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A coach is about getting the most out of every player on the team. An executive coach provides a leader with a broader perspective and a sounding board for some of our crazy ideas. In this discussion we explore finding the right executive coach with Bob Perkins. Hope you enjoy.


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 So we'll just get going, um, and I'll introduce you and go from there. So, alright. Welcome to Influence a production of this Week in Health it where we discuss the influence of technology on health with people who are making it happen. My name is Bill Russell, recovering healthcare, c i o and creator of this week in Health.

It a set of podcasts and videos dedicated to training the next generation of health IT leaders. This podcast is brought to you by Health Lyrics, helping you to build agile, efficient, and effective health. It Let's talk visit health to schedule your free consultation. Today we're gonna do a show about executive coaching.

This is a show that I've, I've really wanted to do for some time. I. I've found great value in having an executive coach, and I wanted to explore for our listeners what a good relationship with an executive coach looks like. Our guest today is appropriately, my executive coach for probably, probably a decade or so, Bob Perkins.

Uh, Bob Perkins is with Bob Perkins Consulting and Vision for Your Life, author of a couple books and a recently released book, which I hope we'll have some time to discuss at some point in the show. Uh, good morning Bob, and welcome to the show. Morning. It's great to be here. Thank you, bill. So trying, so trying to squeeze in this executive coaching with your, your authoring of books is, is that hard to do

Well, uh, the first book was excruciating, but uh, the second book was a little easier. Then. This book has been just a total labor of love. I have, uh, it's a collection of stories from my years of going to France and, um, I, I could spend the next hour talking about France. I know. And wine all that too, but, uh, but probably we should talk about executive coaching.

Yeah. Well, and I'm looking forward to getting my autograph copy of, uh, defeated by Lunch. Right. Is there a subtitle to it or just, yeah. Defeated by lunch. My time's in France and uh, just, uh, just tell the quick story that it comes because Debbie and I went to, uh, lunch one day and nine courses paired with wine for every, and we came back to the place we were staying and I said, Debbie, I'm going back to bed.

I am defeated by lunch . That is, and, and you're the one who introduced me to France and, uh, And, and, and before going over there, you, you sort of, that you knew, you knew my background, you know how fast I eat and you're like, bill, you, you gotta prepare for this. Yeah. The the meals are, the meals are the event.

It's like, and they will make you sit for two and a half, three hours. And I'm like, there's no way you can eat for three hours. And you do, you do you wait. Yeah. It's part of French culture. And one of the things I love about French culture actually, Yeah, and it's wonderful. I mean, you, I mean, not only talk to the people at your table, you're talking to people at the other tables.

'cause the restaurants are different than they're in the states. It's not big, loud, you know, get as many people through as possible. It's, it's really almost like dining in somebody's home and you're, I. You're interacting with people. Anyway, we should probably talk about executive coaching. Yes. , because we could, we could easily talk about this for a while.

We'll do another just on just France. Yeah. I, by the way, last, last side note, I'm wearing my Baylor hat because my daughter, uh, finally selected a school, my youngest daughter, and she's gonna go to Baylor. And I'm, uh, very proud and excited. I do have hats from every school she went to, but this is gonna be the only one that I don't exercise in.

So, um, yeah. So we'll be good to go. Uh, so Bob, you've been my executive coach for a decade, and I think the first question, um, I hear a lot of people saying is, uh, you know, what, what, what exactly is executive coaching? Yeah, it's a good question. It's, uh, you know what, I think the executive coaching is very similar to what coaching is in any other field.

It's somebody who comes alongside, um, sees a, a bigger picture. And is in it with you. Uh, you know, if you're coaching a, a football team, you're, you're not playing the game. You, the, the players are playing the game, but the, the coaches there to, to give some perspective. And, uh, it maybe even in that sense, call plays, which executive coaching does not do, but it's really somebody who is in it with you.

