Robin Pou wants to make bad bosses disappear.
The Dallas executive coach has trained several hundred executives from publicly traded companies and high-growth private companies since he launched his leadership development and strategy workshop in Oak Lawn 13 years ago. He has worked with senior executives including those at GM Financial, Southwest Airlines and Match Group.
This week, Pou’s office is launching its first National Confident Leaders Week, with the goal of improving leadership effectiveness. He hopes that by better understanding how today’s leaders question their abilities in difficult situations, manage their doubts, and cope with these experiences, leaders can better serve their companies.
“I’m here to help this leader gain the awareness and skills necessary for their technical skills to actually see the light of day,” Pou, 53, said.
The week-long digital conference is sponsored by The Dallas Morning News. Monday’s kickoff includes a conversation with Morning News editor Katrice Hardy and business editor Paul O’Donnell.
Pou began working with DallasNews Corp. CEO Grant Moise in 2017 – the year The post office a film was released recounting the publication of the Pentagon Papers in 1971 by the Washington Post under the direction of publisher Katherine Graham and editor Ben Bradlee, played by Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks.
He invited Moses, who then held the title of executive vice-president, watch the film, wanting to know if this is how newsrooms really work. Soon after, they began working together.
“Over the past several years, we have seen that confident, servant-leaders in positions of influence are critical elements in ensuring the success of our communities, both in Dallas and around the world,” Moise said.
After studying his past clients in depth, Pou realized that if he was able to identify and normalize doubt, it could be neutralized. On Wednesday, Pou’s office will release its first Leadership Doubt Index, a report on the impact of doubt on leaders, their teams and their companies.
Most of Pou’s clients come by referral and are encouraged to work with him for a year as he tries to change their way of thinking. Her clients stay in coaching for more than three years on average, Pou said, as they work together on specific plans or issues.
Originally trained as a lawyer, Pou also worked as the chief operating officer of several software and technology companies and sold Musicforce.com, one of the first online providers of Christian music, to Gaylord Entertainment. He’s a fourth-generation Dallasite.
Pou first worked as an executive coach with Julie Bell, a sports psychologist with whom he later co-published “Performance Intelligence at Work: The 5 Essentials to Achieving The Mind of a Champion” in 2009. A guiding principle of book is that thoughts lead to actions and actions lead to results.
“That’s what I focus on in training,” Pou said.
When he launched his boutique coaching practice in 2010, businesses were mostly out of recession and looking to see how much growth was possible. His coaching therefore focused on growing pains, expansions and hiring.
Today, leaders come to him to talk about burnout, lack of engagement and retention.
“They realize that what they know from experience and expertise is not enough,” Pou said. “Workers are demanding a different type of leader…and they find themselves ill-equipped to speak across generations.”
Today’s workers are looking for leaders who are authentic, collaborative, direct and relational, Pou said.
Most of the leaders Pou works with, regardless of company characteristics, want to make a positive impact on their employees, their customer base and the world at large, he said.
“They want to be the best leader they can be so they can lead their team well and be able to truly fulfill their company’s mission.”