What does it take to truly engage, and form a lasting and productive connection? It’s a question that has plagued every team leader, every manager and every executive since business was a concept. Nadine Hack has made “connectedness” her life’s work, and what she has uncovered during her long and illustrious career is remarkable.
She connects people and organisations to their “authentic purpose” and helps them discover how to harness that purpose to achieve their goals. Using her framework Strategic Relational Engagement (™) she assists them in creating connections with others – inside and outside their institutions – to amplify their success. But what does this mean in real world terms, and where did Nadine get this burning passion for connection and engagement from? We honoured Nadine Hack with the Women’s Mentor of the Year award at this year’s ceremony, and there is a very good reason why she won. She has a level of passion that is almost unrivalled, and her results demonstrate that passion beautifully, as our exclusive interview will divulge.
But first, a word on the woman herself.
Nadine Hack, CEO, , is a gifted facilitator of connectedness. She was the first woman Executive-in-Residence at IMD Business School (where she maintains an affiliation). She was Board Chair of the Desmond Tutu Peace Foundation and has served as a non-executive director on a number of boards.
She has had articles written about (or written by) her in The Financial Times, Forbes, Huffington Post, The New York Times and the UN Chronicle. She’s appeared extensively on television, radio, Internet, and is on an on-line braintrust of international women experts (SheSource). Her (which we’ve included before) shows her skills as a master bridge builder who even can connect adversaries and turn them into allies. Named one of the Top 100 Thought Leaders in Trust, the Top 100 Corporate Social Responsibility Leaders and featured on . As you have probably gathered, she is in high demand – all around the world!
It’s not just us who have honoured her with an award, either! She’s earned many in her time, including International Outstanding Achievement, Woman of the Year, and Womensphere’s Inspiration Award for lifetime achievement presented at the Säid Business School, Oxford University.
There are few out there who can claim a CV like that, yet Nadine Hack manages it with grace and comfort. We caught up with her a few months after her win to see how the award has effected her business, and to find out exactly what influences and inspires such an impressive character.
How did you feel when you won the Award?
While I’ve worked internationally with all types of leader in every sector, I’ve been committed to promote and support other women since I became involved in the women’s rights movement in the 1960s. So, this award had a particularly special meaning for me.
Where did all of it begin and what influenced you?
I’ve always had a profound sense of our inextricable connectedness to each other. I was intensely affected by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech. I was deeply moved by Martin Buber’s I-Thou philosophy and South Africa’s concept of Ubuntu, all of which essentially say we are human beings through our relationships with other human beings.
And, the more I worked with different types of people in dramatically divergent situations, the more I’ve come to appreciate how much we all have in common with each other. Helping people uncover their humanity and connect to others via a sense of shared humanity has been richly rewarding for me and my clients have told me how enriched their lives have become through our work together.
I’ve also come to appreciate that our capacity to connect to others on the most rooted level turns on our ability to be truly honest about ourselves, open to . The journey towards self-discovery is one I’ve experienced myself and witnessed in the lives of myriad executives I’ve coached over several decades. I recently wrote an about this for the Library of Professional Coaching.
What do you think your clients value most about what you offer?
I love engaging in a way that helps people discover a bigger picture of their life. When I interact with an individual or a group where I am facilitating new discoveries that unlock their potential, I feel like I’m in “my zone” and my sense of fulfillment is enormous, while my clients gain tremendous insights.
I never approach a client with a belief that I am the one with the answers but instead guide them towards uncovering what will allow them to more fully achieve their goals and aspirations. I get enormous joy in facilitating their discovery, of which they then feel full ownership.
Even the most brilliant strategic plans – for individuals or organizations – only can lead to success when that sense of ownership, buy-in and responsibility is held by those who have to execute it. This all comes back to that core concept of feeling connected to what it is you’re doing and why.
My gift is an ability to “see” and “understand” others’ situations and mirror it back to them distilled and integrated regardless of the complexity. I seem to have a talent to inspire people to find a way to improve their perspective and situation, in an empathetic, supportive way.
Can you give us one tip for standing out from the crowd as a coach?
Be open to the possibility that you will learn as much from those you coach as they might learn from you. It is in that state of genuine two-way interaction that it most likely you will draw out what I like to call the “golden nuggets of truth” we each have within us.
This is not only true for the mentor/mentee relationship but operates on all levels of organizational behavior. Leaders who are humble enough to recognize that the new intern can have the breakthrough “genius insight” can come from anywhere are secure and do not have to dominate.
In our ever-more connected world, growing exponentially more so because of social media, people expect to be engaged rather than dictated to. This is a 21st century imperative if you want to succeed.
Where has your success taken you in a monetary sense?
It is absolutely clear to me that the more I’ve connected to and followed my passion, the greater my financial success has been. In consulting, you never have the same stability as getting a regular paycheck. But, I’ve stuck with my principles through thick and thin.
This meant when there were dramatic dips (as there were after 9/11 and again after the 2008 global financial crisis) my attorney and accountant told me to lay off employees. Instead, I took out a line of credit to keep paying them. When business bounced back, I had unmatched loyalty.
All my clients came via word of mouth and now, more frequently, “word of Internet.” I stand proudly on my reputation for integrity, delivering what I promise and never promising what I can’t be certain I can deliver. As my stature grew through this consistency, I am getting exactly the type of work I love.
Has your winning this APCTC award had an effect on your business?
I’ve been blessed with many awards over the decades. So, I was genuinely surprised at the sheer number of people who have commented on me winning this one. I didn’t need it to validate what I do but I’ve been delightfully appreciative for how much people value this award.
Now, when my clients have a significant breakthrough I can jokingly say, “Well, I was just honored as a mentor of the year by the Association of Professional Coaches, Trainers and Consultants!” This always makes us both have a great belly laugh! But, true joke that it is, I’m certain it makes them feel more secure in working with me. And, I believe new clients are impressed with it too.
Do you have a final message for anyone who aspires to you?
Don’t try to be me! Be the best you that you can be: if you’re not happy, you probably are disconnected from your true self. That’s the connection on which all others are built. So, find it, nurture it and see what emerges: I am confident you will become more fulfilled because only you can be you!
Is Nadine’s gift of ‘connectedness’ something you can relate to? Then pick up your free copy of The Coaches Code. It has everything you need to build a lucrative coaching business from the ground up! Just click the image below to grab your free copy.