a bad mental headspace. And they were avoiding one thing. And it was either Is it because he’s in a bad headspace? Or is it you know, is he got some kryptonite going on? And he needs to address this? Turns out, it was a kryptonite issue. ie, he had an issue that was kind of psychologically getting the best of them. And he just needed to get on top of it. And and and push it ahead. So we’re able to break it down. It was real simple, easy conversation.
Brad Giles 16:07
That’s where the questions come from. So if we’re talking Yes, something with the leader. And we’re beginning to detect, you know, the, the hairs on the back of one’s neck are beginning to sense. I’m seeing this before, you can ask questions as the right type of coach with the right type of experience,
Kevin Lawrence 16:28
and not leading questions, right? No, no truly discovery curiosity questions. So you don’t lead the witness down a road, which some newbies might do, truly excavating to understand and really get, figure out what’s going on?
Brad Giles 16:46
Yeah, this is saying, I got from a guy who probably got it from someone else, a guy we both know called Cam Harold. And that was, your job is not, your job is not to prove that you’re right, your job is to make them better. And in that, that kind of, I’ve had that sit with me for a very long time you go into a meeting, and you get into some fairly rigorous debate, your job is not to prove that you’re right or to make them better. And then you wind that all the way back to the kind of questions you’re like, Okay, so let’s, what’s the real sort of root of the problem here? And how do we have to that? What’s the real issue here, and that’s
Kevin Lawrence 17:27
a key phrase root of the problem or core of the opportunity, right? But it’s to simply get there. What I found is that, you know, people who are not really skilled coaches are often very directive, and try and tell you or lead you, first of all, they’re often wrong. But more than that, it doesn’t, it doesn’t feel great. And we’re more likely to resist it than embrace it. That’s part of the, you know, the human psyche. So we get back to the experience from, from my perspective, even for coaches that we bring onto our team, or coaches that when we recommend other coaches that aren’t on our team, you know, one of things we’re looking for is experience in coaching, which is different than consulting. So what kind of coaching program have they taken? If they don’t, you know, some of them have just done a lot of experience over the years, and they typically are professional students, I either always studying the game, but have they taken coaching training, I get so many people asking me about being a coach, first thing I say is, well, you need to get some proper coaching training and see if you even still like it. Right? Because some of them want to be teachers or answer dispensers when coaching is a lot about asking questions and unraveling stuff. So so a lot of learning and some specific training, or methodology that they have, in terms of coaching skills is a real important point. And again, as long as they’ve done there’s so many different ways you can learn. But that’s that is a, that is a real big piece. And you know, it’s a foundational piece to have that kind of
Brad Giles 19:07
like, you know, last I think was last week or the week before we spoke about keeping it simple, right? The Masters make something look simple, you go to a sporting event, and the Masters make it look simple. Or you go to a I guess to watch a play or, or maybe Cirque du Soleil something like that the Masters make it look simple, and it’s the same in what we do. And all of that what appears simple, and what appears to be getting to the right question or pulling out the right tool at the right time or whatever it is. It’s born from, from years and years of experience and I guess and doing
Kevin Lawrence 19:52
it wrong and screwing it up.
Brad Giles 19:56
Kevin Lawrence 19:56
yeah, that’s a lot of what experiences is trying stuff in real life. It doesn’t work. Yes.
Brad Giles 20:03
Yeah, that’s for sure. So, so what about the coachability? So what the question that we’re talking to here is, how to find the right coach or advisor for your business. Yeah, there is an element, which is here, which is, well, are you as a leader actually coachable? And I think, I think that, it’s, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be an A type personality, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t. You shouldn’t push back, and you shouldn’t hold your opinion and hold your weight. But it is as simple as having an open mind. Being able to say, Well, what if? What if there’s another perspective, am I open to that?
Kevin Lawrence 20:54
So as an example, I mean, coachability is a big thing, and we got to be able to look in the mirror on that. And that’s why some people actually would prefer a consultant over a coach. Yeah, and that’s maybe a better choice if you’re not coachable. So for example, you’d be keyline. About coachability. For this group will work within India, we’re doing 360s on all the key leaders in the company this quarter, and we’re debriefing some of those this week with the key execs now, there was a key line and one of the execs 360, which is saying, this person asked questions, asks for my input, creates a great debate, and then includes that thinking in his decisions and the work he does. Yeah. And that’s what it is, is you don’t have to agree with everything. But if you’re coachable, your brain is open to a new or different perspective, such that your brain moves ahead and evolves basically, you get smarter with each interaction you have or more capable and it’s one of the tests I do when CEOs call to see if they’re coachable. And because if they’re not, then they’re gonna waste their money. And neither of us is going to feel good about it. If they’re, you know, it whether it’s insecurity or really locked up in their way in their brain isn’t open. It’s it’s it doesn’t work. So it doesn’t build up.
