Speaker 0 00:00:03 Welcome to the culture of things podcast with Brendan Rodgers. This is a podcast where we call culture. Hello, everybody on Brendan Rogers, the host of the culture things podcast. This is episode 27 today. I'm talking with Mark Bragg. Braggy is a performance and leadership coach who has been coaching in one form or another for 40 years in his early career. Mark played in coach basketball, professionally in Australia's national basketball league. Over the past two decades, he has worked as an executive coach in multiple business disciplines and industries in 23 countries. In recent years, he's been working in San Francisco, Hong Kong, Dublin and Sydney with emerging Australian entrepreneurs. Mark works with Martin West as cofounders of X gap, which focuses on helping create healthy and successful leaders and teams. They worked together extensively and also co-authored hard road. A leader's journey begins, which we spoke about way back on episode four. Mark has a specific emphasis on providing personalized coaching for leaders and their teams with a focus on personal growth and improved work performance. His programs are specifically designed for each client based on three fundamental principles. It's about you live coaching and connected to results. The focus of our conversation today is coaching and how we use coaching to unlock potential braggy. Welcome to the culture, things podcast,
Speaker 1 00:01:46 Same smile. I heard you rattling off those countries. There hasn't been too much travel lately. Absolutely grounded and bound to the, to the WebEx and Skype and every other form of video comms.
Speaker 0 00:01:59 That's it might. And I'm sure your wife, Karen is hopefully happy to have you home a little bit more than she's used to.
Speaker 1 00:02:05 Well, she is, but she, you know, in the, in the last couple of years she's been traveling a lot with me since he kind of misses that a bit too, but it is nice to be in one place for an extended period of time. That's for sure.
Speaker 0 00:02:16 I want you to give a bit of an overview. I've given a bit of a spiel there in the introduction and just an overview of your career journey, but what I want to tell you, and this is the weird thing, and we were talking a little bit off air that with your basketball career and you might not like this, cause it's probably going to give your age away a little bit. But when I was a young chap, probably around eight to 10 years of age, I would have watched you on the basketball court, in the NBA when you play for the Brisbane bullets.
Speaker 1 00:02:41 Well, we were talking about that and it clearly wasn't that memorable because I think you have to do some research to find that out. But anyway, yeah, that was a, that would have been in the eighties. I guess I had some time playing with the bullets, but, uh, the coaching thing, which we're talking today started for me when I was quite young, actually I was maybe 19 or 20, I think when I first started coaching basketball and, you know, I coached for in my mid forties, so over 20 years, and it was a wonderful foundation for what I've done the last 20 plus years, you know, being exposed to that level of competition and learning as I was going as a young coach and then being able to take that and use what I've learned and the foundation of what I've learned into the business realm and, you know, executive coaching and then the experiences that I've just been so fortunate to have been part of over the last 20 years, working pitching gave a description of the various organizations and different cultures and countries and things like that. It's been, um, it's just been a terrific, terrific journey, you know, and you, you just feel blessed that you've had that opportunity.
Speaker 0 00:03:57 Let's frame this up a little bit for everybody. How about you just tell us in your own words, what is coaching define coaching for us?
Speaker 1 00:04:06 Well, I think it's, you know, when you can create an environment for someone or a group of people in which they can improve in some way or another, whether that's a small improvement or a large improvement, but if you can somehow generate an environment, you know, psychologically, I guess, or in a way that's going to challenge them is going to cause them to think carefully about their potential and then act on that and ultimately improve. That's essentially coaching. Now, the scope, you know, we can talk a little bit more as we get into this call, but the scope is very broad. I mean, obviously we'll just talk to you too about coaching and sport is one thing coaching, a senior executive is another coaching. Frontline leaders is another, and it might not just be on performance. You know, it could be on anything from Korea to dealing with personal challenges, to dealing with their own strengths and weaknesses. You know, it's a, it's a fairly broad thing, but, uh, you know, as we can discuss, there are some, I think there's some fundamentals that it doesn't really matter what you're coaching on. If you're, if you're helping someone to get better, that's essentially the buzz I get out. I create a feel quite selfish actually, is that I love doing this so much when I see that I've been able to help someone improve in some way, it's a thrill, you know,
Speaker 0 00:05:33 Tell us about that buzz. And maybe even give us a bit of a framing of what is it that gives you the buzz. Like what does success look like when you're coaching someone to give you that thrill?
