Marc God – Taking Coaching to the Next Level – 002

Here is what will be shared and discussed in this episode!

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Marc has over 20 years of management experience in Sales and Marketing with major multinational organizations, including ExxonMobil and DSM.

He left the corporate world in 2011 to start his own successful businesses.

His first business Damarque, was founded in 2011, a coaching business that inspires professionals and leaders to increase their self-awareness and use that to create major transformations for the benefit of themselves and their organizations.

Marc’s second business is fit20. Since 2015, he leads and expands the fit20 fitness franchise in Belgium and Luxembourg. fit20 offers fitness programs and personal coaching based on the unique fitness concept of Momentary Muscle Failure. I visited one of the fit20 studio’s in Brussels to explore the concept after having learned about it on this podcast interview with Marc. You can read about it in my blog here.

Marc has a Masters in Electrical Engineering and has followed Leadership programs at prestigious Business Schools. He quickly started working with and leading various engineering teams across Europe. He ventured into marketing and led marketing teams world-wide at his corporate company.

Meanwhile, for years he had been thinking about starting his own business, but had a hard time choosing between the corporate world and entrepreneurship. Finally, supported by his wife, he followed his guts and chose entrepreneurship in 2011. Marc first took a break after he resigned, of about six to eight months, and tried to figure out what he really wanted to do. Having a passion for coaching, he then started his first business, Damarque.

Then in 2014, fit20 was looking for a master franchise holder in Belgium, and a friend of Marc asked him if he was interested in leading the expansion. Marc hesitated, as he was new to the fitness business. fit20 has over 100 centers in the Netherlands, opening a new one on a weekly basis. The concept of fit20 is unique and revolutionary. It is a strength-based training program instead of the usual cardio, combined with a personal coach who assists you very closely.

Marc found this franchising concept appealing and felt he could use his 20 years of Marketing and Sales experience to make the concept work. In 2015, he opened the fit20 franchise in Belgium, did PR campaigns in magazines, newspapers and ads on TV. His team also used Facebook for advertising.

fit20 is a program ideal for everybody. Marc proudly mentions that a 92-year old woman (yes!) benefited from the exercises, got stronger, and could walk around without a cane after a few months. However, they mainly focus on the modern-day man and woman with a hectic life and career.

In the Netherlands, fit20 also has centers in more than 12 large companies that strive to create a healthier and more energetic working population. Siemens, a big multinational as example, has calculated that fit20 helped decrease the rate of absenteeism due to illness by 2%, which is a huge reduction.

Marc is actively looking for new Franchisees, as he is expanding to 150 fitness centers in Belgium in the next years. There are seven fit20 studios’s (Nov. 2017)  in Belgium, and growing: 4 in Brussels, 2 in Antwerp and 1 in Ghent.

We then discuss his work as a Business Coach with his company, Damarque. He starts by explaining the difference between a coach and a mentor. A mentor transfers knowledge, a coach helps you reach your goals faster, whilst the approach is more inspirational. Business coaching is a combination of both. You will hear Marc’s very interesting take on this.

His first questions to his coachees: “What if you had no restrictions to do what you wanted? What would be your ideal outcome?” That often gives people the freedom to think out of the box. His passion is to help people uncover hidden desires. People find that challenges are hard sometimes, but then he helps them realize how badly they really want something and how they could overcome obstacles, without wishing for the impossible.

Take small steps. You can e.g. take half a day a week or a couple of hours to start exploring what gives you energy. Take a pen and paper and write down all activities you do and mark what those activities mean to you and start becoming aware of what activities bring you in your flow. Go deep! Find out! Even by experimenting. And discover what gives you energy. You can only do your best work when trying things. Not everybody needs to be an entrepreneur, but to him being an entrepreneur gives him the maximum freedom and he is more satisfied personally. And he can design his life the way he wants in the end. But it took him a while at first to believe it too!

Business growth is preceded by personal goals. He gives a few examples, like when he coached a CEO of a medium sized IT provider. That business almost went bankrupt and was sold in the end. Marc’s starting point in a coaching program is to look at what business results people are trying to achieve, and what area’s in a business they need to focus on, e.g. improve Marketing and Sales, and accelerate revenue growth that way. However, coaching always comes down to behavioural change in a company as well!

How can you as manager and member of a team communicate and behave in a different way, overcome obstacles, and become more effective. This always links back to their own personal life attitude. That becomes visible when looking at the interactions and the business culture. Is there a blaming culture? Do people trust each other? What self-awareness is there? And so on.

This particular CEO, a more hands-on person, wanted to grow his business, but first he had to work on trusting his workers, cooperating with the buying company and being a better communicator. The CEO and his team went through a huge transformation, and they eventually learned how to coach themselves. It was a very fulfilling job.

Marc likes to combine practical exercises and coaching in real-life business situations through group sessions, 1-on-1 coaching, and joining teams on client visits, where needed. Like that he can observe behaviours in all situations in a more objective way, give constructive feedback, paint the picture and set out new actions.

He also talks about how he helped a Secretary-General of an NGO improve on her conflict-avoidance and risk-averse behaviour.

Marc believes there are three drivers for personal change:

  • Crisis
    • Unfortunately, most people wait until they are hit by crisis before they make a change.
  • Choice
    • He is a big proponent of choice instead of waiting for that crisis to happen, taking the attitude of being the designer of your own life. He likes to hold himself responsible for his decisions.
  • Chance
    • Life can just happen to you. Sometimes there are external factors. But you shouldn’t sit around, complain and blame. Most things are in your control. Life for the large part doesn’t just happen to you.

Try things out. Better to try and perhaps fail, learn and make new choices. Everybody can take full responsibility of their actions. You can influence your life and future situation. Your current situation is the result of choices you made in the past.

His entrepreneurial journey has been exciting, because he did not know what to expect. It was scary at the start, but he was happy he chose it. As an engineer, he likes to calculate and have the answers. But sometimes you don’t have answers immediately. He illustrates it by talking about a scene from the film Indiana Jones, where Harrison Ford wants to get to the holy grail but there are major obstacles. He then uses his intuition and takes a big leap of faith to get across the ‘pit-hole’. Entrepreneurs often feel like not knowing how to go through big challenges, and not believing in their abilities. And that’s when they should trust their intuition more. Everybody should develop trusting their instincts more. Life is a combination of rational choice and intuition.

Marc reads a lot of book and finds it hard to suggests a couple of business books. There are so many great ones. He gives some of his favourite books and authors, that could be helpful, especially to aspiring entrepreneurs. These are added in the links at the top of these shownotes.

Marc is extremely generous with his time. He is always happy to learn about people’s journey and obstacles, and help anyone who needs some coaching or advice.