Brad Giles 22:23
And maybe that’s the first thing is trying to identify Are you coachable? And if you’re not coachable, then go to the consultant, maybe not the mentors, not gonna definitely not gonna work in that environment.
Kevin Lawrence 22:37
Yeah, depending on the mentor, some mentors just share advice, and you might benefit from it. But yeah, I think is, or maybe you don’t, so I would flip it around even and, you know, are you coachable? Are you Do you believe that you’re coachable? And you really want and you’re open to changing how you think? And even how you operate as a leader? But can that coach Coach you? So I’ve got a good friend who’s a coach, I love them to death. When he tries to coach me, I want to backhand him. Like, it’s not good. Yeah, you know, and there’s just so so so more than anything, you know, you should try a sample coaching session with them. And can they coach you? Can you feel that they’re able to help you change your perspective, or change something and have you move ahead? That would be you know, if we flip it around to evaluating a person, cuz I know, and, Brad, you’ve had this experience, we’ve met lots of people who call themselves a coach, I actually try not to call myself a coach. Because I, you know, I feel that the name is tarnished by a bunch of these people who aren’t professionals in the sense that we are, they’re not committed in the way that we are, they are not obsessed with being an outstanding coach. They’re just, you know, whether they’re filling a gap, they got fired from their job as an executive, and I need to do something and feel, you know, I just bought a ton of dollars, maybe not to make some dollars. And if you’re just trying to make dollars, like that, that’s a secondary outcome, you need to focus on really truly, truly helping. So from, from my experience, can that person truly have an impact? Because a lot of people I meet from the colleagues that we’ve met over the years, I’ve had some people try to coach me, Tony, like, a bunch of them, it doesn’t go well. And, and part of it could be me, right? And part of it could be their skill set. Or it could be the combination of the two of us no matter what. You got to find that person for whatever reason that they can help you to progress and the person that’s going to work for you might not work for me is that so that’s done only fit as in you like the person but you can feel How great stuff comes out of it.
Brad Giles 25:04
But that’s this sales process of a coach, it’s, it’s a try before you buy, let’s meet for a few times. And we’ll see how we work together. I mean, surely any coach worth their salt, that’s the like we’re gonna meet. And we’re going to talk about things. And we’re going to work through and we’re going to really do some unpaid sessions. And if it feels right, and let’s keep going,
Kevin Lawrence 25:28
that’s got a couple of people that, you know, recently I’ve been, I’ve been focused on taking on a couple more CEO only coaching and not doing the strategic planning and having my team do that, that’s kind of a model I’ve been working with. So there’s been a couple CEOs have been talking to, you know, one of them probably had three or four conversations with them. Some Yeah, when they’re sent by a strong referral, especially on the strategic planning side, they might be ready to buy instantly. But on the one on one CEO, coaching, sometimes people really as the shot, really want to get a sense and a feel of what it’s like to really get it down. And I’m my perspective, I’m not in a rush, I’d rather have a whole bunch of conversations up front and either choose the right ones and not choose one that’s not going to work for either, so. So you should have an experience of the person and it should feel like good things. Common progress comes from your sessions. Go ahead, Brad.
Brad Giles 26:29
Yeah, so I picked up on what you said there is that, that you’re not gonna, you’re picking them as much as they’re picking you. And that really speaks to what we just spoke about before, which is fit. So it’s got to be a good fit both ways, it’s not. It’s as the leader who’s looking to hire like, it’s, it’s probably unlike many other engagements, many other engagements, it’s a case of, look, we just want to show you our advertising services, or we want to sell you our internet storage servers or whatever it might be. And it’s just a sale and transaction. But in this environment, coaching and advising, it’s, there’s got to be a fit both ways. Because if it doesn’t work both ways, it can’t be a longer term engagement. It’s just not going to work.