Speaker 1 00:05:44 I started getting, this'll probably didn't recognize it as much when I was catching basketball. You know, you would get a group of people together and work hard to get them to improve collectively as a team and in terms of team cohesion and how they related to each other. And then obviously there was the skill development. Then there was the development strategy and watching a team develop individually and collectively. And I can't remember, you know, one of the better teams I have, I thought in 97 and it has taken us, this didn't happen overnight. This had taken us three or four years to build you almost didn't need to coach him anymore because he just had to be there. And, you know, some guidance here and there because they were so tuned in themselves to what they were doing. And so committed to trying to improve that.
Speaker 1 00:06:38 It wasn't like your job was completely done, but they were doing a lot of it for you. And that, that was, there's nothing more enjoyable than see something like that. And I'll see it now often, you know, with the leaders, you know, sometimes we can go in and do workshops for them that help them get the team aligned or help their team become more cohesive. But when you actually see the leader do that for themselves, that's just great. You know, it's almost like doing yourself out of a job as the deal affects. You feel better
Speaker 0 00:07:09 Given your extensive coaching background in professional sport basketball specifically, and in the corporate space, if there are differences, can you just share what some of those differences are in those two different arenas?
Speaker 1 00:07:26 Sure. And I think, you know, I mentioned before that the foundation I got with professional sport was I couldn't have asked for any better start for what I'm doing now. And I think part of the reason is it is so crystal clear, you either win or you lose. And if you're coaching that team, it doesn't matter how you cut it. You're responsible and that's in your face every day because it's in the newspapers and it's on the TV. And then you have, of course, everyone having their own opinion on, Hey, you should have coached the team or how they should apply it and why we should sack the coach and all this sort of stuff. And then there's the video type, of course, which shows every single play and every single decision that you make as a coach. So the scrutiny of your performance as a leader is really high learning to live with that and learning to deal with that, learning to deal with failure and success, and being able to try and bring a group of people, you know, a team, for example, through that provided me, I fought with the fundamentals to start talking to business.
Speaker 1 00:08:34 Now I should point out that when I first started working in business, I think it probably took me five, maybe even 10 years before. I really felt comfortable that I understood the business environment because whilst the principles are the same, whether it's sport or business, the environment is very different. I mean, for, for start in sport, you're going to have an off season where you go and relax and you know, you're going to have taught me out. We gotta get massage and get yourself fixed up and, you know, it's, and then you got to perform on the weekend or, you know, maybe twice or three times a week in pro sport, these days in business, it's not like that it's a marathon. You know, you'll talk them out. It's very limited. And the other thing is you're performing the whole time. There's not too much.
Speaker 1 00:09:21 There's only occasionally people will take time out to train and practice and get better at things. But mostly you're in the game the whole time that relentless work that has to go into building a business over many, many years and trying to keep businesses ahead of the game the whole time is, you know, it's relentless. And I'm not saying that there's any difference in the intensity or what people bring in terms of energy and effort in either one of those things, it's just a different environment. And so, as I said, I think the principles are relatively the same, but I think the environments are very different. And one other thing I'll say is I think sometimes that level of scrutiny that applies to sport. I mean, if you could apply that and I have tried to as much as possible apply that scrutiny to business performance, you really get a lot of positives out of that. If you can really dig into how's the team performing individually, collectively, what do we need to do to get better business could get better at that stuff.
Speaker 0 00:10:21 What stuck out to me in what you've just said was the videoing, the analysis, the scrutinization on sport versus organization, probably in the immediate sense, it's right there in your face. And there's an obvious win, lose scenario. Has that transferred into that word? Vulnerability? Have you seen a greater level of vulnerability in the sports profession versus maybe in the business profession as a result of that scrutiny?
Speaker 1 00:10:50 Well, you know, it's funny, um, you know, Wistia and I came together, I think I met Wistia maybe 2001, 2002. And I can remember one of our first conversations was about this very point. He would talk about the nameless rank list, debrief that as a fighter pilot, he and his team would get together and do after mission. And they would come into a room and watch a video of the mission and everything was pulled apart. And that's exactly what I'd been doing for the last 20 years. You know, we'd bring the team in and we watched the video and we pull it apart and this is good and this is not so good. And so that idea of scrutinizing performance with a fine tooth comb and then, but really being doing it in a way that it's okay if we messed up, that's all right.
