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Forbes Coaches Council Member Spotlight: Bill Gardner, Executive and Leadership Coach
"Independent reflection is the most helpful discipline you can learn."
Forbes Coaches Council members come from a wide range of backgrounds. And with their wide range of experiences, they have a lot to share with clients and fellow members of the community. To help them share with an even greater audience, we’re profiling Forbes Coaches Council members here on the blog. This week: Bill Gardner.
Bill Gardner is a managing partner at Noetic Outcomes Consulting, LLC. He has over 40 years of experience coaching executives, improving team functioning, strengthening organizations and creatively addressing problems and issues. Prior to founding his own firm, he spent almost two decades leading Global Organization and Leadership Development for AMD.
What inspired you to become a coach?
I was an internal Organization Development professional for 30 years, and the difference in successful and unsuccessful efforts to change large-scale organizations was mostly attributed to the leader or executive. I found that much of my support of these changes was through coaching these leaders and executives. I absolutely loved doing it, and it turns out I was pretty good at it even before I got professional coaching training and certification.
What one piece of advice do you find yourself relying on most? Why?
Reflect and learn from your experience. I’m not interested in building dependence on my coaching, so the most helpful skill or discipline I try to impart is independent reflection. My greatest skill is asking thought-provoking questions and causing my client to think critically, and I believe that they can ask themselves those questions and gain innovative insight without me.
What is the biggest hurdle your clients face? What advice would you give others struggling with this issue?
To generalize across all my clients is difficult, but I guess I would say their biggest hurdle is their “internal operating system,” by which I mean their unexamined assumptions, beliefs, mental models and theories about themselves or human behavior. It amazes me how many times a client will make a definitive statement about the way the world works or about the way people behave, but when asked why they believe what they do, they have no idea. Many “facts and data driven” executive leaders are making decisions based on erroneous or grossly over-simplified beliefs that they haven’t thought through since childhood.