Brian Gast

Executive coach, top team facilitator, author and speaker. I work with individual leaders and their teams to help navigate personal and professional transitions and to increase leadership capacity and improve communication and relationship skills. I founded my coaching firm in 2001 following 12 years asa CEO. Check out more on me and my coaching process in my book "The Business of Wanting More: Why Some Executives Move from Success to Fulfillment and Others Don't"

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What Smart Leaders Do When They are the Problem

October 8, 2018 | By | Add a Comment

Sometimes I want to give the CEOs I know a T-shirt that says, “I’m right!” This is the message they convey when they say, “These guys just don’t get it.” “I’ve told them a hundred times to stop doing… and yet they still do it.” Smart executives are often right, but I’m not sure being right is what matters. When a leader’s tone is defensive, zealous, and self-righteous, she or he is ineffective at influencing others. This is what happens when we are convinced everyone else is the problem. Tennis Lessons Consider Serena Williams’s recent tirade in the championship match at this year’s U.S. Open. This video clip is worth a watch if you haven’t seen it. Serena was given […]

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How to Expand Your Consciousness

September 3, 2018 | By | Add a Comment

No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it. -Albert Einstein Sometimes it’s hard to find your golf ball. You scan every square inch of the section of grass into which you thought you’d hit it. Then your partner yells, “I found it!” He’s 15 yards away on the other side of a tree, standing in a place you would have never thought to look. It’s a reminder that we will never find what we’re looking for when we’re looking in the wrong place. The Limitations of Our Thinking Our mind looks for ideas and information the way it looks for lost golf balls. Neuroscientists report that there are 11 million bits of information floating […]

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How to Lead from Your Heart

August 7, 2018 | By | Add a Comment

Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakens. — Carl Jung I want to be a heart-centered leader. I want to be authentic so the people I lead can connect to my authenticity, not just my words, title, or position. I want people to feel me, not just understand me, so they will be inspired to step into their own authenticity and genius. I want others to live and lead from their heart because I know what’s possible when people experience connection. The Most Important Leadership Skill of All Leadership requires effective communication, relationship-building, and presence. Competency in these areas demands high emotional intelligence (EQ). You have a […]

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How Leaders Spend Their Time: What’s a Choice and What’s a Requirement

June 29, 2018 | By | Add a Comment

I want to share a great research-based Harvard Business Review article (read the full article here) written by strategic planning guru Michael Porter. It focuses on how CEOs spend their time. It’s a bit long so here are my key take-aways: CEOs of multi-billion dollar companies work an average of 62 hours a week. If you are working more than this then that’s more of a choice than “comes with the territory.” If you are working too many hours, chances are you have a team you don’t trust to do the work. Upgrade! If you are working too much you’re probably spending too much time in meetings. Most hour-long meetings are 30 to 45 minutes longer than they need to […]

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Basic Instinct: The One Thing Every Great Leader Knows

May 11, 2018 | By | Add a Comment

Know Thyself. – Inscribed in the forecourt of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi The most important work leaders can do is anything that increases our awareness of our brilliance as well as our shadows. This awareness increases self-mastery and leadership capacity. Self-aware leaders have the capacity and courage to give real answers to these important questions: “How are you feeling? Why are you doing this? What are you thinking?” When we replay our response to any situation, we can often see that we were driven by deeper instinctual impulses than we realized or were willing to admit in the moment. When we are disconnected from our deeper motivations, we radiate an incongruence between what we say and what’s going […]

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How Smart Leaders Can Stop Doing Stupid Things: Three Steps to Increase Your Self-Mastery

March 5, 2018 | By | Add a Comment

Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom. – Victor Frankl I used to be a customer service representative’s nightmare: indignant, self-righteous and impersonal. I rationalized my behavior as I turned human beings into objects. I relented only when someone met my demands and said the equivalent of, “You’re right, we’re wrong.” As embarrassing as all this is to admit, I wish I could say I reserved this behavior only for customer service representatives. Leaders Know Better Leaders can be reactive. Reactivity can look aggressive or passive. It can come in the form of loud anger as well as over-thinking, emotional […]

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Living in Flow: How to Live and Lead with Less Effort and More Joy

December 18, 2017 | By | Add a Comment

The burden is never life. It’s what you’re thinking and believing about life. – Byron Katie You know the feeling of flow. Researchers describe flow as a temporary state during which you are fully present and immersed in what you’re doing. You have an energized focus and results seem to come almost effortlessly. I want flow in my life because I want to feel connected to and supported by something bigger than my own will. I want less friction and resistance and I want to be aligned with the flow of energy around me—and in so doing, to live with more ease and amusement. I want to do work that taps my genius. I want to feel a sense of […]

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Parenting, the Biggest Job You’ll Ever Have: Three Ways to Set Your Children Up for Well-Being

July 24, 2017 | By | Add a Comment

I wish you bad luck… from time to time so that you will be conscious of the role of chance in life and understand that your success is not completely deserved… -Chief Justice Roberts in his June 3, 2017 commencement address to his son’s middle school graduation Parenting has been our biggest job and the one for which we were least prepared. As relatively new empty-nesters, now we are enjoying watching our daughter, age 22, and our son, age 20, compose their lives. Here are three principles that have informed our parenting and helped our children tap their potential. Acceptance Acceptance, aka unconditional love, takes work. We assume everyone is on a unique trajectory through life. This idea keeps us […]

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Freedom from Worry: How to Move from Control to Faith

June 20, 2017 | By | Add a Comment

I’m a lover of reality. When I argue with What Is, I lose, but only 100% of the time. –Byron Katie My daughter graduated college this May. She’s busy having fun travelling and submitting job applications. She says I ask her too often about her plans. What I consider to be helpful, she considers to be hovering. She’s right, I do worry too much about my kids. My daughter’s career, like her entire life, is “her business.” My angst about being the perfect parent and making sure my kids are set for life is “my business.” Maybe I should be worrying about my plans, not hers. The Cost of Comfort On a recent walk with my friend Tom, I realized […]

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Getting on the Fast Track to Wisdom: 4 Ways to Benefit from Difficult Times

March 15, 2017 | By | Add a Comment

Every single thing that has ever happened in your life is preparing you for a moment that is yet to come. -Unknown Jennifer’s voice was tentative. Absent was the ‘Take no prisoners’ energy I had found so inspiring over the ten years I had known her. She loved her work and how her CEO role kept her in the lime light. She quickly shared the intensity of the day when the private-equity investors fired her. She had delivered seven years of strong financial results. Then the company hit two choppy quarters and the investors’ limited patience ran out. I could relate. Twenty years earlier I was sitting across from the Chairman of the Board in an unscheduled meeting as he […]

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