You know, number one, definition of leaders. The top thing about leadership, leadership is by definition, lonely. Nobody wants to really kind of face and admit it, but that's what it is. It's lonely. And the coach really comes alongside and says, listen, I'm in it with you. And I think the really effective coaching happens, uh, in those moments when you have to make big decisions and.

Uh, there, there's somebody there to, to walk with you through that decision making. There's a, there's a story. Uh, one of the presidential biographers says that, really, we paid these presidents for a couple of big decisions in their, in their tenure there. And every one of 'em has to make a couple of really big decisions, and that's what they're known for.

That's what their presidencies are known for. And in one sense, that's the value of having that outsider, that person who has a perspective from the outside who can see the whole field and can uh, can be in it with you. Yeah, it, it's, it's, uh, and you cut out a little bit there, but, um, but that's fine. Uh, it's, it's interesting 'cause I do, I do something that I call c i O coaching right now, and I make it very clear to people I'm not doing executive coaching.

What I, I'm not looking at emotional intelligence, I'm not looking at, uh, a lot of those things. What I'm doing is literally diving deep into healthcare and saying, Hey, here's the movements we're seeing, and those kind of things. But from your perspective, you don't have a healthcare background and you don't have a technology background.

So I think some people are probably sitting back and going, you know, what do you, what does executive coaching look like between you and a C I O for a healthcare organization? Yeah, because leadership is leadership, right. Uh, And that's what I, and I'm very clear about this too. I'm not your technology coach.

Good God. I, I mean that, that would be a nightmare. . And, uh, but, um, but my history and my experience has been in leadership. And, uh, so that's what I, that's what I bring to the party and I'm, I'm in it with you for leading your team. You know, the, as you know, the, the tagline for, for Mike. Coaching practices that every business is a people business.

Every problem is a people problem. And every solution is a people solution. We're the people business and, uh, your number one job as a leader is leading people, right? Even the technology guys, it's a people business. And so, you know, that's, that's where I really come alongside. Yeah. Um, so when you, when you start a relationship, a uh, coaching relationship, is there like a minimum amount of time or do you, uh, that you know is required or are you looking for like a, a year?

I mean, we've been doing this for a decade because it's like every time I turn around and say, okay, I'm not gonna need you, it's like, It just, it, it doesn't make sense to, to say, okay, I, I don't need a coach. And it's interesting 'cause for the last three years, I'm not a c i O for health system. I'm starting a new business and it's a whole different Yeah.

Set of things we're talking about. Yeah. Well it's, uh, you know, there is a curve that's, uh, that you have to come up and as you know, I start with my own, um, Uh, proprietary emotional intelligence assessment that we've called Core Motivator, and that's the first step when, when someone works with me, is identifying their core motivator.

Why do you do what you do? The way you do it? That's the uniqueness of who you are. We can talk about that, you know, for, for hours also, but we start there and then it's, uh, then it's a, it's a, it becomes a conversation about how are you leading? Out of who you are. And, uh, because most people don't know their core motivator, that becomes, you know, in the front end.

That's, that's the biggest challenge. How do I help you really live proactively and lead proactively out of who you are? Because it's your longest suit, it's your greatest strength. Who you are is your greatest strength. And so we, to help you lead out of who you are. Is, uh, the number one thing. And then the second thing is to say, what are my blind spots?

What don't you see? And how do I help you see what you don't see? The, the tho those two, you know, kind of go hand in hand. Um, obviously it helps when I'm working with as, as I, as I have with you, when I know the team, I get to know the team and the people that are reporting to you and that you're leading.

That's really helpful because now I, if I know the core motivators of the whole team, now we're really able to get everybody on the team living out of their long suit. Helping you lead them out of their long suit. Yeah. Core motivator is interesting and it's also, um, you know, vision for Your Life is, is the title of your second book, which goes into the core motivator, um, uh, assessment and process, uh, in, in some detail.

Um, but what I found was really interesting is it's you, you go through it. You go through the process and when, when you get to the other side and you say, this is my core motivator, it's like, it's like all of a sudden a whole bunch of things start to fall into place. Like, oh, that's why I do this. That's why it's, and, and I'm sure people have had this experience where they go, oh, but when you have that across the team and now you're looking at it and you're going.