Kevin Lawrence 27:26
No, and it’s it’s a personal relationship, like you’re picking a partner. And it’s almost like a silent partner in your business. And that’s why we do a lot of work at our end like I am looking, do I like this person? Do I believe in them? Do I want to see them being more successful? We know a lot of tools that can help people be more successful, do I buy into? Are they my kind of human, we’re almost looking for a values fit, and can I become a great investment for them or my firm or my team a good investment versus just an expense, like, I only want to do it if it’s going to work, which is you know, another thing to keep an eye out for and you know, Brad, I don’t know what you do in this regard. But for our clients, we don’t have hard contracts, we have intentions. So some people get you to commit a year at a time we don’t, we want our work to stand for it. So we’re not locking you into nothing. So we have a policy. After the first two days, if we have a first kickoff meeting, if you’re not happy, don’t pay, no matter what we don’t want your money if you’re not happy. And you know, most of our core clients are kind of on an annual intention. But you know, we invoice clients quarterly. And so you’re on a quarter at a time, there’s no cancellation clause, there’s no funny stuff, if you’re not happy. This is not mutually beneficial. We shouldn’t do it now. I also know, because we’re obsessed with doing good work. And we pick the right clients, and we have great people who reach out to us we have great clients contacting us all the time. Now, most of our clients will end up working on 3,5,7,10,15 or 20 years, like, you know, we don’t but we don’t need a contract to make the transaction work. We need intentions and some parameters. But we don’t need to lock them down. Because, you know, they’re free to leave anytime, but they generally don’t want to. But that’s
Brad Giles 29:22
pretty much exactly the same. Yeah, I look for commitment in the first two days, because I think that, like, you know what, like, I spent a lot of time to get to that first two days. And then from then it’s all very much a handshake. And if you’re not happy, like let’s talk about it, and we’ll wrap it up. Because I don’t want to be working with someone where I’m not adding value. Like I want to step out of that quicker than the CEO.
Kevin Lawrence 29:48
Why is that though? Brad? Why?
Brad Giles 29:51
Which is because I want to build enduring great businesses. And if that’s what and if I can’t do that, like I don’t want to break engage with them
Kevin Lawrence 30:01
and during great businesses and enduring great relationships, right, and they go together, so So, you know, that’s it’s not that you’re looking or do they strap me into a contract, but just, you know, pay attention to that. You know, it’s
Brad Giles 30:16
really something that really talks to one of the key points is what do you want to get out of your business, because if all that you want to get out of your business, is be a passive investor for something that’s going to spit out x hundred thousand or a million dollars a year, and you really don’t want to be involved, then you’ve got to get a coach that’s, or an advisor that’s going to be appropriate for that. And there may be many people for that. And we’re, we’ve got to acknowledge that we’re speaking through this lens of building great businesses like, this is what we have been obsessed with for years. And he’s in years and have focused to try to master we’ve really, over many, many years, tried to master this thing, which is building long term enduring great, truly great businesses that stand out. But if that’s not what you want, then then you know, there are coaches, that will be what you want, where they’re just like, Look, let’s, let’s use some simple formulas such as we’ll increase the Marketing Leads, we’ll increase the price, we’ll just do some kind of some things that are appropriate for what you want so important in terms of fit. It’s what is what do you want from the business? And, you know, what is the coach passionate about?
Kevin Lawrence 31:40
Yeah, and if you want to just go buy businesses and flip them every 24 months, you don’t really want to talk to us? Because that’s not but there, but there are people who have that kind of expertise and passion. So let’s kind of rewind a little bit here. So do you want to coach consultant or mentor? Do you really want to coach as the first question to are you coachable, ie, you know, are you willing to be coached and have your child your thinking challenged and to be pushed and to actually grow, then three are looking for with coaches both experience and fit. And you know, in my book, I call them 14 x advisors, coaches that have been there and done that 14 times before you’re not their first rodeo. Now, they don’t have to be an expert on your specific industry. But they’ve worked with lots of people like you at the stage that you’re at. And so they have huge pattern recognition. They’re bringing a lot of wisdom, which will result in simplicity. And that’s the experience, but then there’s the fit, you just you’ll work well with them. Be wary of people that just have a pleasing personality, you know, Brad, and I can be really nice and pleasing. And if you want a new best friend, and you’re going to pay someone to do that, you know, that’s your prerogative. But as a coach, you’re looking for someone that can challenge you and you’re looking for that you’re looking for someone that really, you come out with better insights, and ideally better execution of those insights from your conversations. So that’s, that’s
Brad Giles 33:09
not they’re not afraid to walk into the fire. They’re not afraid to walk into conflict and, and risk saying the difficult things.
