With a passion for psychology, Kaveh Mir has been an executive coach for 12 years now, working with executives to help them improve their skills, self-awareness, performance and team development. Kaveh arrived from Iran to the UK as a teenager, where he decided to settle permanently with his family after working in the United States. Having founded his start-up and has been a senior executive in a consulting firm, this former CEO has more than 23 years of business experience. Thus, his approach combines knowledge in psychology, management and coaching, supported by a strong business sense. Kaveh understands the complexities and challenges that executives and senior managers face and provides them with all the keys to achieve their goals. As an ICF Professional Certified Executive Coach (PCC), he is also the author of a book entitled “Wars at Work: An Action Guide to Resolving Workplace Conflict” which seeks to identify the causes of conflict in the workplace and propose solutions to resolve them. Finally, Kaveh is also involved in the ICF Global Board.
CoachHub: Why and how did you become a coach?
Kaveh Mir: in mid-2005 I was CEO of a consultancy firm. I was relatively successful but not happy. The board suggested for me to work with a Coach. At first, I was sceptical because I wondered what more could this coach teach me that I didn’t already know. By then, I had several years of experience in management consultancies. I was the founder of a successful software house. I had completed merge and acquisition, and I was running an organisation with over 120 employees, on top of that, I had a masters in Human-Computer Interaction and an Executive MBA. Then my curiosity overcame my scepticism, and I started my coaching program. And it was a revelation. In very few sessions, I became aware of the behaviours I had in my daily life without even realising it, of my biases, my fears, lack of emotional awareness with self and others, etc. My coach was able to create a safe environment to help me in the exploration of myself. I gradually became aware of the impact of my frame of reference in my decision makings, my lack of awareness of emotional vocabularies and overuse of my fast stereotype categorising thinking. I was fascinated by this encounter with myself and the discovery of all these hidden parts. I was so amazed at the discovery that I couldn’t stop myself wanting to learn more about this profession. Today, I have been an executive coach for twelve years and am an active member of the ICF Global Board.
CoachHub: What is your approach?
Kaveh Mir: My approach is based on several pillars of coaching, which are humanistic psychology, neuroscience, linguistics, constructivism and positive psychology. Having trained in positive psychology, profiling and behavioural sciences, I am particularly interested in the levels of development of resilience, hope, optimism and self-efficacy, what is known as Psychological Capital. There are several pieces of research showing the relationship between these constructs and coachee’s performance, well-being, and engagement. During a typical coaching session with executives when appropriate, we pay attention to create a safe-psychological environment for self-regulation and evaluation of the use of the constructs in overcoming their challenges or pursuing goals. If possible, we try to use PERMA and Values in Action (VIA) Survey of Character Strengths in conjunction with Psychological Capital during the coaching sessions. As all coaches agree, the most critical part of the coaching is having a well define coaching agreement.
CoachHub: What is your trademark?
Kaveh Mir: I believe an executive Coach requires to possess psychological knowledge, business acumen, organisational knowledge, knowledge about coaching and coaching skills. I think that my professional background influences a lot of the way I interact with my clients. Again, it’s all about combining several postures that the coach must know how to adopt: being challenging and listening, and facilitating self-regulation while playing the role of the sparring partner exploring new solutions. When you work with senior executives, each with a different background or context, it is necessary to know how to adapt the type of coaching used to best support them. Thus, I aim to flex between different styles of challenging, supporting and exploring. During sessions, I take risks sharing my thoughts, feelings and intuition with permission if it supports client learning, awareness and change. Again, an essential part of the coaching is ensuring there is an explicit coaching agreement. I pay attention to the temptation to work on the solution when the problem is not yet identified.
Coaching: What types of profiles do you, coach?
Kaveh: I mainly work with senior executives, executives, senior managers or C-level suites. I have coached in large companies such as Deloitte, Amazon, Mars, HSBC, among others. A Coach needs to understand what are the reasons that led clients to start coaching, what are their expectations, their wishes and if they are ready to embark on the journey. It doesn’t matter what level of responsibility they have. Afterwards, we clarify together the topics we will focus on during the coaching. It’s all about clarity. Sometimes the coachees come to me with a clear idea of what they want to explore; sometimes they don’t know where to start, or what they need to untangle to be ready to go. Sometimes they are also prepared but are not convinced that coaching is the ideal tool to help them move forward. They may even be very sceptical about the coaching. At the early stages of the coaching, I pay attention to the coachee stage of the journey and their coaching readiness.
Coachhub: In your opinion, what is the exercise to be applied daily?
Kaveh Mir: Work on your emotional intelligence. In our societies, we value too little the emotional intelligence that is the basis of any relationship, whether personal, professional or with oneself. Learning the language of emotions is fundamental today. I often recommend to my clients a daily exercise that I particularly appreciate. For example, I suggest they use the Mood Meter. It allows them to extend an individual’s emotional vocabulary and thus to help them to regulate their emotions. When we correctly identify our feelings, when we put the right word on it, we allow ourselves to express our feelings freely. People today do not use the correct vocabulary. When we ask them how they are doing, the answers are never related to emotion. “I’m fine” or “I’m okay” do not allow to identify a feeling while “I feel happy” or “I feel sad” gives another perspective.
CoachHub: In your opinion, what are the qualities of a good coach?
Kaveh Mir: There are so many things to say about it. I would choose two main ones: self-awareness and acceptance that no one has a special claim on the truth. To be a good coach, one must know oneself in-depth, be aware of one’s blind spots, biases and judgments. Self-awareness is fundamental to the work we do; otherwise, it will interfere with the support we provide for the coachees. Then, the acceptance that no one has a unique claim on the truth and recognising that our Mental Models condition our perspective. Indeed, everyone has their truth or reality. No one can claim to hold the truth. And even less so the coach.
CoachHub: What makes a good manager today?
Kaveh Mir: In my opinion, Coaching as a management style can help managers greatly. A manager using coaching as a management style pays attention to self-awareness, awareness of one’s biases and emotional intelligence. It is also essential for the manager to have a good knowledge of their physical, intellectual, emotional and social resources. Self-awareness is one of the critical pillars of becoming a great leader. Self-awareness also allows a better acceptance of others.
CoachHub: In your opinion, why does coaching help to overcome blockages?
Kaveh Mir: We as human-like to think about everything as a category. Unfortunately, category thinking keeps us in a cage. Category thinking moves us towards certainty but not necessarily towards clarity. Coaching has the potential to diffuse polarities and to overcome the category thinking. In a coaching session, we facilitate the discovery of how things are connected and our biases in stereotyping. There are many outputs from coaching, but at a very high level, we could say it overcomes blockage by fostering empathy with self and others, seeking clarity and resisting certainty.
CoachHub: Why did you choose to work with CoachHub?
Kaveh Mir: I met the team at a conference in Germany, and I was attracted by CoachHub’s vision of allowing every employee to have access to a coach. I share this vision. We also see a real integration of digital tools in daily life. There is a real demand for digital coaching in that it allows the democratisation of coaching for all individuals. The physical aspect no longer being a condition for coaching, it is easier to find the right coach no matter where you are. I find that this makes it easier to integrate coaching into daily life. When coaching becomes an integral part of people’s lives, we will see a massive impact on society.
CoachHub: What do you think is the advantage of CoachHub?
Kaveh Mir: The algorithm of the platform is the crucial element. Its primary role is to connect the client with the right coach. The success of coaching depends on the relationship between the coach and the coachee. This match is perfect. Since I started on the platform, the matching with my clients has always been perfect for both of us!