Oh, this is why, this is why this interaction doesn't work. This is why. Yeah. You know, this is why these two have trouble working together. This is, you know, one, one doesn't see things the other, um, it, it, it, from a, from a leader standpoint, there was so much value in just understanding that and then being able to, to help people to be successful, uh, and help them to even, uh, self-coach once they understand who, who they are and who, what, what their strengths are.

Well, exactly, and uh, you know, the very things that cause the conflict, uh, many, most times are because of the core motivators. And so part of the, part of the role for the coach is to help you see the, the world from the perspective of the other person on the team, but it's because of their core motivator.

And then, you know, and also for them to see yours, it's where, it's where it gets really powerful. I'll say that the discovery process of core motivator is the aha moment. And that, that's a big deal. And it, it's huge. But the real power, the afterburner is the coaching because the discovery moment is just that.

But if you don't take it and start living it out every day, it's, it's just that, it's just a discovery moment. Yeah, and we've had several conversations where you, you know, you'll see what I'm doing and you'll say, you know, you're, I'm not gonna, what my core motivator is 'cause. I don't want the whole world to know.

Well, actually, I, I don't care if the whole world, I just might, might as well make a, a shirt. Um, but you'll say, you know, know who you are and be, it is a phrase you use over and over again, which is yeah. Know what your strengths are, know what your core is. It's more than your strengths. It's like know Yeah, yeah.

Know who know who you are at the core and just be that. And when you, when you do, even if you don't like what that is, If you, if you work and operate outta that, you will tend to be more successful because it's, it's what drives you at your core. Absolutely. Absolutely. And it's, it's how you are hardwired.

So it's the most natural way for you to live. And, uh, there've been two big surprises in the, I've been doing this for now, for in just over 20 years. And two big surprises, surprise number one is that no one. No one knows their core motivator. I, that's been shocking to me. I, I thought we'd come along, you know, somebody would say, oh yeah, it's this.

And I'd say, uh, yeah, that's right. No one, uh, number one. Number two, and this is the real, real, uh, shock. I. Most people are living out of their second, that at some very early point in their life they kind of, um, recognize that they were gonna run away from their true core and live out of second. And so a lot of what I wind up doing with the coaching is helping people begin to really live out of first, right?

Because of the cores are bad. Right. And they're looking outta their second. It looks good, but it's, it's good as the enemy of the best. It's good, but it's it's not who you really could be. Exactly. Exactly. Uh, so, so the challenge is to help people really, uh, live out of first. And by the way, first is the, how you see the world.

We, we all see the world through the lens of our core motivator, even if we're living out a second. Yeah. Which is crazy too, but. To under help 'em you live out of first identify the second that you've been living out of, and then see, see what is last, what are you completely blind to, uh, so that you really can help build teams.

The, the best teams have, you know, uh, multiple core motivators on them and people seeing the world from different perspectives. Yeah. As you're digging in here, I wanted to throw this question in, which is, Um, you know, is there a difference between coaching and really therapy sessions? and sometimes, sometimes they do devolve into, into therapy sessions because it's, it's, and I don't do that.

Um, I don't, I don't let those conversations go very far without saying, you know, this is really where counseling is needed and you should probably get some counseling. Although I have not had to do that very often. I have to say that, um, most because. I'm working with senior executives who are fairly healthy.

Right. Uh, or, or they wouldn't be in those jobs. Not all the time, but that's the general rule. Uh, there have been a couple of times where I've said, you know, this is outside my realm. You need to go get some counseling. Right. So, but so coaching is really focusing in on being effective in the role and being effective in the job.

Um, there aren't a lot of conversations where you're talking about the family or talking about. I don't know, other extraneous things. I mean, you really are focused in, on, on, on helping them to be as effective as they can be within coaching, or do you, or do you branch out from there from time to time?