Speaker 1 00:11:42 You know, we were going to do it better next time, as long as we're focused on trying to get better, it's going to be okay. And so that debriefing that stopping and, you know, are we on the right strategy? Is this strategy actually work? You know, what do we need to do differently? We just executed an initiative. Is it working? I don't think that level of scrutiny exists in all businesses that certainly we've helped businesses with this quite a bit over the years. But I think that's an area where business could really probably do a little bit better job taking time out to step back and look at how things are traveling and then consistently looking for ways to do things better. I'm not saying they don't do it. I think there's just an opportunity to do it a little bit better than perhaps most.
Speaker 0 00:12:28 So mate, given the recent times of COVID the last six months that must've given you a fantastic opportunity with the clients you work with, given zooms and webinars and all that sort of stuff, how have you utilized that for your coaching?
Speaker 1 00:12:42 It's been better than, than I would have thought. I mean, I was very hesitant at the start because I'm so used to sitting with people when I'm coaching them and, you know, having the whole feedback experience of body language and gestures and, or walking with someone in a pocket. Sometimes I coach people just by walking with them, I'd find that quite effective, more relaxing and feel like you're walking with the person and helping them. So I was very hesitant at the start and I still don't feel a hundred percent comfortable with it, mainly because when you're coaching someone, your level of awareness is critical. You really have to think carefully and listen, understand and watch and learn from that person because the more you know, and understand about that person, hopefully the better decisions you can make in terms of trying to help them improve. So as soon as you go to video conferencing and a lot of that is taken away, you know, you see in hidden child is, and sometimes the voice is a bit distorted and in the situation we're in, it's been brilliant. Maybe I'm old school, but I hoping that at some point we can get back to sitting down with someone over coffee and talking things through rather than doing it as we're doing it at the moment.
Speaker 0 00:13:56 Yeah. I think it's a fair point. Might I hear a lot where zoom has been great, but nothing really beats, face to face
Speaker 1 00:14:03 Shake. Someone's hand over zoom. You can't Pat them on the back,
Speaker 0 00:14:06 But before we go into the coaching model and what good coaching looks like, which I know you can talk extensively on. Why is it important to coach?
Speaker 1 00:14:15 Yeah, this is kind of interesting because whenever we raise this with the executives, it's not that it's surprising to them because I think they know they have to do it. It's just that I don't think they give it the level of importance that it deserves. They may come at it from a slightly different way. If you're evaluating a leader over time, I think there's probably a couple of evaluation points. The first one is, are they able to execute, get stuff done that they're supposed to get done? I mean, that's pretty much standard stuff. The second one is how improvement have they driven. We'll be able to create with that team, both collectively as a team in terms of how they perform as a team and then individually, how much improvement has occurred with the individuals in the team. And then there's probably a third question, which is when they actually leave that position, what do they leave behind?
Speaker 1 00:15:11 What's their legacy being the core point here is that one of the primary responsibilities of a leader is to make things better, to improve people collectively and individually. And I cannot think of a way to do that unless you're coaching. I just can't see a way to do it. Now. A lot of people misinterpret this to think, Oh, well, we've got to have quite a formal piece of paper and we've got to sit down with someone once a month and we've got to look at their performance and their behavior and Alyssa, I actually don't subscribe to that at all. I think that sure, that's good. I don't, I don't see any problem with that. As long as it's done in a meaningful way, in some ways, in a relaxed way, even though you might have a hard point to make, but a two minute interaction conversation with someone can be just as powerful in a coaching sense as a one hour, sit down.
Speaker 1 00:16:03 I just think if you come back to your question was the importance of it. I just think it's fundamental. Unfortunately there's so much pressure to deliver results, to do this, to take care of the tactical day to day things, the operational things. If you're like that, this sometimes is put on the back burner and even put aside and sometimes not done at all. I just think it's central and core for every leader. There should be a discipline around it. You know, I've seen some of the best coaching take place almost in motion. In other words, I can remember distinctly being on an oil rig where one of the safety guys took a side, a young guy that was on the rig for the first time, I think who was just painting the deck or something and then set the extra, you know, boy, you're doing this and they lost it all.
