“Coaching isn’t about changing who you are. It is about finding the 2.0 version of you that is better equipped to handle the new challenges that are coming your way.”
We’re thrilled to introduce you to our Spotlight Coach for the month of March! Marion Gamel, one of our most sought-after coaches, has been coaching leaders since 2015. She's accredited as a PCC (Professional Certified Coach) from the International Coaching Federation.
After working in the fashion industry in Paris and NYC, and launching her own magazine in the mid-'90s, Marion caught the internet bug in the early 2000s! She joined Google in 2003, which she launched around the world: Europe, India and surrounding countries, the Middle East, and Africa. She also worked for Eventbrite as VP of Marketing, EMEA. Her last corporate role was as Chief Marketing Officer for a global publicly listed gaming group.
Marion is also a Non-Executive Director, a Business Writer, a Public Speaker, and a Mentor.
Let’s get to know her better.
What inspired you to become a coach? Could you tell us a little bit about your coaching journey
While I was being groomed for my next promotion at Google, I was coached for about a year by a phenomenal executive coach. She had a deep impact on how I viewed my career and understood my broader context. This experience left me in awe of the impact coaching can have on people and I thought to myself — "It must be wonderful to help people grow!".
The leap to professional coaching almost happened by accident. It was around 2015, once I left Eventbrite, I could see that I was able to make a tangible difference in people’s lives and was also enjoying the process thoroughly. I had it in my mind since then that executive coaching would be the path I’d like to pursue once I moved on from being a C-level executive. Helping people succeed has always been my passion, coaching was the ideal next step to put that to practice.
What do you enjoy the most about being a coach?
I believe that coaching is a partnership of minds. I enjoy the trust that exists between my clients and myself. I also enjoy the straight-talk, when we go for topics that are not necessarily 'comfortable' but are important nevertheless, and we turn something abstract or worrying into something exciting.
I find the coaching journey immensely gratifying from start to finish. It gives me a chance to work with leaders, to listen to them, and hone them into becoming better at what they do. Coaching is always outcome-oriented and being able to see that marked difference from the first session to the end is exhilarating and rewarding in equal measure.
Have you ever been on the other side of coaching? Can you recall an incident in your life where you felt the importance of coaching for yourself?
As I mentioned earlier, I got the opportunity to meet and work with an executive coach while I was preparing for the next promotion at Google. I loved the experience thoroughly!
Leadership can often feel quite isolating and for the first time, coaching made it feel like I wasn’t alone anymore while making tough decisions. My coach acted as a partner who could guide me by taking a step back and evaluating the entire situation without judgment. This made it easier to look at all available opportunities and risks, and define realistic goals.
Being coached felt like a luxury. I knew I was in a small subsection of the organization that had access to this amazing opportunity, and I made the most of it! I’d been so focused on the growth of my team in the past, and now it felt like I could focus on my own growth as well.
Leadership can be learned but it can’t be taught. If coaches are facilitators of change, how much of this is an inside job? And how does a coach help you to get there?
A good coach is an excellent listener. They help leaders by asking questions that impact what they are focusing on.
Questions make us focus on specific areas of our work. And when we focus on something, we see it, we analyze it, we think about it, and eventually, we get ready to change it. I love comparing it to the sports coach analogy. As an athlete, you run, run, and run! But once your coach comes in, you do more than just run. You try to understand how you’ve been running so far, analyze what can be better, how you can improve your form, and discuss how you want to be running in the future.
The last two years have been challenging at best and many people are finding it hard to stay afloat. How do you predict leadership and management can support their employees to navigate through these stressful times?
There are two things that come to my mind: Stability and Collaboration. These are unsettling times and leaders need to send out a reassuring message to their team — "These are scary times, but we're going to be okay".
A team that panics is a team whose work deteriorates. Leaders also need to include their team in the thinking process to identify necessary changes and then in the driving of these changes. The days of 'control and command' are long gone. Now, it's about explaining the WHY, working with your team on defining the WHAT, and empowering them to drive the HOW.
Tell us something that you do to keep yourself positive and grounded.
Like most human beings, I thrive when I feel useful. When I know I am having an impact — that I had a small part to play in something good that has happened. Once a week, I reflect on my work and ask myself "What did I succeed at? What could have gone better? What have I learned? How will I use this learning in the future?...". This self-analysis that I experience helps me immensely and in turn, I help my clients experience it for themselves.
I believe that at the end of the day, continuous growth is what keeps us feeling we're on the 'right path.’ It is what keeps me going.