Kevin Lawrence 33:19
Yes. I’ve said to coaches, when coaches asked me, What does it take to be successful? I said, Well, generally, one years of living expenses in cash is one of the most important ingredients, they look at me sideways, we talk about so well, you need to be willing to take risks, and say what needs to be said with any client. Because even though it might cause you to get fired, if you need the cash flow from the client, you will probably become a less effective coach. Because you’re gonna play it safer. And that’s, you know, as I say, to clients up front, we need to be able to fight like brothers or sisters, we need to be able to argue, you need to challenge me, I need to challenge you. We need to have it out, come to an agreement, whether we agree or agree to disagree, give each other a big hug, at the end, laugh about it, and move on with a smile, that it’s there. But when coaches are desperate for cash, that’s hard for them to do. And
Brad Giles 34:17
what you said then is that the coach has got your best interests at heart and they’re prepared to do risk upsetting you, because underlying that they’ve got your best interests at heart.
Kevin Lawrence 34:30
Right? And if there’s if the coaches scare, so there’s nothing wrong with being motivated by money, it’s a motivator, but you make different decisions. And regularly I had a client that I worked with, who turns out wasn’t coachable enough. We got into the tough, nitty gritty of his business. He wasn’t willing to deal with some of these things. And that’s his prerogative, right, you know, for his own reasons, and he wasn’t willing and I finally said, Look, you’re not getting good value for what you’re spending with me. This isn’t the expense, it’s not an investment, I don’t see you getting any return here at all. And he acknowledged and worked with them another quarter or so and help them. But I find as a man, you’re an awesome guy, I really like you. But this is one, it’s not fun for me anymore. And two, nothing’s changing, nor is it going to change. So you’re better to spend the, they’ll not spend the money, or work with someone else. That’s notably less expensive. But but but it’s not. But you can own you need to be able to do that, you know, one of the things that we that we look at is that, you know, we like to offer and let our clients know, ways we can help, but we’re not trying to sell them stuff. We’re just trying to take care of them. You know, and everyone on my team has that same philosophy, you know, the, the right coach is trying to help you, if you need extra help, they’ll find a way to do it. But they’re not trying to load you up with this program and that program and just knowing
Brad Giles 35:57
Yeah, I love finding consultants that I can bring into clients, I want immediately, an industrial relations lawyer that I, I actually haven’t met, but he’s just done great work. And I trust him. And I can bring him in. And I love having people like that that can help that I know are going to help to build a great business, they kind of they’re good partners, yes. Because I can trust that they’re going to do the right thing for the clients. I don’t want to get into many of these areas. I’ve got no interest. I’m not an expert. I’m kind of in this area of narrow field of mastery in this area that I’m pursuing. And yeah, I’m not trying to sell everything else don’t get any interest in it at all. Like,
Kevin Lawrence 36:52
yeah, that’s what So, so I’m gonna say it. So for you, what have you noticed? are the ingredients you need to be able to do amazing work with a CEO? What are the things that you find? And this is Brad’s version of it, which might be different than Kevin’s and be different than Frank’s or Jordans? Or Sally’s or Margarita does, you know everyone’s gonna have different things. But what are the things for you that you find are critical ingredients you are looking for? To get the right fit?
Brad Giles 37:26
I think they’ve got to have the capability to be a level five leader or similar like they’ve got to that’s an underlying kind of thing they’ve got to have the ability, because if I’m going to expend my energy with this, with this organization, if there is an incompetent leader, it’s just not gonna work. But I’m not even talking about that. If there is a leader who is distracted or is low aq, or thinks that they’re always going to be right or a diminisher. From Liz Wiseman’s book multipliers or so many other Yeah, like they’ve got to have the capability I think number one, they’ve got to have a burning desire,
Kevin Lawrence 38:16
desire and desire be okay if they don’t have the capability yet.
Brad Giles 38:22
Yeah, there’s, there’s obviously there’s a spectrum there. There’s no doubt about it. Yeah. So and to clarify, level
Kevin Lawrence 38:28
five leader is in Jim Collins’s work of someone who is very humble, and has incredible will and drive to build a great company. So you’re referring to the Dr. But not the egotistical. mee mee mee, mee, mee Narcissus type is kind of what you’re getting at is not to put words in your mouth. But is that kind of there.
