How It Started
It’s a snowy December day and I’m sitting across from Eric Remer, CEO of PaySimple. We’d just finished a coaching session. As I’m packing up my bag, Eric says, “Here’s an idea: What if you coached all of PaySimple?”
Hmm, I hadn’t ever coached a whole company before. I’d grown accustomed to only working with the senior leaders of organizations – usually one or two people within the ecosystem. I realized that I hadn’t ever heard of the entire company getting coaching.
“What did you have in mind?” I said. “Let’s have you coach everyone in the company for 3 months and see what happens. I think you could have a real impact in their lives as well as in the company itself. Are you up for it?”
A flash of energy shot through my spine. An experiment! “Yes! Let’s do it!”
“We can begin in January!” Eric said. “Okay, I’ll figure out the details, including how to measure the impact.”
The Journey Begins
A few weeks later, I stood in front of the all company quarterly kickoff meeting. The tingles of nervous excitement moved through me. “What if it doesn’t work? What if I’m not good enough?” I thought.
“David is the best coach I’ve ever known. I’ve arranged for him to work with each of you personally to help you get to the next level in your life and work. You can talk to him about anything, and everything you say will be completely confidential,” Eric said.
He continued: “To kick it off, we’ll send out a survey. Please fill it out honestly, since the results will only be seen by David and used to help you grow in the areas that are important to you.”
This was how it started. I coached each of the sixty people. I met with individual contributors monthly, managers bi-weekly, and Eric weekly. Each session was just 45 minutes in length.
Three months later, we surveyed them again. Here were the results:
For most, these results came in just 2 hours and 15 minutes of interaction! (Meeting monthly for 45 minutes each for individual contributors.)
After seeing the increased results, Eric said, “Let’s try it for the rest of the year and see how it impacts revenue!”
A year later, these were the results:
I felt great – the power of coaching an entire organization had never been so tangibly measured before. But there was one thorn in my mind.
Literally every single person in the company – except one. A single person decided not to participate. “Argh! This messed up the experiment!” I thought.
Later, I learned that the person who had decided not to receive coaching had started on the same day as two other peers in the same role. Aha – an opportunity!
So, I looked at the productivity metrics of the person who opted out versus her peers who received coaching. The results?
Within a year, her peers were:
Shortly afterwards, the only individual to not get coaching left the company. My guess is that she felt she couldn’t keep up. It’s likely she didn’t realize why.
We kept the “experiment” going for four years and I took the role of SVP of Strategy and Talent Development. We added in leadership development training and integrated coaching, with huge results.
Even though things were going great, I decided to go on to lead Executive Education at a business school, then assumed a professor role in their Executive MBA and MBA programs, and soon after co-founded OwlHub.
PaySimple Core Learning
However, this core learning with PaySimple (now EverCommerce) taught me about the power of coaching and leadership development integrated in an organization. While I continued to work with their leaders, and still do, their results continued to multiply.
It is now 7 years after the start of our work together, and here is perhaps the most impressive metric of all.
When I started with them, they’d been in business for 10 years and had a valuation of $35 million. Today, they have a valuation of ~$3.5 billion. That’s 100x growth in just 7 years!
This transformation is one of the reasons I’m so passionate about work we do at OwlHub! When you systematically integrate leadership development and coaching, as we’ve done in our LeaderHub(LINK) programs , you truly unlock the potential of the people, profitability, and positive change.