Why better conversations lead to better relationships with Tim Cosby

Tim joins us today to talk about how better conversations lead to better relationships, which in turn lead to more engaged employees.  Companies and managers who understand and embrace this philosophy will experience better relationship and better culture and ultimately a positive impact to the company bottom line.  

Where to find Tim:

Transcription below (May contain typos...):

[00:00:00] Tim: [00:00:00] But if you really want your organization to flourish, you have to have better relationships. And if you are going to have better relationships, you have to have better conversations. And that's really what coaching focuses on.

Matt: [00:00:14] Good morning. This is Matt Cunningham and I am with Tim Cosby today on our podcast. And I'm excited to have Tim here with us. Tim is the owner and founder of real retention and as a fantastic coach and author and a speaker and educator. So I've known Tim for quite some time now, and we've just become great friends, as well as just having the opportunity to do some work together.

And I'm excited this morning to have Tim join us. So Tim, welcome and thanks for yeah.

Tim: [00:00:43] Hey, thanks Matt. Thanks for having me on appreciate it. Yeah,

Matt: [00:00:47] absolutely. So one of the things I wanted to start out this morning with is I've known you for a little while now, and I know a little bit about where you came from in your past and career and things like that, but.

Tell the other people what got you into [00:01:00] coaching, what your career path was and how you got where you are today?

Tim: [00:01:04] Yeah. Good question. I've always wanted to help people grow and so throughout my career, I've done some work for some nonprofits. I've been in higher education. I've worked with, teenagers work with college age students and.

All along the way, my focus has been really to help people flourish. So 10 years ago I started a coaching practice because I thought that coaching was really. Probably the most effective way to help people move from where they are to where they want to be. That was in 2010. And what happened through all of that is through that, just the experience of learning, how to coach and coaching people.

I've met people along the way and realize that this coaching approach that. I learned was [00:02:00] something that could easily be transferred to leaders in organizations and having worked for a number of organizations throughout my career. I realized that most of the leaders that I worked with really didn't know how to do this.

And so they, they were more focused on telling and kind of command and control and I'm the expert. And I'll just tell you what to do and that kind of a thing. And I never really felt that was very effective. So along the way, my co-founder and I, Mike McGreevy realized that this approach that we had learned in coaching of helping people to change without telling them what to do was really effective.

With managers, with parents, with teachers, with whoever, it doesn't really matter what you do. This approach was really helpful because it helps you to build better relationships with people. And [00:03:00] that way the people that are in your circle, the influence are more likely to stay around a lot longer. So in 2016, we started I started another company called real retention.

We first started out training people to coach. So we were training professional coaches along the way, which we still do. But we decided let's just focus specifically on organizations and specifically on helping managers. To develop a new way of relating and building relationships with employees so that they could keep their employees longer.

So we just said let's call it real retention. And we're just going to help companies retain their best people. So that was in 2016. And we're still doing that. It's

Matt: [00:03:49] incredible. Thanks for sharing this story. First of all it's incredible to see that something as simplistic as having better relationships might actually help you keep your people.

[00:04:00] I think oftentimes people don't realize how important the value of a relationship is. So as you discovered that as you've gone through the last four years of this this process, what are some of the big aha moments you've had?

Tim: [00:04:12] Yeah, good question. I think one of the biggest things that we realized along the way was that if you want your company to flourish and and grow, and he does if you don't, then I guess there's other things that we could talk about.

But if you really want your organization to flourish, you have to have better relationships. And if you are going to have better relationships, you have to have better conversations. And that's really what coaching focuses on. And so we developed a product called conversational management because we felt that at the end of the day, everything comes back to conversations.

And if we could help leaders, managers, whoever have better conversations with [00:05:00] people to build better relationships and build, trust that at the end of the day everybody was going to win. So that was a huge aha. In fact, what we realized is that what we're doing is really like an operating system.

For engagement in organizations. It's not another program and there's plenty of programs out there for management development and engagement and all those kinds of things. But I think what we're bringing to the table is something deeper than that. It's this operating system upon which every program operates out of.

