by Sheila Julson
Tom Massey is an Oklahoma City-based performance/life coach and author with more than 20 years of experience writing about and facilitating leadership development, effective communication skills, teambuilding events and strategic planning. He is part of Radiant Living, a group of practitioners dedicated to empowering people to achieve personal growth, joy and satisfaction.
How did you develop an interest in coaching?
Initially, my interest in coaching was sparked by working with high-performing athletes. Later I observed the principles it takes to become a world-class athlete are quite similar to those possessed by world-class business leaders: intense desire, commitment, purpose and persistence. Nothing arouses more passion for me than to work with someone who has the courage and personal discipline to go after what they really want and get it. In fact, that made me want to write a book titled How Bad Do You REALLY Want It? which contains 21 principles for success.
In today’s hectic world, there seems to be increased pressure to meet preconceived notions of success, or what one is “supposed” to do. How can people better balance personal fulfillment while trying to meet the expectations of our modern society?
I confess that after writing three books on the subject, I sometimes still wrestle with preconceived notions that society has deeply engrained in each of us about success. But there comes a point where we must ask ourselves: Is the fast and furious pursuit of someone else’s idea of success really worth it? What if you win the rat race and you’re still a rat? I can’t describe success any better than how Ralph Waldo Emerson summed it up:
To laugh often and much;
To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;
To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others;
To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition;
To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.
This is to have succeeded.
For performance coaching, what types of methods do you employ?
My preferred method is one-on-one because it takes time to build personal rapport that lays the foundation for trust. In the absence of trust, people won’t risk the vulnerability of being real so it results in what I call pseudo-coaching, which accomplishes very little besides making people feel warm and fuzzy about having a personal coach. As a coach, I want people to feel good about their experience, but sometimes my role is to get in their face, if that’s what it takes to help them stretch out of their comfort zones enough to grow and accomplish their goals. That requires trust that is effectively built through a one-on-one coaching relationship.
How do you use humor to help individuals and businesses achieve their goals?
Did you hear the one about the duck that walked into a bar? Seriously, humor is a great catalyst for creativity. Whenever we laugh, our brain produces neuro-chemicals that result in both a calming and stimulating effect at the same time—a peak state for human performance and creativity. Humor also helps to cut through emotional barriers that block rapport-building communication between a coach and client. As Victor Borge once said, “Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.” As a coach, I have a willingness to laugh at myself. Life is much too serious to take myself so seriously.
How important is team building in today’s workplace?
Success is never a solitary endeavor. Regardless of what kind of role we play in an organization, we need others. I can’t think of any worthwhile accomplishment in history that was achieved without a team effort. The definition of a team is “a group of people working together for a common purpose with shared goals.” Team building in the workplace, which is best accomplished in an environment of fun, is highly important for creating camaraderie and a shared commitment to the team’s purpose and goals. It can also be a great tool for clarifying individual roles, creating team cohesion, and building a unified strategy for future success.
For more information, call 405-834-7476 or visit TomMasseyInc.com. He also takes appointments at Radiant Living Center in Oklahoma City.