Forbes Coaches Council is an invitation-only organization for successful leading business and career coaches. In this spotlight series, we profile our incredible members and share their advice with you. This week: Derek Matthews.
Derek is the co-founder of Character Quest, a human capital development firm in Phoenix, Arizona. In this role, he consults and coaches CEOs and senior leadership teams to identify talent gaps, improve leadership climate, and accelerate team action to achieve strategic goals. The programs he creates for companies are tailored to drive bottom-line results and build organizational market value through leadership, engagement and coaching development. He has advised Fortune 100 to Fortune 500 companies to align and leverage their human capital development strategy to engage and retain high-potentials and millennials. His expertise is in advising and coaching leaders in how to manage and position millennials for success in the workplace.
Derek received his B.A. in communication and digital media from Carthage College, his master’s in organizational leadership from Gonzaga University, and his Ph.D. in leadership for the advancement of learning and service from Cardinal Stritch University.
What inspired you to become a coach?
After I received my Ph.D. in leadership at the age of 25, I was eager to put my knowledge to work. I surrounded myself with people much more experienced than I was to interview and ask questions about their success. These encounters naturally turned into coaching conversations, and I found a love for asking questions for the purpose of growth and development. Coaching became a way for me to ask big questions to challenge thinking and add perspective to those I worked with.
What one piece of advice do you find yourself relying on most? Why?
As difficult as this is, if you focus on fewer goals, you get more accomplished. Simple, but very difficult in practice.
What is the biggest hurdle your clients face? What advice would you give others struggling with this issue?
The biggest hurdle my clients face is attracting, developing and retaining millennials. Hands down, this is one of the hottest topics that is keeping CEOs up at night. I have yet talked to a CEO or senior leader that isn’t challenged on retaining their millennials.
The advice I give my clients is to prioritize a millennial human capital development strategy centered on training your midlevel managers on how to conduct powerful coaching conversations. The truth is, millennials don’t work for companies; they work for people. If you have managers in place that know how to pour themselves into their millennials through coaching you will effectively retain a larger percentage of your workforce.