And that was a really important aha moment. For us, because we realized that what we're doing is really core. Gotcha.

Matt: [00:05:46] Incredible. So this operating system is really the foundation to moving forward and in that relationship structure, in that conversational structure.

Tim: [00:05:54] Yeah. And I think, the whole thing of operating system, maybe 10 years ago didn't make as [00:06:00] much sense as it does now, I've got an iPhone sitting right here in front of me and every once in a while you get these notices that you have to update.

Date your operating system. And what I've realized is that I've got a lot of apps on my phone and on my laptop, I've got a lot of programs, but if I want all of those programs to work well together, I need a really good operating system. And apple and HP and all these other companies are doing there.

They're just creating better operating systems. So everything works better together. That's what we bring to the table.

Matt: [00:06:36] Okay. Wow. Wow. And what kind of success have you seen? When you go into these companies and you're like, Hey, I got an operating system and you need to figure this out. And this is a pretty good thing.

Or, you tell me a little bit more about how that looks and what kind of success you've been.

Tim: [00:06:50] Yeah back in 2016, of course, as things have changed quite a bit since 2016, I feel like it's a completely different [00:07:00] world. Isn't it?

Matt: [00:07:01] Things changed quite a bit since since yesterday. So 2016 was a long time ago.

Tim: [00:07:07] Yeah. Wow. Maybe we can talk about that in a few minutes, but in 2016, what was happening was there were a lot of companies that were experiencing just abnormally high, voluntary turnover. And, every company experiences turnover, and I think a certain percentage of turnover is probably healthy, but we had companies that were coming to us that were having like 140% turnover.

Wow. Or 90% turnover in one of their divisions or something and was just like, wow that's not sustainable over a long period of time. It was like what in the world are you doing? As we started researching all of this, we found. That turnover, as is just a symptom of something else.

And about that operating system, way, way down there. [00:08:00] And what we found was that turnover was a result of disengaged employees. The huge aha moment for us, because we realized that if you really want to solve a problem, you have to deal with the root cause. And if you don't deal with the root cause then it's really not going to matter down the road.

Cause you're not right. Solve your problem. So we found that at the root of this turnover problem and all the other things that companies were struggling with was this disengagement issue. And then we went down even deeper and realized that because we just asked the question why are employees disengaged?

And what we realized is that it was this cause and effect like circular relationship between management practices and organizational culture. In other words, managers need to be doing things every day with their employees, call them [00:09:00] management behaviors or management practices.

And that's what leads to engage the employees. And if managers are doing these. Practices on a daily basis, then it's going to impact the culture and you're going to have a better culture and you really can't separate those two. So we just said at the end of the day, okay. Then if we want to help companies retain their best people, then we have to help them deal with root causes.

So we developed a program that deals with management practices and organizational culture. We just happened to do it through the medium of coaching because we think that coaching is so effective.

Matt: [00:09:41] Fantastic. Fantastic. And what kind of results have you seen in that?

Tim: [00:09:46] We've seen really positive effects and not only positive results, not only from the way we teach and train, which I think is different than maybe a lot of organizations, but also in the [00:10:00] role in the results that we're seeing.

So for example we worked with a college here in the area and they, there. What they call their freshmen retention rate. In other words the number of freshmen that come back at from the end of their freshmen year to the beginning of their sophomore year, that's the freshmen retention rate and their freshmen retention rate.

Was it about 62%. So that meant that almost 40% of freshmen that they had recruited at the end of the year, they left. Man, it costs a lot of money to recruit a college student. All of that work and effort into that. And then at the end of the year they go, eh, I think I'll go somewhere else.

That costs a lot of time and money. So they brought us on and. They said we really want to change our culture. We really want the kind of culture that [00:11:00] empowers people. So we started training people to coach and faculty, students, and staff, and maybe 170 people that we trained over the period of about three and a half years.

But by the time we left our, by the time we finished our main contract with them, their freshmen retention rate had gone from 62% that 82%.

