An athlete (ice hockey, lacrosse), an author, an educator, and an Olympic ice hockey coach along his journey thus far, Ken Tyler presently advises and coaches leadership strategy management with top teams in organizations.

Interview with Ken Tyler

You used to be a professional sports coach. Why did you decide to change the field?

Actually, it was a family decision. I did not want to risk changing cities and schools every year for the sake of coaching ice hockey. In between I was being asked more and more to give speeches and consult with business leaders. Further, in researching for the “A” licence coaching program that I was to lead in Austria, I had found a virtual university that taught coaching to those who wanted to work as a coach outside of sports. They had advertised “Every Olympic athlete has the benefit of an Olympic Coach. Why, as a top business executive, should you not have the same advantage?” Four years later I had taken every course and taught every course. All online and on telephone!

Are the patterns that were successful in sports still a recipe for success in business?

Clearly there is. This is where my social psychological principles for the performance of the individual, the individual in teams, and teams versus teams comes into play. Without a question, whether it be a team of humanitarians from the UN, social entrepreneurs, professional sport teams or international billion dollar conglomerates, humans act and interact as humans have always done! The basic motivations remain the same, the essential elements of teaming still require due diligence whether it be local or non-local teams. Skills vary according to culture, life experience and communication platforms and practices, but essentially, lead team habits, indeed leadership habits are absolutely the core of consistently superior performance.

What is your definition of coaching?

Coaching consists of guiding, supporting, strategizing, challenging and confronting the client and their respective teams to become aware of their inner challenges as they are being confronted by outer challenges.  They can thusly pursue, with appropriate resources and vigour, those quests which will transform them for their next level of challenges. Coaching is meant to help the coachee return with the elixir, with mastery.Coaching provides for you a mirror of insights into what you know that you know, what you know that you don’t know, what you don’t know that you know, and what you don’t know that you don’t know, It does this in an “on-the-go” action oriented approach.

What’s flow and fiero?

Ahhh, you have asked me of my favorite topic for world class performance. Flow is that zone where things simply “flow”. You interact effortlessly, the communication is immediate, the support timely and without request… The trust, alignment and engagement of everyone involved in the processes being executed allows for a zone of timeless, tireless synchronicity where every stakeholder is mobilized for every challenge of each quest. They execute within a zone of full engagement, congruent alignment and smart trust. Within such a zone, there are moments of fiero moments – moments of epic triumph, which needs to be achieved frequently enough for those significant confirmations of successful performance and yet short enough lived that the space in the team’s flow zone is not lost but rather through the learning or acquisition of capabilities, can lead the team to even higher levels of trust, engagement, alignment that beget the next fiero moment and lead the team towards “world class stature”.

Do you think that emotions are important in business?

Give me a business decision that is made without an aspect of emotion attached somewhere, somehow! It is often played down, yet all information we process must first go through our emotion center before it is reacted to or responded to. Hence, emotions underlie, indeed, very much frame the affects, behaviors and cognitions of business decisions as is the case in every aspect of our lives.

Who are you for your clients? A mentor? Guru? Friend?

I am the person who helps them to do what they often know they need to do to “win” but don’t want to or can’t quite get themselves to.

I am the strategic thinker, the intuit helping them with what they often don’t know they need to do to “win” but need to reach that level of awareness, acquire or manage that capability

I hold them true to their vision, even if they do not quite see it yet themselves. I hold them accountable to themselves for what they envision, believe in and value.

I hold their fingers and their teams’ fingers to the fire until they, indeed, get a “hot hand”. I help them identify and make those tough, necessary but also game-changing decisions leading to their transformation as leaders … as people I help them get in touch with their inner challenges that are the root causes of their outer challenges.

I work with them to bring more out of themselves than they thought they had in them – but never quietly! Not without trial and tribulation before the triumph….so what is that … Alchemy?

Owning or managing a company makes us want to be the best leaders we can be. Is there any secret of being a great leader?

Sure is, but if I told you, it wouldn’t be a secret! Seriously though – please read my forthcoming book that outlines the formula for to successfully assess the “best fit” leadership style to the leadership situation you are facing.

Can you do anything new with a group that you have been working with for many years?

If the group has decided to cross the threshold beyond their “business as usual” and move beyond their present state, then they can continue to benefit from my performance-oriented approach. But the group must say yes to their call to adventure. In fact,  it is something that they may well have refused to do as they may not have recognized the need or they were simply too comfortable in their present state. However, life, team-life is constantly changing. To turn it into a journey of transformation,rather than a ride on a rollercoaster is where I come in.

Why do some teams work and some just don’t? How can we improve the team’s performance?

All of the team-controlled issues that block team performance can be found in the critical success factors of high performing teams. Identify which factors are dysfunctional and it is the first step to understanding the pathway back to top performance. That said, the essential stage for setting up the team’s success is in the very formation of the team. It is here where many challenges and issues within the later stages can be prepared for. Without a strong focus on team formation, breakdowns can be quite accurately anticipated based upon which CSF is being violated!


Want to read more about Ken?  Visit KenTyler.com