Episode #1091: In this episode of the Arete Coach Podcast, Ben Griffin, an Executive Coach, Board Advisor, and Founder and President of CEOIQ, discusses lifelong learnings that have brought him to be one of the greatest coaches of our day. During the episode, topics discussed include: inflationary times, the risk of unbridled corporate growth, KPIs to manage your business, the unintended consequence of words, other issues relevant to business owners and coaches, and the work of his new book (in writing) Look Through the Leadership Lens.
About Ben Griffin
Ben Griffin is an Executive Coach, Board Advisor, and the Founder and President of CEOIQ. Prior to entering the executive coaching field, Ben held several executive leadership positions with insurance companies. He also ran some of his own companies and was the President of Quinox Corporation. He earned his MBA from the Crummer Graduate School of Business at Rollins College.
In 2000, he started working as a group facilitator and executive coach with an International CEO advisory organization. Today, Ben is the Founder and President of CEOIQ where he has created an ecosystem for CEOs, entrepreneurs, and leadership teams. He serves his clients as an executive coach and an advisor, offering services such as peer advisory groups, strategic thinking workshops, leadership development coaching, executive coaching, and digital leadership labs with a focus on strategic thinking, human capital development, team alignment, management by objectives, and financial diagnostics. Furthermore, he also facilitates CEO round tables with companies as small as 25 employees and as large as 5,000 full-time employees.
Ben is also an avid photographer and has even organized and managed his own jazz band.
When is the end of learning?
When discussing his journey to executive coaching, Severin asks Ben, “when is the end of learning as a coach, do you know?” Ben responds, “when you’ve drawn your last breath.” He explains that the constant learning and growth he has experienced as a coach is “the one thing… that has constantly kept” him “engaged and coming back.” Working with business leaders in a variety of industries has been a constant source of “learning what those businesses were about, learning the financial models, and understanding the dynamics” of each industry.
Moving from CEO to executive coach
Severin asks Ben about his transition from being a CEO to a “servant of CEOs.” Ben explains that this was a “huge transition” and that becoming an executive coach was “the universe teaching me that I don’t really own or control anything in life.” Along with this learning, Ben shares that he also learned the consequence of his words when he was an executive. He shares a story about an “offhanded” suggestion he made that was taken literally when helping turn around a company. However, in coaching, Ben learned that “you can’t have that impact by telling people what to do. You have that impact by leading them through an exploration themselves. It’s more about the questions than the answers.”
Ben’s advice for moving through economic hardship
After sharing an experience Ben had leading a company through a season of economic difficulty, Severin asks “what did you do then and what would you advise now” in terms of layoffs and seasons of economic hardship. Ben shares two valuable lessons: “you’ve got to move quickly” and “you’ve gotta stay focused on the fact that if you’re gonna survive, it’s the jobs you’re saving, not the jobs you’re eliminating.”
Ben’s “CCIR” Mantra
Ben’s life mantra is “CCIR” which stands for staying “current, connected, involved, and relevant.” He explains that “as long as I’m truing up to that, then I’m being of service to the people that I work with.” As a coach, Ben works to stay current with the challenges faced by his clients and uses this gained knowledge to help stay connected, involved, and relevant to them.
Ben’s Powerful Questions
While Ben doesn’t focus on a specific question to ask in his coaching, he does use a “series of continuing questions” as a tool for “exploration.” Before coaching, he will ask his clients to write down what he calls his “arete diagnostic” questions: “what are your expectations? What do you want out of this? What will value look like to you coming out of this?” Doing this helps Ben coach with “no agenda,” “no preconceived syllabus, or outline, or program” because he believes that coaching “needs to go where [his clients] need it to go” which is “different for everybody.” However, from time to time, Ben will use a series of questions inspired by Deepak Chopra: “What is it that you really want to be and do? What are you really doing well that is helping you get there? What are you not doing that’s preventing you from getting there? What will you do differently tomorrow to meet your challenges? How can I help?”
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