Brad Giles 38:47
Exactly. No, no, that’s exactly right. They’ve got the eq, they’ve got the capability to stand up and have people want to follow them on the journey. And that’s, that’s really interesting, because do you want to follow this person because in one wise, we are a part of the leadership team and behind the morals and ethics and the beliefs and everything of the CEO or the like, I love
Kevin Lawrence 39:22
that question, Brad. I asked myself, would I follow them?
Brad Giles 39:28
Kevin Lawrence 39:28
yeah. And I’m looking for people that I would follow and I’d be proud to follow I’m not great at following. But but but people that I can stand behind and be proud to be working with. And I and what you’re talking about, I look at it as cold being driven and down to earth. That’s kind of what I’m looking for, is they might have their own plane. Yeah, but they’re not talking about it and flashing it about, right. They might own expensive sports cars or whatever it happens. To be, but they’re not. But they do that on the weekend. They’re not showing up to work in their brand new Ferrari, you know, or whatever their power, they might be big into race horses, but again, it’s they have their passions, but they’re very humble and grounded at work, which makes people want to follow them.
Brad Giles 40:20
And you know, the other thing, would I be proud to introduce them to my other clients? Because a big part of the work that I do is building a community of great businesses that are becoming great. And so I regularly have events where I get all the clients to come together. And we you actually attended one of them in Sydney in my room, but I
Kevin Lawrence 40:47
did that was awesome.
Brad Giles 40:48
Yeah. And so what I want them to come into that community of the clients, you know, it’s interesting,
Kevin Lawrence 40:55
because we have one client in the firm, who’s probably the smallest client in the firm one of my associates work with, and I love this guy. He comes on to some of the calls we have with our CEOs, he brings great value, great passion. And even though he is one of the smaller businesses, he is an incredible person to have within our firm. But yeah, what I want, that is I love that’s in my subconscious, Brad. But that’s a great way to look at it. Okay, what else? What else do you look for?
Brad Giles 41:26
Do they have did it just you touched on this one? And I started but it did. I had the desire to build a truly great business. Yeah. Are they going to do the difficult things? Because it’s not an easy journey. I mean, it’s, it’s tough. There’s a lot of pain. I’ve got this one saying, so there’s an island of Perth called rot nest, it’s about 22 kilometers. And so as you can imagine, we’ve got a great climate here. People will buy boats, and it’s a great passed on by boats go to the island, and there’s a lot of fishing and stuff. So I have this saying if the person says Look what I’m really what I really want is to get a bigger boat, then I’m not you guy. Like that’s
Kevin Lawrence 42:13
a there is a for that. There is a there is and a consultant for that. Yeah.
Brad Giles 42:19
But do they want to do the difficult things to build an enduring great business? It’s difficult. It’s definitely not easy. There’s a lot of pain along the way. But if they really truly want to do that, that’s definitely something for me. I guess another one is on my learner.
Kevin Lawrence 42:36
Yes. But if you would, if you are willing to build an enduring great business, you would be nature, by nature be a learner. You know, Brad, that really cut that’s almost like the tip of the arrow. If you’re really committed to being great, a bunch of other stuff falls into place.
Brad Giles 43:04
I disagree with that last point that you made before that I’ve met because I use these criteria, these filters these things. And I can’t, I can’t help but disagree a little bit, because I’ve met people who want to build an enduring great business. And I can’t even begin to talk to them about so. So tell me about the books that you’ve let you’ve read or listened to. Or tell me about how you sort of sharpen the sore as it were, how you stay abreast of, you know, we you become a bit later and I they just look at me blank, but not really
Kevin Lawrence 43:42
interesting because I have not had that experience. But maybe I’ve got no selection bias because of the people that I work with. All are serious learners. Now what I forget is they might not have been when we started, and lots of my clients have been working with for a lot of years. In my world, if you’re not willing to be a learner. Yeah, it’s off the table. Like you need to be willing to be a learner and a lot of them are Yeah, but but I might I have I have shaped a few of them to be learners and many, many of them already work. And you know what, Brad, for a lot of the clients that I worked with they had already built a version of an enduring great business many of the clients I’ve worked with already you know 200-800 hundred million and you need to be a pretty keen learner to get to there Yeah, but I’m with you the criteria so we just kind of summarize this is that they want to build an enduring green business they have their level five or aspire to be a level five type leader like Colin’s where they have incredible drive to build a great business. And if they don’t know exactly and but they’re humble, you know, they’re they’re generally good people that you would feel good introducing other people To No no, no arrogant jerk. Yeah, something? Yeah, I would say they’re very similar, Brad. I mean, again, you and I are very much in a similar frequency but it’s, it’s they are committed to building a great business and and and they’re down to earth, I would you know the way I would call it a driven and down to earth. And they really care about their people like they want to do right by their people, you know, they want to build as part of that enduring great business, they want to build a good culture, and they want to do right by their people and invest in their people, because they believe that people are a big portion of the answer.
