Every professional athlete has a coach. Why don’t all leadership professionals do?
With the right coach, you can be the greatest version of yourself. Coaching though, is expensive and inaccessible for many. The next best alternative?
Executive Coaching in a box. That’s what I called Matt Mochary’s exec coaching curriculum when I came across it. Matt has been a CEO coach to several companies such as OpenAI, Notion, Rippling, Plaid and more.
Further, he’s open sourced his entire curriculum – so no reason not to go through it! I spent a few days going through the entire Mochary Method Curriculum.
While the curriculum is intended for CEOs, there is lot of applicability for leaders in general. I summarized my learning and take aways below.
- Get the basics right
- Relationships matter
- Time is the most important resource
- Decisions define you
- Change often starts small
1. Get the Basics Right
An essential read in the curriculum is a 3 minute read “On time”. Now, being on time is something we all learn very early on. Yet, it is a coaching point. Simply because so many of us don’t live up to it. Getting the basics right is not just for a CEO, or for a leader, but for any professional. It is the obvious, the mundane, and yet needs to be said and coached. Some more on similar lines:
- Be on time or let others know that you won’t
- Don’t act in fear/anger
- To understand something, deeply observe the person doing it now
- Praise generously and often
- Say no to things you don’t want to do
- Focus on what you’re good at and love to do i.e. your Zone of Genius
2. Relationships Matter
As a leader you are defined by the success of your team. For a team to operate at its best, they need to be motivated, and trust you as their leader. Further, within a broader organization, you need to negotiate, resolve conflicts, and collaborate with other leaders. Relationship building and creating trust is what leaders do. Central to the Matt’s coaching philosophy is to use active listening as a superpower. People want to be heard: it creates empathy, trust, and connection.
- To hear people: ask them, tell what you heard, and repeat until you get it right
- 5As of feedback: Ask, Acknowledge, Appreciate, Accept (or not), and Act
- Always give non-positive feedback in person; when giving it, be straightforward
- Be open to sharing your flaws → creates deep trust
- For your team: Recognize contributions and remember their details as humans
- Ask the magic questions to motivate (especially around personal lives)
3. Time is the most important resource
The way you spend your time is the way you lead your life. Unsurprisingly, leaders are often “busy”. Packed calendars show busyness, and yet don’t show the meaningfulness of how that time is being spent. Not every activity or meeting is important. Not every activity is energizing. And as a leader, you need time to scale yourself.
- Set aside time for your top goals
- Replace 30 min meetings with a 2 minute call
- Meetings: Maximize pre-writes to spend the group’s time better
- Writing over talking → scales easily
- Find time to get bored. It restores you.
- Audit your energy and time. Eliminate or outsource undesirable time sinks
4. Decisions define you
Companies and leaders are the sum of their decisions. The best leaders get more decisions right, more quickly. As you go higher up in leadership, each of your decisions have an increased, leveraged impact. And there, even if you’re marginally better in getting decisions right, your impact grows in multiples. How can you get to better decisions as a leader?
- Separate decision from implementation
- Issue/ proposed solution approach to decisions
- RAPID decisions → Assign people to each of the 5 steps
- A DRI for every Metric, Goal, Project, Meeting, and Decision
- Getting buy-in: Decision buy-in and time to decision are inversely correlated
- Escalating for a decision: Clean not dirty
5. Change often starts small
Everyone wants improvement and yet, nobody wants change. Enabling change to happen gradually over time is a key aspect of the Mochary method. As change occurs, it often creates a fear of not succeeding in the new world post-change. The easiest way for leaders to alleviate this fear in others is to show people how to succeed.
- Start small (30 mins a week, try 1 meeting etc.)
- Take multiple steps to get to the final path.
- Use templates to enforce process (meetings, decisions, planning and more)
- Enable your team to be successful as each transition occurs
Ultimately, even though many of these takeaways seem common-sensical and somewhat obvious, I’d posit that just going through these, reiterates them, and helps them stick more. It’s the application of these that matters anyway. 🙂
Don’t have time to read all the content? Watch his videos 🎥
If you don’t want to read through all this content and instead prefer to watch videos, then go to Matt Mochary’s Youtube channel. Some of my personal favorites:
There are lots of other well compiled videos of the coaching content including interviews with other leaders (Mochary Method Interview Playlist) who have navigated scenarios using some of the principles and frameworks described above.