Coaching Alumni Profiles: Steve Reza

by Whitney Hopler, Communications Director

Coaching Alumni Profiles: Steve Reza
Steve Reza

Steve Reza, an inspector in the U.S. Office of Inspector General, works with teams and interviews key stakeholders as a regular part of his job. So active listening skills are critical for his success. Becoming a coach through the Leadership Coaching for Organizational Well-Being program strengthened those vital skills, he said. "Hands-down, my active listening skills have improved immensely. ... I feel far more equipped now than ever before. I now listen to team members more intently and can provide higher-quality feedback.”

The full range of well-being leadership skills that people learn in Mason's coaching program are vital for all types of workplaces today, said Reza. “In this fast-paced, electronic age, I believe that well-being is more important than ever. As corporate demands continue to increase, always expecting more with less, it seems that quality can suffer, in favor of quantity. Moreover, the connectedness of technology has resulted in the disconnectedness of the very people of whom the organizations comprise. Yet, the problems that corporate America must solve today are far more complex than yesterday. It is fairly obvious that many organizations are facing a collision on the horizon, which is having to connect the expertise and talents of a disconnected culture to solve complex problems. For that reason, I see well-being as coming to foreground. Organizations need to get healthy, which in my opinion, is what leadership well-being is all about.”

Reza was motivated to become a coach himself after taking an executive leadership course at work. "In that course, I was required to engage in six coaching sessions with an ICF-certified coach. That experience inspired me to embark on a journey to becoming a coach. Moreover, a colleague of mine was nearing completion of the coaching program at Mason and he encouraged me to enroll. Entering into the program, I was cautiously optimistic – maybe even a bit skeptical. However, by the end of the second module, I discovered the power of coaching and the implications for my own self-discovery. Every experience thereafter in the Mason program was mind-blowing!”

Two experiences from Reza's time in the Mason coaching program stood out for him as highlights. "First of all, I was taken way out of my comfort zone when I learned I would have to find three pro bono clients. I felt inadequate to coach anyone, and I learned that the sense of inadequacy was really my ego, aka, the saboteur! Once I became aware of how my ego can interfere with co-active coaching, I was able to self-monitor and felt empowered. As a result, I was able to let go of the ego and focus on the coachee. The second highlight for me was the day the master coach, Ellen, observed me coaching and very gracefully pointed out to me that I was coaching the problem, not the person. She reminded me to focus on the intensity of one of words the coachee had used. For some reason, at that very moment, the light came on and I finally understood what it meant to coach the person and not the problem. It was an incredible moment for me that took me to the next level in my coaching skills.”

Reza encourages others apply for the program and become leadership coaches themselves. “If you are at a point in your life or career where you are ready to explore who you truly are, what you’re meant to do in life, what your drivers, strengths, and obstacles are – this course is for you! You will learn how to be a terrific leadership coach for the benefit of others, and in the process, you will learn more about yourself than you could imagine. So, if you are ready for the next version of you, then I would strongly recommend this course.”

Connect with Reza at steve.prevailbeyond@gmail.com and tune into the "Prevail Beyond" podcast that he and his business partner Dave Hamilton run. "We’re interviewing entrepreneurs, extraordinary leaders, and master coaches," he said. "It’s an 'edutainment-style,' laid-back, fun show that offers valuable nuggets of information and resources for aspiring entrepreneurs, leaders, and coaches.”