“It’s rewarding to be a good manager, but it’s better to be a true leader”

CoachHub · 28 July 2020 · 8 min read

Antonin is an ICF certified executive business coach. He assists executives, managers and teams in their transformation processes. An entrepreneur for more than 25 years, he has created several companies in the media and communication sectors. With an international professional career, he has set up production logistics processes, been responsible for recruitment and trained many managers.

As a company coach, he guides, motivates, optimises the potential of each individual, unblocks situations and enables concrete changes. His topics of intervention include leadership and self-esteem, emotional and stress management, change management and strategy development, motivation and positive thinking, negotiation and conflict resolution, intercultural cooperation, project management and public speaking.

Could you introduce yourself and tell us about your background?

My name is Antonin Denis and I am in my forties. I am an ICF certified executive/business coach and I accompany executives, managers and teams in order to help them reach their goals. It is important for me to reveal talents, optimise potential and enable everyone to find a balance between professional and personal life. I started my first company at the age of 20.

For a quarter of a century, I refined my knowledge and practice of management, team management and communication. I have created several companies in the media and audiovisual production. I have produced advertising films, documentaries and staged plays. These experiences have allowed me to master perfectly the management of projects, budgets and, above all, people. I have carried out many international missions and I am currently based in Casablanca, near the ocean. I put my professional and human experience at the service of companies and managers to help them progress as much as possible.

Why and how did you become a coach?

At 35 years old, I worked more than 12 hours a day and I ended up experiencing a burn out. It’s thanks to my coach that I managed to take a step back from my life. I really appreciated our coaching sessions. And I especially realised that in 10 coaching sessions, I had progressed as much as in 10 years of psychotherapy. As I approached my 40th birthday, I felt ready to change my career and dedicate myself to coaching managers and business leaders. I started with a training in Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP). Then I went back to college for a year and got a university degree in Executive Coaching. With humour and kindness, I allow myself to be confrontational to help my clients get out of their comfort zone.

As an executive and entrepreneur, it is relevant for me to accompany my clients on the themes of leadership, management, emotion and stress management, as well as public speaking skills. I also work on the topics of change management and strategy development to achieve organisational success. As an enthusiastic person, I also like to accompany my coachees on their motivation, positivism and well-being, which are for me the ultimate goals of self-realisation. My approach is humanistic and positive. Each coaching session concludes with an optimistic and constructive state of mind for the coachee.

What are your coaching tools and your approach?

My coaching practice integrates different tools. I draw from various approaches. For example, I draw a lot of inspiration from cognitive-behavioural therapy techniques and transactional analysis. The choice of words is important in coaching. Also, I advocate the use of non-violent communication. I have also trained in neuro-linguistic programming. I find Michael White and David Epston’s narrative therapy very interesting in that it allows me to deconstruct the power relationships in which the individual is locked. I really like the work on systemic therapy at the Institute for Mental Research in Palo Alto because it allows us to relieve people of their psychological suffering in an effective way in a very short time by confronting them with new experiences.

What can your clients expect from coaching with you?

I am not a pedagogue, but ANDRAGOGUE. My belief is that we learn better by ourselves by working on our motivation. Therefore, I do not try to teach my coachees but rather to make them understand. I share, I make them live experiences, I make them practice, I weave links with their experiences, needs and reality. To do this, I create a friendly atmosphere by remaining neutral, without judging the other, just by encouraging. My priority is that my client achieves their goals: alignment, happiness, fulfillment. This is how I ensure that my coaching is as pleasant and effective as possible. As an executive coach, I guide, motivate, optimise the potential of each person, unblock situations and enable concrete changes. My relationship with my coachees helps them to turn on the lights of their own happiness. I don’t suggest, I just let them follow the paths that lead to their goals. The impact of my coaching is to regain self-confidence as quickly as possible so that they can listen to their instincts and make the best decisions for themselves. From a more global point of view, coaching is successful when the coachee finds time for themself, experiences the emergence of their own solutions, manages to gain height and provokes change.

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What types of profiles do you coach?

