Brian: Welcome you guys to the Growth Made Simple podcast, where we believe friction your in your organization slows your growth, but simplicity is going to build your momentum. I am Brian Leimone, your host, and today I have the honor and privilege to interview a very special guest who I've had the honor to get to know over the past year, Dr Eric Waldrop. Uh, is it weird to be called doctor?
Eric: Yeah. And I think you're probably the only one that's ever called me that.
Brian: Well, I looked on your website and I wanted to officially like Inter, you know, uh, bring you on the podcast with your official title. I'm like, I have never called you Dr Eric. It kind of feels like Dr Phil.
Brian: Well, Eric, thanks for being here. I appreciate you taking opportunity to be here.
Eric: Yeah, man, thanks for having me here.
Brian: Well, you're the owner of Your Next Step. So why don't you tell the audience in few words what this business is all about?
Eric: Yes. So it is my personal leadership coaching business and it really is what the title is of. I enjoy helping leaders take their next step. And I think a big part of that is helping leaders get clarity and take action. And if you're familiar with, if you've ever driven in a fog before, you know how challenging that can be: okay, I can't see, I don't know where to go. I don't know what to do. And so a big part of my business is really just helping leaders get clarity and take their next step in whatever venture they're in.
Brian: Well, I think, I mean, that's exactly how I met you. I think if I look back, you know, when I met you about eight or nine months ago, I was in a fog. And I met you through one of my business partners that knows you and you know, I was talking to him and bouncing some things off and he just, he just really encouraged me to spend some time with someone that was kind of outside the organization because I found myself in a rut.So over the past eight or nine months, we've been meeting about twice a month. And it's been, you know, an incredible journey, but part of our time getting to know one another has been, you know, talking about sports and, you know, I'm a die hard Duke fan. And Eric, who do you pull for?
Eric: Clemson, obviously.
Brian: Obviously? Well, obviously we don't have much to talk about. Well, and I'm still bitter about the fact that Zion chose Duke over Clemson to go play basketball. I mean they had to go to the right place. I think that helped get him the number one draft pick. Interestingly enough, you know, we pull for different teams, but those coaches, have a very iconic history. I bet if we polled a hundred people to name the top two or three most impactful people in their lives, my guess is a majority of people would probably say a coach was someone that impacted them.
Brian: Maybe a sports coach, maybe a fitness coach, maybe a voice coach. We have coaches for everything. So why do you think we have coaches for so many things in our lives?
Eric: Well, I've, I mean obviously I feel like sports is such a huge part of our culture, right? I mean, I'm sure your kids, my kids were involved in sports. Um, I was involved in sports. So that naturally lends itself to when you're playing in a sport, you're gonna look to your coach for direction. So, um, you know, it's just such a part of our culture and, and I think everybody who is playing in a sport or people in business as well, they're looking for that edge. They want to know: what can I do? What can I bring into my life? What can I add to my training routine? Or my toolbox, per se, that will help me get the edge to help me beat the competition. Right? Yeah. And to me, and, and I've felt this personally in my own life, but I feel like a leadership coach for a leader helps give them that edge.
Brian: Many people have coaches, but maybe the thought of a leadership coach or a business coach maybe isn't something that people go to?
Eric: Yeah, well, you know, it's kinda funny. Tiger Woods even has a coach, right? And we all saw how powerful that was at the Masters this year. But, um, I think it is something that people are not quite sure about yet. Like when I talk to people, it's something that they don't consider sometimes because sometimes people see it as punitive. Like, like, if I have a leadership coach, that means I'm not a good leader. Right? And that's not the case at all. It's, I mean, fantastic, famous athletes that we know of have coaches, right? It doesn't make them a bad athlete. It means it's their desire to grow and get better. And I think all of us have blind spots as a leader. And so sometimes we need that leadership coach to say in essence, hey, your golf swing needs a little tweak to it. You can't see it. But I can see you standing 10 feet away and I'm watching you do this and I think you need to adjust a little bit. And so I think a leadership coach can come alongside of us and help us get further, faster, get where we want to be a little bit faster. And, um, but it is, it is one of those things where people are not always thinking of a leadership coach right out of the gate because they feel like, Hey, I'm just gonna lean on my network of friends and lean on, you know, whoever is close around me for their business acumen and don't have somebody objective to kind of speak into their life and at that really purposeful, intentional relationship.