Well, you'd be surprised how many conversations we wind up having around, uh, particularly family because the same principles of core motivator are rolling over into your family. You know, the, the people closest to you. And then, uh, and so yeah, I mean, it applies across your whole life. Now, you're right that most of the conversations are focused on, on work, but, uh, you know, it bleeds over to, it's, it's your whole life.

What, what does someone look like? So, okay, so somebody's listening to this and they're, uh, c i o or even a c e O for a health system, and they're going, all right, I'm ready to hire an executive coach. Um, What should they be looking for? I mean, is there some sort of affinity or connection you're looking for, or is it just, uh, do they need industry background?

Do they need a certification? What, what is somebody looking for? Well, again, great question. I think it depends on the individual. What do, what do I need? Uh, you know, I, I certainly think that the. More responsibility you have, the more, uh, the more people you have to lead the probably the number. I would suggest that the number one thing that you're looking for is someone who really understands leadership.

I think one of the mistakes is going and getting, uh, subject matter expertise because, You probably are the subject matter expert in, in, in the field. That's why you, you know, it's partly a lot of why you have the job, but it's the leadership role that at the end of the day is gonna be the thing that matters most.

And that's what, uh, you should be looking for. I, in my view, um, then I think secondly, I do think there's a sense of which there's, is there connection? Do you just, you know, are, are you gonna pick up the phone and call? Because if, if there's not the connection, you're not gonna call. So, you know, that does have to be there.

It's, it's about trust. Do you really trust the guy on the other end of the phone? You better 'cause it, you know, it's everything. So what kind, what kind of questions? So I'm gonna interview an executive coach. What kind of questions should I ask? Yeah, I, I think number one is what's your perspective philosophy on leadership?

You know, um, I've told you mine, every business of people, business, every problems of people problem, every solutions to, that's my, that is my perspective on leadership. That it's, uh, it begins and ends with the people. And we are all about understanding the people and, uh, leading the people. That's my perspective.

So that, you know, has to align. If you have a, if you're looking for a coach that has a different perspective on leadership, well then, you know, I'm not your guy, but you gotta have to go find somebody who is the number one question is, do our perspectives align? Um, and I think the number two question is, you know, is there chemistry?

Do I, do I trust you? And um, and then the number three question would be, you know, is it a perspective that I, is it a perspective on this leadership thing that I probably may not have right now? Yeah, the uniqueness. So what, what does coaching success look like? I mean, do you set up a framework ahead of time to evaluate success over time and, um, uh, I mean, this is one of those things where I don't think you'd sign up a coach for three months 'cause you, you just don't get the value.

You almost have to do it over. Uh, you almost have to be thinking, this is gonna be my coach. If I'm in an executive role, this is gonna be my coach. And if that coach doesn't work, you get another coach like in football. But, um, you should almost have a, a coach and then there should be a way of evaluating it.

So how do we evaluate success? Well, it renews . Somebody says there was value. I'm gonna keep doing this. Yes. I mean, that's, that's a simple, a simple answer. It renews. Uh, yeah, because, because that's the, um, the, the, the client has to look back at the end of the year. I agree with you. It's not a.

Pretty much my minimum is a year in, in some cases we'll talk about six months, but, uh, really it's a year and, uh, the end of the year, I think the coach and the client sit down and say, was this good? You know, were there those times where the big decisions and, uh, I, I was able to be there and, and really help you process through those big decisions.

So give me a little bit of color on a, uh, leadership philosophy. Uh, you know, I talked about, uh, perspective on leadership and my other, my other fundamental truth about leadership is visionary participatory leadership and what that means in unpacking that and helping the leader, uh, process. Visionary, participatory leadership.

So visionary, you're leading with pictures. Yeah. Uh, participatory. You're, uh, bringing people along and they're a part of this defining solution. And then leadership at some point, it takes courage. You have to get out there and you have to make something happen. Exactly. And um, and each of those are, you know, have their own unique challenges.

