Conversations: Rick Gilmore, Good Company Coaching

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Good Company Coaching founder Rick Gilmore – one of Australia’s pioneer executive coaches – blends eastern and western philosophies ensuring business leaders and organisations stay relevant.

Tell us about Good Company Coaching.

Learning how to avoid reputational risk today, to remain relevant tomorrow, is now a top-shelf priority. After working with numerous executives, business leaders and professionals for over 25 years, I can vouch that the fear of becoming obsolete and irrelevant is sadly rising.

Many tell me that their secret fear is seeing their career or business flatline or not advance as fast or far enough as they hoped for. The truth is for many of us there’s a growing gap between the rapid rate of change and our ability to remain relevant. The chances are that by the time I’ve finished this interview, I’ve likely become more irrelevant than relevant! That’s a long lead into saying that Good Company Coaching helps individuals and organisations stay relevant, avoid reputational risk and realise their potential.

What motivated you to “look east” and move to India after pursuing Western Philosophy in university?
As a young man I majored in Western Philosophy at university, then my dial moved to “east”, where I spent time sitting at the feet of masters in India, contemplating the meaning of life, human potential, practising 30-day silent mindfulness meditation retreats and all the rest of it! Why did I do it? Apart from the luck of the draw, serendipity and working on “my stuff”, the two primal drivers were:

•    While studying Western philosophy, I remember reading an epistemology question – “Who knows more about electricity, an electrician or an electric eel?” – that said a lot to me then and still does today about the difference between theory and actionable knowledge and asking the right sources and people for help.

•    The other driver was more experiential and a tad esoteric. Personally, I don’t like using words like ‘spiritual’ or ‘peak state’. But back then, I had some “experiences and insights” that self-authenticated a lot of what I had read about in the Eastern spiritual traditions. It felt like I had been given a vision of something that I had to act on. So, looking back maybe there were deeper impulses and connections at play that drew me to India at the time.

How has the application of Eastern and Western philosophies impacted your approach to consulting clients?
It’s impacted everything. All through my career, I’ve believed that if we are to grow in our professional journey, improve our lot and make a better life for everyone, then a new integration of our individual and collective wisdom is critical.

Yet, as many an entrepreneur would likely agree, you’ve also got to meet people where they are and give them what they want now, so you can give them what they really need later. What that means is that even though my “East-West” approach is always turned on, how ever high-beam or low-beam it is, depends on the readiness, context, and outcomes my clients want to achieve.

What’s good about the present, is that compared to 25 years ago, there’s a lot more cut through with “what’s old is new and what’s new is old.” When I first started out, getting business leaders to practice mindful leadership was an alien concept, something best a kept secret.

What does success mean to you?
To me, success is an emergent property or process. You’ve got to embrace the process, the journey, and who you are becoming. Ultimately, as good as the specific successes, results and big wins are, there’s always, “what’s next?”.

Success lives in the unfolding process that propels you towards realising your potential and highest opportunities and purpose. In plain English, fall into your masterpiece and let the music in you out; that’s success to me.

What is the one thing you’ve accomplished that you take the most pride in?
A description that echoes down through the ages is that, whenever in any moment you genuinely connect with who you are, there is a feeling of ‘being home’ at last. Being ‘good company’ and helping clients lead naturally, be successful and feel ‘being home’ at last has been my one thing.

If you were to start over again, what would you do differently?
•    Trust and let go
•    Start before I’m ready
•    Learn from the best


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