Increasing Impact with Tribal Leadership and Positive Intelligence

Episode #1022: How does tribal leadership, positive intelligence, and Clubhouse make the perfect recipe for growing as an executive coach? Find out in a conversation with Mark Taylor, a Vistage Master Chair and Vistage Star Award recipient, as he delves into tribal leadership, positive intelligence, and Clubhouse and their roles in his success as an executive coach.



About Mark Taylor

Mark Taylor has been an executive coach and Vistage Chair since 2009. He is a high performing Vistage Chair with distinguishing titles such as Master Chair and Vistage Star Award recipient. Mark has consistently ranked in the top 20 chairs and uses his certification in tribal leadership and positive intelligence as a source of inspiration for his keynote speeches and training workshops.


Before his career in executive coaching, Mark built, operated, and sold his own businesses. He was a leader in the computerized shipping and logistics industry. In fact, one of the businesses he led was named in New York State’s top 100 growing companies. Mark earned his MBA from the University of Phoenix and completed his coaching training from George Mason University’s certification program on organizational learning. He has also studied under Lee Thayer, completing a masters in Arts Science of Leadership from Thayer’s Institute. Mark’s experience with entrepreneurship and executive coaching training make him a powerhouse of knowledge and a positive influence on his executive coaching clients today.

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Key highlights


Mark’s introduction to Vistage

Timestamp 03:07


Mark’s introduction to Vistage began with his first business in 1976. Unfortunately, the business failed but after the encouragement of his wife, Mark re-entered the entrepreneurial field and started a second business—Taylor Systems Engineering Corporation—in 1989. In starting this business, Mark found that he spent the majority of his time and energy growing the business. This high energy expenditure introduced Mark to Vistage. He joined Vistage to “learn what it was like to be a CEO” and find better ways to manage his growing company. From there, he learned how to manage his growing business and delegate as a CEO which landed the company as New York State’s 58th fastest growing company. This experience introduced him to the power of executive coaching and the impact it can have on business leaders’ lives.


Advice for new entrepreneurs

Timestamp 07:41


When reflecting on what Mark would have coached himself on as he started he first business, he states that he would advise new entrepreneurs to “look before you leap, to maybe have a business plan, to maybe have a strategy, and to maybe do a little bit of market research.” Mark advocates having a plan and doing research before starting a business. Looking back, he realizes this would have helped his first business be a better success. Because of this, he advocates strategizing and planning with his executive coaches today.


Introduction to computer technology

Timestamp 09:21


Mark’s first introduction to technology began with software that was similar to today’s email systems. When taking a training course to become a Vistage Chair, Mark was required to purchase a PC. He was able to do so and applied Excel programs and spreadsheets to tracking the trends of those he managed in his corporate career. In doing this, Mark was able to become the “top manager in the country.” During this time of technological growth, the company he worked for did not update their tech stack. Because of this, Mark entered the market as competition, with newer technology and cheaper prices. His entering into the market with competitive prices and updated technology made him a leader in the newly established computer industry.


“The Truth about You”

Timestamp 17:40


Mark became a Vistage Chair after selling his successful computer-based technology company and completing a three year contract in 2008. When reflecting on his next steps, Mark picked up a book called “The Truth about You” by Marcus Buckingham. This book further solidified Mark’s desire to continue in the business industry but as a teacher. After talking with his own Vistage Chair, he was advised to look into becoming a Vistage Chair himself. From there, Mark started his own executive coaching group in New York City in 2009 after completing Chair training. Since then, Mark has become a successful and highly impactful coach for business leaders in the New York area.


Insights from the Thayer Institute

Timestamp 21:54


Mark has completed his master’s from the Thayer Institute. At the start of his training there, Mark started reading Lee Thayer’s book “Thinking, Being, Doing,” which he states was a challenging read. Instead of abandoning the training, Mark noticed several key award winners who were also enrolled in the course including Janette Hobson and Ozzie Gontang. After several conversations with Lee, Mark decided to continue in the program. In this program, Mark learned the importance of asking questions instead of giving answers; a skill he still uses in his practice today. One of Mark’s favorite quotes from Lee Thayer was, “it’s not the recipe, it’s the cook.”


Tribal leadership and the importance of triads

Timestamp 24:41


Mark received training in Tribal Leadership after reading about stages of development applied to the business culture. There are five stages of Tribal Leadership ranging from stage one which says, “life sucks,” all the way to stage five which says, “life is great.” Mark believes in creating business cultures that strive towards stage five because of their increased productivity and performance. Furthermore, the research in Mark’s reading showed him that impactful groups also tend to meet in groups of three. Since then, he has applied this learning to his coaching practice. His triad coaching sessions have been a great success amongst his executives because of the unique insight and open disclosure it offers CEOs and executives.

Positive intelligence

Timestamp 29:05


In Mark’s experience with keynote speaking, Mark felt that he was unable to have a lasting impact on those he spoke with due to the inability to practice the information he presented. Because of this, he developed a new topic to speak on: positive intelligence. He hopes to have a lasting impact on people’s lives by speaking on positive intelligence and the effect that saboteurs have on their life. Mark shares a story of how he spoke with his granddaughter and her understanding of the conflict between herself and saboteurs. Although she is very young, she was able to understand the difference between the voices in her head that support her, and those that keep her from her goals. Mark and Severin both believe that positive intelligence will be taught in schools eventually, helping the next generation better manage their emotions.


More questions less answers

Timestamp 35:06


One of the lessons that Mark wishes he would have learned earlier on in his coaching career is the value of questions. As a CEO, Mark states that his “tendency is to want to give answers,” but he has realized the value of powerful questions. He states that, “when you ask the right question and they get the insight, they get that ah-ha moment, they own it.” Today Mark uses positive intelligence based questions in his practice such as “would a friend say to you what you’re saying to yourself?” and inspires his executives to reach their own conclusions and fulfill their own goals.


When asked about his best day ever as an executive coach, Mark shares about how his positive intelligence training allowed him to ask better questions and help an executive on their path to success. By introducing that executive to new perspectives with the use of questions, the executive was better able to address the challenges they faced.


All about Clubhouse

Timestamp 48:01


Mark explains Clubhouse as a new form of social technology. He compares this to a coffee shop where you can drift in and out of conversation with others. Mark has completed some clubhouse facilitation courses which he states made him “a better Vistage Chair.” In the Clubhouse, you are able to be a free participant that can join the conversation, leave the conversation, or simply listen into the conversation without distraction. Mark enjoys the Clubhouse software as it is a break from Zoom and offers a more relaxed environment. Severin relates to this and states how he has been able to find “valuable insights” in the many presentations available worldwide and that interconnectivity worldwide has also been increased by this program.




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