Speaker 1 00:16:51 And now it's just tell him to do it. And he said, no, you do on this because it's an environmental thing. You know, we can't afford to have anything grips through these cracks. We've got to paint this thing properly then and you know, environment, that's where the future's going to be. You know, what are you thinking? Is that, is that what you'd like to do? And all of a sudden he was in this coaching conversation with this kid that was just painting the deck. And I thought, wow, that's exactly what I'm talking. You know what I mean? It doesn't have to be this formal thing that we need an hour for every single person, you know, once a week or something like that. I think it's more the intention and the responsibility of trying to help people get better. And I'll tell you another thing that I often hear a lot and I'm not, I hope I'm not coming across as being critical of people that are in leadership or management positions, because I understand I've spent time to understand the pressures that they're under.
Speaker 1 00:17:42 I can admit to being guilty of what I'm about to say, but I often hear people say, yeah, that person's not doing a very good job. You know, they're on my team. They're really not very good. Or I wish I did this, or I wish I did that. The responsibility is to lead us. If that person's not doing the thing that you want to do, then you've got to try and help them get to the point where they can, or you probably hired them in the first place. So you've got some responsibility in this thing here, you know, as I said, I think it's not something that's probably given enough credence. I think it's one of the most powerful things that a leader can do. And one of the most rewarding it'd be nothing better than someone coming up to you and thanking you for making them better as a person or making the team better or something like that. That's the deal. As far as I'm concerned,
Speaker 0 00:18:33 There's nothing better than that, but you've got a certain mindset around leadership and coaching. What sort of mindset is that to be a good coach?
Speaker 1 00:18:42 Well, I can just give you three things that I think might help for anyone listening. I think the first thing and probably the most important thing and everything else kind of stems from this is you have to really care. I mean, you have to really care about that person or care about the team or care about the job they're doing. If you're only kind of half care or don't care at all, it doesn't matter. So, you know, if you really care about your people, then you know, you're going to try and set aside time to try and help them and support them as much as you can. Having said that, it doesn't mean you're going to be soft. I mean, I think the second thing is you have to challenge them. I mean, if you think back to the people that I know, if I think back to the people that influenced me and helped me get better, it was the people that really challenged me, but challenged me to do things that I either I didn't think of or didn't think I could do, or didn't think I had the potential to do.
Speaker 1 00:19:37 So people that challenged me to try and improve or do better or do things differently. So I think caring and challenging people are probably two things I would say. And then maybe a third, which is really a bit more about technique is you kind of gotta be really crystal clear. They can't leave any room. If you're talking to someone and trying to help them, you've gotta be clear about, look, this is where we're at right now. And be clear about what the current level of performance is. Then you've got to be clear about what the future performance might look like, what we want to get you to here, my set clear, and then you gotta be clear on the half the steps that we're going to take together to try and move from where you are now to where we'd like to get you to. So I would say caring, being able to challenge, but being really, really crystal clear about, look, this is where you are. This is where we want to get you to. And here's what we're going to need to do to get there. If those things are in place, it may not be everything, but it's good stuff
Speaker 0 00:20:34 Going on from that. Then what sort of model have you used or how do you apply this mindset that you've just shared with us into a real life practical application? You have to help leaders out there that maybe know that they've got to do coaching and maybe they've got to be better at coaching. What advice would you give them and how do you make this actually happen in the real world?
Speaker 1 00:20:53 Look, I think the very first thing is you've got to get a pretty good understanding. I mean, you know, you mentioned a book that we've written before and fundamentally that book arrives at five challenges that we've seen most leaders face. And the first one is high level of awareness. That's not just self awareness, that's awareness of the team, but motivate some people individually and collectively, and then situational awareness, getting a really good grip on the current situation that surrounds your team and what it's trying to do. And then there's relationships. And, you know, we talked about getting the team aligned and discipline and coaching on, on top of that. But I think that fundamental one, if you're starting to coach of awareness and building a good, strong relationship, because I think sometimes if you're starting out with someone, just sitting down with them and just in a relaxed why and funny, what motivates you?
Speaker 1 00:21:46 What the matter, what do you like to do? What don't you like? How do you like to be managed? How do you like to learn? Tell me about the time you last did something really good and really got better at something. Cause that kind of gives you an insight. The coaching in itself, they'll tell you whilst you're having that conversation and learning about the person at the same time, you're starting to develop hopefully some level of relationship and trust because obviously people are not really going to respond to your coaching. The level of trust is low. So getting that basic foundation and under you before you start to go too fast is pretty important. I think whenever I work with an executive, I reckon it probably takes me two or three sessions before. I really feel like I've got that foundation of trust with the person concerned. There is a provisor that year. And I don't know whether you're going to lead into this or not. And that's a, there are often some people that just don't want to be coached or you're just not the right fit for them. And you've got to accept that. There's no way around that. I've had a lot of executives that said all the right things and like me coaching them, but they really didn't want to be coached, but I didn't take any action based on, out at work,
Speaker 0 00:22:56 Given you a 40 years of experience, mate, there must be some signs, some red flags that come up for you maybe early on, or maybe they take a little bit of a while to come up. But what does the red flag or red flags look like in someone that says they want to be coached? But at the end of the day, it doesn't really happen.