Yeah, no, absolutely. All right, so I, I happen to be in an organization where I walked in and said to the C E O, I want to have an executive coach. And she said, absolutely, all of our leaders have executive coaches, but that's not always the case. So how does someone in a C I O role go to their executive and say, look, I wanna, I want an executive coach.

I mean, how do they build the case? Well, I think they say that, uh, this is. You've hired me to do a job. But if you go back to my original example, you know, we're, I'm in Philadelphia, we've, we've hired Carson Wentz to do a job, but we want the best out of Carson Wentz. And so not only do we have a great head coach, c e o, that's Doug Peterson, but we're gonna hire a quarterback's coach just for the quarterbacks.

And they're focused on that quarterback to make sure that we get the best Carson Wentz on the field that we can possibly get. That's the same deal that I would sell to the c e O. Yeah, that makes sense. And at the end of the day, to be honest with you, in a health system, it budget, an executive coach is a drop in the bucket.

Hey, hey, hey, hey. Well, it, it technically is a, Um, yeah. So you have, uh, uh, I mean we're, we're getting pretty close to the end of the show, but, uh, anything else you would say about executive coaching or anything else you would say about the process? You know, it's, um, I, to go back and just say it's, we think we can do it all.

We all think we can do it on our own, and yet leadership by definition is lonely. And that's kind of the starting point to just admit. That, uh, which is not that fun to admit because we all wanna be, you know, the, the, the guy who's out there doing it alone. And yet, um, by definition, Leadership is lonely and get a different perspective.

Yep. And it's, uh, it's being in it with somebody being able to have those conversations that was so valuable. So I appreciate you being my coach. Is there a way for people to follow you? Do you, outside of writing books, , I mean, well, let's plug the books. Building a Vision for Your Life. Uh, yeah. Is is the book about the, uh, the core motivator process and, uh, it is bob perkins consulting com.

And, uh, you can go there and find out more about what I do and the coaching and all my contact information is there it is. B Perkins at Vision for your Wife Do. Yeah. And the other thing is, uh, you also have a wine club. Not that I'm plugging the wine club, but I am a member. You are. You know, it's, it's like the hair club for men.

I am a member of your wine club. I, uh, um, yeah, so you go, you go over to France every year now and you pick out wines that aren't, aren't generally imported. And you, you, uh, you get those and, uh, I get, I don't know, four to six ca I forget how many cases I get. Now what do I get? Four cases a year? You know, let me, you, you get, uh, you get five.

But, um, here's the thing that, that winds us all. Pulls it all together. Yes. I go to France every year. It spends six to eight weeks. I, I import wine. I am right. But here's the one back full circle to what's the one question you ought to be asking your coach, and that is, is it working for him or her? You know, vision for your life, hair club for men.

The, the first, the first client for vision for Your Life was me. And I had to say, what do I want my life to look like? And, um, you know, and I made the decisions. 20 years ago that this is the life, uh, that I wanted out of who I am. And, um, that may be the really the first question to ask a potential coach.

Is it working for you? Yeah. And I love, uh, the, the thing you shared with me a long time ago is, was PLE driven life versus a, uh, character in life and. And, um, you know, plot driven life is just, it's time to get married. I get married, it's time to get a job, I get a job, it's time to, and you know, life just sort of happens to us in a character driven life.

It's just, it's to sit back and go, you know, where do I wanna live? Who do I wanna spend time with? What do I wanna, what do I want to be about? And, uh, and, and that's what he, who am I and how does, yeah. Who am I? Yeah. How does everything else I'm doing in my life? My work, my family, and how do all those things fit into the picture That is my whole life.

As opposed to saying, how does my life fit into other people's pictures of what they want me to do? Yep. Absolutely. Well, thanks for coming on the show. Uh, this show is a production of this week in health it for great. For more great content, you check out the website this week in health or the YouTube channel.

Uh, this week in health You check out Bob's books. They're, uh, on Amazon, uh, who's gonna take over the world, including healthcare. Someday. So, uh, we're all looking forward to that. Uh, we'll see. Alright, well, uh, thanks. That's the end of the show. Thanks for listening. That's all for now.


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