Client Spotlight: Kurtis McGeachy
Kurtis McGeachy is an Alberta-based director who leads the sales team for Microsoft’s Western Canada division, a team that spans from Manitoba to British Columbia. Microsoft has been working with Frame of Mind Coaching™ over the past number of years and Kurtis was given the opportunity to receive coaching. Kurtis was coached by FOM Coach Dave Gorham in our 1-1 coaching program.
“Dave and I were a really good fit and we still stay in touch,” says Kurtis. “I appreciated his direct style and ability to pause and dig deeper when needed without sugar coating things. I’m a practical person who likes to get to the point fairly quickly, and Dave was efficient.”
Kurtis was enjoying his job and was well-regarded in his organization. However when Dave shone a light on how Kurtis was actually operating, which was at times holding him back from being even better, they worked on uncovering the deep-rooted personality traits that led to how Kurtis was responding to certain situations.
They focused on deconstructing situations in which Kurtis would react in ways that were hindering him, as well as the causes of those reactions. Dave was able to point out instances when Kurtis’s reactions weren’t aligned with what he really wanted. “It was really good for me to get that perspective and it forced me to think about myself differently,” he says.
Before coaching, there were many situations in which he would react negatively, and then regret it later on. “I’m a very passionate and decisive individual,” he says. “A high percentage of the time I feel confident in the way I conduct myself, but there was still a portion of the time that I’d reflect back on a situation and think, ‘I shouldn’t have used those words, that tone or reacted that way because now I have to deal with the consequences.’”
In the midst of his coaching, Kurtis was dealing with a very sensitive personal situation with a team member, and it was causing anxiety for him and friction for the rest of the team. “Having Dave there to provide insight and coaching helped me deal with the situation and showed me how to handle future situations like this,” he says.
Because of the tools he gained from coaching, he often notices that he’s happy with how he reacts and is aware of how he now takes a different path to resolution. In situations that would have irritated him in the past, he now takes a step back and knows that he can control the way he expresses himself. “There are many situations that have benefited from me having a different frame of mind and perspective on the impact I’m trying to have,” he says.
Kurtis used to have trouble allowing others to handle situations how they wanted to and instead would jump in and fix them himself. “I’m used to being a problem solver,” he says. “I’ve stopped trying to change other people’s approaches. Having tolerance and allowing others to have a point of view doesn’t mean they’re right, but I can deal with a difference of opinion in a different way.”
This new approach hasn’t just been a game-changer for him at work; it has impacted relationships with his family as well. “There has been a definite shift in our family dynamic,” he says. “I’ve learned to let them navigate their own course. Having challenging conversations is easier.”
Coaching has also impacted how he expends his energy. Fixing other people’s problems was tiring and affecting other aspects of his life. “My new mantra that Dave helped instill in me is ‘let’s not make other people’s problems my problem,’” he says. “Just because I’m a leader, it doesn’t mean I have to correct every situation.” At work, he and his team have also become more deliberate about how they use their time and energy on projects.
Dave helped Kurtis identify his core values, and he discovered that his top core value is Helping Others. Coaching showed him that helping others while not tolerating their behavior doesn’t work. Additionally, if they’re not accepting his help the way he wants them to, that can lead to friction. Kurtis learned to pause and recognize that just because something isn’t going how he wants it to, that doesn’t make it his problem to solve.
“I’m even OK with correcting myself in the moment,” he says. “I’ll say, ‘let’s go back in time 30 seconds – that’s not how I meant that to sound. Here’s the message I’m trying to land.’” Having that level of awareness has helped strengthen his relationships and remove any bias they may have.
Kurtis has since received unsolicited positive feedback from people at work recognizing his intentional effort to be more inclusive of their thoughts. “The comfort level we have amongst the team is in a much better spot than it was,” he says.
About the journaling component of coaching, Kurtis describes it as both helpful and challenging. “I still go back to it when I feel unorganized, stuck or falling back into an old pattern,” he says. He even encourages his kids to journal and gave them whiteboards on which to express themselves when they’re stuck on something.
Kurtis is proud of his ability to commit to coaching and be totally vulnerable and open to change. His coaching experience has taught him that the more he commits to something, the greater the benefit. “Committing to something, be it physical or mental, without being impatient has an impact,” he says. “The small changes I’ve made have had big results.”