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How Coaching Leads to Making BIG Happen

Guest: Mark Moses, CEO and Founder of CEO Coaching International. 

Quick Background: Whether you’re trying to grow a business or lower your handicap, even the most driven and talented people eventually hit a wall. That’s where folks who are too proud or too blind to their own limitations often sputter and stall. But working with a coach can help you break through those walls, shore up your weaknesses, and identify the actionable, measurable steps that will lead to sustained personal and professional growth.

On today’s show, Mark Moses shares what he’s learned about Making BIG Happen from both sides of a coaching relationship, as well as his most memorable moments from our 2022 Make BIG Happen Summit in Miami Beach.

Keys to Effective Coaching from Mark Moses

1. Winning the Sport of Business.

Mark was a competitive tennis player as a child, so he learned the value of early mornings with a coach at a very young age. In his twenties, he started playing squash and, again with the help of a professional coach, won the U.S. Squash National Championship in 1992. Mark also credits coaches and personal trainers with helping him complete 12 full-distance Ironman Triathlons, including the Hawaii Ironman World Championship 5 times.

“On the business side, I got my first coach when I was 24,” Mark says, “and over the years I have had five of them. I’m a bit of a junkie for coaching. I believe in it. It’s helped bring out the best in me. It’s about having a thought partner to think about some of the most important items on my mind and help me sort out what’s important and what’s not.”

Mark has also come to appreciate how sports coaching and business coaching reinforce values like vision, planning, tracking, and personal accountability that can help us succeed in every aspect of our lives.

“Setting goals and determining how it is that we’re going to achieve those goals is pretty consistent in sport and in business,” Mark says. “12 hours for an Ironman is a pretty solid time. I broke 12 hours a few times, and then I wondered if I could do sub-11 hours if I used the same methodology that I use in coaching businesses: what are the specific and measurable activities we can keep score on that will drive the outcome that we want? So if we do X, we will get Y. The next Ironman I did, I went 10 hours and 56 minutes. So that methodology applies from one to the other.”

2. Find Your “North Star.”

“What I’ve learned as a coach is we need to meet our clients where they are,” Mark says. “Sometimes they need the skill, how to do A, B, and C. And then there are other times that they know what to do, and coaching is really navigating the difference between the courage to act and the fear of acting.”

To help clients bridge that knowing-doing gap, Mark and his team of coaches ask powerful questions that help clients drill deeply into their goals. Mark believes a good coach also has to have the emotional intelligence to know when to switch between being a trusted consultant on business issues, and a “therapist” when clients just need someone to talk through the personal and professional challenges that all CEOs face.

Of course, coaching is a two-way relationship. A CEO who doesn’t like being challenged, or who believes he’s already peaked as a leader, isn’t going to benefit from the kind of no-nonsense accountability that CEO Coaching International both preaches and practices. Mark believes that CEOs who are humble and vulnerable enough to pursue a coaching relationship should start by asking themselves the first Make Big Happen Question: What do I want?

“Really determine what your North Star is,” advises Mark. “Imagine it’s three years from now. You are living the dream because we’ve achieved … What? So getting very clear on what it is that you really want and what are the options that you have in getting what you want. What’s the number one activity you’re keeping score on that could take you to that? Understanding what the barriers are that are either going through your head or real barriers that might be money or people, whatever is getting in the way. And then having a process of accountability to ultimately achieve that goal.”

3. Making BIG Happen in Miami.

For the first time since 2019, CEO Coaching International was able to host its Make BIG Happen Summit October 20-22 in Miami Beach.

Notes Mark, “We thought after 2019, when we had President George W. Bush come to the event, and Sandra Joseph, who played Christine in “The Phantom of the Opera” on Broadway for 10 years, speak and perform with her husband, the Phantom, and all these other world-class speakers … It was hard to imagine that we would be able to top that. But I feel like 2022 was our best summit ever. I truly feel the energy and inspiration to continue doing this event year after year.”

Our 2022 lineup of speakers included “The Wolf of Wall Street” himself, Jordan Belfort, storytelling expert, LaQuita Cleare, and Immaculée Ilibagiza, who spoke movingly about her experiences during the Rwandan genocide.

Mark was especially struck by Jesse Itzler, the co-founder of Marquis Jet, the world’s largest private jet card company (which Jesse and his partner sold to Berkshire Hathaway/NetJets) and an owner of the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks.

“Jesse was world-class,” Mark says. “I loved how he talked about what it meant to be a billionaire, and it had nothing to do with money. It really resonated with me. And he gave me a lot of perspective when he talked about his dad having dementia and the impact that had on him. I am personally going through that with my own father, and I broke down and cried at the end because of the impact it had and how it moved me. Plus, what other speaker brings their own DJ with them on stage!”

Another highlight for Mark was seeing three CEO Coaching International clients on stage who had sold their businesses for over $1 billion, as well as another group of clients who had sold businesses for over $100 million. It was a powerful reminder that our Make BIG Happen System isn’t a theory — it’s a set of established best practices that can deliver real-world results for CEOs who are ready to commit to changing themselves, and their businesses.

As Mark says, “There are three kinds of people: those that Make BIG Happen; those that let things happen; and those that ask, what happened? Take charge of your own life and you too can Make BIG Happen.”

Top Takeaways

1. Be coachable. If you think you and your business are as good as they’ll ever be, then you’ll never get to great.

2. Clarify your goals and work with a coach who can help you build an action plan to achieve them

3. Learn from the best. Working with a coach, networking with other leaders, and attending summits and conferences are essential to your growth as a CEO.

About CEO Coaching International

CEO Coaching International works with CEOs and their leadership teams to achieve extraordinary results quarter after quarter, year after year. Known globally for its success in coaching growth-focused entrepreneurs to meaningful exits, CEO Coaching International has coached more than 1,000 CEOs and entrepreneurs in more than 60 countries and 45 industries. The coaches at CEO Coaching International are former CEOs, presidents, or executives who have made BIG happen. The firm’s coaches have led double-digit sales and profit growth in businesses ranging in size from startups to over $10 billion, and many are founders that have led their companies through successful eight, nine, and ten-figure exits. Companies working with CEO Coaching International for two years or more have experienced an average EBITDA CAGR of 67.8% during their time as a client, nearly four times the U.S. average and a revenue CAGR of 25.5%, more than twice the U.S. average.

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