Speaker 1 00:23:13 One big red flag. When someone says I got this, I know I had to do. It says as soon as you hear any leaders say, Oh, you know, I really got this. I know what I'm doing. You know? And I can remember distinctly a story, which he and I were working in, uh, working for a pharmaceutical company in Asia. And they had all the managers in, from the senior CEOs, from all the Asian countries. And we were working through alignment and trying to bring in a very specific execution discipline for all the teams, all the sales teams in those regions. And I think it was the head of the Indian team was a bit like I just described, Oh, we've got this. We know how to do this. You know? Yeah, we did this already or something like that. And then, you know, in the, in a similar conversation with spoken with the head of chef Korea, who had said, Oh, we're really bad at this.
Speaker 1 00:24:08 You know, we really need to get better. I said, you know, I'm so glad we've got you guys here. It's things like if we do this right, and we did this well, you know, it's going to be a case later. We were talking to the guy that oversaw all of them. So the head of the Asia Pacific region. And he said, yeah, that makes a lot of sense. He said the Indian, same as the worst performing one in the, in the entire operations and the South Korean teams the best. I mean, that kind of underpins what I'm saying. I mean, leaders that truly want to get better and truly are aware of perhaps their own strengths and weaknesses are always going to be pushing the envelope and looking for things to get better. You'll normally find if anyone says, now I got this or it's not a big deal. I'm really good at it. You normally find it's a bit of a smoke screen for potential issues.
Speaker 0 00:24:59 It sounds like those words ringing my year again, the humility factor, vulnerability, those sorts of things. So if you're not seeing those things over a period of time, even early on, then that's quite concerning for you. And it questions, the coachability of the person.
Speaker 1 00:25:16 Yeah, it does. But I don't, again, I don't want to write people off when you see these things because sometimes you can help them work through them and look being quite vulnerable and authentic and honest. I know when I was younger and coaching, I would have been terrible at this. You know, I would have been one of the first people saying I got this because I'd had a lot of success early in my career. And I was pretty confident. My ego is a bit bigger than my ability, you know, and it was only after Pew had knocked. So I sort of come back to it and realized maybe I've got a few things to learn, you know, so it's a journey. And as I said, I don't like to count people out just because they show a certain, but I would, might perceive as a weakness or a red flag because I think you can always, people can always improve. And if we can help them, we should, we should try. But I'm with you a hundred percent, the vulnerability thing, which has really become a big topic over the last 10 years is a pretty good indicator. Sometimes as if you're looking for red flags, it's a pretty good indicator of the leader's capability and how they're likely to interact and how effective they're likely to be with their teams.
Speaker 0 00:26:24 Shouldn't earlier about that two minutes sort of coaching session on the deck as the young fellows painting, you emphasize the fact that coaching can come in many shapes or forms. Is there also a formal part to when coaching should happen or underpin that leader's role? There's two
Speaker 1 00:26:44 Types of coaching at Western. And I talk to quite a bit now, and we've only come to this over half to doing this for a while and trying to make it easier for leaders to kind of get their heads around this. So you can coach someone on, you know, they can be creative coaching and coach them on behavior. You can catch them up performance, whatever it's quite broad. Or you can just have a one on one where you're trying to get to know the person. I mean, there's a whole myriad of ways to approach this, but let's just look at these two things. The first one I think is what we would call tactical coaching. And this is where you really working with someone on what their, the basic skills of their job or their experience that they're going through right now. It's more just than operational coaching session, trying to help them improve their on the ground performance in the day to day, you know, in sports, you'd call it the blocking and tackling of the job.
Speaker 1 00:27:39 So that to me is quite tactical trying to improve someone's skill level or their experience level. So they can actually execute their role, not only effectively, but obviously improve in the role that they're doing. That's tactical. The second one I would call is more strategic. And you know, some people might refer to this as career planning, but I don't particularly like it that call it that way because strategic planning is more about looking a little bit more longterm. And the key question with strategic coaching is this, how can I help this person? I'm coaching become more valuable, more valuable in their own, right? More valuable to the organization they're working for now, more valuable in the marketplace. So is there some particular skill or some experience I can give them or something I can delegate responsibility. I can give them that they haven't had before that it's actually going to improve them and make them more valuable in their own.
