'Lead with simplicity' and other lessons for CAs from Simon Tyler

Boardroom table
By Andrew Harbison, CA Today

2 June 2016

Simon Tyler speaks to Andrew Harbison about leading with simplicity and his journey to becoming one of the most experienced mentors in the world, ahead of his appearance at the ICAS Conference.

Simon Tyler doesn’t like describing himself as a coach. “I’m frustrated by the word coaching,” he says in a video featured on his website.

“It says everything and says nothing all at the same time. It’s easy to hang what I do on the hook called coaching.”

When he describes what he does, he says it sounds “too simplistic in a world that seems hungry for a non-simplistic answer”.

But this is exactly what Simon wants for people, to show them that life is not as complex as they make it for themselves. Although, he admits that he was not always so open to this way of thinking himself.

"I rallied against being called simple Simon, as I had been all my life. I was trying to prove to people that I was really complicated but the truth is, the way I thought, the way I questioned people and the way I was just curious about things, I tended to simplify stuff without knowing."

Simon Tyler

“[But] it was obvious that that was my standpoint hence the first book came out on the back of that which is called ‘The Simple Way’. It is my take on a number of common situations or situations people commonly find themselves in, which naturally complicate.”

Simon has had a curious career journey. He was a sales manager for ICI Paints, until he was involved in a major car crash. After his three-month recovery he then went on to different sales jobs in very different sectors, one in the computer industry, one in advertising and marketing promotion, and one in the IT and then back to the chemical industry.

In 1999 he started his own consulting and mentoring business which evolved into coaching after he began speaking with Scott Wintrip, an American coach, over the phone.

“It was an utterly profound experience for me. Not least the first few conversations of me going through the motions or me giving him the answer I think he wanted to hear, which was what many of us tend to do initially. Eventually I realised that he was asking the questions for me, not for him. That’s led to me shifting my whole business focus to coaching.”

Since then Simon has never looked back. He has coached leaders from some of the world’s largest brands, guiding them towards improving how they work and live, and the impact they have.

When speaking about the most common issues he deals with when working with finance professionals he says that, although everyone’s situation is unique, he sees people getting themselves into similarly complicated corners.

“They start to lose a little bit of confidence in their decision making, they become a little bit less focused on work, they get lost working only on urgent stuff and time seems to go faster for them. They seem to be doing more but get less done.”

Simon’s tips

If you find yourself in a similar situation, Simon offered some simple advice to help you slow things down and regain your confidence.

Live in the now

"Be aware of your relationship with now. If I’m not fully here, and my head is off to my next appointment or what I did or didn’t say this morning, I’m not really going to connect.

“Ask yourself ‘how do I feel, honestly, right now? What have I got around me, resource wise? Time? Space? A keyboard? I’ve got loads of resources around me. I’m not under attack so therefore I can let my adrenalin-rush calm down a bit, I’m not at risk.

"If you get a better relationship with now, the damning power of deadlines lessens. It doesn’t mean you miss deadlines; it just means you get into now a bit more.”

Diversity is key

“I love the work I do with diversity, to try and mix up the diverse nature of teams, then things do change in great ways, faster. A traditional all male board, quite often is so focused, they tune out of their intuition and deeper feeling-based insights.

"To be provocative enough to invite people to voice their intuition or feelings can quite often cause change. It enhances the range, the rightness and clarity of the decision, and the buy-in because everyone feels heard.”

Simon will be presenting a session entitled “Attitude and Personal Impact” at The ICAS Conference 2016.

ICAS is delighted to welcome Investec Wealth & Investment as our first ever principal partner for The ICAS Conference. The ICAS Conference takes place at the EICC on Thursday 29 September 2016.


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