Coffee with an Executive Coach – 3 Things Successful Groups Must Have

by Josh Orendi

mike-donahue I just met with Michael Donahue at a Panera Bread in Carmel, Indiana.  He’s a well respected Executive Coach for top businesses and entrepreneurs in the Indianapolis area (he’s also a Delta Upsilon from Northern Illinois).  Mike told me his job requires him to recruit top talent, coach for performance, and facilitate a small group of talented people to form a "fraternity-like bond" of trust and support.  He said, "there are a few choices I have made that have most certainly changed my life for the better … pledging DU was one of them.  The lessons I learned back in the DU house have served me all through life."

Mike has a few decades of wisdom that I was hungry to tap into.  I listened.  I learned.  I took notes.  One note in particular was too important for me to keep to myself.  He shared a lesson with me about his business that applies directly to building successful chapters/teams/groups.  He said, "There are three things that must be present to have a successful group.  Only three!  These three are critical, non-negotiable …"

1. Shared Purpose
2. Investment Back into the Group
3. Demand Performance with Accountability

"My CEO groups remind me of my fraternity experience … there is deep trust and respect.  We come together because we share a commitment to helping every member reach his/her goals and become a better person."  Mike went on to tell me, "The magic of what I do is in the group itself, not in me.  A great group is more powerful than any individual relationship … the group has wisdom and holds each other accountable.  It takes courage to tell someone that they’re full of BS or that they aren’t living up to their potential as a leader.  You have to be willing to experience a little stomach acid.  That’s what the members of high performing groups do.  They hold each other accountable to high standards."

Those three bullet points are perfect conversation nuggets when you talk to a potential member about the commitment of joining your organization.  As for me, I have a meeting on the calendar to meet his CEO group.  It’s a cool feeling to be back on this side of the experience being recruited as a potential member.  Wish me luck.