Cityzenith CEO Michael Jansen On His Transformational Journey With Coach Dr. Deep Bali

11 May 2018

Cityzenith CEO Michael Jansen On His Transformational Journey With Coach Dr. Deep Bali

As Michael Jansen, Chairman and CEO of US-based Cityzenith, set out to on yet another entrepreneurial journey, he wanted to make sure it was for the right reasons. He knew the success of his new venture would depend on not just him being individually successful, but also the success of the people around him. Here, Jansen reflects on his executive coaching journey and transformation with coach Dr. Deep Bali, ACI Columbia University and CEO, Recalibrate. 

When did you start your coaching engagement with Deep? What led to that decision?

I first engaged with Deep in 2009. I was going through a transition at the time from one company to another that I had grown into a successful business. I was interested in looking at ways to do my job better, and making sure that going into a new role was for the right reasons. An architect by training, I had been with Satellier, an architecture services company backed by Sequoia Capital that had grown to over 500 employees under my leadership, and I was now leaving to run Cityzenith, which was primarily a technology company.

I wanted to make sure the transition was fast and smooth while balancing other areas of my life. Startups are like children that require tremendous amounts of energy and commitment.

I knew that I wouldn’t be able to lead a startup successfully if I didn’t have the passion for it. The new venture required a focus on a technology that I had been less familiar with, which had made the call harder for me.

I knew that I wouldn’t be able to lead a startup successfully if I didn’t have the passion for it.

Describe your leadership coaching journey and what value do you think coaching brings?

The coaching journey was intense for the first three years. Deep and I met almost weekly and we worked on a number of assignments. At first, we focused on a number of exploratory tests such as the Entrecode (Entrepreneurial DNA) assessment.

We did a bunch of things like mapping out immediate strategies. CEOs are constantly bombarded with thoughts they have to deal with – on average, a CEO has to deal with 200,000 thoughts in a day. With that intensity when you have a massive amount of decision-making to do, you also need time to work around life issues. For me, in particular, meditation proved to be very helpful. Deep is a big proponent of the Eastern practices and meditation was also a part of my coaching journey.

The coaching in the second year was around stabilising the progress I had achieved, and by the third to fifth year, we started to see transformation happen and I started noticing some fundamental changes within me and around me. I knew the success of Cityzenith meant that it was not contingent on me being individually successful, but the people around me also had to be successful. When things are going well, everyone has fun but a lot of people give up when faced with challenges.

Deep and I would look at many options to seeing our way through adversity and worked together on developing strategies. It got me to a point where I was a better CEO and became better with shareholders. By the end of it, people around you start transforming noticeably.

Deep and I would look at many options to seeing our way through adversity and worked together on developing strategies. It got me to a point where I was a better CEO and became better with shareholders. By the end of it, people around you start transforming noticeably.

What was your biggest takeaway during your journey?

One of my biggest takeaways was that when you start following your purpose and living authentically, you can control so many things around you. Once you are clear of distractions, the uncertainty tends to disappear, and you come to the right place of not ego, not fear, not greed, not pride but the right purpose.

When you start following your purpose and living authentically, you can control so many things around you.

What would you advice leaders considering this method of coaching?

With Coaching, you look at a lot of different angles. Deep has a background in neuroscience, whole brain thinking and cognitive learning styles. He has a great East meets West approach – he and I spent time on practicing Buddhist meditation in the Himalayas.

He is personally committed and always stays on top of his engagements.

My advice to leaders is you have to be prepared to commit yourself to coaching and the more committed you are, the greater results you garner.

 

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