For the first time in over a decade I love what I do
A high-flying corporate career saw Steve Gregory feeling all he needed from TCI was frameworks. Three years on, he has a successful business, happier family life and new self-awareness.
As a three-time CEO and former general manager of professional rugby union team The Brumbies, Steve Gregory joined TCI in December 2017 convinced he just needed a mentoring and coaching framework to use in his business Black Bull Performance Group.
“I suppose with all my tertiary education I was expecting to take something off that shelf, do A,B,C and come out with D,” says Steve, 54, who lives with Alison, his businesswoman wife of 24 years, their sons Lachlan and Cameron and dog Heidi on 80 hectares in wine country outside Canberra.
“I remember sitting in my FOCS with Joe Pane talking about the need to have a clean ego. I was thinking, ‘Can’t get any cleaner than me, not like the other punters here. That person is crying. What is that person wearing? Put me back in the corporate scene’.”
Adds Steve nearly three years later, “I didn’t appreciate how broken I was and how I had suppressed so much.
“TCI has taught me the difference between emotions and feelings, and it’s given me a much better toolbox to approach life.”
Along with knowing himself better, Steve—whose workday often starts with attending to social media at 4.30am—says coaching has improved his relationships with his family (“I’m a much nicer person to be around”), given him a life with choice and derailed his one-time plan to retire at 55.
"Time and time again I have a meeting and people are blown away by how I think,” he says.
“For the first time in over a decade I’m actually loving what I do and am able to make an impact rather than just dealing with people issues all the time and fighting fires like you do as a CEO.”
"A lot of what we learn through the TCI program has pretty much turned my business on its head. I found the models we get through TCI and the fantastic learnings and course work have just given me an edge over other people."
Where were you when you joined TCI?
I was highly skilled, had done university, post grad study, a company director course—but what was missing in those learnings was how to be human and how to feel. I had to deal with high level, nasty malicious matters and through TCI I realised I’d lost a part of me and had to reconnect with parts of me that had been dead for a long time, or some parts I never even really knew how to tap into.
I was kidnapped from the USA by mum as a kid and that led to a lot of stuff for me, so understanding tribal cycles and enmeshment has been a huge part of me letting go of things that have been impacting on my life until now. At 54, I am looking at the next two years as really being able to live the life I want to live on my terms and being able to help others as well. A great journey.
How has that changed you?
Probably the biggest thing has been the shift in mindset, shifting from below the line on a number of things. I would always think I was above the line on everything, I’ve been an expert at hiding and deflecting, One of the things I had to adjust to after leaving the paid CEO role was if something needs to be done there’s nobody to delegate it to. It’s about understanding the worth of the support of a community.
Where are you at on your coaching journey?
Again, to give you a demonstration of the arrogance when I checked into TCI at Pro Coach level I was speaking to one of the Wow team. I said, “This is a three year course, is there a way I can do it in 12 months?” She said, “You can try.” She should have said, “You are certifiably bat shit crazy.” It’s a marathon, not a sprint. My journey with TCI has been a very personal inward journey. I wasn’t quite prepared for the multiplistic learning and at times it’s created overwhelm.
What’s this done for your lifestyle?
One of the things it’s given me is being able to support my wife to make her business grow. I used to walk out the door saying, ‘Whatever you do today, have fun with that—what time is dinner?’ Now I do deliveries for her if she needs it, help with workshops on the weekend. It’s been fantastic to actually connect with her on a different level. It’s given me the ability to do what I want to do when I want to do it. The mindset shift from being in the grind and a cog in the machine ... now my work and life are integrated. I no longer have a weekend but I’ll do things pretty much every day, a mixture of social media, coaching, networking, meetings, some form of marketing. Plenty of variety.
How is your business going?
I have about 12-15 clients. My goal is to make boards more effective and make businesses more sustainable so they don’t collapse, and help individuals. To take the dysfunction out of leadership.
“Through TCI I have learned to understand what my life purpose is and to have a theme every year and top five weekly goals and daily intentions … it has given me so many more resources and tools to have that better life.”
What challenged and surprised you most about TCI?
The generosity of spirit and the quantum of resources.
In what way did we live up to or exceed expectations?
I hadn’t done a lot of research so my expectations were quite low. I had no idea of the level of personal involvement and the level of inward reflection and personal changes that would be required. They say high school is about regurgitating and university is about how to think. TCI gives you a new lens on how to ask questions and see both the immediacy and the deeper meaning of something.
What was the big milestone with your coaching journey?
Meta III was a huge milestone from a development point of view. Again on the surface I have always been quite sociable and gregarious but there’s a lockdown point that you don’t get past. Meta III put me on a journey and we formed a close community in the group.
Your most successful marketing strategy?
Networking and building referral partners.
Advice for other TCI coaches?
Be comfortable reaching out for help. I still have issues with that. Do the assessments early. Really get to know the people on your course. The more you can get involved with the community, the more you see different viewpoints. I am a conquering style, competitive, blunt, outcome focused, ‘get out of my way’. I have learned how to be around the soft tree huggers that I used to go ballistic around. Now I can hold the space, I can be there naturally.
What would you tell someone thinking about joining?
I would say you don’t need to see the whole staircase before you take the first step. It’s a quote from Martin Luther King Jr. TCI is a journey, it’s unlike anything else anyone will ever do.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I will have a couple of permanent team members, I would like to see the back end of COVID and be regularly travelling to New York and Dallas, and having the steady flow of work coming in from referral partners and word of mouth.
Steve is the black bull: strength, courage, doesn’t conform to social norms or never just goes along for the ride. He is a loving father, husband, son, brother and lives life on his terms. His secret skill is "to be a chameleon" and he is the king of the dad dance.