Marshall Goldsmith reflects on a nearly 40-year career as one of the world’s leading executive coaches and shares the lessons he’s learned along the way. We discuss how where confidence comes from, where leaders go wrong, why it’s easier to change behavior than perception, how to change others’ perceptions about you, the three words that kill any conversation, the relationship between intensity and consistency, and so much more.
With nearly four decades of hands-on experience, Goldsmith is the leading expert on leadership and coaching for behavioral change and has been recognized as one of the Top Ten Business Thinkers in the World and the top-rated executive coach at Thinkers50. He is also the author of four books on the subject of leadership, including What Got You Here Won’t Get You There and his most recent book, The Earned Life.
Here are a few highlights from our conversation:
See, if you don’t change your beliefs about yourself it can be hard to change your behavior.
Leaders that don’t follow up and don’t talk to people, guess what? Don’t get better. Improvement looks like random chance. Leaders that do talk to people and follow up to the degree they make it a systematic process, huge improvement. And what I’ve learned is people don’t get better because of me. They get better because of themselves and the people around them. I’m a facilitator more than I’m an expert.
Never make your value as a human being conditioned on the results of what you’re trying to achieve. Never do that.
One of the key points is live your own life. And by the way, when you live in the past, you’re living someone else’s life too.
They’re not going to put up with that. It doesn’t mean leaders are worse than they used to be, it just means the expectations are higher than they used to be and employees have a lot more power than they used to have.
Number one, our mission in life is to make a positive difference, not to prove we’re smart and not to prove we’re right. We are not here on earth to prove how smart we are. We are not here on earth to prove how right we are.
00:00 – Intro
00:32 – What is leadership?
01:07 – Can anyone be a leader?
01:43 – Self-sabotaging beliefs about leadership
03:48 – How to change someone’s behavior
09:55 – How to go from “achiever” to “leader”
15:13 – Should leaders always add value?
17:47 – How to motivate others
21:03 – How Marshall chooses clients
24:05 – What really matters in life
32:21 – On the importance of good company
35:49 – How to get out of a results oriented culture
41:10 – How Marshall coaches people to turn the page
42:42 – How to coach leaders to think about diversity, inclusion, and blindspots
46:00 – Why leadership is scarce in major institutions
50:23 – Where communication goes wrong and how to fix it
59:57 – On “No,” “but,” and “however”
1:04:19 – How to disagree without being disagreeable
1:10:09 – On making better decisions
1:13:01 – On changing your environment
1:28:27 – On having rituals for taking a breath
1:29:18 – How Marshall defines success