Speaker 1 00:28:38 Right? And that's a different conversation that probably needs. And you wouldn't mix the two for a start and you did definitely don't that it's either the tactical or the strategic and the strategic one is probably, it's all different for different people, depending on how many direct reports you got. But let's say you had between six and 10, I would be doing the tactical one probably once every week or every two weeks. And I'll be doing the strategic one at least once every two months and only giving people one, you know, one of my rules is you only give people one thing to work on us at a time, because if you give them too many things, they're just not going to get good at any one of them. So just focus on one thing at a time, get that to a point where you're happy with it, and then they move to the next one.
Speaker 1 00:29:17 But to me, the strategic coaching is missed a little bit, unless there's a kind of an annual review that might be in some cases that's talked about there. And I don't like using the word career coach because people start to think about that as I'm in the team. Now I want to be seen later, then I want to be managing. Now. I don't want to be a director and they don't want to be CEO. They see it in one dimension of title and position rather than improving their skillset and trying to improve their value to the organization. And, but the other things to take care of themselves. Yeah.
Speaker 0 00:29:48 Coaching in those terms, tactical coaching versus strategic coaching and not mixing the two, having that clear intent. How does your approach differ depending on what type of coaching you're doing?
Speaker 1 00:30:00 I don't think your approach difference. I can't see how it would differ. I think the main thing that I've found with an advocate, this a lot with the leaders I'm working with, if they're doing it and I've tried to do it as best I can myself is at the heart of coaching is really good questions. You can almost run an entire coaching session with questions. The topic is irrelevant, you know, it's like, okay, so where are we now? Or where would we like to get to it? What would that look like? How would we get the, you know, what would be the risk in doing that? What would be the impact if we were able to do that, or what's the impact if we don't do it and trying to really work with the person that even if you have ideas of your own, trying to resist the urge to say, well, we should do this.
Speaker 1 00:30:47 You know, rather than saying that, trying to encourage the person to think for themselves, because if they're thinking for themselves, they'll and you've been able to generate that through questions, they're more likely to lean in and more likely to own it. They're more likely to feel responsibility to get it done. Chances of them taking action are much higher. And, you know, even if you have an idea of your own that you know, that I need to do, you can still phrase it as a question, you know? So what about if we did this, it's still a question. Even if you're putting forward an idea that, you know, really need to probably implement. So I don't think your approach changes. I don't think mine does. So I think it wouldn't matter what the topic was or whatever. I think my approach would be exactly the same. It really clear on where we're at and get clear on where we want to get to let's get clear on the steps and use questions to make sure the person is, is really buying into the whole thing.
Speaker 0 00:31:41 We focused a lot on the one on one type coaching, which is probably what most people probably relate coaching to that one on one relationship. But you also do. And with Westie, a lot of work with teams, how does that coaching side of things look different? If at all, when you're working with a team,
Speaker 1 00:31:58 You gotta be pretty tuned into the different personalities in the room. Again, questions, if you know, a lot of the folks we've worked with will tell you this, that most of our workshops are not us talking. It's us posing questions, and either breaking a, uh, an executive team into small groups to work on certain problems or answer certain questions in variably. The entire workshop is answering questions. Now, obviously you want to land on the broad questions that are going to come out with the answers are going to have the most impact, you know, stay focused on the topics that are going to have the most impact. But again, you know, you're trying to get the team to engage and lean in and buy in and think for themselves rather than being told when you're coaching your team. I think the big thing with them is, again, trying to get them to feel comfortable with the idea of analyzing their own performance and accepting that it may not be up to scratch and or accepting basically that they can get better. That would be a starting point, but I don't think again, as the process changes too much, other than it's a little bit more complicated because you've got a lot more people involved,
Speaker 0 00:33:04 But let's move on to you do a lot of writing. You know, you've got a lot of articles on your website and you do things under X gap and obviously hard road, some fantastic stuff there. But one of the things I know you're big on, particularly around this coaching is legacy leadership, legacy, their leadership code. What do I stand for? Can you talk to that a bit, explain what that is about and why it's useful.