It is the coachees who choose me and not the other way around. My role is to validate the fact that I am the best person to accompany them according to their problems. Usually, it’s company directors or top management who call on me to benefit from my experience as a company director. I therefore work with directors and managers, but also with complete teams. I also supervise Centrale Supélec students who are in the early stages of their professional careers. My coaching and teaching, particularly on soft skills, enables them to quickly adopt a leadership stance.

What is for you the exercise or advice to apply in your daily life?

All rituals give reference points in space and time, they structure daily life. The primary function of the ritual is to reassure us, to reassure us emotionally, because knowing in advance how things are going to happen gives us a certain power. Rituals humanise us, they bring dignity, pride and consideration for ourselves and others, giving us the framework to exist with others in a meaningful way. Concretely, it is up to each person to find the ritual that is good for him or her: meditation, sports, laughter, compliments, gratitude, a good meal, sleep, time spent with loved ones, etc. I also suggest living in the present moment, even if it requires real discipline, or the mastery of sloppiness. Our thoughts easily focus on negative thoughts. By taking advantage of the present moment, anxiety disappears and we experience the happiness of an immediate action or thought. Concretely, we can live in the present moment by cooking, gardening, having a good meal with friends, playing music, doing sports etc.

According to you, what makes a good coach?

I follow the recommendations of the ICF being myself certified by the organisation. I find myself a lot in their values and their approach. Thus, to be the best possible coach according to the ICF, it is essential to consider the coachee as a partner with whom we must clarify from the outset the goals they want to achieve. This notion of partnership is very important for the rest. It is also important to help the coachee identify their motivations and skills while showing them all the options available to them. The coach must remain in control of the framework established with the coachee while accompanying them in the achievement of their objectives. Indeed, a coaching is always framed by a contract between the coach and the coachee with objectives and results indicators. Coaching is successful when the coachee achieves the objectives they have set and can verify this in an obvious way with the results indicators. For example, if the objective is managerial posture, the result indicators can be: fewer reminders to teams, fewer emails, fewer meetings and time for strategic visioning. This framework is therefore very important.

Coaching must allow the coachee to produce their own solutions and strategies. The ICF also recommends confronting the coachee, if necessary, with their commitments or problems, if this can help them progress. This is a position that I sometimes adopt with my coachees to challenge them and help them become aware of their obstacles. All of this is done in a benevolent manner.

According to you, what are the essential skills to be a good manager today?

It is rewarding to be a good manager, but it is better to be a true leader. To do so, it is recommended to accompany employees without directing them and to impose one’s authority with intelligence. For example, by generating enthusiasm rather than fear, by asking rather than commanding, by favouring the collective rather than the individual within teams etc. The leader is also a person who takes responsibility for mistakes instead of correcting them. They seek to help their collaborators grow in an attitude of respect and listening. They also distribute rewards when they are deserved. A leader is a visionary. They derive their authority from the members of the group, who recognise them as such. His power is above all linked to the relationships they build with the members of the group. They are people-centred and are at the centre of a group, which recognises them as having informal authority. They propose, influence and are a driving force within their group by nurturing motivation and encouraging initiative. They have a vision and seeksto achieve it.

In your opinion, why can coaching help you overcome your blockages?

Coaching is a voluntary process. You can’t force someone to be coached if they don’t want to be coached. To be voluntary in a coaching process reveals a willingness to progress. Coaching allows us to bring to light dysfunctions and our own blockages. Awareness is the first step in overcoming a blockage. Then, it is necessary to understand the interest that the blockage had for us and to gauge the interest that we will take in overcoming the blockage. This is the very principle of going beyond your comfort zone. At the limit of our comfort zone is the fear of the unknown. Once the blockage is overcome, there is learning and finally self-fulfilment.

Why did you choose to work with CoachHub?

I chose to join CoachHub for the good reputation of the company. It is important for me to be part of a serious structure. I have the feeling that I have joined an adventure, that of online coaching accessible to all.

Any last words?

My wishes for everyone: happiness, fulfillment, love, self-actualisation, contentment and sharing.

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