Diving Deeper, Pushing the Envelope & Developing an International Perspective
Episode #1059: Join Paul Martin, a Vistage International Chair, TEC Canada Chair, Business Commentator, Founder, Co-Owner, Entrepreneur, and Business Journalist, in this episode of the Arete Coach Podcast and gain a new outlook on the importance of diving deeper, questioning conventional wisdom, developing an international perspective, and leading a high-octane life.
About Paul Martin
Paul Martin is a Vistage International Chair, TEC Canada Chair, Business Commentator, Founder, Co-Owner, Entrepreneur, and Business Journalist. Paul has been coaching with Vistage International and TEC Canada for over 20 years. He coaches executives and CEOs from the Saskatchewan, Canada area. He is also a well-known business commentator heard daily on 15 Saskatchewan radio stations.
Along with his thriving business commentary and executive coaching career, Paul is a Chairman of the Board of Des Nedhe (owned by English First River Nation), Partner at Saskatchewan’s largest public relations firm, and Founder and Co-Owner of TeMara Orchard—one of Saskatchewan’s largest berry orchards.
Paul has a passion for advancing businesses in Saskatchewan and uses this along with his experience in business journalism to help those he coaches achieve their goals, better their businesses, and develop an international perspective.
From journalism to coaching
Paul has had, what he calls, a serendipitous career in journalism. It all started after coming home from college and receiving a job at a local radio station. Nearly 50 years later, Paul is still involved in radio and will be celebrating his 50th year of involvement by next year (2023). His career in radio led to opportunities at magazines, television, and ultimately newspapers. He has been the Business Editor of the StarPhoenix and has participated in a regular television hit on the biggest privately held TV station in Canada.
From his beginnings in business journalism, Paul transitioned to TEC Canada and coaching. Paul shares that as a journalist he wasn’t the “player on the field” and that is part of what led him to executive coaching. He states that “for me, the success and satisfaction comes from not being that player on the field, but helping others get to their level of achievement.”
In his coaching today, Paul finds satisfaction through the success of his coaching clients. In his media work, he has found success in “being able to help tell a story that might help somebody… and help them make a better decision…”
When asked what lessons he has learned recently that he wishes he would have learned earlier on, Paul shares the importance of “not being opinionated,” asking “more questions,” and refraining from “offering more answers.” In his coaching practice, he has learned to “question the answers, don’t answer the questions.” Paul also carries a note with him that says, “dig deeper.” He explains that “it’s so easy to come to a glib, quick answer, but peel back that onion a bit and make sure you’re dealing with the ailment, not the symptoms. Get to the core of the matter.”
A day for you
When Paul is discussing coaching with a potential peer group participant, he gets to the root challenge and asks, “every day you’re dealing with somebody else’s issues…when do you deal with your issues?” Paul then shares with his prospective client how he can help them focus on their own challenges while leading their business. When these clients enter his peer groups, they discuss both strategy and tactic. Paul shares that “over the course of time, you will get an enhanced experience as a consequence…” However, you have to “show up” and “dig deeper.”
The leader and the goaltender
Paul shares a metaphor of a team sailing a ship. In this metaphor, Paul shares that managers “see where the current takes” them and react to the conditions around them. However, leaders have “a destination” and a goal to reach. He also shares another metaphor that compares the goaltender of a hockey team to managers. Every team needs a goaltender to be successful because they defend the goal and react to others trying to score. He shares that leaders need to go beyond responding, into planning, and being able to accept failure with a positive perspective.
An international and diverse perspective
Paul has a podcast called “Saskatchewan Matters.” He started this podcast in the hopes of sharing his wisdom with the next generation. His podcast is about placing Saskatchewan’s role in the global economy in context for those in the area and those outside of Saskatchewan. Paul explains that Saskatchewan is “very productive” but they “produce far more than [they] can consume.” Because of this, they rely on world markets. Not only do the business leaders that Paul works with manage international customer bases, but the leaders that Paul works with come from diverse backgrounds of varying races, ethnicities, cultures, and religions. Severin agrees with Paul and states that “it’s definitely important to see international perspectives” and that international businesses are “quite interconnected.” Paul also shares that culturally, countries are interconnected as well.
No room for adjectives
One of Paul’s mentors, Jim Struthers, was an inspiration to him because of his willingness to work in multiple media forms. When Paul entered multimedia, he went with his gut and while he received push back at first, was soon recognized as a “forward thinker.” Paul applies this life lesson to his coaching and shares that if his clients have a gut instinct, “maybe as [their] coach” he “should be reinforcing that” for them. Paul also learned a valuable lesson from Jim regarding his journalism and podcast. Jim would “interpret” the big news for people; going beyond just sharing the major headlines. Paul does this in his podcast, Saskatchewan Matters, as he interprets how the businesses of Saskatchewan “fit into the world.” Paul has also gained wisdom from other journalists such as Ed Bliss, who shared that “there was no room in a news story for an adjective or adverb, just the facts.” Severin has also heard similar advice and relates to Paul’s learning by sharing his own experience focusing on the facts.
Understanding your customer
After Severin asks Paul “if you had an unlimited budget and time, what information would you want to create for coaches?” Paul shares that he would take his coaching clients “on the road” because the second-biggest customer to many businesses in Saskatchewan is China. However, because The Canadian Wheat Board manages all transactions between Canadian farmers and China, many of the Canadian business leaders have never met their customers. Paul explains that he would tell his clients, “let’s go to China, where it’s all about consumption. Just stand on the street corner and watch, this is what your customer is doing.” Severin agrees with Paul’s perspective and states that understanding the customers and their perspectives is very important.
A high-octane life
Paul shares that where he gets “some frustration is” in his perspective that he has “less runway” than he has behind him. “I don’t feel like I’m done yet, and so I’m not ready to quit and I just wish I had more time” states Paul. As Paul gets older in age and wiser in years, he explains that he has learned more, but also learned that there is more out there that he doesn’t know. Because of this, he is careful to “prioritize” his life to make sure that the goals he is chasing aren’t “decaffeinated” but instead “high-octane.”
Pushing the envelope
Severin asks Paul what the title of his biography would be, and Paul shares that his biography would be titled “Pushing The Envelope” and be about “challenging conventional wisdom” and asking “one more question.” Severin shares that throughout their conversation he had been creating a biography title for Paul as well. He titled it “He Cared, He Shared, and He Challenged His Way to Helping Others.”
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