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Mark Dobson

Executive Coach & Advisor

A CEO’s effectiveness is dependent on the leadership skills of their executive team

Mark has consulted to more boardrooms than he could possibly count, guiding executives to elite levels of leadership and then on how to foster those skills throughout the organisation.

Mark’s contribution is much, much more than an inspirational chat or regurgitated clichés. Mark brings sophisticated insight and strategy. His business acumen and experience mean he can keep pace with the most astute business minds in your team and customise strategy to suit their nature.

Mark’s expertise allows his impact to be time efficient. You’ll experience the rewards of his guidance without the pain of having less time in your week.

To fit more in is always challenging. So, our executive team would have a disciplined meeting of 10 to 15 minutes, and then we put Mark in for 30 minutes on the back of that. And we did that every single Wednesday. It didn't feel like it was an imposition on people's time. Mark actually moulds himself into what you do as a business.”

Grant Hackett – OAM

Olympic Medallist | CEO of Generation Life

How it works

Get To Know Each Other

It usually starts with lunch with the CEO. You need to get to know Mark and he needs to get to know you, your style, your business and objectives.

The Plan

From there, a short-term plan is customised to achieve some early wins with your team. Sometimes this means Mark joins you offsite. Other times it’s a short presentation at a regular meeting. Or another informal breakfast or lunch.

Clear A Path Forward

After that, the path becomes clear of how coaching might work in your organisation.

How it works for some other companies

Framework One

Over six months of coffees and lunches one-on-one with the CEO, we designed a comprehensive performance framework which held everyone accountable to cultural and performance standards. We then ran the same ‘high performance’ presentations three times, which allowed every employee to attend a session without business stopping.

Some teams embraced the approach, others dismissed it until we were able to point out it had been in operation for nearly a year and was just it’s first formal application.

Over the next twelve months the framework was the backbone of an incredible transformation for the company, especially in the sales team which needed an overhaul.

Mark guided this performance and cultural change by advising the executive team every two months for 90 minutes, being available for coaching and brain storming sessions with executives when needed, and facilitating company-wide high performance workshops every six months.

Framework Two

Mark joined the executive team off-site and led a 3-hour session on Creating An Elite Team and Potent Time Management Skills For Leadership. This workshop was followed up with three 90-minute sessions throughout the year to track execution and continue fostering the new skills.

One of the executives elected to have Mark bring similar content into their sales and marketing teams. This consisted of six 1-hour sessions over a six month period.

During the training, Mark was having breakfast with the CEO once a month and was on the phone to the executive twice a month.

Ananda Subbiah managed 7,000 staff internationally at Hewlett-Packard and negotiated 2 x $1billion deals.

What has stood out in my work with Mark, is his ability to cut to the heart of a complicated issue and create a simplified and honest view for his audience. Honesty is a tough and rare commodity these days but Mark is exceptionally gifted in translating this in a caring way. The ‘Mark’ way gets people excited by the change and has always concluded with clear fix to the problem. In my view it is indeed a rare gift. In all of my corporate experience Mark is truly one of a kind. On every occasion I have see him turn a series of tough conversations into an excitement in the team.”

Ananda Subbiah

Vice President | Global Strategic Engagement | Telarix

Framework Three

The company wanted to clarify their leadership structure and the purpose of the business.

Over three 2-hour sessions, we defined the company’s purpose, vision and culture. Upon completion, each executive did an audit of what they needed to adapt in their leadership.

We then met every two months for 2-hours to develop and be accountable to the skills we had committed to.

After six months Mark began leading 45-minutes monthly sessions for the next level of management. These explored the ways problems in the business could be practically solved from the inside out, through application of the company’s leadership values.

Framework Four

Mark and the CEO chatted each Friday afternoon to debrief all that was going on in the business and to develop strategies.

Any time the CEO had a particularly important presentation, difficult conversation or tricky situation to navigate, Mark was a sounding board – at any hour of the day or night.

The executive team and employees never met Mark.

I found Mark really refreshing because he came at things with fresh eyes – a different perspective. He could get me to see things that were in my blind spot. I think that takes a unique skill, to be able to get someone to really see a different light, about themselves, in a way that’s not intimidating.”

Kate Smyth

Olympic Marathon Runner | Founder of Athlete Sanctuary

A coaching relationship is half science and half art.  Not all coaches are a match for all companies. That is why it is key to start small, with lunch or coffee, and build up. Look for the chemistry between coach and CEO and the rest of it will unfold.

I have learned that my role in a company will be for a reason, a season or a lifetime. I never know which it will be, so I plan for a short time and then see how it unfolds. It takes the pressure off everyone and sets all parties up for success.”

Mark Dobson

Other clients Mark has worked with

Tony Smith

CEO – Specialized

Mark has provided strategy to expand the capabilities of Tony and his team.

Grant Hackett, OAM

CEO – Generation Life

Mark has advised Olympic medallist, Grant Hackett, for over 2 decades.

Jason Cunningham & Robert Hadded

CEOs – The Practice

Mark has advised Jason from The Living Room to the boardroom of The Practice, along with Robert Hadded and their team.

Kath Mainland

CEO, The Melbourne Festival

Mark has advised Kath in her role as CEO of the Melbourne International Arts Festival (now known as Rising).

I had previously thought our organisation was very clear on its direction, mission statement and values, but Mark really challenged me on this, and as I listened, I realised he was right. Our previous model wasn’t converting into results. The Ubuntu Leadership framework, on the other hand, generates a culture which allows talent to thrive. It actually demands more accountability than you would think you could ask of your people, but people love it because they know they are all in it together.”

Jason Cunningham

Co-founder & Director, Head of Business Advisory at The Practice | TV & Radio Personality

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