Episode #1067: Award-winning Executive Coach and Founder of TEC in Eastern Canada, Peter Buchanan, shares his journey to executive coaching from former leadership and executive roles, his experience with Pat Hyndman, insight he gained from starting TEC in Eastern Canada, and his perspective on the metaphor of knowing what’s in our own waters before we focus on going to Mars.
About Peter Buchanan
Peter Buchanan is an award-winning Executive Coach, Founder of TEC in Eastern Canada, National Director of Chair Development at TEC Canada, and President of Management Transitions. Peter has practiced executive coaching for over 30 years with TEC Canada and was awarded the Chairman of the Year Award in 2008 and 2010. In 2014, he received the Don Cope Award, given to only one chair worldwide per year.
Peter started his journey to executive coaching as the Senior Vice President of Extendicare Ltd. He then held several leadership and executive positions. At Royal Rhodes University, he designed and presented their original leadership residency for the MBA program. Today, Peter continues his executive coaching practice and support for helping business leaders in his role as President of Management Transitions. Peter has a passion for lifelong learning and helping others succeed in life and business.
The call to coaching
When discussing Peter’s journey to executive coaching and founding TEC in Eastern Canada, Severin asks Peter, “Some people say that there’s a call to this type of thing. Have you felt that and what would that be?” Peter explains that one of his previous clients had joined TEC and said it was “the greatest thing.” Over a short period of time, Peter started to see beneficial changes in this client and his leadership. Peter states that he “could see his growth and development.” Eventually, his client introduced him to the owner of TEC Canada, Dr. Lynn Tanner. After meeting with Dr. Tanner, Peter began his involvement with TEC Canada. Peter shares that his call to coaching was that coaching fed his “sense of purpose.” He explains that “it was feeding… what I wanted to do with my life, and that was help other people… I’ve stayed with it ever since. “
Moving from “human doing to human being”
In response to learning about a difficult season of learning in Peter’s life, Severin asks, “when was the point you recognized you moved from being a human doing to being a human being?” Peter shares that “it was probably after my life collapsed… My initial reaction to that was to blame everybody else for me… My journey of inward reflection and self-analysis really began then… I started to recognize that I had a big piece in all the challenges that I brought onto myself… I became a far better human being in the process.” Severin comments and states that these difficult seasons in life “are precious learnings” that build who “we are today.”
Building TEC in Eastern Canada
When starting his first TEC group in Eastern Canada, Peter learned from Pat Hyndman. Peter notes that Pat shared the importance of being in a peer group of 100 to 150 people and “stand[ing] by the door and collect[ing]” the audience’s business cards. Peter put this advice to use after a presentation by Pat and signed “the first 10 or 12 people” onto his TEC group. Today, Peter is the National Director of Chair Development with TEC in Eastern Canada. In this position, Peter helps TEC Chairs know “how to do the work” to launch their first peer groups, the power of “issue processing,” and the importance of asking questions rather than giving advice.
To help others
When asked what his “why” is, Peter shares that his “why” has changed with time. Early in his career, he wanted to “explore and express man’s connection to the whole.” However, today his “why” is “real simple.” His “why” is to “help others.” Peter explains that his best days as a coach are those when he feels that he “made a breakthrough” with a client and that they “went deeper in their self-knowledge.”
A life of learning
Peter Buchanan has a passion for living a life of learning. He shares that it is important to always be “exploring new areas and looking at new ideas and thinking about things.” This applies to learning outside of executive coaching and business as well. Peter shares that he and his son enjoy scuba diving, so he decided to take a marine biology course to learn more about the reefs he was seeing. In his coaching practice, he is also continually learning. He explains that in his coaching, he learns “so much about myself and about other people” as he listens to, and learns, from his members. Severin comments on how vast the ocean is and how there is still so much more to learn about the planet yet “as a society,” we are more focused on “going to Mars” when “we don’t even know what’s in our own waters.” He states that perhaps this is a metaphor for how “many of us want to look outward, but we don’t look inward.”
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