Zach White is the Founder and CEO of OACO, a Coaching consultancy dedicated to improving the life and career of engineers. Zach talks to The Industry Leaders about the challenges his business faced during the Covid-19 pandemic and why patience is essential.
How did you end up sitting where you are today?
My journey from engineering leadership in the Fortune 500 to entrepreneurship and coaching was born out of a personal crisis. I was a young and talented engineer hungry for success and found myself sitting somewhere I never thought I would be: across the table from a divorce attorney.
Although I didn't know it at the time, that moment set in motion my purpose and passion to help engineers build their career and balance their life.
What kind of work does your role involve?
I am the Founder and CEO of OACO, the Oasis of Courage, and also the head coach for our Clients. My role is first and foremost to ensure that our team helps every engineer who enrols to experience breakthrough results in their career and life. I coach our Clients 1-on-1 and in small group sessions and provide coaching and keynote workshops to large groups inside companies. As CEO, I'm also setting the vision for our company, hiring great team members, and building the OACO brand.
What gets you excited about your industry?
Coaching has become mainstream; everybody who wants to perform their best has a coach. And that is what we need!
In the old days, only executives had coaches. Now, engineers at every level are waking up to the reality that hiring a coach is a catalyst to career growth and living a fulfilling life. Combine that awareness with the technology trend to virtual interaction, and OACO is perfectly positioned to help thousands of engineers around the world build their career and balance their life.
What's the best advice anyone ever gave you?
The best advice is when you get exactly what you need, exactly WHEN you need it. So the best advice I was given 10 years ago is no longer the best advice today.
That said, the best advice I've been given lately is "be patient." I love to go fast, but building a company is different from being an engineer inside a large organization. I am glad my mentor reminded me that some things will take time, and I want to enjoy the ride.
How do you support aspiring leaders in your field?
I am part of a mastermind of coaches and a contributor to a coaches learning forum. Alongside this, I also consult for new coaches who need direct support.
The coaching industry is expanding, and many new entrants are not qualified. This is making it harder for great coaches to find Clients and stand out from the noise. So when an aspiring coach reaches out to me, my goal is to share what works and point them to training and tools that will help them get their business off the ground.
How do you keep up to speed with what's happening in your industry?
OACO is a young business and measures growth targets by quarters, so our business planning rhythms are faster to match the speed of the industry and the speed of our own growth. We focus on Client results first and on marketing and sales systems second. It's easier to be nimble with technology and tools while we are still a young organization.
What was the most challenging project or situation you've overcome?
There are countless challenges I faced and solved in my engineering days... but as CEO of OACO, the most challenging situation we have faced was the global lockdown from the COVID 19 pandemic. I'm sure many companies are saying the same thing.
We lost the majority of our revenue overnight and had to immediately pivot the entire business model to online program delivery. On top of that, every engineer on the planet closed their wallets during those first few months of uncertainty. Company budgets were also cut for outside training.
But, most importantly, WE MADE IT.
You finish work today and step outside the office to find a lottery ticket that ends up winning $10 million. What would you do?
First, I would buy my wife the horse of her dreams (we love to ride, and she has always had horses). Then, I would triple the size of my team at OACO to accelerate our growth and impact for engineers worldwide who need our help. I'm not done working yet, and this business is the embodiment of my life purpose, so this is a no-brainer for me to go bigger.
How do you switch off after a day at work?
Most days in the winter, my wife and I make dinner and unwind with an episode of whatever show she is into. However, in the summer, life gets way more fun! We go to the beach about a mile from our place every night possible. I love to catch some sun, dip in Lake Michigan, and do some acro yoga together!
If you had one wish for the future of your industry, what would it be?
I would love to see coaches leading the way in how humans and technology interact. The technology is advancing at such a rapid pace, coaches are simply trying to keep up and leverage what they can to help their clients.
I would like to flip that script and be the driver of technology that is built primarily to support human vision and purpose in life.
What book or podcast should everyone know about?
Well, I can't pass up the opportunity to leak a big announcement for the technical folks reading this!
I am hosting a new podcast for engineers seeking career growth and fulfilment in life. So keep your eyes open; that's a top-secret project we are about to roll out in 2021!
For all the coaches out there, a book that I believe is a must-read for you is "Psycho-Cybernetics" by Maxwell Maltz.
How should people connect with you?
If you are a social media fan, I spend the most time on LinkedIn. Search Zach White or OACO, and you'll find me there. To get more information and connect, visit our website, www.oasisofcourage.com, and click the button to schedule a free call.
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