This interview with Dr. David Yudis, MBA, MSEd - an Executive Coach with AIIR Consulting - was conducted and condensed by Candice Henderson.
Q: Where are you from?
I am originally from New York, but I grew up in and around Philadelphia.
How has your background influenced your professional career?
My grandfather was only able to attend elementary school before he had to drop out to work and support the family. My parents both started their own businesses. Diligent work and resilience can drive results. The overnight success is often an anomaly masked by a history of efforts. I spent my life learning so that I can give back to others.
What inspired you to become a coach?
We are a social species. We thrive on interaction. Organizations are composed of people. If I can help a person improve as they or their organization seek to, and that change, in turn, has a positive impact, the world becomes a better place. A better world as a higher goal is worthy ROI.
What is your philosophy about human change, learning, and development?
Optimism is a critical leadership trait. I have always embraced it. I recall in studying Freud that there was a time in his later life when he declared there was no hope for humanity in the end. I never accepted this. As I have grown in my career, however, I have realized his truth in the fact that there are significant challenges for humanity. This is discouraging. But it is not defeating. Each of us creates their reality. We can control how we choose to live our lives. In that, learning and development have infinite possibility.
When you first started out in your work as a coach, what was one of your biggest mistakes, and what did you learn from it?
I was working with a senior executive in the financial industry, and, given her success in business and superior acumen, I acquiesced to her seeking control of the workflow in our early relationship. Frankly, at first I was overwhelmed by her smarts and uncertain how I could be helpful to her. I quickly realized this was a typical reaction of others she dealt with, and my alignment provided her early comfort. I learned this was not the point nor the goal for the coaching. She was not a very good leader of people, had reached potential derailment in her career, and was very insecure. Working past my early acquiescence, I went on to challenge her in the relationship, and she experienced significant growth.
What are your strengths?
I tend to see the world differently from the norm or the masses and am voracious in connecting what others may not typically consider the dots. I believe change is possible, action is required, and there is no better time than now.
How do you leverage your strengths in your coaching work?
Listen. Learn. Understand. Communicate. Connect. Act. Evaluate. Iterate.
How do you practice what you preach as a coach?
Coaching is a two-way street. My clients teach me as much as I offer to them. There is never a technique, tool, exercise, or discussion I engage in with a client that I have not first applied to myself. For example, I have had a coach in my own work inside organizations.
How has your coaching practice evolved over the years?
Earlier in my career, I was less confident in being able to provide impact at the C-suite level. Using my experience across businesses has enabled me to learn and understand some of the challenges these leaders face. That has given me a unique perspective on how to make a difference in coaching.
What advice do you have for clients in maximizing the success of their coaching engagements?
Each situation is unique unto itself. What does not change is the equation. You will get back what you put into it. One must therefore begin with consideration as to what they are willing to do to succeed.
To learn more about Dr. David Yudis' unique background and coaching style, watch his Spotlight interview below:
Each month, Candice Henderson talks with members of the AIIR Global Coaching Alliance about the unique challenges of being a leader and coach.