Episode #1084: In this episode of the Arete Coach Podcast, glean insight from Sami Bugay, MCC, an award-winning Master Certified Coach (MCC), Certified Ontological Coach, Leadership Coach, Team Coach, Best-Selling Author of Better Leaders, Better Teams, CEO/Owner of KA Consultancy, Founder of The Integral Institute, and Former President of the ICF Turkey Chapter. During the conversation, we explore Sami’s background in IT and physics, the implications for ethical AI, making hard decisions as an executive, and a coach’s greatest challenge: taming your own monsters.
About Sami Bugay
Sami Bugay is an award-winning high-impact Master Certified Coach (MCC), Certified Ontological Coach, Leadership Coach, Team Coach, Best-Selling Author of Better Leaders, Better Teams, CEO/Owner of KA Consultancy, Founder of The Integral Institute, and Former President of the ICF Turkey Chapter.
Sami has been coaching since 2004 and has 20 years of managerial and business experience. In 2012, Sami earned his MCC from the International Coaching Federation. That same year, he also became a Newfield Certified Coach. In addition, Sami is a Certified Ontological Coach through the NCC. In 2016, he served as President of the ICF Turkey chapter and did so until 2018. From 2014 to January 2022, Sami was a faculty member of the School of Life, a program that offers emotional skills training. Today, Sami is the CEO and owner of KA Consulting, where he coaches leaders and business executives. He is also the founder of Integral Institute, which is an extension of the AQAL model by Ken Wilbur.
Sami specializes in leadership development, leadership and team coaching, coaching training, facilitation, and business and management consulting. In 2021, Sami published his book, Better Leaders Better Teams, giving readers a ready-to-use combination of grounded theory and experiential practices to build fully functional teams.
Through his work, Sami was awarded the ICF Local Spirit Global Presence Award in 2008, and the Lifetime Achievement Award and Outstanding OSD Graduate Award from the Gestalt Center of Organization and Systems Development in 2021.
Moving from corporate leadership and managing layoffs to executive coaching
Prior to executive coaching, Sami was the Chief Operating Officer of an eCommerce company in Turkey. While in this position, he lead his team through a merger of two companies which required that he layoff 110 employees. He shares that this deeply troubled him and that he “had to build a team from survivors, the soldiers in the dust.” During this time, he was provided an opportunity to receive executive coaching. From his experience with this executive coach, Sami was shown “the way, the path, leading out of tools.”
He explains that “we are all human beings and we have shortcomings,” but a coach can fulfill the need for a “different perspective, an aide, a support” or “a help.” After being coached and experiencing the benefits of coaching, Sami decided to switch his “professional career to coaching and support the people around” him. Soon he started coaching those in the corporate area such as “leaders, managers” and “teams.”
Holistic and ontological coaching
One of Sami’s specialties is ontological coaching. He explains that “integral and holistic” approaches are the “essential perspectives” that he brings to his coaching. When coaching, Sami looks at the whole human being and its three domains: the body, the discourse, and the emotions. When incorporating ontology into his coaching, Sami considers the “personal history” of his client. This helps him view his client from a “holistic perspective.”
Life celebrates action
When asked what personal mantras or rules guide his life, Sami shares a mantra: “life celebrates action.” He explains its importance by stating that “awareness doesn’t help you if you are not taking any action… You need to transform your awareness into your actions, that’s the only way that you can make a difference in your life and also in others.”
The value of baby steps
Sami shares that early in his career he was too “focused on getting results” and that he would “push” his clients to “leave their comfort zone with big steps.” Eventually one of his clients said, “Sami, having to take big steps, keeps me away from taking any action.” This led him to acknowledge the value of taking baby steps. Today, he believes that “taking a baby step is better than not taking any action.”
Managing your monsters
When asked what advice he has for aspiring coaches, Sami shares a powerful question: “Are you ready to see your dark side?” He explains that if an aspiring coach is not, they should “find something else because you will meet with your monsters in this journey and if you haven’t already, you are not traveling.” He shares that doing so has helped him manage his “own emotions, own prejudices, own beliefs from the client’s world” so that he can best coach his clients.
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