Brian: Well, I think maybe another thought process of why people don't go there is because this coaching relationship is more of a talking relationship. Maybe they think of it as more of a counseling session and counseling is a very, very powerful thing. But a lot of people have a bad connotation. Like something's wrong with me. Um, but I mean, I know just from my time, you know, my original time with you, it was going to be for about six months and I was nearing the end of that and my wife was like, no, you're continuing that, right? Because, you know, because what I found was she was my sounding board. And while she is a phenomenal person and I value her opinion, um, it was wearing on her and number two, she's not in business. So having someone that was completely external, not only from the business, but also emotionally external, has been very, very valuable. So as we jump in, you know, you know, you spoke about getting clarity and taking action. What are some of the things that you're, that you're looking at when you kinda embraced this, break this down into thinking about why someone's going to take their next step with a coach.
Eric: Again, I think going back to describing what leadership coaching is, it really is that one on one relationship that the coach, the leadership coach has with that leader to really help them, him or her, get clarity and take action. And I think the three areas that I see leaders struggle with are the fact that leaders feel lonely, they feel unclear, and they feel uncertain. And so for me, when, when I meet with leaders, I hear they don't, they don't always say it the same way. But when I really break down what they're saying, that those three principles are still there, they feel uncertain, unclear. And lonely.
Brian: You know, if you've begun your leadership journey below the top, you would not think that. But then when you're there, you're like, I've got no one to talk to. And there are things that a leader has to process with people, those, those decisions. And because the people that work right around that leader are impacted by his decisions, it's hard for them to be objective. And it's hard to be vulnerable with your employees, even if they're your right hand man or woman. Like you don't want to, you know, if you're having to make hard decisions, you don't want to make them nervous. Or sometimes maybe you need to talk about them.
Eric: Yeah, exactly. Exactly. Well think about it: Leadership's hard because it involves people and anytime you involve people, it gets really complex. So, so, so I would say those three things though. Lonely, uncertain, unclear. And so I think being a coach allows me to come alongside leaders. And really the leaders write the story, I really just kind of fade into the background. Because my goal was just to help them feel clear, help them feel certain, and help them not feel lonely.
Brian: So you mentioned goals, you know, obviously, if you're thinking about sports coach there's goals, but talk about goals as it relates to maybe the coaching relationship and maybe how that works.
Eric: Yeah. So anytime I work with a new client, um, I will send them an intake form and in this intake form I will specifically ask them, okay, in this six month relationship where we meet twice a month for, you know, an hour or so, you know, what are those three to five big goals that you want to accomplish organizationally that you feel like is the next step? Sometimes it's a big staff transition. Sometimes it's huge organizational direction. Sometimes it's changing the vision of the company, the values of the company. You're needing to hire a strategic person on the team and you're trying to figure out, you know, what does this person really need to be doing? And talking through that. So it's a lot of various different goals that, that every leader has and they're all different because I work with leaders from, from various different domains of our culture. But what's fun is, is that the, the goals of that leader determine the subject of our conversation. So they're the, what, what they desire to talk about really forms the basis of our whole hour together. And we keep track of those goals throughout our relationship, and so my job is to every time we meet together is, hey, you know, what kind of progress are you getting on that goal? And, you know, how are things moving and shaking, what's left to do on it to accomplish, what else do you need from me? You know, all those kinds of stuff.
Brian: Well that sounds great. I mean it sounds like, you know, leadership coach can really customize the relationship, based upon where that person is. So what are some questions that you find that leaders are often asking themselves when they come to you?
Eric: Um, I think a big question that leaders are asking themselves is, do I have what it takes? I mean, do I really have what it takes to do this? Because let's just call it like it is, it's hard being a leader, and anytime you have a vision and you're wanting to create something from nothing or whatever the case may be, um, you know, you're, you are starting something new and it takes a lot of momentum, a lot of energy, um, a lot of strategic thought. And so it's, it's a lot of those really hard questions and hard things to do and leaders struggle sometimes with their own insecurity of, do I really have what it takes to do this? And a big thing that I work with a lot of leaders on is the imposter syndrome of I'm afraid I'm going to be found out as a fraud that I, that I don't know what I'm doing. And that's not the case. Honestly, not many of us really know what we're doing.
Brian: Amen to that. I mean, let's just be honest.
Eric: Yeah. Right? So it's a walk in the dark, you know, that's what leadership is. So I find a lot of comfort in, in what I get to do because I get to really get behind the scenes with leaders and hear what they really think. And I find that they're very much all the same. Everybody's struggling with the same things. It's, do I really have what it takes? And I love to come alongside and watch them and see them be successful as we work through that relationship.