Matt: [00:11:21] Wow.

Tim: [00:11:22] I'm three and a half years. So that saved them. If you want to put a dollar amount on that, I think it was about a little bit over $2 million.

And so along the way, we actually help them to change their culture. So that between the faculty and the staff student leaders, that on campus, they were learning a way to have better conversations, to build better relationships, which actually empowered. People and students stayed longer. So it's yeah, it just made sense.

So we really helped that organization. I think grow another organization came to [00:12:00] us. That was a transportation organization across the United States. They had about 52 terminals. If I remember correctly, And is there a voluntary turnover rate among their terminal managers was about 60%.

And it's that's costing you a lot of money, right? Because if your terminal manager is gone, then all your frontline supervisors, your truck drivers, it really impacts everything. So they were having this problem. They weren't really sure how to solve it. They had tried a few things and through a friend of a friend, we got in front of them and told them our story and said we think that this makes sense because it deals with root causes.

So they said, okay that makes sense to us. So let's give it a try. So we rolled it out and I think we ended up training about 150 leaders there over a period of a couple of years, but within a 11 months. And this was really [00:13:00] surprising to me because I didn't think that it would happen this fast, but within 11 months, their turnover rate had gone from 60% to 19%.

Among third term camp managers. Yeah. That's amazing. It is. And, we saved them over $3 million just in, in 11 months.

Matt: [00:13:20] That's amazing.

Tim: [00:13:22] It was pretty incredible. So companies experience better relationships and better culture, but it also impacts the bottom line.

It does,

Matt: [00:13:31] which is great. The return on investment is is hugely important. And obviously you're creating a value for these businesses not only in their relationships, but also in the bottom line. To help them move forward and to keep the best people. And I think we all know it costs a lot more to lose someone than it does to keep them and try to help them improve and grow.

So I greatly appreciate that story. One of the things I had for you, Tim, I wanted to ask I know you talked a little bit about this coaching thing that you used to. You'd started out training coaches and certifying people and [00:14:00] this sort of led into this process and this understanding of real retention and what that is and the product conversational management.

Tell me a little bit about maybe if someone's out there looking to become a coach or just become a coach is there anything there to help them? Why would they contact real retention?

Tim: [00:14:19] That's a good question. Thank you for asking that what's happened through the years is that we've developed several businesses really?

Because I don't know, it just worked out that way. We started out training professional coaches because we were professional coaches and we wanted to help coaches flourish. So we still train professional coaches. So if somebody is saying, Hey, man, I think I'd like to start a coaching business.

First of all, I'd meet with them and say, are you sure that this is what you want to do? This is, it's not an easy thing to do, so don't step into this lightly. Yeah. Make sure this is what you want to do, but if they do, then we have a certification program. It takes about nine months to a year.

To get through our [00:15:00] certification program and, we help you start a coaching business. So if you've got, if you've got that kind of desire to start a coaching practice, we can help you with that. I think that if you're Person that's thinking about coaching and maybe looking to add another product line to just coaching people.

We're starting of an affiliate program. We found that, real retention makes a lot of sense to people when you say yeah, I work at real retention. We help companies retain their best people. That means a lot to a business owner. So we're looking to expand real retention across the United States.

Matt: [00:15:47] There

Tim: [00:15:48] might be a coach up and, San Francisco or whatever that is looking to add another product line to what they're already doing. We've got conversational management and now we're developing [00:16:00] conversational selling. So we've got a product line and a proven product and it sells, it's been vetted.

Our company's been around for, about five years. And we've trained leaders from, a lot of companies thousands of leaders. We're looking to expand real retention and I help coaches add a product line to what they're already doing.

Matt: [00:16:25] That's fantastic. I know a lot of times coaches will come out and not have a huge line or an understanding, or even what they call their niche and struggling in that.