Brad Giles 45:40
Kevin Lawrence 45:41
there’s anything else? I mean, I do a lot of I spend a lot of time with them up front to really make sure it’s the right fit.
Brad Giles 45:47
Kevin Lawrence 45:50
Yeah, and I, you know, and I can be for myself, that it’s going to be interesting and challenging for me. Because I like to continue to learn and grow. And there needs to be something about it. And I guess that goes into the fact that I really always want growing companies. Because growth, you’re growing companies, it’s okay, if they’ve sputtered out and hit a plateau, but they want to keep going. Because growth is interesting and engaging. And it also makes it easier for them to get a good return on investment for what we do. But the growth is a piece. And that’s because if they want to build an enduring great business, but not grow the business, I’m not interested for me.
Brad Giles 46:36
Yeah, yeah. It’s, I mean, yeah, it’s, it’s, it’s kind of, we want to improve the business, you know, improve the margins, improve the top line. And, and not just for the sake of it, but to build a better business.
Kevin Lawrence 46:56
Yeah, and create opportunities for the people. So very similar, but the growth is a key piece. And, and but I am going to, but there’s growth for me, I need to learn and grow from it, there needs to be something about it, that, that, that that because that’s part of how I get paid, I get paid currency, I get paid from the intrinsic reward of seeing and being a part of their growth. But I also get paid with my own learning and growth, because I’m I responsibility to learn for myself, but for my other clients, too. So there should be some, I it should make me better. And whether that’s because it’s challenging, or because there’s new learning within it is what I look for, and that keeps us keeps engaging from it. So interesting stuff, I think, at the root of it. And to kind of sum up today is that, you know, you gotta know what you’re looking for. And if you feel like you’re making great progress, and this coach, or mentor or advisor, whatever is helping you to be a better version of you. And you can feel the layers, you know, they’re getting stronger and growing. Awesome. Be wary are the people that take you off on a raw wild goose chase off in weird directions, you know, and that’s why we like to go back to the strategic plan for the firm, they should be helping you to advance the goals of the company, and moving ahead, and not taking you off to lala land. And you know, and you might want to go and do spiritual retreats, and you might want to explore all kinds of stuff. But it should always be in context of achieving what you want to achieve in your life. And in terms of growing your business. And I think that’s a real important piece just to keep an eye on.
Brad Giles 48:43
So top three kind of things from today, we spoke about the difference between a coach, a mentor and a consultant is time based project based activity. Mentor tells you what to do. Coach asks the right questions in the context of your broader journey. We spoke about the fit and the experience of a coach, when you’re looking to hire a coach, we spoke about this concept that you’ve got called 14 X. In other words, like any advisor like anybody in your leadership team as well, anyone in the business, you want to find someone who is going to multiply your capability and your effectiveness. And a coach or advisor should drop straight into that as well. Is this person going to make you a better version of yourself? On a factor of 14 or whatever it might be certainly significantly better. And then I guess, commitment to be professional. And how many long term clients does this culture advisor have? Do they turn their clients every year or have they had clients for five or 10 or more years? And why is that and how committed are they is this just a part time gig or Are they not? there’s anything wrong with being part time necessarily? Or are they committed to mastering because if you’re trying to build a truly great business, is the coach or advisor trying to build the best coaching business or the best possible version of what they do? They if you’re committed to mastery, is the coach also committed to mastery? So I think we’ve that’s kind of the three areas. Anything to add to that.
Kevin Lawrence 50:28
No, it’s a great summary, Brad, and I’m noticing that we’re past time and I need to be on another call. So I need to wrap up real fast. So Hey, everyone, thanks for listening. This has been the growth whispers podcast. I’m Kevin Lawrence and I’m here with my good friend Brad to reach Brad, evolutionpartners.com.au and for myself, Lawrenceandco.com. So good luck finding that right advisor or even enhancing that relationship you have with your existing advisor. We’ll see you next week. All the best.