Speaker 1 00:33:25 One of the evaluations I think of how a leader has done is what did they leave behind and what was that team like as a result of their leadership? Did they leave a lasting impression? And you know, when I talk to leaders about this, I say, okay, what sort of legacy do you want to leave? I'm very Billy. I will talk about people. Very few of them will say, Oh, I want to produce the best product that was ever on, on the market. Or, you know, I want to hit my sales number 10 years. Talk about the impression that the team that they've left a good team, that it's a cohesive team that they've got better that perhaps even developed other leaders as a result of their leadership. They want, it's a really interesting thing. Unfortunately, you know, a lot of leaders don't think of it that way.
Speaker 1 00:34:15 And the way I like to kind of express it is you're only a caretaker of that position, that leadership position that you hold at some point, you're going to pass it on to somebody else. So somebody else is going to add that position. So the question is, whilst you have that position, what's your legacy guarantee? What are you going to leave behind? You know, one of the things about coaching is you might coach someone and hopefully it helps them improve in a particular area. And this particularly goes, if you're coaching a leader, but what's the ultimate legacy of that. Like how many other people is that leader influenced and influence someone else? I mean, the ripple effect, you just never not, again, it's one of the great things about coaching is you don't really know the full impact of what you sent me good or bad, but you don't really know because there's so much stuff that continues as a result of hopefully some, some good interactions and some good coaching outcomes. That's legacy.
Speaker 0 00:35:12 My, I want to pick out a couple of things from your own leadership code, which you can only share with me some time ago, specifically related to the topic we're talking. One of your points is coach to a person's strength or coach to a person's strengths. And there's also one there around there will be people you can not coach. That's fine. Can you just talk to those a little bit?
Speaker 1 00:35:34 I'm a big fan of, you know, really working with people's strengths and trying to lock in and understand what their strengths are and trying to help them improve and really take something that's a seven and make it a nine or an eight and make it a nine or nine and a half. I don't, there's no chance, but if someone is a two or three, it's something you could work forever on it. And the best they might ever get is a four. You know, so it's kind of a wasted energy. That doesn't mean you shouldn't address weaknesses and you shouldn't try and correct them and minimize them and all that. That's fine. That's a whole other thing. But when you're trying to help someone, you know, really perform to the best of their ability, you've really got to help them really maximize their strengths. I mean, not even with personality, I've always felt that we're going to do at best work when we're at the extremes of our personality.
Speaker 1 00:36:24 And so I'm always looking for where's the person really pronounced, you know, are they really directive, okay, they're going to, I might have to dial it back a bit, but we're going to go with that because that's going to be real strength. Well, they might do, you know, maybe they're a little bit introverted leader. That's fine because you're going to be thinking you're going to be watching. You're not going to jump into situations. You're really going to be thoughtful. Let's work with that. You got to go with the strength. You've got to coach around around strengths. And what was the second one?
Speaker 0 00:36:52 There will be people you can not coach. That's fine.
Speaker 1 00:36:55 Again, when I first started, I felt like I should be able to help everybody or anyone to kind of my path. And I was responsible for coaching. I thought that I had a responsibility to, uh, you know, to help get better, but you just kind of find out that, well, there's either two things are apply either. I don't want to get better. And it's just a matter of what you do with the, like that old Chinese saying when the student's ready, the teachers or the teacher will arrive. So you've kind of, you know, you gotta have people that are willing to lean into the coaching side of things. And then the other thing is sometimes it just doesn't work. You know, like your personality just doesn't suit that person or they don't trust you or they don't like you, or they don't like your method or they don't take you good enough to help them. That's fine. You know, you can't, I know early on I would have taken great offense to that. And there was something in my makeup that probably wasn't quite right, but there are people that you're not going to be able to coach and that that's okay. Maybe there's someone else that can help them bit more than you can,
Speaker 0 00:37:57 But what's been your biggest lesson over this 40 years of doing what you do.
Speaker 1 00:38:02 I know there was a specific point, which I think changed everything for me and probably started me getting better as a leader. And I think I'll mention I started catching quite early and early in my career. I was, I had a lot of success early on the first six or seven years. And it'd be fair to say that I thought I was way better than I was at the time. I thought I was crazy. I wasn't just, I wasn't as good to be honest. And I can remember we had a season that, um, you know, was the season from hell really? We just didn't play. Well, my job was probably on the line. And at the end of the season, I was really, you know, at a point where I was being critical of the pliers and I was being critical of the bloody board and they bloody facility.