So I know that can help a lot of coaches that are looking for that. And I know that to, of the product that you have is really genuinely helpful, too. Helping people understand how to be better managers and leaders within their companies and helping their companies grow. So I greatly appreciate you talking about that and just what the what it sounds like, what the proven model is of what the product is and has done for people, with with kind of one more thing in mind. Do you have a story that. That sort of resonates with you [00:17:00] that led you into saying, you know what, 10 years ago, I want to become a coach. Was there, is there a story that kind of put you down that path?

Tim: [00:17:08] I don't know that there was just one thing. I think for me, it was the communicative effect of about 30 years of helping people grow and then realizing that the way that I'd been helping them to grow may not be the best way to help them to grow. In other words, coaching is meeting people where they are and helping them to change without telling them what to do so that they take ownership.

So I think it was that experience of being able to help people. And then realizing that, wow, here's a way to really help people, and I'm not just the expert anymore. It's you know what, I believe that you can solve your own problem and I'm going to help you reach your [00:18:00] own goals, but I'm not going to tell you how to do it because I don't really know.

So I think that's really what. Grabbed me inside and I real, I wished that I would have learned how to coach, when I was back in college, I think it would have probably changed my career, but that's really what I think led me into coaching. And then it really led us into creating these other companies because we realized that this is probably the best way for managers to manage.

Matt: [00:18:28] Absolutely. Yeah, that's great. I think there's a lot of people out there that are listening. That'll relate to that. And consulting or giving advice can oftentimes feel easier. But it takes the responsibility off of the person listening at that point. And so it's certainly as effective understanding that coaching allows people to take ownership, to be more engaged in the conversation, into Process things for themselves and think through the things that maybe they hadn't thought that through thought through before.

And so it's certainly it sounds to me like you [00:19:00] went for a long time and gave a whole bunch of advice and really expert and realized one day, maybe that's not the best approach. And it's really a great story for, to hear for me and for many people out there. So I greatly appreciate that. If if someone needed to get ahold of real retention or Tim Gasby tomorrow how would they go about that?

Tim: [00:19:19] I think pretty easily, Tim, at real retention.com will get me and O or they can just go to real retention.com to our website and contact us all the information is on there. We'd love to have a conversation with you.

Matt: [00:19:34] Fantastic. Any current programs or certifications coming up in the near future?

Tim: [00:19:38] We've got one coming up in February, I believe February 2nd. You can see that on our website for conversational management, we've also developed a new program called conversational selling. And we were basically taking the same coaching approach, this core operating system and applying it [00:20:00] to the whole selling and buying process.

So we're doing our I think we'll be doing our second cohort starting January 26. That's also going to be on the website. So we have several programs coming up. You can go to empowerment coaching network. Dot com and learn more about our coaching certifications. Okay,

Matt: [00:20:20] fantastic. Great. I greatly appreciate your time today and want people to reach out if you have any questions, if if you want to get ahold of him, please feel free to reach out to him.

And I'm sure he can help you out. And thank you for your time today. Any last parting words of wisdom for people listening today, Tim.

Tim: [00:20:38] If you're a manager out there, this is a. This is one of the most difficult times to be a manager. I think managers are really struggling because everything is going virtual and now their their workforce is no longer in the cubicle next to them.

We're down the hall there. Their [00:21:00] house with their kids in the background and still trying to manage a business. So I think the training that we offer in the skills that we provide to managers are extremely helpful, especially now in this. COVID world that we're all living in. So I would encourage managers out there who might be listening to this and maybe looking for a training program for other managers, maybe your HR director, or L and D or talent development, I would say I'd love to talk to you and show you how we could help all of your managers flourish.

Matt: [00:21:40] Perfect. Thank you so much. It sounds like whether you're a coach or an aspiring coach or a manager having better relationships, having better conversations just leads to more engagement and to more relating and understanding how people operate. Thank you so much for your time today and I greatly appreciate it.

And I'll talk to you soon.

Tim: [00:21:59] Good. Thanks. [00:22:00] Ma'am.

Teams also need to get away and have time to think together and reflect together. Be able to spend just an hour to be curious about each other. -Denise Van Eck, Owner of Thought Design

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