Interview with Cary Langer-Donohoe
In me you have a business partner with more than a decade experience of leading in industry, from teams to departments, to large-scale projects (> 30M €).
My interest in finding solutions equals my interest in people.
I connect quickly, handling complexity and keeping an eye on the goal, while building a business relationship based on humanist values and humor. Check out my website here
Hi Cary! When did you first realize that you had a penchant for business coaching? What led to your founding CLD Business Coaching & Training?
I guess I always had two main interests in my life: one of those was aerospace and technical, and everything to do with airplanes; and the other was humans - people and how they interact, and how they work well with each other, and what kind of environment is required for that. While I was working as a leader in aerospace, I kept having people coming to me with questions, which were really similar to what I cover with my clients and business coaching now. So kind of like, "How do I resolve this conflict? How do I progress in my career? How do I make sure that I can work better with this and this person?" And these are things that I kind of cover now with my clients and which are very akin to business coaching, so that was the first indication. And initially I thought that maybe people were coming to me because I'd spent quite a long time at one company, but once I changed companies it took a whole three weeks until the next person sat at my desk and asked a similar question. So that kind of started the cogs turning and I've done a facilitation training in the meantime and I really enjoyed working in with teams and workshops. So, slowly but surely, I kind of got to the point where I was ready to tip the balance in my career, away from the more technical focus to focusing completely on people, and helping people do their best at work. And that's what led to me founding CLD Business Coaching & Training and that's what I do during my working day, and I enjoy it - a lot.
What are the main challenges faced by your clients within the realm of intercultural teamwork?
One of the main things that I look at with global teams is communication, and how can they work better with each other. And a lot of that has to do with looking at: what were their formative influences when they were very very young, when they were growing up? So one of the really, really successful strategies of humans is that when we grow up, we have lots of people around us - our parents and our society - basically teaching us 24/7 what's right and what's wrong. And that works really well, it's really successful for humans, as long as they stay within that cultural realm. Once they leave that cultural realm, this judgment of right or wrong doesn't always hold, and is confronted with many different other judgments of right or wrong. And this is something that can often cause conflict within intercultural teams. So what I do with the global team is that I work with, is first of all have a look at - what are your formative influences? How do you tell what's right or wrong? - and then have a look at, if we all have these different formative influences, if we have different ways of judging things, how can we find a good basis for communication - a good basis for working with each other, where we can allow for different ways of doing this. How can we broaden our cultural envelope, in order to benefit from it as a team and go away even stronger.
When engineers & technical experts become executives and managers, how do you guide them to the change this brings to their careers?
One of the things that I work on with leaders-to-be, or people who've just changed into leadership, or even people who've already been there for a while and who haven't had a chance to do this for themselves yet - is themselves! Looking at, "Who do I want to be as leader? Who am I as a leader? What are my core leadership values, and what's really important to me. And how do I effectively and clearly communicate that in my actions and my communication to my team? How do they know what's important to me - because that can be really really valuable for the team as well? And also, how do I, as a leader, deal with somebody crossing a line? In terms of my leadership values, how do I say, okay, that wasn't okay for me, but let's see how we can do it differently next time in a way that I can still easily work with wherever I've had to address that with?" And another aspect of the work that I do with leaders and managers, is to look at what if you already brought to the table? What valuable knowledge and expertise have you accumulated in the years in the past, and how can we benefit from it in the future without it distracting you too much from core leadership tasks, like looking at your your department's strategy, or looking at how your business is going to develop in the next 10 years. Looking at how you're going to develop your people, and looking at which markets you want to go into - all these core tasks are super important to leaders, and at the same time, it's also good to not say that everything that they've done before needs to be packed awa,y because that's worth an awful lot, and they've invested a lot of time in that.
What are some of the main coaching services you offer for expats? How are their needs unique?
I think one of the things that makes the needs of expats unique is the amount of pressure when it comes to their expat mission: not only is there usually a very tight timeframe in terms of when are you going to go there, how long do you have in the other country or other culture to achieve your goal, and when you're going to be back. Normally we're talking about a couple of years, and in a lot of cases there's a big financial investment for the company as well, so they're looking for the expat to basically hit the ground running and be able to work with whomever they're going to encounter on this mission of theirs. And so the work that I do with expats focuses on preparing them before they go on the mission, supporting them during the mission, and supporting them when they leave the mission as well and, in many cases, come back home. In terms of preparation it has a lot to do with, "Who am I? What are my cultural influences? What are my formative influences and how do I expand my cultural horizon in order to be able to work easily with whomever I'm going to encounter on my mission?" While they're there, it's making sure that they can have a good sustainable support system and make themselves comfortable and effective wherever they are, and when they come back it's about dealing with the question of, "Okay, I've come back home, but I've changed because of my experiences, and how can I best integrate here again, as well?" So those are the things that I focus on expats, which are mostly to do with, "How do I most effectively integrate and make my mission a success?"
What's next for your coaching career? What curriculum and sectors will you be focusing on throughout the next year?
I guess I'd have to say that, in terms of developing my business and developing myself continuously, the main focus this year for me has been online - I just finished a certification as a master virtual producer, which will help me manage online trainings and be able to make sure that my participants get the maximum that they can out of online trainings with me; as well as doing an online trainer course which I'm going to be finishing soon, and so doing online training, doing online coaching, is a big thing for me this year. And in terms of what kind of curriculum and sectors I'll be focusing on throughout the year? It's kind of hard to say, because my customers are from all kinds of different sectors from lawyers' offices to restaurants. So I don't really have a strong focus there, it's more about what kind of leaders I work with and what background they have, and whether the organization is local or global. And so I don't know if there will be much change there, but I really want to continue doing the kind of leadership trainings that I've been doing to date, which have a lot to do with kind of giving the leaders who are in the training an opportunity to reflect upon what they're doing and how they want to do it in the future, what do they want to keep, what do they want to improve, what do they want to leave behind and making sure that they have the maximum opportunity to develop themselves, and have a safe space where they can do that in the trainings with me.