Speaker 1 00:38:44 And I can remember just on the phone to another guy, who's a mentor of mine and an Australian coach in another sport. And Simon, this is, these guys are this, this and that. And, and he just basically stopped me in my tracks and said, braggy it's about, you might and then just hang up the phone straight after that. And it's like, I didn't know what the thing and I can, I thought about it for 24, 48 hours. And I realized, you know, he's right. It is about me, you know? And so I spent a bit of time getting some feedback from some of the players and staff and stuff. And that was the first time I kind of was prepared to admit my own weakness. Really. It really opened my eyes a lot. And from that point on, I said, okay, I'm going to make sure from now I'm getting feedback from as many different people as I can. And I'm going to try and commit to get better, because if it is about me, then that's going to be reflected in that same. And if I can get better, hopefully it will be passed on. So that was a big, that was big lesson there. So the interesting thing about leadership is in one sense, it's not about you, it's about the team and the other sense, it bloody well is about you because if you're not getting better, they're not getting better.
Speaker 0 00:39:55 Yeah. It's a great point. Is there anything else that you want to touch on or share with people just to around the advice you'd give for coaching?
Speaker 1 00:40:03 Yeah. I just think again, if you've just set aside that to me, it's, it's been my life and, um, I've got so much out of it, way more out of it than I've given, but I just think if you care, if you really care about people and you're in place in a situation where you may be able to help them in some way, that's a bloody honor, you know, just do the best. You can learn as much as you can, but just try and help them. That's it?
Speaker 0 00:40:33 How can people get hold of your buddy?
Speaker 1 00:40:35 If anyone Googles high road leadership, you'll come to a website that I'll be on. And my business partner, Martin Western, who will be there as well and all their contact details are there. So it's just, if you just Google hard road leadership and you'll see the book as well, if you're interested,
Speaker 0 00:40:51 I can second that mate. It's a fantastic book, lots of good information on the website and some of your articles there as well. And certainly the course is fantastic, but I just want to say absolute pleasure having you on the cultural things podcast. But I know I, haven't known you as long as I've known Westie, but the opportunity to have you guys who are in my network and to have the support for you guys. Cause you know, I love learning. I love what you guys do. Just having you guys around to chew the fat helps support is just something I just hold. So dear. So, and I know how much you do care. You live that stuff absolutely every day because you've done it with me as well. So my, I want to thank you so much for being a mate, being part of our community and for being a guest on the cultural things podcast.
Speaker 2 00:41:37 No problem, man, absolute pleasure. And an honor to be on that on the show. Terrific stuff. Thank you so much.
Speaker 0 00:41:54 It's easy to hear a break he's relaxed and calming style through the conversation. I believe this is a perfect style for coaching his focus on caring for people with the foundation of feeling honored to help people improve has helped make him a much sought after performance and leadership coach. His record speaks for itself. Not only did he reach the highest level of coaching in professional basketball in Australia, he also sits in the highest executive boardrooms in Australia and across the world. These were my three key takeaways from my conversation with braggy. My first key takeaway coaching is about helping people improve. Improving people is one of the key responsibilities of being a leader. If that's the case, all leaders must get good at coaching. Otherwise you aren't doing your job coaching. Doesn't have to be formal. It can be any interaction with a person where you help them get better.
Speaker 0 00:42:54 If you think of it this way, maybe coaching will feel less of a burden and you will spend more time helping people improve. My second key takeaway to be a good coach. You need to care, be able to challenge and be crystal clear. You have to care about the person. If you do, you will set aside time to help and support them. You have to challenge them, focus on getting them to do things that they didn't think they could do or to get better at something they are doing. You have to be crystal clear, be clear on the current level of performance. Be clear on what the future performance level looks like. And finally be clear on the steps to achieve the future performance. Do these three things and you will be a good coach. My third key takeaway at the heart of good coaching is really good questions.
Speaker 0 00:43:48 Questions, encourage the person to think for themselves. When you do this, the person will lean in and own the solutions. Some example questions braggy mentioned, where, what would that look like? How do we get there? What would be the risk? What's the risk. If we don't do it, don't provide solutions. Ask good questions to God, to a solution. So in summary, my three key takeaways where coaching is about helping people improve to be a good coach. You need to care, be able to challenge and be crystal clear at the heart of good coaching is really good questions. If you have any questions
Speaker 2 00:44:32 Or feedback about this episode, please feel free to send me a [email protected]
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